RAF chief prangs last Messerschmitt

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The Independent Online
The last working Second World War German Messerschmitt Bf109 crashed at an airshow yesterday while being flown by Air Chief Marshal Sir John Allison, Commander-in-Chief of RAF Strike Command. Sir John, 54, was unhurt but was had to be freed from the wreckage by firecrews after the airplane landed upside down in a field beside the M11 at Duxford, Cambridgeshire.

The future of the aircraft, owned by the Ministry of Defence, was under review because of fears it was no longer safe to fly. Cath Barrell, from London, said the fighter seemed to be struggling to land. "The pilot lifted the plane up as he approached the end of the runway and I think he might have stalled."

The Messerschmitt was captured in Libya in 1942. It was mothballed in 1945 before being restored nearly 30 years later.