Meteor NF11 WD778

Knock Fell, Cumbria, England













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: Gloster Meteor NF11 WM167 (now, privately owned) at the Classic Jet Air Show (now, Cotswold Air Show), Kemble, Gloucestershire, in June 2005. [Wikimedia]


See recent photo here, at Flickr.


Meteor NF11


Photo: 2005 Adrian Pingstone (Arpingstone). Released by the author to the public domain.



BELOW: Privately-owned ex-RAF Hawker Hunter T7A (RAF code WV318, civil registration G-FFOX) flies with privately-owned ex-RAF Gloster Meteor NF11 (RAF code WM167, civil registration G-LOSM) at Kemble Air Show (now, Cotswold Air Show), Kemble Airport, Gloucestershire, England. [Wikipedia]


Hawker Hunter and Gloster Meteor flying in formation


Photo: 2009 Adrian Pingstone (Arpingstone). Released by the author to the public domain.






Aircraft Type and Background


RAF Gloster Meteor NF11 / WD778


The Gloster Meteor was developed during WWII and was the first jet fighter in service with the RAF before the end of the war.


The Meteor entered operational service in 27 July 1944—just behind the German Messerschmitt Me262. The Messerschmitt Me262—also a jet-powered aircraft—had been under development for some time before the Meteor. It entered operational service on 26 July 1944—one day before the Meteor.

Initially, the Meteor was powered by two W2B turbo-jet engines designed by Frank Whittle. However, this type proved unsatisfactory, and the Whittle design was later passed to Rolls-Royce who produced a modified version with greater thrust. This was the W2B/23 Welland enginethe type later fitted to the production model Meteor Mk I. It is  believed, however, that the Meteor featured on this page was equipped with Rolls-Royce Derwent engines.

The first RAF squadron to receive the Meteor fighter (in 1944) was 616 Squadron. This squadron engaged their new Meteors against the V-1 flying bombs. After some initial difficulties with their guns, this Meteor squadron managed to shoot down a fair proportion of V-1s.






Aircraft Accident Details


Gloster Meteor WD778 took off from RAF Leeming at 19.00hrs on a training flight over northern England.


Toward the end of the exercise the pilot headed back to Leeming. During the return flight, ground control instructed the pilot to change to Ground- Controlled Approach (GCA) frequency. However, from this point, contact with the aircraft was lost.

Without guidance from ground control, the crew decided not to continue their landing approach. Instead, they climbed away from the area.


Eventually, when their fuel began to run low, they began descending to try and locate their present position, probably thinking that they were close to RAF Leeming. However, the aircraft was still some distance from Leeming; and, during the descent, it struck the high ground at Knock Fell, a few miles from Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria.

Almost a week passed before the wreckage was discovered and reported to the authorities.





Aircraft Crew Casualties


Those who died in this accident were:

  • P/O John David Briggs (21), Pilot, RAF

  • F/O Derek Walker (21), Navigator / Radar Operator, RAF.




Crash Site Photos


BELOW: The summit of Knock Fell in Cumbria, not far from the Meteor NF11 crash site.


Dufton Fell, near the Meteor NF11 crash site.


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson



BELOW: A general overview of the crash site, with wreckage scattered around and within the small body of water.


General view of crash site


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson



BELOW: A closer view of the scattered wreckage.


A closer view of the scattered wreckage


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson



BELOW: Wing fragments and other wreckage.


Wing fragments and other wreckage.


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson



BELOW: A Close-up view of some of the wreckage fragments from Meteor WD778.


Close-up view of wreckage fragments


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson



BELOW: A wing section from the Meteor.


Meteor wing section


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson



BELOW: Another wreckage section lying not far from the main debris field.


Another section of wreckage a short distance from the main debris field


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson













BELOW: Close-up of Meteor wing section.


Close-up of Meteor wing section


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson



BELOW: End view of wing section showing location of wing fuel tank.


End view of wing section showing location of fuel tanks


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson



BELOW: Side view of wing section.


Side view of wing section


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson



BELOW: Part of the fan unit from one of the Meteor's Rolls-Royce Derwent jet engines.


Part of engine fan from Meteor jet


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson



BELOW: Other views of fan section of the Meteor's engines.


Other sections of the Meteor's engines


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson



BELOW: Wing section and engine nacelle.


Wing section and engine nacelle


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson



BELOW: Overview of engine wreckage.


Overview of engine wreckage


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson



BELOW: Strap and buckle.


Strap and buckle


Photo: © 2011 Gary Nelson




Photo Gallery


There are no photos of this aircraft crash site in the Photo Gallery.

















Crash Date / Site


Country: England


England national flag



Accident Date: 24 Mar 1954


Accident Site:

Knock Fell (710m) (Dufton Fell, W Pennines)


Region: Cumbria


Nearest town or village:



Nearest large town: Penrith (W)


OS Grid Ref. N/A


GPS Refs: N/A


Present Condition: Significant fragmented wreckage remains onsite.




Aircraft Details


Registration or Serial: WD778


Operator: RAF (228 OCU)


Operating Station: RAF Leeming


Station Location: Leeming, Northallerton, North Yorkshire.


Current Station Status: Operational Military Air Station.


Current Station Name: RAF Leeming




Principal airport data courtesy of John Woodside, A Catalogue of UK Airfields





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