50 years ago this week: Friday, September 8, 1961

TWO airmen had a narrow escape near Alnwick on Monday afternoon when their Vampire jet trainer crashed in flames in a field just after they had baled out.

The accident occurred only three hundred yards from where a Spitfire crashed during the last war.

The aircraft, which was on a routine training flight from RAF Linton-on-Ouse, near York, nose-dived into a pasture containing 450 sheep. Wreckage was spread over three fields and only two sheep were killed.

Mr Tommy Hogg, manager of Snipe House Farm, where the plane crashed, said afterwards: “I saw the plane loop crazily over the farm buildings then plough into a field. There was a tremendous flash and black smoke appeared.”

Mr Hogg, who was sorting some sheep at the time of the accident, dashed into the farm house and telephoned RAF Acklington.

The May Day distress signal was picked up at the station, however, and a helicopter was immediately sent to the scene.

Later the helicopter, manned by Master Pilot S T Bousher, Master Navigator T Howley and Sgt L T Williamson, reported that the two airmen had been picked up.

M Heath, a trainee Naval pilot who was flying the plane with his instructor, Flt-Lieut G D Lambert baled out and landed near Hadwin’s Close. Flt-Lieut Lambert was picked up quarter of a mile away on Rugley Farm.