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Wed, Jan 07 2004, 0:55:28Login ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 12 ]

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Date Posted: 28/07/05 11:48:15
Author: Les Bywaters
Subject: Canberra crash, Akrotiri

15 Dec 1970 a 3 Sqn B(I)8 (XM267) crashed on approach to Akrotiri with fatalities. Seem to recall someone here saying they'd witnessed this crash. To help refresh any memories, a Safety Equip bloke was on a jolly in the kite and was killed with the rest of the crew.

Any further gen on the incident would be appreciated. John Cooper knows my e-mail addy.

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[> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- John Cooper, 28/07/05 22:26:48

I recall this story somewhere but can't find a post for it!
Is the date correct for Cat 5 as it shows on your own website as having pranged at Akrotiri 5 years earlier (1965)

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[> [> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- Les Bywaters, 29/07/05 22:28:53

John, that's why I'm asking mate, conflicting dates here. I reckon the 1965 date is wrong as it seems to have been stuck off charge in 1971 and wouldn't have lain around for 6 yrs. I'd left the squadron in the April before this incident so don't have 1st hand gen.

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[> [> [> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- Colin Cummings, 30/07/05 12:09:32

The date was 15 Dec 70. The fatalities were Fg Off R C M MacMillan and SAC K C Petty-Fitzmaurice.

Hope this helps.

Colin Cummings

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[> [> [> [> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- John Cooper, 30/07/05 15:54:33

Hi Colin
Thank you for the information, for those not aware Colin has written several books on RAF post war accidents having spent much time in collating such information from the RAF Museum at Hendon and presumably AHB

More information on the books that have been published can be seen here

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[> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- Les, 1/08/05 19:25:11

Thanks Colin, your gen backs up mine. The third crewmember was a F/O Ellis, also killed in the accident. I believe he was the pilot.

Still looking for that elusive reference though.

John, I know you're a member of several forums, probably some that I'm not on. Any chance of you doing a "search" mate? In yer own time of course. E-mail me privately if you like.

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[> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- stan hutchinson, 30/10/05 1:08:30

A canberra of 32 sqdn crashed about 61/62 while on an exercise. It was hit by a Javelin while flying at low levelcrashing onto the beach near Ladies Mile. All three crew were killed.

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[> [> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- Les, 30/10/05 11:20:25

Yes, the Canberra was WD995 and the Javelin was XH906. Collison happened on 26 Oct 1961 during pratice interception.

That Canberra was a B.2, the subject of this thread is a B(I)8 from 3 Sqn. Pretty sure now about the details but would still be interested in anyone unearthing a post to any forum by an eyewitness.


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[> [> [> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- Terry Moore, 25/02/11 21:18:47

Hi all!

We were on detachment from RAF Laarbruch with 4 B(I)8 Canberra`s of 3Sqn. The crash happened in front of our eye`s as 2 Canberra`s came in to land after a sortie over the sea at RAF Akrotiri(Cyprus), and the 2nd. Canberra was caught in the slipstream of the first Canberra and cartwheeld into the runway. 2 crew and passenger were killed. Crew were F/O Ellis and F/O MacMillan, Passenger was SAC Kim Petty-Fitzmaurice safety equipment on a "joy-ride".

I personally was present.
J/T Terry Moore Nav.Inst. 3Sqn. RAF Laarbruch - Akrotiri.

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[> [> [> [> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- Ian Wilson, 19/10/11 13:38:56

Interesting comments especially yours I was on the same detachment on 3sqdn. Kim slept in the same room as myself. I was planning to go on this flight. It crashed across from the Air Traffic building into an area which was not easily acessable barbed wire etc. We lost 6 members of 3 sqdn in a short period 3 in the Canberrs crash and 3 in 2 different motor accidents.
XM267 the aircraft in question was my aircraft for the first 2 weeks as an Airframe man. The previous night it ended up on another pan. Not a nice accident to watch as the cockpit area was complete after the crasg but was consumed by the post crash wire. The boss had warned the young guns about flying too close and getting Jet wash over the flight controls, sadly this happened. I left the RAF in 1972 and since been employed by various manufacturers(Fokker and Boeing)and different Dutch airlines in an Engineering capacity.
Ian Wilson, Martinair Engineering Amsterdam

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[> [> [> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- Phillip E Sillick. MBE, 1/12/13 21:22:05

We were 73 Sqdn. and had just finished night flying. We were heading back to the mess for food before turning IN for the night. It seems the Canberra was flying in one direction (B2 of 32 Sqdn) whilst the Javelin (Believed to be of 33 Sqdn, on detchment) was in the Canberra's reciprical. The collision was over the runway or there abouts, both aircraft fell onto the Salt Lake. It was understood that the rear Nav of the Javelin managed to eject successfully. All members of 32, 13,73 & 6 Sqdns were stunned by this dreadful accident

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[> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- dave marshall, 15/05/08 21:02:39

I remember that kite crashing at akrotiri as i carried Kits (the SE fitter) coffin when we buried him at a military graveyard in Germany. We were at Laarbruch I think, and it was around 1970.

