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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 233017
Last updated: 18 February 2020
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Date:24-FEB-1937
Time:day
Type:Silhouette image of generic HIND model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Hawker Hind
Owner/operator:21 Squadron Royal Air Force (21 Sqn RAF)
Registration: K5388
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Dale Hill Cottages, Dale Hill, Ticehurst, East Sussex -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Lympne, Lympne, Kent (LYM/EGMK)
Destination airport:RAF Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
Narrative:
Hawker Hind K5388, 21 Squadron, RAF: Written off (destroyed) 24 February 1937 when flew into row of cottages at Dale Hill, Ticehurst, East Sussex when trying to establish their location in adverse weather conditions. Crew had descended to "get below the weather" to see the ground and any landmarks. Both crew escaped with minor injuries. According to a contemporary newspaper report ("Nottingham Evening Post" - Wednesday 24 February 1937):

"AEROPLANE CRASHES INTO A COTTAGE.
MIRACULOUS ESCAPES IN SUSSEX.
Wall Knocked Down: Horrified Women.
An R.A.F. plane crashed into the side of one of a row of four cottages at Dale Hill, Ticehurst, Sussex, to-day, and knocked down one of the walls. The pilot and observer were only slightly injured, and were able to climb out of the plane unaided.

Men Leave Wreckage Unaided.
MR. W. ATTERBURY, of the Old Farm, Dale Hill, told a "Post" representative: "I heard a crash and ran out to see what had happened. The machine had hit the side of a cottage and was lying on its back with the tail sticking up in the air. There were two men in it, but they received only slight injuries and were able to get out of the wreckage unaided. The plane must have hit the cottage with great force, for one of the walls is almost entirely knocked down. The machine actually same to rest the wash-house of the cottage. There are four cottages at this part, and women who heard it flying low rushed outside and were horrified to see the machine making straight for their homes."

People in the street saw the machine approaching and, to avoid injury, lay flat on the ground. The pilot and observer were treated for slight injuries at the local hotel. The plane came from Lvmpne. Yesterday, not many miles from Ticehurst, two R.A.F. men saved their lives by jumping with parachutes from their machines which had collided in midair.

Another eye-witness to-days crash said: "The plane swept round in a circle, and dropping lower and lower hit a clump of trees and then took a crazy course for the cottages. The two men in the plane had miraculous escapes. When they clambered out both were slightly dazed. The district nurse attended to the pilot."

A later newspaper report has further details ("Kent & Sussex Courier" - Friday 26 February 1937):

"R.A.F. 'PLANE CRASHES IN TICEHURST HOUSE.
MOTHER THINKS FIRST OF SAVING HER CHILDREN.
A Ticehurst mother was the heroine of an R.A.F. aeroplane crash at Dale Hill Cottages on Wednesday morning. She is Mrs. Stonell, of 8, Dale Hill Cottages, who, while accompanying her three children, saw the 'plane looming out of the mist and threw herself across them as the machine crashed Into the roof of a nearby out house amid a shower of falling bricks. Neither Mrs. Stonell nor her children were hurt and neighbours were full of praise for her bravery when a Courier reporter visited the scene of the crash a short time after it had occurred.

The machine - a two-seater Hawker flight light bomber - was flying fairly low over Ticehurst just before the crash. Its occupants were Pilot Officer Coutts-Wood, who was at the controls, and Corporal Potter, both of whom are attached to Lympne Aerodrome. As the 'plane crashed into the roof of the out-house the left wing hit the roof of the dwelling-house a few yards away, which fell in. The nose of the machine was stuck fast in the out-house roof, and bricks, tiles and debris from the 'plane were strewn over the ground. Although the pilots were unhurt there was blood on the cockpits from which they climbed out after the machine had crashed. There was a strong smell of petrol in the air and all onlookers were ordered by the police to refrain from smoking.

In a large wire-fronted box attached to the nearest house a magpie was sitting. The top of his box became covered with bricks and tiles from the fallen roof above his head and yet he was not hurt. An Old English sheepdog was sitting in front of his kennel at the time of the crash and he, too, escaped injury."

Sources:

1. The K File: The RAF of the 1930s (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1995 p.262)
2. Nottingham Evening Post - Wednesday 24 February 1937
3. Kent & Sussex Courier - Friday 26 February 1937
4. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=4081.0
5. http://www.aviastar.org/air/england/hawker_hart.php
6. https://archive.org/stream/Airfix_Magazine_1970-05/Airfix_Magazine_1970-05_djvu.txt
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ticehurst


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
17-Feb-2020 16:06 Dr. John Smith Added
18-Feb-2020 11:44 Iwosh Updated [Operator, Operator]

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