The pair of Vampire T. Mk.IIs, both from 8 Fighter Training School at Swinderby, had taken off from their home base at 0859 for Instrument Flying (I.F.) practice. A few minutes later, at 0908, the two aircraft collided almost head-on in a clear sky 20000 feet above Colwick, Nottingham. Wreckage was strewn in a track 2.5 miles long, a large engine part being found at Radcliffe Road, West Bridgford.
Sadly, the occupants of both aircraft were killed, as was Mrs M E Collis, a canteen worker at the Spray & Burgass dye works at Colwick, who died when she was struck by debris from XH321.
Crew of XE990:
503164 Flight Lieutenant (Instructor) B C KIRKPATRICK Aged 26
113 Lieutenant (Pupil, Royal Iraqi AF) W AL-ANI Aged ?
Crew of XH321:
501563 Flight Lieutenant (Instructor) J M WILLIAMS Aged 28
2612498 Flying Officer (Pupil) F A OLSON Aged 23
Mrs M E COLLIS Employee, Spray & Burgass Ltd.
The RAF Accident Investigation Board were unable to determine the exact cause of the accident, concluding that neither aircraft saw the other in time to avoid a collision, for a number of reasons (Taken from the Accident Report):
"A. Inadequate look-out. B. High speed of aircraft. C. Attention of instructors and pupils concentrated within cockpit. D. Sun dazzle. E. Aircraft converging on blind sides of each other."
The Board went on to recommend that a study be carried out into closing speeds of jets and that Instructors should elevate their seats on I.F. exercises for better visibility.
The eastern end of Nottingham Racecourse.
The 'T' marks where the tail boom of XH321 fell to earth, the 'E' marks where the engine from the same aircraft was found.
A wing section from XE990 came down in this area, approximately where the black car is. The Goblin 3 engine from the aircraft fell nearby, roughly where the blue sign is.
In 1958, this was an open field. Now the busy A612 Colwick Loop Road.
The former Spray & Burgass dye works on Vale Road, Colwick.
The canteen where Mrs Collis was working is at the rear of the building.