At 14:30 hours on 03.11.41 four 43 Squadron Hawker Hurricanes took off from RAF Acklington for a formation flying exercise. The flight consisted of Flt Lt May flying Z2639, Sgt Ball flying Z2667, Sgt Barclay flying Z2772 and P/O Mehta flying Z3150 who was leading the formation.
On the return leg poor weather was encountered and on landing back at base at 15:20 hours Hurricane Z3150 was missing. Immediately Sgt May refuelled and took off again in order to search for P/O Mehta’s aircraft, Sgt May returned at around 17:40 without success. A further two flights took off that day to search for the missing aircraft but both returned with the same results.
A local shepherd however had seen the aircraft crash into a hillside at Deadwater near Kielder and had informed Roxburghshire Police. The Police reported that the aircraft had flown into the hillside at incredible speed, because of which only the tail unit was visible. This is possibly why identifying the aircraft posed such a problem resulting in the RAF not being informed of the accident immediately. P/O Mehta’s body was discovered some distance from the impact point, buried under 8 foot of peat.
P/O Hukum Chand Mehta was Indian, the son of Karam Chand Mehta, of Lyallpur, Pakistan. He was cremated in Newcastle’s West Road Crematorium.
Some large sections of the aircraft can still be see at the crash site and a memorial has recently been placed there by a local ATC squadron.