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Crashed and destroyed 17/3/1966: The aircraft was on a night Glow Worm firing sortie in the English Channel ten miles off Portland Bill, Dorset. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can, Written off 9/2/1966: The pilot became disorientated during a night formation GCA to Yeovilton, Somerset while in cloud. Thomas was killed instantly and his co-pilot, Lieutenant John Harvey, was listed as missing. ‘She has that classic English look with those high cheekbones. Crashed and destroyed 17/3/1966: The aircraft was on a night Glow Worm firing sortie in the English Channel ten miles off Portland Bill, Dorset. Heartbreaking: Dame Kristin Scott Thomas was only five when her father was killed in a dramatic fighter plane accident. Who'll find love on our blind date? It crashed at South Cadbury after the pilot (Sub Lt. P. Latham) had ejected. The Sea Vixen was in the vanguard of a new generation of high-speed jets that relied on swept wings and two Rolls-Royce engines to achieve near-supersonic speed. She was just five. The observer (Lt Anthony D. Stevens) did not leave the aircraft and was killed, http://lionels.orpheusweb.co.uk/AirSea/SeaVixen/InfoRef.html, https://abpic.co.uk/pictures/view/1016325/, http://web.archive.org/web/20120622210245/http://www.ejection-history.org.uk:80/Aircraft_by_Type/SeaVixen.htm, http://www.seavixen.org/accidents/sea-vixen-accidents-public-page, Between Queen Camel and South Cadbury, Somerset -, Unless otherwise stated: copyright © 1996-2020 Aviation Safety Network (ASN). I can still remember him. But then Vixen No 2 lost his radar and, after trying to maintain his position, was instructed by Thomas to return to base. It was attempting a further attack with 2” rockets on a towed splash target when it struck the water 1,000yds from HMS Zulu. All four were supposed to roll into a dive before firing off their rockets at the target at a pre-ordained angle and altitude. 22/03/1966: XN701: R-005: Sea Vixen FAW1: 890 NAS: Crashed into the sea off Singapore due to the premature explosion of a 500lb practice bomb. A pilot had a lucky escape after the last remaining Sea Vixen plane, known as the Foxy Lady, did an emergency landing at an airfield in Somerset yesterday. You have the disorientation in relation to where the other planes are as you look in and out of the cockpit. Dame Kristin, 54 – nominated for an Oscar for her mesmerising role in The English Patient – has said little about the loss in public, but recalled that ‘Mummy was pregnant at the time and I can remember when she told us. Outfits with checks appeal: The Sloane Rangers' favourite pattern is back - with a bold and colourful twist. Life can be so cruel, especially to Deborah. It’s only later that you realise what a terrible shock it was. Lieutenant Commander Thomas was flying a Sea Vixen jet (pictured) when it exploded after crashing into the sea off the Dorset coast. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. Worried their missiles could hit the frigate instead of the target it was towing, they aborted the attack for safety reasons. Author Tony Buttler, in his book about the Sea Vixen, branded the Glow Worm manoeuvre, for which Lieut Cmdr Thomas was practising, ‘perhaps the most stupid, and potentially suicidal attack ever invented. But her delight at the presentation must have involved a moment of quiet reflection, too. It reveals that Lieutenant Commander Simon Thomas was flying a Sea Vixen jet when it exploded after crashing into the sea off the Dorset coast. Furthermore, it was believed to have been Thomas’s first attempt at firing Glow Worm flares since he had returned to frontline duties after working as a Vixen flying instructor. It’s like having a little film playing in your head. You have disorientation in relation to the ground or surface, where the ship is. As the leader, Thomas was expected to fire off the flares above the frigate so that they would illuminate the target in silhouette. Her Majesty's private tribute: Queen, 94, made unannounced visit to Westminster Abbey to mark the centenary... Lost in translation! Kids are so resilient. However, the training mission was dogged with bad luck from the outset, with one of the Sea Vixens failing to make it off the runway. ), Unless otherwise stated: copyright © 1996-2020 Aviation Safety Network (ASN). He could not bare it! We are no longer accepting comments on this article. The three others took off and assumed the attack formation, with Thomas in the lead, to a point 20 miles south of HMS Zulu. The conclusion to the MoD report offers little solace, indirectly blaming HMS Zulu and the exercise. I can still remember his smell, it’s really weird. It has been a bittersweet week for Kristin Scott Thomas. Sir Mark Thomson, a former Sea Vixen pilot, said: ‘When you are flying at night there is no horizon. It was attempting a further attack with 2” rockets on a towed splash target when it struck the water 1,000yds from HMS Zulu. The thing that breaks my heart is the smell of engine oil’. On Thursday the acclaimed actress was at Buckingham Palace to receive her Damehood from the Queen, a reward for a lifetime of achievement – and almost a dress rehearsal for her new West End role playing the Monarch in The Audience. ‘You are also looking for the weapons switch on your right side and if you are flying with your right hand you either switch hands or reach over with your left hand. