On the day of this accident I was outside Station Flight which at that time occupied Secco huts and one of the two hangars on the opposite side of the airfield to the main camp. It was a quiet sunny morning and I heard an aircraft high overhead and looked up to see a Varsity flying several thousand feet above. At the same time I saw a parachute which initially I thought had come from the Varsity, however as RAF Wattisham was a master diversion airfield I didn't think that was the case. The parachute appeared to be decending to the RAF Rattlesden area a few miles north of Wattisham. By now some of my friends had also seen the parachute and we watched it for what seemed like several minutes. Hearing a rather strange sound we saw a Vampire aircraft descending at about a 30-degree angle away from the RAF Wattisham main runway towards the nearby village of Bildesdon. Within seconds it hit a small hill, there was a loud "whumph" as it erupted in a fireball. One of my friends jumped into our Station Flight landrover and headed off for Rattlesden to try and find the parachute, while another friend and myself jumped into my car. I drove out through the airfield crash gate at the local hamlet of Nedging Tye and headed off on the Bildeston road. We very soon came to the crash site on our left and jumping out of the car we ran up a field. The aircraft had hit the top of a small hill and had effectively flown to pieces. There were numerous small fires, which we tried to put out with the help of some local farm workers who had been in an adjacent field, but our efforts were ineffective. We weren't too worried at that time as we thought the pilot had escaped. Some 25 minutes later the RAF Wattisham fire engine arrived with an officer on board. While the fires were being put out I explained what had happened to the officer and said that the pilot had ejected and our Landrover had been taken to find him. Just as I said that I noticed one of the crashed aircraft's distinctive tail fins which indicated to me that the aircraft was unfortunately a two seat Vampire T11 and there was probably a body in the vicinity. The officer ordered us to spread out and search along the field. However it wasn't until some time later when I was searching a field about 400 yards from the impact that I came upon an ejector seat in a tree. I found the unfortunate pilot's body in an adjacent cornfield. I was detailed for crash guard duties on the wreckage for several days afterward. The thing that has puzzled me over the years was why didn't the pilot eject? There seemed to be enough time, there were only isolated houses nearby and the aircraft descended with wings straight and in the final moments seemed to be under control? I was never called upon to give evidence at the subsequent inquiry despite being one of the first two airmen on the scene and actually witnessing the crash. Forty five years later I received the following information in an email.
"Vampire T11 tail number WZ472 from 5FTS at RAF Oakington near Cambridge, failed to recover from a spin and crashed 1.5.miles from RAF Wattisham on the 4th of August 1960. Student Flying Officer E Shere ejected safely. Instructor Flight Lieutenant R Garwood was killed." The memory of that accident has stayed with me to this day!