Javelin XA825 'K'

Bowbeat Hill, Moorfoot, Borders













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: A Gloster Javelin (FAW.9 / XH903) on display at Gloucestershire Airport, UK..


The Mk.9 was the last Javelin variant to be built and also the last aircraft built by the Gloster Aircraft Company (later included under Hawker Siddeley Aviation).


Gloster Javelin XH903 on display at Gloucestershire Airport


Photo: 2006 Adrian Pingstone (Arpingstone). Released by the author to the public domain.






Aircraft Type and Background


RAF Gloster Javelin FAW.6 / XA825 'K'



The Gloster Javelin was the first all-weather day and night fighter. It was designed as a delta-winged aircraft, and was capable of intercepting high-altitude Soviet bombers.


Production Javelins were equipped with Armstrong Siddeley (formerly, Metrovick) F.9 Sapphire engines [photo here].


The FAW Mk.6 Javelin featured here was essentially a modified FAW Mk.2. The Mk.2 had the hydraulically-operated all flying tail, and was equipped with Westinghouse radar. The Mk.6 was similar in design except that it was fitted with American radar, and—like the Mk.5—it was modified to carry additional fuel in the wings. The first Mk.6 production Javelin flew on 15 January 1957.



BELOW: A Gloster Javelin FAW.7 XH756 equipped with four underwing missiles.


a missile equipped Gloster Javelin FAW.7


Photo: Courtesy, Greg Goebel / In The Public Domain

(Revision Code: v1.0.2 / 01 jan 08 / gvg / Minor cosmetic update)






Aircraft Accident Details


The squadron leader of this flight from 29 Squadron RAF was attempting to gather important data about the Javelin aircraft's maximum rate of descent. Two aircraft were involved in this exercise, and the other Javelin was given the instructions initially to carry out this task. However, for some reason, the pilots of the two aircraft swapped their assigned tasks and descent paths.


According to reports, Javelin XA825 developed an engine malfunction while flying over the Firth of Forth at high altitude. Realising the aircraft was going to crash, the pilot flew the Javelin away from the heavily populated areas around the Forth and toward the Moorfoot Hills further south.


Ultimately, and sadly, the aircraft flown by Vic Hill and John Knight flew into Bowbeat Hill while descending in cloud at high speed. Bowbeat Hill, in the Moorfoot Hills, lies about 4 miles NE of Peebles.






Aircraft Crew Casualties


The crew who died in this accident were:

  • Pilot Flight Lieutenant Victor Leslie Hill (30) (Buried, Leuchars Cemetery.)

  • Navigator Flight Lieutenant John Michael Knight


Pilot Photos


BELOW: Flt Lt Victor Leslie Hill (Pilot)


Flt Lt Victor Leslie Hill - the pilot of this Javelin fighter


Photo kindly provided by Mrs Lesley Fleming (nee Hill)



BELOW: Flt Lt Vic Hill beside aircraft at RAF Station (possibly, RAF Leuchars).


 Flt Lt Vic Hill beside aircraft at RAF Station


Photo kindly provided by Mrs. Lesley Fleming





Aircraft Recovery Details


[The information provided in this section was kindly provided by ex-RAF Sgt Richard Stewart, who attended this incident with other members of 60 MU]


Due to the inaccessibility of the site for road vehicles and the prevailing winter conditions, no attempt was made to salvage the wreckage until the following Spring. However, in the Spring of 1961, a team of eight men from 60 Maintenance Unit (60 MU) RAF made their way over the hilly terrain to the crash site.

When the team arrived at Bowbeat Hill, they discovered that the aircraft debris was widely scattered and that it lay at least two miles distant from the nearest access road. Furthermore, at this time, the team did not have access to heavy lift helicopters or to heavy recovery vehicles that could traverse the undulating and at times boggy moorland. Therefore, instead of carrying out a full recovery operation, the RAF MU team buried much of the Javelin wreckage onsite—apart from a section of the tail unit and the engines.

During this exercise, the RAF team noticed a number of sheep carcasses in the area of the crash site. Closer examination of the skulls revealed that the sheep had been killed by rivets striking them, apparently expelled from the Javelin's fuselage and wings when it hit the ground with such force.





