Sea Vixen Crash - 20 Jan 1960

Discussion in 'History' started by stickybomb, Feb 12, 2010.

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  1. stickybomb

    stickybomb New member

    'Scuse me for popping over from Arrse (I've had a shower, wiped my boots and I promise not to touch the ornaments), but I need to seek the wisdom of the ancient ones here on RR.

    On Wednesday 20 Jan 1960, a Sea Vixen from 766 Sqn (HMS Heron) flown by Lts Kemsley and Munday crashed at Tockenham, Wiltshire killing both men.

    I notice from some of the posts on here that there are members who served at HMS Heron in the late fifties/early sixties so I wondered if anyone remembers anything about the crash or the aircrew involved. I know its a long shot because Vixen accidents weren't exactly rare but I thought it worth a try.

    All help, relevant anecdotes etc muchly appreciated.
    Yours ever,
  2. Bergen

    Bergen Supporter - ADC

    A crash in 1960.... fcek me most of the old and bold matelots on here would be too old to remember something so recent.

    There may be a WAFU sprog along dreckly to prove me wrong.

    Bye the bye Perce.... welcome to RR - and we will be counting the silverware after you have left.

  3. scouse

    scouse New member

  4. soleil

    soleil War Hero

  5. stickybomb

    stickybomb New member

    Soleil, I found that one too. He was my uncle.

    Scouse, thanks, I'll drop him a line.

    Bergen—as the old saying goes 'The more he spoke of his honour, the faster we counted the silver'—anyway, it was all el cheapo EPNS I put it back. :wink:
  6. Bergen

    Bergen Supporter - ADC

    :thumbleft: Don't be a stranger Sticky..... visit us anytime.
  7. soleil

    soleil War Hero


    I'm sorry to read that he was your Uncle - I didn't realise this.

    I have some sources which I can occasionally draw on for this kind of question and will endeavour to do what I can for you.
  8. stickybomb

    stickybomb New member

    Oh, no dramas Soleil, it was fifty years ago so one has to keep a sense of perspective about these things.

    If FAA boards of enquiry were anything like the RAF's at the time, I'm half expecting to find that 'pilot error' was the verdict.

    Grateful for any info you can find.
  9. 2_deck_dash

    2_deck_dash War Hero

    Welcome to RR Sticky,

    Feel free to peruse the boards, our small brethren of pongos is growing daily! Sorry to hear about your uncle, interesting story though.

    Just out of interest, does anyone know why the grave stone is a slightly different shape to the usual ones you see?

    It has indentations in the top two corners which I have never seen before. Is this because the incident happened during peacetime?

    I'm genuinely interested.

    Here is the more common type for comparison:
  10. stickybomb

    stickybomb New member

    Thanks 2_d_d, your suspicion is correct. The CWCG policy is for servicemen whose cause of death originated outside periods of conflict to be given headstones with incised corners.
    Note the careful wording. It is possible to find headstones in this style with dates of death which tally with wartime. This usually means that they died of a disease contracted in peacetime. There's one in the Calais CWGC cemetery.
  11. 2_deck_dash

    2_deck_dash War Hero

    Every day is a school day.

    Thanks for the info!
  12. Bergen

    Bergen Supporter - ADC

    Off-track I know but I listened to Darth Cheney, [5 Vietnam deferments, excused boots and never heard a shot fired in anger until he shot his hunting partner in the face] give a speech at the Rethuglican convention in 2000.

    He painted a tear-jerking and emotional picture of how he used to look down from his helicopter on the rows of white marble crosses in Arlington National Cemetery.

    The Elmers loved it; but I had been in Arlington a few months before and there ain't a cross in sight. In fact there ain't a cross in the entire cemetery.

  13. 2_deck_dash

    2_deck_dash War Hero

    Do the yanks not have a standardised pattern for head stones?

    I know at Arlington they are similar to ours in shape but at Omaha Beach they are crosses (with the odd star of David).
  14. scouse

    scouse New member

    Looks like you have already, visited the graveyard at St Barts Yeovilton, did you look in the church???? Their names are entered on the Roll of Honour?? also thier names are enscribed at Arelwas Arboretum Staffs, well worth a visit :cry:
  15. Bergen

    Bergen Supporter - ADC

    Yes - every single one of the headstones at Arlington are single white slabs with curved tops. They are impossible to mistake for rows of crosses [unless you are a bullshitting politician out to score a few brownie points from better men than they will ever be].

    Colour me cynical.

  16. stickybomb

    stickybomb New member

    Probably not. CONUS cemeteries are managed by their Veterans Affairs Branch whereas the foreign ones come under the American Battle Monuments Commission. Arlington's marker style dates back to the civil war so I suppose they just carried on the pattern. The ABMC cemeteries had no such precedent and there were more modern frames of reference and influences around at the time (eg the CWGC).

    Interestingly, not all of ours are standard either. The pattern was chosen because it was more resistant to frost action than a crucifix and allowed for a greater range of service/regimental/denominational designs whilst remaining uniform but the soil of some cemeteries (notably Iraq nad one or two in the Far East) was so acidic that it ate the stone. Those headstones were replaced with bronze plaques. I also came across a CWGC headstone marking the grave of a naval chap in St Just in Roseland Cemetery a couple of years ago which was made out of slate. Very odd—might have been climate related but I can't recall Cornwall being that extreme.
  17. stickybomb

    stickybomb New member

    Actually, not quite. There is a section near the back gate that's full of those gothic monstrosities you usually see in rural French graveyards. Some are quite modern. Certainly couldn't be mistaken for crosses though, so Bergen's point stands.
  18. scouse

    scouse New member

    Your Sea Vixen, is in fact a Sea Venom :wink: 20/01/1960 XG658 737 Sea Venom FAW21 766 NAS Crashed one mile east of Teckenham, Wiltshire during a night GCA recovery to Lyneham GCA (Ground controlled approach)
  19. Bergen

    Bergen Supporter - ADC

    Amazing how threads can deviate into interesting territory; so to deviate further - within walking distance of Stan_the_Man is the old church of Rame. The graveyard has a series of gravestones that mark the resting place of sailors washed ashore in Whitsand Bay. All marked 'Known Only Unto God", it is a very moving place.

  20. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    The 'stones' in Yokohama are also bronze slabs (I always understood this was because of earthquake risk). Best not to dwell on how those men finished up there.

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