Interesting call-out. USA USA F111 crash – Lauder. 28 July 1987 – . We had no Communications so the American Airforcec moved a satellite and gave us an early Satellite phone.

I think this was One of my first aircraft call outs as Team Leader of RAF Leuchars MRT – sadly both crew were killed. We had no communications and when the Americans investigation team arrived not long after the crash they were impressed that we had things sorted. The high ranking American officer arriving of the helicopter asked if we needed anything. I said communications were poor, this was his answer“ we will move a satellite within an hour and gave us an early satellite phone”. This was impressive. Our young officer I/c when she got into trouble for going on call out.

When we got back I sorted it out. I told the Americans and they sent a great letter thanking us for all we did and mentioned Penny our Officer so she was back in the good books. The military can be strange at times as an aircraft crash is not an easy thing to come to terms with. No matter how many you go to!

As you will see from the photo it’s a young team at Leuchars at the time l and most of these troops had seen already seen most things. We never thought that a year and a bit later we would be at the Lockerbie Disaster. Most of this team were there.

Looking back it’s amazing to see the photos, no corporate image then. Most of the team wore there own mountaineering gear. We knew the Police well as we trained with other teams in the Borders. We had a great contact in British telecom who put phones into the crash site area from any nearby telephone poles or houses. This was a great help in these days before mobile phones

The Media was present and none of us in these days had done Media courses. I remember getting told to shave next time I was on the Television.

28 July 1987

494th TFS, 48th TFW, USAF (494th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, United States Air Force)
Registration: 70-2375
MSN: E2-23/F-23
Fatalities: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities: 0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: near Lauder, Lothian & Borders, Scotland – United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature: Military
Departure airport: RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk (LKZ/EGUL)

F-111F s/n 70-2375 was engaged in a low-level training exercise. The exercise involved a simulated toss-bomb attack on a laser designated target. 

However, it seems that the pilot may have pulled up from the attack and entered cloud. This disorientated him momentarily, causing him to lose his bearings and to permit the aircraft to enter a nose-down attitude. 

Before he could recover, the F-111 had crashed into a field just outside the village off Lauder, killing both airmen and leaving a deep scar in the field. The aircraft had narrowly avoided hitting a row of cottages a quarter of a mile away. 

Crew killed were – Captain Thomas F. “Chip” Stem (pilot) and Captain Philip D. “Phil” Baldwin (WSO) RIP.


This was the third F111 crash I was to go to.

Comments welcome

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Aircraft incidents, Articles, Equipment, Mountaineering, People, PTSD, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Interesting call-out. USA USA F111 crash – Lauder. 28 July 1987 – . We had no Communications so the American Airforcec moved a satellite and gave us an early Satellite phone.

  1. Back in 1972 at Stafford I was allowed to wear a beard. Stafford was invited to go to “Pebble Mill at One” TV show, but before I went the CO told me that I was NOT to appear on TV with a beard, even if I was in No 1 uniform.

    Heavy, please send me your email; I have some things to share with you. I am at


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