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Last changed 6 April 2009
I served in El-Adem from 1962-63 in the fire section, I had a fabulous time there, being involved with most sports, playing for the station in football and cricket.
I have only recently come across your pages on the web site, and I have read and veiwed them with great interest, I do in fact appear in one picture sent in by Bert Webb, I remember Bert, I'm in the picture with a group and Olive Brittan seated, GREAT DAY'S.
Concerning the Beverley crash. I was in attendance at the crash,and have some very good photographs of the wreck. I only recently sent a small write up of the incident to The Friends of Tears in which I am a member.
If you or any of your readers would like the same,I would be only to happy to oblige as I have not seen any other photo's of the crash.
Keep up the good work.
I feel sure that Bert Webb will be pleased. People do get reconnected through the site. As for your offer of pictures and any narrative, I would be most grateful, because I am updating at the weekend (if that can be managed). I know that readers will be very interested. Without knowing it we may have met. I was there 1961-3 and was in Ground radio, as such I spent some time being driven around the airfield testing the 'blue'? radio units in the fire trucks, when faults were reported, before going to work at the bombing range.
Regards and thanks
Note that there are more pictures by Dave on other pages, (because they are not relevant to the Beverley).
So that you may recognise him his picture is below.
Just like any other night the 'squawk' box sounded and with the flick of a switch the familiar voice of the Controller
said "Good morning Crash Crew, line the runway, aircraft on approach".
Within minutes the crash tenders roared into action proceeding to their respective standby positions adjacent to the runway. Crash 1 at the northern end, Mk 6 midway and DP 2 at the southern end, which was on this particular night, end of approach or point of touch down.
Immediately on leaving the crew room it became obvious that this was not like any other night, thick fog hid the airfield. At each crash vehicle position was a 'squawk' box and on arrival each driver confirmed with the tower as being in position.
After several minutes Ginger Lindsay, driver of the DP 2 thought he heard a bang and felt a bump, he reported this to the tower and
requested permission to go to the end of the runway to investigate.
Tom Maxwell, the controller that night, denied that request and told Lindsay to hold his position. Minutes passed and Ginger knowing that he could not be seen from the tower, left his position and drove to the end of the runway.
The overdue Beverley XB268 had indeed arrived on time only to land short
of the runway. It hit a concrete bunker and burst into flames just 100yds outside the perimeter fence.
With no RT equipment and to the horror of the pilot screaming at the crash gate, Lindsay had no alternative other than turn his crash vehicle around and go back to the 'squawk' box to raise the alarm.
Very soon every fireman on the station was heading to the crash scene to lend a hand. I remember a great buddy of mine Maurice Webb and myself up to our necks in foam searching for bodies with the wreckage burning around us, and as Maurice recently said "We were 20 year old bits of kids doing a mans job and we thought nothing of it, because it was our job" (Yes we still keep in touch).
Sadly the accident had claimed the lives of two people, I think one was a civilian and the other was an airman reporting
back to base following leave in UK.
A few days later, the controller Tom Maxwell was repatriated back home; but before leaving he visited the Crash Crew that had been on duty the night of the accident, and gave each member of the crew (7 in total) a packet of cigarettes as a thank you.
Some weeks later, and as a direct result of events that took place on the night of the crash, every emergency vehicle was fitted with radio transmitter/receivers, a major contribution to future safety; at an enormous cost... The Victims of XB268.
In Feb i'll be 70. Apart from an ever expanding midrift i'm in pretty good shape, thanks to my Air Force days.
Its a long haul from conscription, square bashing Wilmslow 1958 and the moment i signed on for nine years they sent me to Aden for two years in 59.
I was back in Blighty for six months the powers of B in their wisdom then posted me to the salubrious surroundings of El Adem 1961-63 as a Wireless opr. I've been digging round the web for some nostalgia pictures for my 70th celeb next month and came across your site.
