Aircraft by type

Folland Midge & Gnat
Losses & Ejections

Date Air Force A'cft Unit - Serial


crashed crew photo seat
31st July 1956 Folland Gnat Prototype     Test flight. Elevator flutter.  Crashed at Snoddington Manor Farm, between Tidworth and Amesbury, Wiltshire, England Squadron Leader Edward "Ted"  A Tennant
ejected 600 ft
  31st July 1956, Ted Tennant successfully ejected at 600 feet, with the Folland Ejection Seat
26th August 1958
Gnat F.Mk.I GN102   Elevator control was lost just before landing. Destroyed in runway crash     Folland
The reason was a design flaw in hydraulic system. Hydraulic reservoir had no valve which would prevent vessel under-pressurize. This caused the reservoir to break and resulted under-pressure in hydraulic system. Landing gear had to be brought down with backup system. When on final, elevator control was lost and the pilot tried to use manual control. Plane made a hard landing and hit the runway at 20 degree angle instead of normal 3. Landing gear collapsed and the plane turned upside down and caught fire. The pilot survived but was paralyzed. Gnats were grounded for six months.
15th October 1958 Folland Gnat Prototype XK767 Folland on loan to A&AEE Loss of control. Crashed into a field at Stapleford, Wiltshire Sqn. Ldr. Ernest John "Red" Roberts ejected did not separate from seat and was killed   Folland
24th February 1960
Indian A. F.
Gnat IE-1069 AATU Pilot Ejected at 12000 ft - Kanpur Flt Lt Padmanabha Ashoka   Folland
19th March 1960
Indian A. F.
Gnat IE-1070 23 Sqdn Engine failure Pilot ejected near Kanpur Sqn Ldr S Raghavendran   Folland
4th June 1960
Indian A. F.
Gnat IE-1063 AATU Engine Flame Out Sqn Ldr A Sudhakaran Late Ejection - killed Folland
8th September 1961
Indian A. F.
Gnat IE-1111     Pilot Ejected   Folland
8th May 1962
Gnat F.Mk.I GN109   Crashed on take-off. Reason was listed as pilot error, but the error was caused by Gnat's problematic flight controls Ltn. Esko Sirola
19th June 1962
Indian A. F.
Gnat IE 1200 ASTE B'lore Sqn Ldr. Jagat Lowe   Folland

I refer to the feedback in your site: relating to Sqn. Ldr. Jagat Lowe by Mayampurath  Jayamohan.  I would like to mail him and learn more about the fatal accident.  The date of the crash should be corrected as 19th June 1962. 

Sanjeev Lowe

12th October 1962
Folland Gnat T1 XM696 A&AEE Belly landed at RAF Boscombe Down      
18th  May 1963
Indian A. F.
Gnat IE-1108         Folland
18th October 1963
Folland Gnat T1 XR536 RAF Sealand Engine fire warning. Hit obstruction on runway while landing      
19th April 1964
Gnat F.Mk.I GN108 FL.35 spin due to fuel blockage Lt. Matti T. Kepponen ejected safely   Folland


Folland Gnat T1 XR949 / 25 4FTS Hood fractured, loss of control. Aircraft flew into Aernig Fawr, near Bala, Merioneth     Folland
Folland Gnat T1 XR978 / 47 4FTS Inverted Spin. Crashed into drained Llyn Celyn reservoir, near Blaenau Ffestiniog     Folland
Pilot ejected OK Instructor ejected  badly injured found on Nynydd Nodol Folland
7th September 1964
Indian A. F.
Gnat IN-162 23 Sqdn TO from Santa Cruz - Pilot Ejected 1600 Hrs     Folland
12th October 1964
Folland Gnat T1 XR976 / 44 4FTS Undercarriage failure Hit ground after overshoot Rhosneigr, Anglesey   Folland 4GT1
Flt. Lt. Mike Vickers ejected at 5-600ft approx. 150 kts. I.A.S Lt. Richard Sheridan (RN)
[personal testimony]
[RN]  ejected at 2-300ft approx. 150 kts. I.A.S.
Folland 4GT2
14th January 1965
Folland Gnat XR568 4FTS
RAF Valley
Engine vibration      
12th April 1965
India A. F.
Gnat Mk.1 E-1204 2 Sqdn Ac overshot runway Flight Lieutenant P. Singh   Folland
9th March 1965
Folland Gnat XR542 4FTS
RAF Valley
Engine failure, forced landing      
6th April 1965
Folland Gnat T1 XR985 4FTS
RAF Valley
Crashed on landing at Vally      
22nd April 1965
 Gnat T1 XS108 4FTS
RAF Valley
In collision with XR950 Flg. Off. Gavin Darrell Priest killed - ejected along ground on crash landing   Folland
22nd April 1965
 Folland Gnat T1 XR950 / 27 4FTS
RAF Valley
Mid air collision with XS108. Carmel, south of Caernarvon     Folland

