RUGBY fans from Cwmbran - among dozens from across Gwent and south Wales - who died in the Llandow air crash of 1950, will be remembered at a service organised by the community council.

Eighty 80 rugby fans and crew died in what was at the time the world’s worst air disaster.

The Avro Tudor plane had been privately hired to fly fans back from Ireland following a Five Nations game.

The plane was carrying members of rugby clubs in Abercarn, Risca, Abertillery and Blaenavon, and a party from the Greenhouse pub in Llantarnam was also onboard.


The aircraft had been initially booked for 72 passengers, but the plane had been stripped to accommodate another six.

Only three of the 83 onboard survived. Two of them were sitting in extra seats bolted in at the back of the tail section and walked away unaided, while a third man, who was in the lavatory and knocked unconscious in the crash, survived but was in hospital for four months.

Eight more survivors of the initial impact died later in hospital of their injuries, bringing the final death toll to 80, 75 passengers and all five crew.

Free Press Series:

How the South Wales Argus reported the crash on its front page in 1950

Nearly half the passengers came from the western and eastern valleys of what was then Monmouthshire.

From the Greenhouse Inn, seven had set out for the Ireland game and only one came back - John Maggs, of Llantarnam, who had changed to an alternative flight.

The other six, including the licensee of the pub, Bert Butcher, were killed.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the disaster, Cwmbran Community Council has organised a memorial service to be held outside the Council House in the town's Ventnor Road on Thursday March 12, at 3pm.

“Seventy years on from what was, at the time, the world's worst air disaster, I feel that it is our duty to pay tribute to the 80 people who lost their lives in that tragic accident," said Cllr Anthony Bird, chairman of Cwmbran Community Council.

“And I also feel that by hosting this service of remembrance the council is giving members of the community an opportunity to offer their respect and condolences to the seven Cwmbran locals who perished on that black day in Llandow 70 years ago.”