The Unthank crash site as seen from Horsleygate Lane, Holmesfield, on 18th April 2004
The scene of the 1970 crash in Rose Wood, Unthank, is easily accessible as it is adjacent to the junction where the main public footpath splits and follows two courses. Moorhall is shown as Neville Biggin who witnessed the crash said to newspaper reporters at the time that it was the direction from where the Phantom jet approached the wood.
Unthank Lane is situated off the main B6051 and is signposted from the road junction at Eweford Bridge. Travel up the slight hill and Unthank Lane Farm (where the Biggins still live) is on the corner where the road turns sharp right through 90°.
About 100 yards further along this road is a stile and a public footpath fingerpost. Follow this clearly marked path into Rose Wood. Although the crash site is offically referred to as Rose Wood, Neville Biggin has commented that the woodland is in fact three different woods that run into one and the part the Phantom crashed in is part of Stripes Wood as Rose Wood commences beyond a natural watercourse.
When you enter the wood, the crash site is about 15 yards further into the wood on the right hand side. You can clearly see a small clearing where the trees were destroyed in 1970 and mother nature has tried her best to conceal the dramatic events of the past.
When you consider that the crash happened nearly 35 years ago, debris is still easily found by scraping off a few old leaves with your boots or scratching at the top soil. The following artefacts were collected along with several small pieces of wreckage, wiring looms and steel cable sheathing in April 2004 after just a few minutes of looking around the site and nearby hedge bottoms.
A sizeable chunk of what appears to a jet engine turbine blade
with the component number still clearly visible on the shank
despite the mangled appearance of the remainder of the blade.
A curved piece of part of the fuselage. Alan Clark confirms this is from the section aft of the jet engine nozzles
(the same item has been photographed front and rear).
The altimeter was discovered several years ago by Ian Biggin.
The rear photo shows the impact damage.
A transfer pump switch, again discovered by Ian Biggin.