Flt. Lt. Timothy Francis Haughton Mermagan not able to eject - killed

Flight Lieutenant R. C. Tyler ejected


19th July 1965
Folland Gnat XR543 4FTS
RAF Valley
Dived into Lake Maelog on approach to Runway 32 Pilot Off. Roger Maxwell Cooper killed    
6th September 1965
Folland Gnat T1 XR979 /45 4FTS
RAF Valley
RAF Valley, Angelsey     Folland
19th September 1965
Indian A. F.
Gnat   9 Sqdn Shotdown by F-86 near Lahore in combat by Saiful Azam (PAF) Fg Offr Vijay Mayadev ejected became a POW.   Folland
13th September 1965
Indian A. F.
Gnat Mk.1   2 Sqn SD by Flt Lt Yusuf Khan,  F-86 Flt Lt A N  Kale   Folland
13th April 1966
Folland Gnat T1 XP507 4FTS
RAF Valley
Crashed off Holyhead into the sea on approach      
Flt. Lt. William "Bill" Edwy Carrad Forse killed Plt. Off. Peter William Stewart killed  
Folland Gnat T1 XR539 / 08 4FTS
RAF Valley,
Spun into ground. Crashed into ground near Y Cnicht, near Bedgellert, Gwynedd     Folland

Pilot Officer J. M. Enston





Folland Gnat T1 XR570 / 22 4FTS
RAF Valley
Hit high tension cables. Near Llyn Celyn, near Mona, Anglesey Plt. Off. Terence Jones ejected OK   Folland
28th September 1966
Folland Gnat T1 XM704 CFS Kemble Crashed on take off      
1st January 1967
Indian A. F.
Gnat   ASTE Srinagar Flt Lt A S Lamba   Folland
1st June 1967
Indian A. F.
Gnat   24 Sqdn Flame out after TO from Kalaikunda Flt Lt P C Prasad   Folland
30th June 1967
Folland Gnat T1 XM707 CFS Abandoned after pitch control failure 2.5m West-North-West of RAF Kemble     Folland

Flight Lieutenant

R. Cope-Lewis ejected 

23rd August 1967
Folland Gnat T1 XP512 / 12 4FTS Abandoned over sea following hydraulic failure. Rhosneigr, Anglesey



Pilot Officer  P. S. G.  Adams ejected 3000 ft

Flight Lieutenant G Allin  ejected 3000 ft Folland

Gordon Allin from his Gnat 23 Aug 1967.   In being converted from a single seat fighter to a 2-seat trainer the Gnat inherited a fantastically complicated pitch control system. I was the Duty Instructor in the tower at Valley when Gordon Allin was unfortunate enough to have the system run fully nose up in the circuit. I saw the aircraft experience several vertical climbs and subsequent tumbles from a stalled condition. Wisely he and his student ejected. Due to its small size the Gnat could not accommodate the Martin Baker seats used elsewhere in the RAF and used a generally successful seat designed by the aircraft manufacturer Folland. Unfortunately Gordon had previously been flying in early MB seats which, prior to leg restraint, required the aircrew to pull back their ankles onto a stirrup bar on the seat base to prevent leg flail. In the heat of the moment he did this which raised his thigh bones above the seat pad. This was enough to fracture both his thigh bones during the ejection.

