John Groves was a Design Engineer at Westland and recalls witnessing the fatal crash of a Wyvern in 1949

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Westland Wyvern TF.2 prototype crashes onto houses in Yeovil killing 3 people in 1949

I remember one in particular when I was an apprentice in the erecting shop when Gardner had a seizure of the front bearings on the engine, and unfortunately, the aircraft touched down. It was flying a fair old speed, and just outside the shop. We heard it come down and it skidded right through, down the airfield, through the – you know Westland Road. There’s a turning on the left just out where the path goes right round the airfield. It went over that hedge in between two rows of houses, skidded down through the middle of those. There’s a cul-de-sac part way down Westland Road with three houses on the end. It hit the end one of those and everybody, well two or three were killed, obviously the pilot was killed, and literally, the house collapsed around a lot of it. I remember seeing the flaps, where it came down with the flaps on, it tore the flaps off of it and they were sitting on the airfield about a hundred yards out. Quite a disaster that was, unfortunately.

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