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. They were designed for aircraft carriers for night-time flying and one of their tasks would be to attack Soviet ships in the event of a war. Once the leader had fired the flares he had to bank left hard, climb to 4,000ft, come up behind the fourth Sea Vixen, a complex manoeuvre complicated further by the fact he had to switch on his weapons panel, which meant switching hands on the control stick, while turning his head to locate the weapons switch’. The de Havilland DH.110 Sea Vixen is a British twin-engine, twin boom-tailed, two-seat, carrier-based fleet air-defence fighter flown by the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm during the 1950s through to the early 1970s. Zulu’s crew also saw an explosion, which turned out to be Lieut Cmdr Thomas’s aircraft hitting the water and exploding. This meant that No 3 assumed the No 2 position and the two remaining Vixens turned to prepare for the attack. By the time they were in position for a second strike, the crew of No 2 suddenly realised that HMS Zulu had changed its orientation and was now directly behind the target as they approached it. They were tasked with taking off from air base HMS Heron, in Yeovilton, Somerset, and attacking a target being pulled by a frigate, HMS Zulu, off Portland in Dorset. There was no better-looking couple and while I can see Deborah in Kristin, Kristin also looks just like her father. He was taking part in a training exercise for a type of mission that has since been described as ‘perhaps the most stupid, and potentially suicidal attacks ever invented’. The exact details of his crash, however, have remained shrouded in secrecy – like so much else associated with the Cold War – until now, thanks to the release of a recently declassified air investigation report. This information is added by users of ASN. One has to remember that these losses were in peace time, during a period that we now refer to as the "Cold War". The observer (Lt Anthony D. Stevens) did not leave the aircraft and was killed The comments below have not been moderated. The secrets I've never laid bare on Strictly: Aljaz tells JAN MOIR about the secret skin condition that... What to wear this weekend: FEMAIL picks out the cable-knit jumpers for effortless style this season. She even had a boyfriend between the two Simons and he was also killed in a flying accident.’. The Sea Vixenhad a particularly high accident rate during its years of service with the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. Simon and Deborah had star quality. This was a worse rate of attrition than the notorious F-104 Starfighter, which became known as the ‘Widowmaker’ in Cold War West Germany because 30 per cent were lost to accidents. Kristin Scott Thomas receives her... Australian family of MH17 victim says Malaysia Airlines is... 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Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group, PrettyLittleThing - Offers on women's clothing, Get inspired by the newest styles and offers, Click through for ASOS promo codes this Autumn, Spend less with Missguided's exclusive codes, Treat yourself to offers on make-up and accessories, Check out the latest Wayfair sale to save on furniture. Both crew were killed: 24/03/1966: XJ522: VL-704: Sea Vixen FAW1: 766 NAS: The nose of XJ522 collided with the tail of XJ513 during ACT over South Devon. Horrific: Lieutenant Commander Simon Thomas was killed during a dangerous night-time training mission. Published: 00:45 GMT, 22 March 2015 | Updated: 13:37 GMT, 22 March 2015. The aircraft was a High and Low Level Day/Night All Weather Interceptor. Both planes turned round for a second run, but the new No 2 struggled to maintain position. For last week was also the anniversary of the death of her father, taken from her in a dramatic fighter plane accident almost half a century ago on March 17, 1966. This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can. Dame Kristin, born in Cornwall in 1960, later said that after the news of her father’s death ‘we went down to school and everybody had to be nice to us and we didn’t really understand why. All of this was happening while the jet was maintaining a steep bank climb and the pilot was subjected to considerable G-forces. Lieut Cmdr Thomas, the report reveals, was the designated leader when he and three other Sea Vixen pilots lined up on the runway on the night of March 17. 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