 “Oscar “ Wild in email 2007 

26th October 1967
Indian A. F.
Gnat     Eng Flame out during practice dogfight pkt Flt Lt Satwant Singh   Folland
14th December 1967
Folland Gnat T1 XP509 4FTS
RAF Valley
Belly landing      
10th February 1968
[also seen as 6th Sept and 9th June]

Gnat F.Mk.I GN111 FL.46
Luonetjarvi base
 Routine training mission.Trim failure
Crashed near Konnevesi
Pilot ejected safely   Folland
8th June 1968
Folland Gnat T1 XR999 / 56 4FTS
RAF Valley
Abandoned over sea off North Wales following jammed controls




Flight Lieutenant A. Holyoake

Pilot Officer D. Moss


14th November 1968
Folland Gnat T1 XP510 / 10 4FTS
RAF Valley
Abandoned at night, below 5000 feet
in oscillatory spin induced by violent slipstream. over Irish Sea, Near Nevin, North Wales



Flight Lieutenant R. Keith Piggott
"At ejection, his
dinghy detached; without immersion suit he endured 45-mins. in Irish Sea)."

Flying Officer John Loftus


26th March 1969
Folland Gnat T1 XR 573 Red Arrow
Flew through trees while  trying to rejoin formation. These initiated the ejection sequence Flight Lieutenant Jerry J. Bowler was ejected killed   no ejection
13th June 1969
Folland Gnat T1 XR952 / 31 4FTS
RAF Valley
Loss of control and abandoned in spin nr A5 at Glasfryn. Near Conway, North Wales

Pilot Officer I. Currie

13th June 1969
Folland Gnat T1 XP501 CFS RAF Fairford Hydraulic failure. Undershot runway      
16th December 1969
Folland Gnat T1 XR992 Red Arrow
aircraft abandoned after erroneous call that engine was on fire - fire warning was given to XR995. Cirencester, Gloucestershire Fl Lt Dickie Duckett ordered to eject - minor injuries Folland
16th December 1969
Folland Gnat T1 XR995 Red Arrow
Engine Fire aircraft abandoned following report of engine fire. Kemble, Gloucestershire Fl Lt Jack Rust ejected - minor injuries Folland
3rd January 1970
Folland Gnat T1 XR997 4FTS
RAF Valley
Crashed on take off      
Flt. Lt. Peter Jack Phillips killed Flg. Off. Anthony Trevor Carter killed  
17th  January 1970
Indian A. F.
Gnat IE-1202   ejected safely after malfunctions Flt Lt K De   Folland
13th November 1970
Folland Gnat T1 XR994 Red Arrow
Engine failure during aerobatics practice - Red Arrows RAF Kemble Sqn Ldr Dennis Hazell ejected OK Folland
20th January 1971
Folland Gnat T1 XR986 Red Arrow
Mid-Air Collision between synchro pair. Wings clipped  during an opposition manoeuvre `Roulette'   no ejection
Flight Lieutenant Euan Perreaux  killed  Flight Lieutenant John Lewis killed no ejection
20th January 1971
Folland Gnat T1 XR545 Red Arrow
  no ejection
Flight Lieutenant John Haddock killed Flight Lieutenant Colin Armstrong killed no ejection
13th December 1971

Folland Gnat T1 XR567 CFS
RAF Kemble
Little Rissington
On a routine training flight over the American airbase towards the end of the flypast his tailfin fell off and the gnat nosedived into the runway   Folland
Flt. Lt. David Clem Longden
Flt. Lt. Richard "Dick" Michael Storr
ejected but killed
14th December 1971
Indian A. F.
Gnat E-257 18 Sqdn SD by F-86 Srinagar 0750 Hrs Fg Offr Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon   Folland
14th March 1972
Folland Gnat T1 XR948 / 48 4FTS
RAF Valley
Abandoned after engine failure. 3m North East Llanbedr, Wales




