News

October 19th 2016

Corby Air Cadets adult volunteer remembers dramatic rescue 25-years on

Flying Officer Paul Ferguson of 422 (Corby) Squadron in front of the reconstructed Hurricane plane from which he pulled the pilot out after a crash 25-years ago.

An adult volunteer at Corby Air Cadets has had his heroics in rescuing a pilot from a crashed vintage aircraft recognised 25 years after the incident.

Flying Officer Paul Ferguson of 422 (Corby) Squadron helped save the life of Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr) Allan Martin whose Hurricane plane dating from World War Two crashed while flying with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in September 1991 at RAF Wittering.

His role in saving the pilot recently came to the attention of the Flight’s historian and former Commanding Officer, Sqn Ldr Clive Rowley who invited Paul to be a guest of honour at the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight headquarters at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire on Friday 14 October.

At the time of the crash, Paul was a serving RAF firefighter based at RAF Wittering and the deputy crash crew commander in charge of the rapid intervention vehicle.

The aftermath of the accident in 1991The Hurricane (number LF363) was on route to Jersey flying in formation with a Lancaster and Spitfire when Sqn Ldr Martin reported he was suffering with engine problems and he was diverted to Wittering.

The engine cut out entirely before reaching Wittering as Paul received the Mayday call.

LF363 had flames and smoke emitting from the front of the aircraft as it arrived at the airfield. As the Hurricane got lower it stalled and the right wing tip impacted the ground, causing it to cartwheel.

A large fire started and engulfed the cockpit area. Paul deployed his crew and without any hesitation jumped on to the starboard wing and released Sqn Ldr Martin’s straps, pulling him from the burning aircraft.

The pilot suffered a broken left ankle and was unconscious when Paul rescued him but made a full recovery thanks to his actions.

The fire was very quickly extinguished and LF363 has since been rebuilt and was visited by Paul last week after the invitation from Sqn Ldr Rowley who had only recently heard of his heroics.

Paul said of the visit “I was thrilled to be a guest of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and I’m indebted to Clive Rowley for hosting me.

“It was great to see LF363 again in all her glory. I am proud to be part of her return to full flying duties and to have been part of the rescue of Sqn Ldr Martin.”

“It was great to see LF363 again in all her glory. I am proud to be part of her return to full flying duties and to have been part of the rescue of Sqn Ldr Martin.”