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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 205850
Last updated: 5 March 2020
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Date:17-JUL-1938
Time:17:00 LT
Type:Miles M.14A Hawk Trainer III
Owner/operator:Thanet Aero Club Ltd
Registration: G-AFEU
C/n / msn: 557
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Sea 1/2 mile off Cliftonville, Margate, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Ramsgate Airport, Ramsgate, Kent (X2RT)
Destination airport:
Narrative:
First registered [C of R 8332] on 5.2.38 as G-AFEU to Thanet Aero Club Ltd., London W.1 (aircraft based at Ramsgate Airport, Ramsgate, Kent). C of A 6209 issued in February 1938.

Written off (destroyed) 17.7.38 when spun into sea after loop, off Cliftonville, Margate, Kent. Both persons on board - Edmund Leonard George Betts (pilot aged 19) and Marjorie C Walk (passenger, aged 16) - were killed. Aircraft wreckage and the body of the pilot were recovered within hours, but the body of the passenger was not found until about two weeks later (some reports say her funeral was not held until 8.8.38). According to the following contemporary newspaper report ("Western Morning News" Monday 18 July 1938):

"MARGATE. Sunday.
A plane carrying a 19-years-old youth and a 16-years-old girl fell into the sea off Margate today in full view of thousands of holiday-makers who had been watching its flight. Motor launches and craft from the Devonport battleship HMS Revenge, which is lying off the town, found that the machine had broken up. But the body of the pilot, trapped in the cockpit, was recovered. There was no sign of the girl. The victims were Edmund Leonard George Betts, of Watling-street, Strood, Chatham, and Marjorie Walk, of All Saints-avenue, Margate.

CAUSE NOT ESTABLISHED.
The machine came from the Ramsgate Airport, and for fifteen minutes before the crash had been flying over HMS Revenge, which was visited by many people during the day. An official statement issued from the Ramsgate Airport tonight said: "A two-seater light aeroplane, belonging to the Thanet Aero Club fell into the sea at 5 p.m. today, half a mile off Cliftonville. It hit the sea with considerable force and was destroyed. "The pilot, Mr. E. Betts, had chartered the aircraft for the afternoon. He and his passenger. Miss Walk, a friend, were killed. The cause of the accident has not yet been established." Mr. Betts had taken other friends for flights during the afternoon.

RESCUE EFFORTS.
After the machine struck the water the tail could be seen above the surface, and the first boat to reach the scene was carrying twelve people who had been inspecting the Revenge. Its owner, Mr. L. Stone, and the mate, Mr. W. Peachey, made a rope fast to the tail, but only part of the fuselage came out of the water. When a boat carrying a derrick from the battleship got alongside, the cockpit was recovered and the pilot was then found trapped in his seat. Artificial respiration was tried.

Boats from HMS Revenge and from Margate searched the spot for some hours without finding a trace of the girl, but salvaged other parts of the 'plane found drifting in the vicinity."

Registration G-AFEU cancelled by the Air Ministry 17.7.38, although probably retrospectively, as the aircraft's record card states "(Census 1938)" - which indicates that the Air Ministry were only informed about the loss or destruction of G-AFEU at the end of the year, after their annual census.

Sources:

1. Western Morning News - Monday 18 July 1938
2. Thanet Advertiser - Tuesday 09 August 1938
3. http://afleetingpeace.org/index.php/15-aeroplanes/80-register-gb-g-af
4. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-AFEU.pdf
5. http://www.airhistory.org.uk/gy/reg_G-A10.html
6. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1939.htm
7. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=1114.0


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
08-Feb-2018 19:33 Dr. John Smith Added
08-Feb-2018 19:34 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
08-Feb-2018 19:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
26-Feb-2020 16:41 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
26-Feb-2020 16:41 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]

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