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Pilot of Hardwick plane crash Maurice Hammond has “no memory” of incident one year on

PUBLISHED: 17:23 01 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:23 01 October 2017

Scene of air craft crash in the village of Topcroft in Norfolk.

Scene of air craft crash in the village of Topcroft in Norfolk.

© Rob Colman 2016. No Syndication.

One year ago engineer Maurice Hammond was flying a Mustang plane close to the former RAF Hardwick airfield at Topcroft when it crashed, tragically losing the life of his passenger, 80-year-old John Marshall.

Maurice Hammond, the pilot of a Mustang plane which crashed in Topcroft. Maurice Hammond, the pilot of a Mustang plane which crashed in Topcroft.

And with just days to wait before the Air Accident Investigation branch reports its findings publicly, it has been revealed the aircraft was damaged “irrevocably” during recovery.

Mr Hammond, 54, from Eye, who owns the Hardwick Warbirds and the Mustang he was flying at the time, has no memory of the crash on October 2, 2016, is still undergoing treatment during his long-term recovery.

A statement on behalf of the Hardwick Warbirds and the Hammond family said: “Our thoughts lie firstly with the family of the passenger, John Marshall. A great supporter of historic aviation, his is a sad loss and we can only hope that the outpouring of goodwill following this tragedy has provided some small comfort to his family.

“In the midst of their grief, the support they offered to Maurice, the family and team at Hardwick Warbirds was outstanding and heartwarming. They have continued to support and encourage Maurice during his prolonged recovery.”

East Anglian air ambulnace attends the Scene of air craft crash in the village of Topcroft in Norfolk. East Anglian air ambulnace attends the Scene of air craft crash in the village of Topcroft in Norfolk.

They added special mention for Bob Marshall, who, “under the most stressful and distressing circumstances played a pivotal part in Maurice’s survival, administering critical care before the arrival of medical staff.”

“In the aftermath of this terrible event much soul searching has taken place with regard to the future of Hardwick Warbirds. After consultation, discussion and debate with all affected the overwhelming desire in these troubled times, is that the organisation continue its mission to honour and memorialise all those airmen and women who served, and serve, in defence of our freedom.

“The aircraft, badly damaged in the course of the accident, remains in the hands of the investigators and there are no current plans for repair or restoration.

“Distressingly, our initial accompanied viewing of the wreckage at the AAIB facility indicates Janie was inexplicably further damaged extensively, and irrevocably, during recovery, with extensive post incident damage caused to the relatively intact empennage.”

Road closures at the scene of the plane crash near Topcroft at the weekend. Road closures at the scene of the plane crash near Topcroft at the weekend.

They added their thanks to the “thousands of well wishers”.

“Without their warm wishes and support the families would have found this period much more difficult to endure.”

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