Fringe Box



Witnesses Sought To Aircraft Collision Over Guildford

Published on: 25 Feb, 2012
Updated on: 25 Feb, 2012

By David Rose

Can anyone remember the event in 1952 when two military aircraft collided in mid air over Guildford? One crashed near Blackwell Farm, Wood Street, and the other in woodland near Piccards Rough, Sandy Lane, St Catherine’s?

The crash site of the Sabre at Blackwell Farm. It is between the Hog’s Back and Wood Street Village.       Do you remember this mid-air collision?

Fellow historian Frank Phillipson is researching the story. Frank and I have teamed up on numerous occasions looking into local aviation history. Stories include the US Army Airforce C37a Skytrain ‘Lilly Bell II’ that crashed at Jacobs Well in  1944, to which there is now a memorial plaque; the Zeppelin raid over St Catherine’s in 1915; and the Spitfire that crashed at Slyfield in 1942.

Of the 1952 mid-air collision Frank writes: “On Monday, May 5, 1952 a USAF F-86A Sabre, serial number 49-1311, and RAF Meteor F8, serial number WE929, collided at 25,000ft over the NE Guildford area during an exercise.

“It’s was reported that the Sabre ‘crashed into a field of growing rye near Wood Street at Blackwell Farm about 150 yards from the nearest building’. The pilot, Capt. Milton Gray Whitford, of the 81st Fighter Wing at RAF Shepherds Grove (near Bury St Edmunds), baled out (was sucked out) and landed in the garden of a house in Ripley High Street with cuts and shock.

“The Meteor of 64 Squadron at Duxford, crashed in thick woods near Piccards Rough, Sandy Lane, St Catherine’s, with the pilot, Squadron Leader PD Thompson, ejecting and landing unhurt in Merrow beside the Epsom Road (near a road called Gateways).

“I now have the US Board of Inquiry Crash Report, local national and US newspaper cuttings, contact with the son of the RAF pilot and am awaiting response from the relatives of the American pilot.”

The Meteor jet crashed in woodland near here at Picccard’s Rough. This view looks north, just off the top of Sandy Lane.

Any eye-witness accounts would be appreciated. Did you see the mid-air collision. Did you hear the noise and then went to either of the crash sites? Were you told about the incident and have some details?

You can leave a reply in the box below or email me, David Rose, at,  or call me on 01483 838960. Alternatively, email Frank direct at

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