Little Baldon Air Disaster

On 6 July 1965 a Hastings aircraft took off from RAF Abingdon with a crew of six and 35 assorted service personnel for a parachute drop over RAF Weston on the Green.

After take-off, the pilot of the Hastings, from 36 Squadron RAF, experienced difficulties with the elevator controls.

Shortly after contacting RAF Abingdon control tower for a priority landing the aircraft climbed steeply out of control, stalled and crashed into a barley field at Little Baldon, Oxfordshire.

The aircraft burst into flames on impact and all 41 occupants on board were killed.

The passengers included eight RAF Parachute Jump Instructors; three NCOs and seven recruits from The Parachute Regiment; and a Gunner from 7th Parachute Light Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery.

At the time the accident was the third worst air disaster in the UK and resulted in the RAF grounding its entire Hastings fleet.

The subsequent investigation identified metal fatigue in the elevator attachment bolts as the cause of the crash.

On 9 April 1967 around 80 relatives and friends of personnel lost in the disaster together with representatives of airborne forces, the RAF, and the Royal British Legion, attended a service of dedication for a memorial plaque erected at the parish church of St Lawrence, Toot Baldon, near the scene of the accident.

A commemorative service is held at the church each year in July.

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