ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 21109
Last updated: 2 December 2021
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Type:Silhouette image of generic CNBR model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
English Electric Canberra B.2
Owner/operator:40 Squadron Royal Air Force (40 Sqn RAF)
Registration: WJ720
MSN: 71239
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Great Wood, North Elmham, near East Dereham, Norfolk -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:RAF Wittering, Cambridgeshire (EGXT)
Destination airport:RAF Marham, Norfolk (EGYM)
EE Canberra B.Mk.2 WJ720, 40 Squadron, RAF: Written off 24/07/1954: Flew into ground on night GCA approach at Great Wood, North Elmham, near East Dereham**, Norfolk, killing all three crew. The wreckage of the aircraft was found to have had the bomb bay doors open at the moment of impact, and the possible cause of the crash was attributed to engine failure (engine surging)

Crew of Canberra WJ720:
Flight Lieutenant George Samuel WILKES (Service Number 201044, pilot, aged 33)
Flying Officer Derek Nelson (navigator/plotter, aged 21)
Sergeant Gerald White (navigator/observer, aged 28)

**Note: According to the Services Accidents Investigation (AI/S Series) Files, held at the National Archives at Kew, the crash location is given as "near Swanton Morley, Norfolk" (see link #4)


1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.161 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1983 p 61)
3. Category Five; A Catalogue of RAF Aircraft Losses 1954 to 2009 by Colin Cummings p.76
4. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT 233/224:

Other occurrences involving this aircraft

29 Apr 1963 WJ719 98 Sqn RAF 0 Samsun, Old Airport (SSX) w/o

Revision history:

15-Jun-2008 21:33 JINX Added
17-Jun-2008 10:36 JINX Updated
08-Apr-2013 23:29 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
19-Oct-2018 19:40 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
10-Jan-2020 01:53 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]
16-Apr-2020 21:33 Dr. John Smith Updated [Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description