I was with a decent bunch of chaps in Twynham 31 i may remember, with the corrugated roofing. I had just finished the evening shift. I was gingerly walking out of the Air traffic tower with a bunch of the lads (Bugsy-our tea man-Willoughby, Don peirera, Baz d'sousa, Chalky White, a few others whose names escape me now.
We were reminiscing about the thick grey fog that had settled on the air strip, we could see no more than a few feet in front of us on our way back to the cook house and transmitters was out of sight.
We knew a bev was due in that night and we heard the drone of the engines and then nothing, only a dull thud. However, within minutes sirens were blaring out. We picked up our heels and ran like hell for the billets - there was pandamonium when we heard the news that a Bev had crashed.
There was a young lad no older than us on board who had copped it. It was very sad! I have many cherished memories from my time at R.A.F. El Adem.
I wonder whatever happened to our WVS Lady who kept our spirits intact in that God forsaken place and the NAAFI girls who served us behind the bar.
I have too many stories to tell u Don. In hindsight, when i look back, they were great days with a great bunch of mates.
Ps: I'll keep track of your site in future and hopefully add some pic's to bring back some memories.
Many thanks for your speedy reply, please by all means post e-mail on to Bert Webb, maybe he still remembers me, and I look forward to hearing from him.
Small world what, yes no doubt we may have met before on duty at E-A. and with your line of work then on the fire tenders.
Many thanks again,
By the way the guy in the photo with his thumb up is me.
Cheers for now,
Dave (Taff) Austin.
I remember this crash well as I was a pall-bearer at the funeral which took place in Benghazi. If you look on the Royal Air Force Forum
site you will find it described in more detail.
(W.op at El Adem 1962-64)
Further to my last, my understanding of how the crash occured is as follows.
The Beverley was coming into land at night, one of those desert mists which sprang up from time to time was present and the aircraft hit a concrete structure, possibly an electrical transformer plinth.
Of the two people on board who were killed, one was a J/T based at Abingdon - this is maybe where the flight originated - he had previously served at El Adem and had obtained an indulgence flight back to see some old mates.
The other person was the NCO Airloadmaster. It was suggested at the time that the two people killed were in the hold of the aircraft, not in the Boom where perhaps they should have been.
I was on the RAF Fire Service Crew at this accident The Beverley crashed on the undershoot of runnway 27/09 The weather was very bad fog at this time of night.
I remember the crash I was not on duty but called out as all off duty firemen had to assist with clearing up and spending several days and nights after ferry meals to the guard crew out as I was detailed to Air Traffic driver.
John (The Admiral) Fleet
I have just found your website whilst doing research on a relative.
The NCO Loadmaster on the Beverley was my uncle, Flt Sgt Frank Denby.
He was based at RAF Abingdon. He was around 33 years-old when he was killed.
Prior to becoming an AQM (Air Quartermaster was the title before it was changed to Loadmaster) he was a Fireman in the RAF Regt and a very keen cricketer, playing both for station and local village teams. I remember him as a young child as I would often visit him and my aunt for holidays; one memorable one being at RAF Honington, which was then a V-Bomber base; I think with either Victor or Valiant aircraft.
Frank was an orphan and has joined the RAF soon after leaving school. Originally, he was Frank Dinnebeer but he changed his name after joining the RAF; apparently at the behest of a long-lost relative who managed to trace him.
I believe that the other person who was killed in the crash was a young airman on an 'air experience' flight.
If anyone has any more information about Frank, I would be happy to know it.
Thanks and Best regards
Brian Goulden [Johannesburg]
Thanks for getting back so quickly.
I will be happy for you to post my email on your site; it adds a little more to the knowledge.
Interestingly, I was about 15 at the time of the crash and the comment from one poster that Frank and the young (I think) SAC were in the body of the aircraft but would have survived if they had been in the boom rings true with what we were told at the time.
Sad really. Frank would have been in his 80s now but it would have been good to have him around; he would surely have had a fund of good stories!