Jet Crash on Hospital - Lodge Moor Sheffield 9th December 1955
The following Report appeared in The Times dated Saturday 10th December 1955
JET CRASH ON HOSPITAL
WOMAN PATIENT KILLED
From Our Correspondent Sheffield Dec 9
An American jet aircraft crashed on Lodge Moor Hospital on the outskirts of Sheffield this evening. A woman patient was killed and seven other patients were slightly injured.
The pilot of the aircraft bailed out and landed near Hathersage, Derbyshire. He was uninjured.
An official statement issued by the hospital said that the aircraft crashed just after 5 o'clock on the North 1 and 2 wards of the hospital which stands 950 feet above sea level on the edge of the Derbyshire moors. A hospital official emphasised that all the injuries suffered were slight and added that no member of the hospital staff had been injured.
MACHINE IN FLAMES
The aircraft tore off the roof of a single story cubicle ward, demolished a corridor, ploughed 200 feet through a sanitary block, and then burst into flames in a quadrangle. all available nurses, doctors and hospital porters were called to the scene where patients lay among broken glass and debris.
The woman killed, Mrs Elsie Murdock, aged 46, of South Road, Sheffield was due for release within 48 hours. The injured were three children and four adults. patients in the effected parts of the building were quickly transferred to other wards.
Dr. Joseph M. Kennedy, medical superintendent of the hospital who was sitting in an office 50 yards away from the crash heard the sound of the aircraft low over the hospital "Suddenly there was this terrific crash, and we all rushed out as we thought it was crashing into the tower" he said. An official said the rescue work went on efficiently and the patients kept calm.
A statement issued by the United States Air Force stated that the aircraft had taken off from Sculthorpe (RAF Sculthorpe, Norfolk) on instrument training flight when the pilot experienced a "flame out". After several attempts to restart the engine he elected to bale out at 3,500 feet. Ammunition was stored in the aircraft's wings.
A spokesman for the United States Air Force said that the aircraft was a F.84 - described usually as a Thunderstreak. The pilot was Lieutenant Roy G. Evans age 24. An American official said that a full board of investigation officers had been appointed and were starting work immediately.
Mr Selwyn Williams of Lodge Moor Road Sheffield who lives within 100 yards of the hospital was one of the first on the scene after the crash. He said it was raining at the time.
"I was making a telephone call when I heard an explosion" he added. " I immediately dialled 999 then got in to my car and went to the scene. The single aircraft had crashed through the roof of a single storey building and sliced through three cubicles before hitting the ground. Its tail was leaning against the walls. A number of people with blackened faces were running about. The wreckage was blazing fiercely.
The engine of the aircraft came to rest about 10 yards from the ambulance station containing vehicles and about 1,000 gallons of petrol. For a time the gas supply was affected by the crash"
The Daily Mirror dated 10th December 1955 also carried a report on its front page
A F84 Thunderstreak,
19 year old nurse Nita Richardson was a convalescing patient and had left her cubicle for a cup of tea when the crash occurred. The crash shattered her cubicle and she would almost certainly have died had she not gone for a cuppa
6. In February 2018 I was contacted by a person who actually in Lodge Moor Hospital at the time of the crash.
"I have just been reading with interest the article regarding the Lodge Moor plane crash. I have seen it before but the details drifted past me rather. Reaching my 69th birthday the other day reminded me that certain incidents in one's life need recording before it is too late. My interest here is that I was in Lodge Moor as a 6year old on that fateful evening. I was suffering suspected meningitis ( subsequently found to be jaundice). I was unhurt and not really affected fortunately apart from being quite scared. I heard a bang and a star of light shot across my vision. The whole place seemed to be glass partitions so there could have multiple reflections. We were told there was nothing to worry about.... Go to sleep!
I remember speaking to a small girl in the ambulance when I subsequently went home. She had been hurt in the crash and had to remain in the hospital for a couple of weeks. I presume this girl to be the 10yr old in your report. I never had any contact with here since.
Interestingly, this incident which to me both then and now seems momentous, was never discussed in my family. Almost may have not happened! So reading your report again brings it back to life.
Clearly my little story does not add anything to your report apart from minor background I guess. But anyway there it is. I was there!!"
Colonel E. Salisbury of the US 3rd Air Force investigated the crash. The following day, the USAF personnel present on the site were headed by Brigadier-General John "Troup" Miller, four colonels, two first-lieutenants, and over 50 technical staff. B-G Miller visited Mr Murdoch, the dead woman's husband with Frank Kershaw from the hospital management. Messages of 'deep regret' were also sent by Major General Roscoe C. Wilson, Commander of the US 3rd Air Force
7. In January 2019 I was contacted by a reader of this article who added the following information about the crash
"Following a report this morning on BBC television regarding
a crashed USAF bomber over Sheffield in
1944, I was reminded of the USAF fighter plane which crashed at Lodge Moor Hospital in December 1955.
At the time, my Father, PC Harold Wells was based at Hammerton Road police station in Hillsborough and patrolled that area as part of his regular "beat".
He was on duty that day and was the first police officer to arrive at the scene and took charge until the arrival of officers from the USAF (and other UK police officers).
I remember him telling me (I was around 8 years old at the time) that the aircraft had spontaneously discharged some bullets from one of its canons which further complicated things as evasive action had to be taken."
(The reader then contacted me and stated that the F.84 - Thunderstreak was fitted with machine guns rather than canons as he had always believed)
(From American Post War Aircraft)
The F-84, the USAF's first post-war fighter, made its initial flight on February 26, 1946. It began rolling off the production lines in June 1947, and by the time production ceased in 1953, approximately 4,450 "straight-wing" F-84s (in contrast to the swept-wing F-84F) had been built. In addition to being used by the USAF, many were supplied to allied nations participating in the Mutual Security Program. During its service life, the F-84 became the first USAF jet fighter able to carry a tactical atomic weapon.
The airplane gained its greatest renown during the Korean Conflict where it was used primarily for low-level interdiction missions. Almost daily the F-84 attacked enemy railroads, bridges, supply depots and troop concentrations with bombs, rockets and napalm.
The Times dated Saturday 10th December 1955
The Sheffield Star and The Sheffield Telegraph
The Daily Mirror dated 10th December 1955
American Post War Aircraft
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