Flight Lieutenant N. J. Day

Captain M. E. Trachta


21st October 1972 
Gnat Mk I E-304 No. 21 Squadron Ran out of gas -engine flamed out
Gorakhpur (UP) India
Flt Lt George K Naliyan
ejected safely near the airfield

 [personal testimony]

28th July 1973
Folland Gnat T1 XR993 4FTS
RAF Valley
Birdstrike near Lee on Solent - landed - damaged beyond repair      
6th September 1973
Folland Gnat T1 XP508 / 21 4FTS
RAF Valley
Loss of power. RAF Valley, Angelsey     Folland
ejected OK ejected OK Folland
12th October 1973
Folland Gnat XR537 4FTS
RAF Valley
Birdstrike near RAF Leeming - landed - damaged      
3rd September 1975
Folland Gnat T1 XS103 CFS
Leck Germany
Mid air collision with Italian F-104S no casualties. Landed.      
Folland Gnat T1 XS106 / 36 4FTS
RAF Valley
Loss of control in spin. 1m North Llanwrst, Wales

Runway ???




Squadron Leader I. C. Gibbs ejected OK ejected OK Folland
16th February 1976
Folland Gnat T1 XP531 / 6 4FTS
RAF Valley
ejected OK ejected OK Folland
30th April 1976
Folland Gnat T1 XP536 4FTS
RAF Valley
Mid air collision near Dolgellau, Mid Wales     no ejection
Flt. Lt. Kenneth Graham Ivell killed Flt. Lt. David James Mather killed no ejection
30th April 1976
Folland Gnat T1 XR983 4FTS
RAF Valley
    no ejection
Flt. Lt. Ian James Sanford killed Capt. David Keiffer USAF killed no ejection
24th June 1976
Folland Gnat T1 XS111 CFS
RAF Kemble
Brakes failed, undercarriage raised to stop aircraft      
Folland Gnat T1 XR981 Red Arrow
RAF Kemble. Red Arrows - Struck ground whilst practising aerobatics   no ejection
Pilot Flt. Lt. Stephen Edward Noble - killed Wg. Cdr. Dennis George Hazell AFC - killed no ejection
XR981 happened during pre-season practice, specifically while the team were practicing roll-backs at low altitude. The aircraft ended up inverted and neither occupant left the aircraft. One seat fired, but I can’t remember which, but couldn’t go anywhere. Steve Noble survived initially but died later that day.
26th April 1978
Folland Gnat T1 XR544 / 60 4FTS   Folland
Aircraft crashed on approach to RAF Valley, Angelsey

Flight Lieutenant D. Newbury ejected OK

Flight Lieutenant J. A. A. Dobbie ejected OK Folland

Just found the details of my dad's ejection in 1978 on your site and thought you would appreciate some pictures.. Six weeks previous to the ejection, he also suffered an engine failure in another Gnat and went through the crash barrier at Mona airfield (Anglesey) at about a
100 knots.
If you have any questions please let me know.
Matthew Dobbie
in email 19th December 2007

22nd May 1979
Folland Gnat T1 XP539
CFS Fuel blockage caused engine problems and aircraft abandoned. RAF Leeming, Yorks Wing Commander Ernie Jones ejected OK Folland
FEEDBACK XP539 actually belonged to the Red Arrows, but was a  reserve ship not fitted with smoke. It was flown by , our CO, Wing Commander Ernie Jones, who was the only person on board, and was visiting Training Command HQ. The accident was due to asymmetric fuelling of the aircraft – when one side ran out of fuel the flow proportioner, which equalised usage from both sides, cut the fuel flow off from the other side. Lots of red faces.
26th February 1986
Indian A. F.
Ajeet   2 Sqdn Engine Flameout DDK Range Air Cmde T K Sen   Martin-Baker
9th January 1987
Indian A. F.
Ajeet   2 Sqdn DNE Ac Rolling to right on finals -Ejt KKD Fg OffrR Radhish   Martin-Baker
1st March 1988
Indian A. F.
Ajeet   2 Sqdn Engine Flamed out Fg Offr T J A Khan   Martin-Baker
15th April 1989
Indian A. F.
Ajeet   2 Sqdn I NAVY Cr  L  a/c in unpopulated area Got SC Lt Uday Kumar Sondhi   Martin-Baker
Date ???
Folland Gnat T1 ???       no ejection - landed aircraft
pilot Flt Lt Dudley Carvell Cpl Ginger Whelan ejected through the canopy from the back seat when he thought  control of aircraft had been lost. "No-one was hurt and we had the aircraft flying again the next week" Folland


Still to add and clarify details - Midge ejections, details of
Red Roberts,
HAL Test Pilot Das (?)

