On this day in history : 21st September 1979 – An RAF Harrier crashes onto houses in the Cambridgeshire town of Wisbech; two men and a young boy are killed….

Image credit : Andrew P Clarke CC BY-SA 4.0

It was 9.55am, on a Friday morning…. Two Harrier jump jets from a nearby Air Force base at Wittering were on a training exercise when they collided by clipping wings at around 8,000ft…. Both pilots managed to eject safely; one plane broke up and fell into a field…. However, the other plummeted towards Wisbech and landed on two houses and a bungalow in Ramnoth Road, narrowly missing two schools and a college…. The impact left a crater 15ft wide and 50ft deep….

Several people were injured, including a mother and her baby…. The two dead men were Bill Trumpess, a former Mayor of Wisbech and Bob Bowers – along with his two-year-old son, Jonathan….

As a result of the crash the RAF raised the minimum training height from 5,000ft to 8,000ft…. The incident at Wisbech had been the third Harrier jump jet crash of that year….

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