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[> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- eric Chamberlain, 4/08/08 14:00:07

I was serving on 3 Sqn at the time of the crash as a Survival Equipment Fitter my collegue SAC Kim Petty-Fitsmaurice being killed in the crash. Fg Off Ellis was the pilot and Fg Off MacMillan was the navigator. After the crash all jollys were stopped. The crash happened in December 1970

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[> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- Dennis Thornbury, 10/10/09 6:46:00

Canberra B(I)8 - XM267 - 3 Sqn

Hi there, I have been in New Zealand since 1973 after i left the RAF.

In December 70 I was the Sgt i/c the Oxygen bay at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, which was directly across the road from the Safety Equipment Bay, and right alongside the cold drink stall.

When 3 Sqdn came to Cyprus on detachment SAC Colin Petty-Fitzmaurice would regularly come over to my bay with parachute O2 cyclinders to service prior to repacking in other parachutes. It was an airconditioned bay and he was happy to chat and see how things were done on other O2 equipment

I got to know him quite well, and we would meet at the drinkstall sometimes and just chat about how much he was enjoying Cyprus, especially away from the winter in Germany. Another time he showed me how the O2 cylinder was stowed and how a chute was packed.

I vividly remember how excited he was when he learnt he was going for a 'jolly' on a squadron Canberra. I teased him about making extra sure his chute was OK. He wasnt at all concerned and was glad he had the chance to fly, and I was saying how I'd love the chance to fly around Cyprus.

On the day I knew he was flying, I was at work inside my bay, I heard the explosion as the Canberra crashed. I did'nt know if it was the one he was flying in, but as there were no other Canberra's on base (except detachment aircraft) I was pretty sure it was his. I was soon to learn it was.

There was a horrible feeling all around camp, the accident occuring just at touchdown with no apparent warning, a great deal of sadness extended towards the crew, but I felt it even more knowing that Colin was on board.

Hearsay was saying that when the pilot attempted to overshoot, advancing the throttles, the engines stalled/surged, the pilot lifting the nose and stalling the aircraft before his speed had built up, causing the aircraft to initially climb, but then stalling, the left wing striking the ground and cartwheeling down the left side of the runway.

I must stress this is only heresay as I never did read the official Accident Report

I know this is years since the last 'post' on this topic, but I have only just read it whilst I was doing some searching of my RAF history on Goggle.

Hope this is of some interest to you, or others.

Best Regards Dennis Thornbury

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[> [> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- Laurence M Bean, 11/10/09 5:59:09

Hi Dennis. Thanks for adding some more information on this sad loss. It seems the aircraft was overshooting, as you mentioned, when it lost power and crashed.

BTW, we have an active forum with plenty of ex-RAF guys on another board. Lots of line shooting and banter. Why not join us there. Might help with your ongoing research. The link to the site is:


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[> [> [> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- Al Allcroft, 28/02/10 21:03:00

Just came across the lengthy discussions about XM267 'E' of 3 Squadron which crashed at Akrotiri in Dec 1970. I was on '3' at the time and was Sergeant i/c Burial Party for the funeral of Kim Petty - Fitzmaurice our S.A.C Safety Equipment expert.
Kim was laid to rest in the Miltary Cemetary at Rheindalen, Germany by a burial party made up of friends from 3(F) Squadron.
Tribute to him can be found on the Armed Forces Memorial site. He is buried in Grave Section F, Grave G1.
A great guy .. good man to work with and greatly thought of by his friends and colleagues on '3'

From what I remember after all these years, the aircraft was on approach to Akrotiri's runway when for some reason the crew initiated an over-shoot. When the engines were throttled up the stbd responded but the port was reported to have dropped power.
The skipper, F/O Ellis, was quite a small chap and I seem to recall the accident report saying that because of his short leg reach he would have had difficulty putting on full opposite rudder to control the assymetric engine thrust. The result of low power, etc caused the aircraft to roll over and crash into the earth bank on far side of Akrotiri runway.