Crash Site Photos


BELOW: Starboard wingtip from Gloster Javelin XA825 'K'.


Starboard wingtip.


Photo: © 2014 Gary Nelson



BELOW: Wreckage in a gully. (More details on Page 1-B).


Wreckage in a gully.


Photo: © 2014 Gary Nelson



BELOW: One of the two jet engines lying close to a burn. Windfarm turbine blades can just be seen in the background.


One of the two jet engines lying close to a burn.


Photo: © 2014 Gary Nelson



BELOW: Landing gear wheel almost concealed by rough grass and heather, etc.


Landing gear wheel almost concealed by rough grass and heather, etc.


Photo: © 2014 Gary Nelson




More photos from this collection on pages 1-B, 1-C, and 1-D.















BELOW: Part of the Gloster Javelin's trimming tailplane.


The break-up of this unit has left the tubular tailplane spar exposed (on the right hand side of the trimming tailplane).


part of the Javelin's tail plane


Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel



BELOW: Another view of the trimming tailplane and spar.


Normally, this unit is secured to the top of the aircraft's vertical stabiliser or tail fin.


another view of the trimming tailplane


Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel



BELOW: Part of the trimming tailplane and other fragmented wreckage.


the trimming tailplane and other wreckage


Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel



BELOW: An overall view of some of the remaining wreckage from the aircraft's tail assembly.


overall view of some of the remaining wreckage


Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel



BELOW: Photo of area where above wreckage can be found. (Note the wind farm in the background.)


Wreckage can also be found elsewhere, scattered over a wide area.


photo of area where wing wreckage can be found


Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel






Other Photos



BELOW: Another view of the trimming tailplane.


GPS Ref: NT 2935847391 ~6m


part of tailplane wreckage from javelin aircraft


Photo: © 2008 James Towill



BELOW: End view of #2 engine.


GPS Ref: NT 2909447332 ~9m


end view of number 2 engine - since removed from crash site


Photo: © 2008 James Towill



BELOW: Serial number and other plates on engine casting.


serial number on engine casting


Photo: © 2008 James Towill



BELOW: The Javelin's nose landing gear (since recovered from site).


GPS Ref: NT 2926847472 ~12m


the javelins nose landing gear - hydraulic arm and wheel


Photo: © 2008 James Towill



BELOW: The Javelin's nose landing gear strut, with hydraulic arm (since recovered from site).


close-up view of landing gear hydraulic arm


Photo: © 2008 James Towill




BELOW: Nose wheel oleo leg from Javelin XA825.


In 2011, this and some other items were recovered from the crash site by a team from Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum.


nose wheel oleo leg


Photo: © Alan Leishman



dumfries and galloway aviation museum logo link


For further information, please contact or visit this museum.

Tel. 01387 251623.

 Email: info@dumfriesaviationmuseum.com













Photo Gallery


For additional crash site and wreckage photos please select


from the drop down Album Menu in the Photo Gallery.



















Crash Date / Site



Accident Date: 21 Nov 1960


Accident Site:

Bowbeat Hill

(625m / 2,050ft)

(Moorfoot Hills)


Region: Scottish Borders / Midlothian boundary


Nearest town or village:

Innerleithen or Peebles


Nearest large town:

Peebles (SW) or Penicuik (NW)


OS Grid Ref. N/A


GPS Refs:


(Bulk of remains): NT 29358 47391 ~6m


('Lower' engine remains):  NT 29137 47444 ~5m


('Upper' engine remains): NT 29094 47332 ~9m


(Wheel): NT 29268 47472 ~12m (since recovered to Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum).


Present Condition: Larger wreckage parts were recovered from the site in 2009. Some wreckage, including engines, remains onsite; although certain parts lie scattered over a very wide area (c. 2 miles x 0.5 miles).




Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: XA825 'K'


Operator: RAF (29 Squadron)


Operating Station: RAF Leuchars


Station Location: Leuchars, St. Andrews, Fife (Between St. Andrews and Dundee).


Current Station Status:

RAF operations will cease in 2013. The station will then be taken over by the army.


Current Station Name (Until Closure): RAF Leuchars





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