Accident Boeing B-29A-60-BN Washington B.1 WF553, Monday 5 January 1953
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Date:Monday 5 January 1953
Type:Silhouette image of generic B29 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing B-29A-60-BN Washington B.1
Owner/operator:15 Sqn RAF
Registration: WF553
MSN: 11508
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 12
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Horncastle, 6 miles north of RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Boeing B-29A-60-BN Washington Ex-USAF 44-62031. Delivered 30 April 1951. RAF service with 57 and 15 Squadrons.

On 5 January 1953, the crew was completing a local training mission out of RAF Coningsby as part of 15 Squadron. On final approach, the crew encountered poor weather conditions and the pilot-in-command decided to abandon the approach and made a go around. A second attempt to land was later abandoned as well. During a third attempt to land, the aircraft was too low and crashed in a field located in Horncastle, about 6 miles north of the airbase. Five crew members were killed while two others were injured. Five crew members were unhurt. The aircraft was destroyed. One of the crew was awarded the Queens Commendation for Brave Conduct:

"KARR, William Richard, Sergeant Royal Air Force
Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct - awarded as per London Gazette dated 24 April 1953.

"Sergeant Karr was one of five survivors of a Washington aircraft crash which occurred on the night of Monday, 5th January 1953. Five members of the crew were killed and one seriously injured. Immediately after the crash this non-commissioned officer assumed charge and, despite the fact that he was suffering from severe shock, took measures to inform Royal Air Force Station, Coningsby, by telephone.

He then returned to the aircraft and supervised the removal of the navigator who was badly injured and pinned down by the wreckage. One wing, close to this position, was burning, but Sergeant Karr entered the fuselage without hesitation, in spite of the danger of explosion. Having done all he could to help the injured man, he stationed himself on the public road where he was able to direct the fire tenders and ambulance to the scene of the crash. The navigator, having been extricated by the combined efforts of the aircrew survivors and civilians, thus received early medical attention. Sergeant Karr displayed initiative and great presence of mind and his prompt action doubtless contributed in no small measure towards saving the injured man's life."
Crew: The five killed were
F/Sgt Eric Matthews (Co-pilot) RAF
F/Sgt Gordon Tomblin (Flight Engineer) RAF
F/Sgt Leonard Frederick Lloyd (Air Signaller) RAF
F/Sgt Robert Douglas Howes (Navigator) RAF
F/Lt. Frederick Anthony Rust (Pilot) RAF

A verdict of "accidental death" was recorded at the inquest, on Tuesday 13th Jan 1953 by Deputy Coroner J C Walter esq. who commended the Great Gallantry of the farm workers who assisted in the rescue of the seven survivors

Wreckage scrapped at No.58 MU Sutton Bridge


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 1985) ..
2. Howlett, Chris, "Capital Bomber", FlyPast Magazine, Stamford, Lincs., UK, Number 335, June 2009.

Revision history:

06-Jun-2008 15:17 JINX Added
14-Apr-2013 20:31 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Total occupants, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
19-Jun-2013 18:14 Nepa Updated [Operator]
28-Jun-2017 20:54 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Total occupants, Location, Source, Narrative]
28-Jun-2017 20:57 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Source]
28-Jun-2017 20:58 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
06-Nov-2018 20:32 Nepa Updated [Operator, Destination airport, Operator]
08-Jan-2020 01:18 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
13-Jul-2021 07:08 Bev Grisenthwaite ne Updated
23-Jul-2021 22:46 TyBlBe Updated [Time, Location, Source, Narrative, Operator]

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