RAF Marham in 1957
Written by james brown
Many happy memories of life at Marham, where I was supposed to be an Air Wireless Mechanic but was actually employed for most of the time a clerk to the signals officers in the electronics centre. Met my wife there as she was nanny to the CO's children, and am still in touch with ACM Sir Lewis Hodges and many other friends.
, RAF Marham, Super Sabre crash at 57 Sqdn Dispersal, RAF Marham, Sept 13, 1969 in 1969
Written by Roger Imm
57 Squadron, RAF Marham, September 13, 1969. In these days, I used to bike (on my service issued bike) to work up Squires Hill from my home in the village. I would take Churchland Road to the airfield crash gate , climb over and ride on the grass down the hill to the 57 squadron dispersal. I had been told couple times that I was to enter the station only through the main gate. This was never going to fly since it entailed riding an extra 1.5 miles essentially in a big circle especially when it was cold and raining (a lot of squadron personnel also took this path).
It was Saturday, September 13, 1969, and I was working at the 57 Squadron dispersal as usual.
The dispersal was on the peri track on the West side of the main runway. The aircraft parking was in four semi circles, two on each side of the peri-track, accommodating 8 aircraft. The dispersal buildings consisted of a large Nissen hut connected to a series of flat-roofed buildings at the rear and a standalone brick toilet on the North East side. Coordinates (Lat Long) of the Nissen Hut are 32d 58m 59s North & 0d 32m 32.75s East. Inside the main door on the right-hand side was a desk where the form 700 aircraft maintenance logs were kept. There where tool boards and tool storage in this area. Further inside was a sitting area where the ground crew took breaks.
Several of us were hanging around the front door as there was not much happening; it was slow being a Saturday. I had just finished checking the 5psi air pressure on the radio sets (the sets were pressurized to avoid condensation problems). There was a fuel bowser refueling one of the aircraft with a crew chief in attendance on the far south aircraft park; other side of the peri-track.
I was watching aircraft doing touch & goes which was a familiar occurrence. The aircraft were approaching from the North East using the main runway. I was paying attention because there were a pair of US Super Sabres flying in loose formation and the unusual sound of their Pratt & Witney engines.
As I watched, one of the Super Sabres approaching the NE end of the runway dipped its nose down and something flew out of the top. The starboard wing dropped and the aircraft veered in our direction. I noticed what later I realized was a parachute open and then I stepped inside as I realized the plane was coming our way. There was a large explosion outside and as I watched through the door as a wall of fire erupted across my complete vision and it sounded like a fireworks show. I stepped back outside and took in the scene. The plane had hit the ground (tarmac) close to the peri-track about 250 feet from the door of the Nissen Hut, missing the Victor tankers by just a few feet. Many of the tankers were fully fueled with 90,000 lbs of fuel. The plane had followed a curved path until it hit the ground. The plane then plowed its way up the grassy hill in a NW direction leaving a wall of fire towards the married quarters on Windy Ridge. At its closest the plane passed within 250 feet of the Nissen Hut and missed the parked aircraft by 50 feet. The plane was apparently armed with Sidewinder missiles and 20mm cannon ammo which continued to burn and detonate for many minutes. A stream of Avgas was running across the tarmac towards the nearest plane. I remember ringing the fire bell on the outside of the Nissen Hut and a crew chief running towards his aircraft with a fire extinguisher to protect the plane. There was really nothing we could do. A few minutes later two fire engines arrived to lay foam on the fires. I remember a crew chief screaming at them to keep the foam off of his aircraft.
I know there was a lot of outrage expressed that the pilot had ejected without thought of the consequences. The plane came very close to plowing into the married quarters. As it turned out no one was injured and none of our aircraft was damaged.
The plane was a F100D Super Sabre from the 79th TFS (Tactical Fighter Squadron) of the 20th TFW (Tactical Fighter Wing) from RAF Woodbridge. Serial number believed to be 56-2986. Armed with Sidewinder missiles and 20mm cannon and fitted with two drop tanks.