All help appreciated


Sub:-Ejection history of Folland Gnat

            Ref:- HAL Test Pilot Das - Feed back request


 Group Captain. S Das was chief test pilot of HAL,Bangalore. He was promoted to corporate level (non-flying) and was on the verge of assuming office, when he decided to do a test flight.

The flight was in a prototype Marut Mk 1(R), BD-886 (HF-24,designed by Dr.KurtTank) fitted with a clam type canopy on Jan 09 1970. The entire fleet of HF-24s had sliding type hood.  

This was the 32nd production version.


The sequence of events of the fatal crash is as follows:-

       1. On T/O after V1 the canopy swung open but remained hinged, virtually like a airbrake. My colleague Mr.C K Chandramohan vouches this, as he was at runway 09 marker '7' on his way back in a jeep after switching on Eureka beacon.

       2. Groupie made a perfect touch down (despite the air brake effect of open hood) with MLG, some 500 feet past the overshoot path. But the NLG landed in a a ditch, telescoping the cockpit and crushing the pilot. There was no fire.

       3. The 'D' cord was out, but ejection sequence was fouled, as the canopy had opened out-of-sequence. He was pulled out from cockpit profusely bleeding.

       4. The cause for inadvertent opening of canopy was not established.

     Gp.Capt. S. Das  is not known to have ejected from a Gnat, at least, not in HAL(1961-1974).


The Gnat in which Sqn. Ldr. Jagat Lowe (not Flt. Lt.) crashed, is IE 1200, the sixteenth production version of HAL in Nov. 1961. Violent pitch oscillations preceded the crash. The flight was a drop tank  test flight after which the aircraft is usually accepted.

    Mayampurath  Jayamohan in email 22nd October 2007



Folland ejectees (individual acknowledgements with biographies)

Ivor "the seat" Davies

Jake McLoughlin

Arthur Harrison

David Lockspieser

Dr David Reader

Russ Sawyer

Gabby Hayes

Folland - Hamble

Derek Collier-Webb

RAF Boscombe Down

IAM - Farnborough



Gordon Hodson

"Dumbo" Willans

Dick Whittington

(if I inadvertently omit your name from this listing PLEASE let me know to amend the listing)



I was senior engineer with the Red Arrows from 1974-79 and I can add a bit to the Gnat accidents over that period.


I was also at RAF Valley from 1965-67. In the midair collision, which occurred during formation practice the solo student’s aircraft decelerated into the one behind containing a student and instructor. Of these two, the guy in the front seat was not able to eject but the back seat pilot did. The solo student in the other aircraft unaccountably attempted a wheels-up landing back at Valley, much too fast. The aircraft started to roll on the ground and he ejected – but horizontally so did not survive.


see 22nd april 1965 -

XS108 Gnat T1 4ftsVALLEY Flg. Off.  Gavin Darrell Priest killed in collision with XR950





What is bizarre with hindsight is that at the time these accidents seemed so routine.

  I was going through your Folland ejection pages and have some additinal
names/details you might want to add.

I was a member of the Red Arrows ground crew for some 10 years (1967 to
1977) and was with the Team for these events.

XR 573    Fl Lt Jerry Bowler - Team 1st loss    - Kemble

XR 992    Fl Lt Dickie Duckett ordered to eject – See XR995

XR 995    Fl Lt Jack Rust ejected at Kemble – Engine Fire.

