Accident Hawker Hunter FGA Mk.9 XG128,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 144674
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Date:Friday 13 January 1961
Type:Silhouette image of generic HUNT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Hawker Hunter FGA Mk.9
Owner/operator:8 Sqn RAF
Registration: XG128
MSN: S4/U/3364
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Am Dharb, Wadi Yahar, Upper Yaffa, Western Aden Protectorate -   Yemen
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Khormaksar, Aden
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Les Swain was the pilot of Hunter FGA.9, XG128, flying as No. 2 to Flt Lt ‘Porky’ Munro on a pairs recce in the Upper Yaffa district of the Western Aden Protectorate. The pair were flying at 500 Kts to minimise the risk of small arms fire when his aircraft hit the ground. It was probably an accident but could have been the first of many runaway tailplanes or a lucky rifle shot from a dissident below. The accident was particularly tragic as Flt Lt Swain’s wife had arrived in Aden only the previous evening by troopship.

A second account of this tragedy is recalled by one of the airmen on the line - Roy Hollow:

“We were on the early shift from 05:00 to 07:00 and two pilots came out to their aircraft and I strapped Les in. He was in one of his jovial moods as usual, always joking about, and we were talking quite a bit. He was always chatting about goblins and gremlins sitting out on the wing tip, so you had to laugh as he told you to take a look, so that was it.

The start-up was okay, although sometimes when they could be a wee bit naughty you had to wait until all of the wasted Avpin drained away before trying again. Check underneath for no fire, shut the starter bay door, chocks away and off they went.

I can’t remember how long it was before we knew something was wrong, until the big boys and Wing Commander arrived and went straight into the office on the pan. We were then informed that one of the aircraft had gone in somewhere over the Yemen and when the second aircraft came home we knew it was Les Swain.

When his body was located the next day, it was clear that he had ejected from the aircraft but lost the bottom part of one of his legs. He had used part of his parachute as a tourniquet to stem the blood but he was not found in time.

Being one of the airmen who performed the pre-flight checks on the aircraft and was the last one to see him on the ground, I had to attend the court of enquiry, a very emotional time, and was also was one of the coffin bearers at his funeral.”

While searching for the crashed aircraft, an 8 Squadron Meteor FR.9 and a Hunter FGA.9 were hit by ground fire. In response, two FGA.9s strafed the village of Am Dharb in the Wadi Yahar.


Revision history:

28-Mar-2012 14:27 Dr. John Smith Added
19-Aug-2012 12:42 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
16-Apr-2013 16:17 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Source, Narrative]

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