1974 / MARTIN-BAKER
A Martin Baker ejection seat from a Percival aircraft BAC jet provost, royal air force trainer aircraft used from 1955 to 1993.
The aircraft was on loan to Hunting Aircraft Ltd (still marked as "18" of the RAF College, Cranwell)
to investigate the spinning characteristics of the Jet Provost T.3 when flying with fuel in the tip tanks.
On August 22, 1962, during a spin to the left, XM456 could not be recovered and both crew - Squadron Leader. R. A. Lees and Squadron Leader J. D. Barwell - ejected, the aircraft crashing at Histon, Cambridgeshire*. (*The official Board of Inquiry report, in the National Archives at Kew, gives the crash location as "near Oakington").
Squadron Leader Lees landed in the yard of Chivers & Sons Ltd, jam and marmalade manufacturers, based in Histon. He later wrote to them, and to Martin-Baker, about his ejection. Martin Baker wrote back inviting Squadron Leader Lees to lunch, and sending him a commemorative tie, exclusively made for those who have had to make use of their ejection seats. Their letter also advised that he was the 593rd person to have used a Martin-Baker ejection seat since they were introduced.
C(A) clearance for spinning of the Jet Provost with fuel in the tip tanks was withdrawn as a result. The wreckage of XM456 was recovered and struck off charge as Cat.5(scrap) on 19/10/1962. There is photographic evidence that the wreckage of XM456 was with the Air Accident Investigation Unit in a hangar at Croydon Airport on 4/5/1963, alongside the wreckage of Jet Provost XP623 and Percival Proctor G-AOEJ.