Old Catton – St. Margaret’s Church (HR Champion)

The grave of Flight Lieutenant HR Champion is in St. Margaret’s Church in Old Catton and he died on 6 July 1950, at the age of 25. He was killed when the Gloster Meteor T7 he was flying in crashed, with this particular aircraft brought into service on 25 July 1949. This type of aircraft was known as the first British jet fighter and the RAF lost 890 of them in service, killing 450 pilots.

The air crash was reported in the press with the short article reading:

“A Gloster Meteor jet fighter exploded before crashing into a cornfield at Sculthorpe. There were no survivors. Rescue squads from the American base at Sculthorpe broke through a hedge and raced across a cornfield to the wreckage. The plane belonged to Horsham St. Faith aerodrome”.

This explains why these burials are in Old Catton, it was the nearest parish church to RAF Horsham St Faith and their staff accommodation.