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[> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- Malcolm Blackman, 20/08/11 3:18:36

I was a Station Photographer at Laarbruch when this crash happened. Also Kim was an aeromodeler as I was and we had spent many weekends at the end of the runway together flying our models. One of my fellow photogs took the photos in Cyprus and I printed the job for the board of enquiry at Laarbruch. Many year later I wrote this poem.


Malcolm Blackman

Two Canberra Bombers were on exercise one day,
And in the second of the pair,
Was a friend of mine, a lad called Kim,
Who really shouldn't have been there.
The rosters had been changed as they sometimes were,
And another should have been sat in his seat,
A different young airman should have died that day,
It was his kismet that Kim flew to meet.

For as the two aircraft were on final approach,
And the runway lay stretched out ahead,
A fault developed in the port engine,
Power was lost, and the engine went dead.
The sick engine then surged, and again died away,
While the skipper fought for control,
So close to the ground; it was an impossible task,
And the aircraft went into a roll.

A wing tip hit the ground and all was lost,
The aircraft tumbled end over end,
Breaking up as it went, it burst into flames,
And in that fireball died Kim; my friend.
I saw a photograph of Kim after the crash,
Although no way could you tell it was him,
For all three of the crew were burnt to a crisp,
All I knew was one of them was Kim.

No matter how painful the experience was,
I had photographic prints to make,
For the Board of Enquiry would shortly sit,
Their judgement eventually to make.
As I steadily worked through the pictures of the wreck,
My thoughts kept returning to him,
My only hope that the Board would make sure,
No others would die in the same way as Kim.

Hednesford 1995

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[> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- Tom Thomas, 25/04/12 11:00:35

I was also on the burial party for Kim, I remember it well

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[> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- Mark Petty-Fitzmaurice, 8/03/13 21:53:00

It's quite amazing to find so many differing stories and kind words about my dad, especially the poem composed by Malcolm. I most likely met Malcolm at some time because I used to go out with my dad when ever he was flying his model aircraft (I think he called it Smoghog). I have a couple of photos with some of his friends, one of which is everyone loading a minibus heading away for a weekend in Germany somewhere. I think the excuse was to get as much beer drinking done instead of the flying.
For all those who are not too sure about the date of the crash it was 15th Dec 1970, as a family we left Germany before Christmas that year and moved in with my grandparents until we could get housed in the UK somewhere. We ended up in Ashtead, Surrey and my mum still lives there now. I went to a boarding school run by the RAF Benevolent Fund in Greenwich London, it was a castle which was the only good thing about it realy. I eventually followed in my dads footsteps and joined the Air Force in 1985 retiring in 2007. I met a few people during my service career who knew dad or were associated in some way. The most bizarre was a RAF Fireman who was an instructor on my GST Training. He had joined the RAF in 1970 and his first posting was to Akrotiri and his first incident was the crash. He only realised who I was because I had written a pen letter along with the rest of my course so that he had an idea of who he was teaching. He did say that even if the fire trucks had been waiting where the aircraft came to rest, they could not have done anything and the outcome would not have changed. He could have said nothing but I appreciated his honesty.
I do at times feel cheated and reading some of the postings on this forum didn't realise that things could have been different and some other chat would have been killed instead of dad. But as my mum has always said 'when your numbers up your numbers up'.
If anyone want to get in touch please do.

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[> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- roger carvell, 9/04/13 22:45:42

Hello to all of you,

I am at present scanning some of my father's colour slides, taken in Aden, some at RAF Khormaksar, when he was stationed there as a WO in air traffic. 1962-1965. One slide that has recently been digitalised is a ramp scene at Khormaksar (with the famous 'barren rocks of Aden' in the background. A Britannia stands there, awaiting its next slip crew, but next to it is the Canberra XM267, the feature of your recent correspondence on its fatal ending.
Thought you might like to know! I can email on a jpeg of it. I don't know if there are any other images of XM267 in happier times.
Kind regards, Roger Carvell, Hitchin, UK.

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[> Re: Canberra crash, Akrotiri -- Mike Harrington, 17/01/14 18:27:50

I too witnessed the canberra crash at Akrotiri in 1970 and it still keeps coming back to me.
I had also met Kim briefly not long before the crash.
Can confirm that the aircraft was attempting an overshoot, had initiated a climb, then rolled to port and dropped into the bank on the left of the runway.
If you read this Mark, please accept my sincere condolences.

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