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Post Info TOPIC: Hastings WD497 RAF Seletar 1961


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Hastings WD497 RAF Seletar 1961


 

This is the accident record card as provided by The RAF Museum at Hendon

 

Seletar Crash 1.jpgSeletar Crash 2.jpg



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RE: WD497 RAF Seletar 1961


One from 2006

 

Only got a computer recently and am still learning (late in life!) how
to use it.   I was wandering around just looking at stuff this morning
and came across a site about the RAF Hastings transport aircraft. This
reminded me of a crash of one of these aircraft at the Royal Air Force
base at Seletar in 1961 when I was there flying with the Target Towing
Squadron. Thus, I came across your site asking if anyone remembers this
event.

As I recall, the aircraft came in from the north over the Strait of
Johore and made a slow run and dropped some supply parachutes at the
south end of the runway. It was in a 'nose-up' attitude and turning
slightly to port when it lost an engine and quickly dived into the
jungle area.
I was a member of the party that was dispatched to the site and was
there, as I recall, for two nights sleeping in tents. One of my lasting
memories of this event--oddly--is that we didn't get eaten alive by
mosquitoes!  Perhaps it was the heavy smell of the aviation gasoline
that was everywhere---the aircraft having gone nose first into a swampy
pond next to a kampong. The gas was everywhere and was flowing away
down a couple of streams and I recall some local joker throwing his hot
charcoal into the water  in the kampong and setting everything on fire.
 Very entertaining!

The most lasting memories are, of course, the recovery of the bodies of
the 13 crew members---five RAF aircrew and eight RASC dispatchers.
Things like that stay with you for ever but so ,too, do all the good
memories of those wonderful days in 'the far'. What great times we had
in those far off days of our youth.   Tiger beer and nightly trips to
'Pops' curry shop  down in Jalan what-ever-it-was. God, his curries
used to blow our heads off!   And how about the huge parade on the
run-way that got hit right in the middle of the whole thing by a raging
'Sumatra'? Absolute bloody chaos!  Running out of gas as we touched
down on the runway at Changi after a towing sortie out in the South
China Sea  and having to be towed back to the squadron to all the
jeering and cat-calls of  our 'buddies'. We were not so aware of
mortality in those days. Taking a bunch of the aircraft up to
Butterworth and having lunch courtesy of the Aussies and then smuggling
a ****-load of duty-free beer back for the squadron piss-up. And how
about flying as close to the Communist Chinese border out of Kai Tak in
Hong Kong as we dared and broadcasting, loudly and clearly, 'The Owl an
the Pussycat'.  Later, we would all howl with laughter at the thought
of those communist idiots writing this stuff down and expecting an
invasion at any moment.

We are all senior-citizens, now, but the memories of those wonderful
times will never fade, will they? Best regards, Stephen Cochrane



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RE: Hastings WD497 RAF Seletar 1961


Ref. the crash of Hastings WD497.
I was on duty at Station Sick Quarters Seletar on the fateful day. When the crash alarm sounded the crash ambulance was dispatched with S.A.C. Peter Ford who was the duty medic that day. When it became obvious that more medical coverage would be needed I was ordered to accompany the Senior Medical Officer Wing Commander S.J. Krister to the crash site. As you can imagine there was considerable activity there when we arrived. If I remember correctly there were thirteen people on the aircraft including an Army Air Despatch team. Although it was not apparent at first there was only one survivor and he died in the ambulance on the way to R.A.F. Hospital Changi. We hadn't been on site very long when the S.M.O. was approached by the R.A.F. Regiment officer Flt Lt. David Bolton (later Gp. Capt.) who said that it was proving impossible to remove the body of the Air Signaller from the wreckage and he asked the S.M.O. to remove the leg that was trapped. Wg.Cdr. Krister ordered me to do this while he went to see if there was anything he could do for any of the other victims. This I did with all the dignity for the deceased that was possible under the circumstances. When all the other victims were removed from the wreckage I escorted the remains to the mortuary at the Military Hospital. It was a very sad day for all concerned. I still have the cutting from the Straits Times with a photo' of the crash site though it is not very good.

Vernon East



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http://www.air-despatch.co.uk/pages/honour/55/29may61/29may61.htm



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