Jet engine found after 1951 crash to go on display as memorial

The engine of a Gloster Meteor

The engine of a Gloster Meteor was discovered by farmer Gary Dawes near Massingham - Credit: RSHC

The engine of a jet that crashed in Norfolk 70 years ago is set to go on display as a memorial as it finally reaches its destination.

The engine of a Gloster Meteor, which crashed on its final approach from RAF Little Rissington to West Raynham on May 1, 1951, will finally arrive in the village seven decades later.

The engine will be brought to West Raynham's control tower at the former airfield, which is now home to a solar farm and business park.

It will arrive on May 1, the 70th anniversary.

The Gloster Meteor was destroyed when it crashed two-and-a-half-miles south of RAF West Raynham in Fakenham.

The headstone of Harold Taylor who died in the crash two-and-a-half-miles south of RAF West Raynham.

The headstone of Harold Taylor who died in the crash two-and-a-half-miles south of RAF West Raynham. - Credit: Ian Brown

Both Harold Taylor and Francis Ralph were killed in the crash after the aircraft spun into the ground while on its final approach.

A report published since suggests the fuel was not selected from the correct tank, causing one or both engines to fail due to fuel starvation, with the aircraft flying at close to stalling speed.

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The engine is currently in the possession of Ian Brown, curator at RAF Sculthorpe heritage centre. He received a call last summer from a farmer who discovered the engine near Great Massingham.

The headstone of Francis Ralph who died in the crash two-and-a-half-miles south of RAF West Raynham.

The headstone of Francis Ralph who died in the crash two-and-a-half-miles south of RAF West Raynham. - Credit: Ian Brown

The engine, which had been buried, was dug up by farmer Gary Dawes.

He had heard stories about it remaining in the area and went to investigate the claims. He then found the engine but it took some time with Covid and paperwork for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to remove it.

Mr Brown went across to view the engine, which was proudly displayed on a stand the farmer had built as a fitting memorial to the two crew members.

A man holds the medal in behind a road sign

RAF Sculthorpe heritage centre's curator, Ian Brown - Credit: Kevin.J.Osman

“We felt that the engine would be better suited at its original destination, even if it is 70 years late,” Mr Brown said.

“We don't normally take items that aren't relevant to Sculthorpe, but a jet engine is a fantastic display piece, especially when there is a story attached.

“It also serves as a memorial to all the crews lost in post-war training and routine flights which were not in combat.”

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