XR 994    Sqn Ldr Dennis Hazell ejected at Kemble – Engine failure

As to the loss of XR 981, I don't know if there was an attempt at using the
ejection seat - the story I was told that Dennis Hazell was leaving the
country on a posting as an Air Attache and had called in a Kemble on his way
to Heathrow. As a former leader (and succesful ejectee - although he broke
his thigh on ejection), he went for a practice flight with the Team. The
aircraft crashed at Kemble.

in email 24th February 2007_


Another update for you, to fill you in on the background to a loss of a

XP501 was a Red Arrows 'Tinship' - a normal Gnat with no smoke sytem
installed (ie it was able to hold a full fuel load), but painted in Red
Arrows colours. There were, at most, a couple of these aircraft that were
used to fly urgent spares to the Team, etc.

On 13 June 1969, XP501 was kitted out as the CFS Commandant's aircraft, ie
it had 'Star' side panels fitted - to show it was carrying the CFS
Commandant - Air Commodore Ivor Broom.

We had an Senior Aircraftsman (SAC), Robin Williams, who was leaving the
team and emigrating, with his mother, to New Zealand, who had always wanted
to fly in a Red Arrow before he left the RAF.

Now it was usually quite difficult to get a flight with the Team during a
Display Season for someone who was not part of the 'Flying Circus' of the
Teams Groundcrew - as these engineers were required to service the Team
aircraft after a transit flight, to make them quickly available for a
display. By this method we were able to find any defect that required
attention before the support aircraft arrived, and with it the main part of
the Teams Groundcrew, and with the aircraft spares.

So it was decided that we could kill two birds with one stone - we needed
someone to fly with the Commandant, and with Robin's request it was easy to
pair them together.

XP501 took off before the Team - we were transitting to Germany for a series
of displays, when the Commandant reported difficulties with the aircraft. He
was advised to land at RAF Fairford, with it's long runway, as a precaution.
It was on approach to Fairford that the aircraft crashed and Robin was
responsible for pulling the Commandant from the burning aircraft on the side
of the runway. The Commandant broke a foot and one toe, I believe, and Robin
was burned around the face.

As an aside on this crash, Air Commodore Broom, making use of the 'Old Boy'
network, was able to arrange for Robin, and his mother, to fly all the way
out to New Zealand - with their full household goods and chattals, and they
were able to stay in accomodation in New Zealand until they were able to
settle where they were going to stay.

This story, and others is covered in a recent book, (on Page 177),  called
'RAF Little Rissington, the Central Flying School Years, 1946-1976'
published by Pen & Sword Books Limited - ISBN 1 84415 1381 9.

Keep up the good work, I've still not had an update from Terry Whelan, yet,
but the aircraft was XR987.

Cheers, Brian
in email 8th March 2007_________________________________________________________



Whether the first one listed is the one I saw crash in 1956 or not I will give you a little information as I recall it. The Midge/Gnat was out from Boscombe Downe and crashed into a wood close to Topliss Hill about 4 miles from Thruxton. The pilot ejected and suffered a bit of damage to one leg. We saw him eject and one of the lads went to help him. At the time of the ejection the aircraft was issuing large amounts of smoke from the rear. The ejector seat went missing and also one of the 35mm cameras. The local rag, the Andover Advertiser put a large bit in asking for the return of the said objects (I am sure they were never returned). Some of us went up to the crash site which was close by. the remains of the aircraft was on fire with what seemed to be a lot of magnesium burning very brightly. We were there long before the crash services arrived and also left before they got there.  If  I remember correctly the aircraft was painted powder blue.

Another crash was N Dukes blue Hunter which he broke the sound barrier in, this crashed near Whadon close to Salisbury. The time of the crash was 8:10AM, the pilot was in the kite when it crashed. (I saw the instrument clock), This must have been in about 1953. N Duke was due to fly the blue Hunter from Boscombe Downe to Farnborough to give a flight demonstration (may have been the Farnborough Air Show, can't remember!). The blue Hunter had some kind of fault and Duke took a second aircraft instead perhaps saving his life as the same day it was flown by another pilot who lost his life.

I hope this maybe of some use to you, I expect with a bit of delving you can corroberate what I have written.


Brian G.

in email 27th September 2007