Gloster Meteor F. Mk.4 VZ418 of No.205 Advanced Flying School, RAF, crashed on Burn Moor in the Forest of Bowland on the 10th July 1951
|John Valentine||Pilot Officer||Pilot||Killed|
On Tuesday 10th July 1951 Pilot Officer Valentine, a 25 year old trainee pilot with just under 200 hours of flying experience, took off from RAF Middleton St George near to Darlington for a training flight where he would practice making high speed turns at a moderate to high altitude. Around 70 minutes into the flight at 11:53 the aircraft was seen to dive into the ground on Burn Moor, a hill in the North East of the Forest of Bowland, a few miles west of the town of Settle and explode.
At the time the weather was reasonable with scattered cloud and some light showers about, but the cloud base was above the hills according to the weather report from Squires Gate. A fairly deep area of low pressure had travelled across the UK in the preceding 12 hours with its associated weather fronts having moved out into the North Sea.
The cause of the crash was not positively determined, only that a loss of control had occurred, even the timing of it being before or after the dive began was not known. At the time P/O Valentine would have been using the aircraft’s onboard oxygen supply and the cause was speculated as possible anoxia due to insufficient oxygen. His remains were recovered from the crash site and he was buried at Methilhill Cemetery in Fife.
This crash came just three weeks after another Meteor from the same unit had dived into the ground less than 10 miles away between Ribblehead and Ingleton in almost identical circumstances. At the time the Meteor fleet being used by flying training units was suffering almost weekly fatal losses, many from loss of control.