60 years to today my Grandma’s then husband Captain Keith Sturt flew his Vulcan VX770 over an air show at RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire. His Rolls Royce prototype Avro Vulcan bomber crashed as he flew past.
Keith was the only one with an ejector seat but chose to remain with his crew. All four crew on board and three people on the ground were killed. A vast enquiry was raised and Keith was blamed for exceeding aircraft speed and stress limits.
However my Grandma wasn’t happy about this. She wrote long letters to the Board of Enquiry and challenged them. In the years that followed it turned out that maintenance crew failed to properly inspect the aircraft for known issues with stress damage to the aircraft's leading edges and structural ribs, which had been observed in another prototype he had flown earlier.
The entire story was shut down and hushed up for years. The fact that my Grandma and Keith had, had an affair made this story a completely taboo one in my family.
Exactly 10 years ago I started doing my family tree and came across this amazing information about Keith. Eventually I found his grave in Hucknall Cemetery where it was all forgotten and dirty. Rolls Royce Benevolent Fund, relatives of those who had been killed in the accident and the BBC came forward and helped me to piece together the forgotten story again. Together we restored his grave too. He was the only son of a Policeman and adored my Grandma (who was 10 years his senior and ahead of her time). RIP Keith and all those who perished that day.
#avrovulcan #rafsyerston #keithsturt #rollsroyce #lovestory #raf #forgottenfamily #amazingstory #nottinghamhistory #pilotwings #aviationhistory #vulcan #rip #gonebutneverforgotten