Memorial for the 41 killed in military air crash

Paratropper Pte Robin Michael Andrews from Mirfield was just 18 when he died along with 40 others in the Hastings crash, near Oxfordshire, in 1965.
Paratropper Pte Robin Michael Andrews from Mirfield was just 18 when he died along with 40 others in the Hastings crash, near Oxfordshire, in 1965.

This Monday will mark 50 years since the Hastings military parachute aircraft crash which killed all 41 on board - including Mirfield teenager Private Robin Michael Andrews, who was just 18.

Pte Andrews, who lived on Huddersfield Road, was on board the Hastings aircraft for his qualifying at RAF Weston on the Green, when it crashed shortly after take-off, killing all those on board.

Major Barry Andrews, Robin's brother, will be doing a parachute jump in August for the Poppy Appeal and in his brother's memory.

Major Barry Andrews, Robin's brother, will be doing a parachute jump in August for the Poppy Appeal and in his brother's memory.

The aircraft, constructed for the Berlin Airlift in 1945, had problems with the rear elevator and became uncontrollable, crashing near the village of Toot Baldon, close to Abingdon, Oxford.

Those on board included RAF parachute jump instructors, RAF air loadmasters, the Parachute Regiment recruits and a Royal Artillery gunner.

Pte Andrew’s brother, Barry, said: “The boys were on their last parachute jump prior to qualifying as paratroopers.

“I was in the Middle East, also serving with the Parachute Regiment, when I had notification of the accident and was flown home to be with my family.”

The day after the crash an investigation and an inquest were opened at RAF Abingdon and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch convened a five-member board of inquiry at the airfield and started examining the wreckage at Little Baldon. A team from RAF Bicester arrived at the site and began salvage and recovery work.

A memorial will be held on Monday July 6, at St Lawrence Church, in Toot Baldon, where families of all those who lost their lives will join together.

The service will also be attended by representatives of the Airborne and Royal Air Force.

Mr Andrews will be taking to the skies again on August 29 to raise money for the Poppy Appeal and in memory of his brother.