de Havilland Vampire F.B.Mk.5 WA400 of No.102 Flying Training School RAF, crashed on Strines Moor above Sheffield on the 25th July 1951

de Havilland Vampire Mk.3 at the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon


Lawrence Leslie Beckford Flying Officer Pilot Injured


The pilot was on a training flight from RAF Finningly near Doncaster when he became disorientated.  As he had been airborne for some time the aircraft had used up almost all of its fuel, this meant he was not able to fly safely back to Finningly.  F/O Beckford carried out a wheels up forced landing on Strines Moor and was able to escape the aircraft.  During the forced landing the aircraft caught fire and by the time the emergency services had travelled from Sheffield the aircraft had been consumed by fire.

F/O Beckford had previously been a member of the Royal Navy, his commission was terminated on the 26th February 1950 when he transferred to the RAFVR. He had held the rank of Sub Lieutenant (Acting), and for a short period Lieutenant (Acting). He resigned his RAF commission in December 1951, in part possibly as a result of the accident he was involved in 5 months earlier.

Wreckage at the crash site of de Havilland Vampire WA400 on Strines Moor near Sheffield in 2004
A photograph showing the remains of WA400 on Strines Moor when we re-discovered the site in 2004.