Saturday, January 16, 2016
Peter Garner joined the R.A.F. in 1940 and in 1941 volunteered to serve with the Merchant Ship fighter Unit. Service with this unit meant being catapulted in a Hurricane from the deck of merchant ships in convoy, and when fuel ran out, either parachuting or landing in the sea and waiting to be picked up. After a tour with the M.S.F.U. he was attached to Naval Aviation for deck landings.
In 1943 he volunteered to fly Mosquito Intruders, and was for a while with No. 605 (County of Warwick) A.A.F Squadron. On completion of three tours of operations he was appointed Staff Officer to H.Q. Fighter Command as Intruder Controller. He later completed a full Empire Test Pilots' Course and, in February, 1946, joined Westlands as assistant to Harald Penrose. In addition to development work on the Wyvern, he has been demonstrating the Westland Sikorsky helicopter.
On October 15th 1947,Peter Garner met with a fatal accident while testing the first prototype W.34; the Wyvern TF Mk 1 when the propeller bearings failed in flight. He attempted to make an emergency landing and dove his Wyvern to avoid stalling but pulled out too late in the dive and the resulting belly-landing knocked him unconscious as his aircraft burned
S/Ldr Alan Ormerod Moffet AFC 1920-1945
S/Ldr Moffet attended Windermere Grammar School before joining the RAF and going on to be a chief test pilot for Power Jets. At 22 years of age he was awarded the Air Force Cross for courage and devotion to duty which he demonstrated during experimental work on jet engines.
On July 21, 1945, S/Ldr Moffet was flying EE291 Meteor III aircraft which was on loan to Power Jets, of Bruntingthorpe, and was the test bed for a reheated version of the RB37 engine. He was authorised to carry out a display at a Victory Gala being staged at Whetstone, just south of Leicester.
The aircraft ran in while descending from 5,000 feet to 500 and passed over the airfield at an estimated 450 knots, before pulling up steeply into cloud. The aircraft was next seen flick rolling, before levelling out inverted and then diving into the ground and disintegrating completely. Squadron Leader Alan Ormerod Moffet was killed.
Sqn Ldr Michael Graves DFC 1921-1949
Squadron Leader Graves, who had been with Westland Aircraft for two years, was attached to the Middle East Command and had received his DFC in 1942 when he had a record, as leader of a fighter squadron, of three enemies destroyed, five probably destroyed, and many others damaged.
He was killed on Monday 31st October 1949 when the aircraft he was flying, the Westland Wyvern turbo-jet fighter prototype crashed on two semi-detached council houses near the Westland aerodrome at Yeovil. Along with Sqn Ldr Graves, a six-year old girl cycling on the road and a woman were killed. Another woman, who had been trapped in her blazing house, was rushed to hospital after a dramatic rescue.