RAF Meteor Jet Crash
Eye witness account by Dave Cowan
I was in the garden at Watlington Road, Benfleet around lunch time on the 12th April 1952 with my father and uncle. I went indoors as my mother called me in as a meal was ready, immediately there was a roar, followed by a scream from my father and uncle followed by a large bang. I looked out of the door and my father and uncle were on the ground with their arms over their heads, there was the sound of things falling from the sky. I went out into the front garden and there was mud, metal and chickens laying everywhere. Dead chickens were hanging from the telegraph wires; some houses had holes in their roof. Across the road was smoke coming up from the gardens between Philmead Road and Watlington Road.
Luckily no one was hurt but a RAF aircraft had crashed in our neighbours’ gardens. Investigators came down and tried to collect all the parts of the aircraft to establish the cause, however many bits were squirreled away by young lads who just wanted a trophy.
A brief mention in ‘The Times’ on Monday 14 April 1952 stated:
“JET AIRCRAFT CRASH
An RAF jet aircraft from Biggin Hill station in Kent crashed on a bungalow estate at South Benfleet Essex on Saturday, killing 18 birds in a chicken house. The pilot bailed out and landed safely at Rawreth, fives miles away”