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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 20741
Last updated: 18 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic CNBR model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
English Electric Canberra B Mk 2
Owner/operator:231 Operational Conversion Unit Royal Air Force (231 OCU RAF)
Registration: WF888
MSN: 71089
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Steeple Morden, 5 miles West of Royston, Hertfordshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:RAF Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire
Destination airport:
EE Canberra B.2 WF888, 231 OCU, RAF: Written off 19/12/1952: Engines failed after take-off, dived into ground at Steeple Morden, near Royston, Hertfordshire, killing all 3 crew

The aircraft made a normal take off, and then climbed to about 500 feet. It was about to enter cloud when the engines were heard to stop. The Canberra then dived almost vertically into the ground, and exploded on impact. The cause of the apparent engine failure was not determined.

Struck off Charge as CAT 5(Scrap) at No.58 MU Sutton Bridge 12/1/53

Crew of Canberra WF888
Pilot Officer (2549810) Henry Lloyd Westwood RAF (pilot)
Pilot Officer Terrence Joseph McMillan (navigator)
Pilot Officer (3133157) Thomas William Tench (Observer/Bomb Aimer)

The reported crash location of Steeple Morden is a village and civil parish in Cambridgeshire, England, about 15 miles (24 km) south west of Cambridge and 5 miles (8 km) west of Royston.


1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p. 139 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Last Take-off: A Record of RAF Aircraft Losses 1950 to 1953 by Colin Cummings p 322
3. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1983 p 41)
4. 231 OCU ORB (Operations Record Book)(Air Ministry Form AM/F.540) for the period 1/12/1951 to 31/8/1952: National Archives (PRO Kew) file AIR 29/2173 at
5. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT233/130:
6. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 5/32/S2610:

Revision history:

07-Jun-2008 12:15 JINX Added
04-Apr-2013 19:24 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Nov-2018 21:23 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
31-Dec-2019 19:55 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
01-Jan-2020 09:02 stehlik49 Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Nature, Operator]
05-Apr-2021 21:41 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]

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