Purton Road Prang

 

 

 

On the 14th January 1946 - Dakota KK154 of 575 Squadron crashed on Dance Common, off the Cricklade to Purton Road on the outskirts of Cricklade, shortly after taking off from Blakehill -  the road and common are pictured above (the common ground is to the left of photo)

The aircraft belly landed, with one wing eventually coming to rest on the wall of a cottage garden.  All the crew escaped, the only casualty being a local 8 year old boy, David Hicks, who was run over by the fire engine from Blakehill and suffered serious leg injuries.

Alan Hartley, of RAF Transport Command 46 group describes his first hand account of the crash from his vantage point in the N.A.F.F.I., which was about a mile away from the crash site, on what is now the Chelworth Industrial Estate in his book recalling his wartime days via the Cricklade Historical Society;

"During my period at Blakehill Farm, one morning the sergeant said 'Get your aircraft ready to go, the CO is taking a sprog pilot to teach him what to do if an engine fails on takeoff.'   So I got the aircraft ready, the CO came down with his new pilot, I waved them away and off they went.   Shortly afterwards I was in the NAFFI queue, with my mug for my tea and my wad (sandwiches) when someone tapped me on the shoulder and said; 'Have you just D.I.'ed FZ whatever it was?   I said, 'Yes, why?'  He said, if you look over towards Wootton Bassett there, you'll see a column of smoke - it's just gone in!'"

"I was petrified and I thought 'Hell!'  You know, having just done the inspection, what have you missed!  Anyway, it transpired that when the plane took off, the CO had told the pilot to touch the feathering button and unfortunately in his anxiety he pulled back the fuel-cock of the starboard engine so the port went into feather and no fuel on the starboard.   Fortunately the CO was experienced enough just to grab it and get it down to the ground, although when it hit the ground, it started to burn.    The crew managed to get out intact.  Apparently on the way to the fire, the fire engine from Blakehill raced through Cricklade and hit a child.   We were told shortly afterwards that the child was in danger of losing his leg.    We had a big whip round on the camp to supply some money for the family, but I have since learned that the surgeons managed to save the leg and the gentleman still lives in the Cricklade area."