26.11.1945 54 Squadron Tempest II MW778 Fg Off Richardson DFM.
Date: 26th November 1945 (Monday)
Unit: 54 Squadron
Type: Tempest II
Serial: MW778 / MW811 / MW799
Base: RAF Chilbolton, Hampshire
Location: Clatford Oakcutts, Hampshire.
Pilot: Fg Off. Leonard Richardson DFM. 177113 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
We have listed Fg Off Richardson as the main page, but the reason that we have decided to place this page is that within one hour - three aircraft from the same squadron were killed in totally separate accidents. Quite astonishing in peace time.
Having said that, the squadron had just moved to this base some two months previously and were the first squadron to receive this variant of the Tempest and delivered as they arrived at RAF Chilbolton.
Above: as described (Courtesy Mark Sheppard)
Fg Off. Leonard Richardson had broken away from the formation and it is assumed that he lost control whilst flying on instruments, the Tempest spun out of cloud, crashed and caught fire.
Note: The exact locations have been reported in areas that we have not been able to positively identify - however after further research we feel that we have the locations more or less correct.
WO. Peter Cobb 1676246, killed when his Tempest II MW811 hit the ground at 11:05 hrs. Inexperienced on this type of aircraft and flying in cloud - descended to gain more visual - aircraft banked steeply at 100 ft and side slipped into ground. Location: Pill Heath, Hampshire.
Flt Sgt. Frederick Blakey 1567606, killed whilst practising 'homings' the pilot lost control of his Tempest II MW799 in cloud and crashed at 11:30 hrs. Location: Mungry Lodge, Hampshire.
Fg Off. Leonard Richardson DFM. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 25.E.3. Son of Augustus Thomas Richardson and Lillian Richardson of Dorking, Surrey, England.
1335505 Flt.Sgt. Leonard Richardson was awarded the DFM whilst with 197 Squadron, London Gazette 31st October 1944.
WO. Peter Cobb. Rawdon Churchyard (St. Peter). Sec D. Grave 248. Son of Albert and Janet Cobb of Horsforth, Yorkshire, England.
Flt Sgt. Frederick Blakey. Billingham Churchyard (St. Cuthbert). Son of John and Margate Ann Blakey of Billingham, Durham, England.
Researched for relatives of these pilots. With thanks to the following for further information supplied, Colin Cummings - 'The Price Of Peace'. Also to Mark Sheppard for the supply of the pilot photographs. Other sources as quoted.
We welcome any contributions from relatives / friends regarding this or indeed any other losses, both aircrew ground crew. Not much has been written regarding the women who helped their countries. We would like to help change the imbalance. Addition of DFM details for Fg Off Richardson (Apr 2021).