Memories of the 1952 or 1953 Aircraft Crash in Gosport
Allan A C Andrews’ Memories
Hello from an ex Turktown resident.
I visited the Gosport website out of pure nostalgia as I spent the early part of my childhood in Bridgemary, then later in Hardway.
I was wondering if anyone can remember circa 1952 when a bomber crash landed in the field adjacent to Holbrook school. It apparently overshot Rowner airfield, which was converted to a housing estate in 1964. The bomber was heading for the school – it was just after playtime – but veered off towards Brockhurst Road and was arrested by the hedging. I can remember being late home from school that day, and when I told mum why, she wouldn’t believed me. I used to have some really good excuses, so I guess this one beat the lot.
Later on we went to Malaya by troopship (Dilwara) and returned in the sister ship (Dunera)
On to Hardway, just around the corner from Twinny’s shop where we got our penny chews! Granny Andrews lived next to the shop. We went to Elson school, 1954-1957, and I still have some happy memories of that time. My year 4 teacher was Miss Hayward. I wonder if anyone else remembers her.
Regards from Clevedon, in North Somerset, where I settled. Allan A C Andrews
Brian Lewis’ Memories
have just read the memories of Allan Andrews with regard to the bomber crash adjacent to Holbrook School in 1952. I also was in the school on that day and watched in fascination as the aircraft headed across the field toward the wooden classrooms finally turning right and coming to a rest against the hedge. I think Allan and I along with the other pupils and staff have a lot to thank the pilot for. I was particularly pleased to read the post as I only had vague memories of the event and at one time not many years tried to research it but could find no reference to it. I was in contact with an Aircraft Crash Historian who also could put no light on the matter. I convinced myself in the end that I had dreamt the whole affair or that I was going mad. Thank you Allan for giving me back my sanity. Robert Burn 27/2/2010
I have been reading further into the Gosport site and saw a reference to an aircraft crash in 1952. I have searched my records and the most likely one seems to be ;
08.05.52 RH773 Brigand B1 of Aircraft Torpedo Development Unit. Written off after suffering engine failure on take off at Gosport, the pilot being forced to retract the undercarriage in order to stop. The pilot survived but his RN crewman was killed.
Naval Airman 1st Class CA Marques RN killed,Lieutenant DP Norman RN survived.
Hope this helps resolve the mystery. Brian Lewis
Den Budden Information
Bristol Brigand – RH 772
On Thursday 8th October 1953, Bristol Brigand service number RH 772, took off from Royal naval Air Station Siskin, just before midday. Ground staff noticed that there was something wrong, and fire appliances were ordered to follow in the direction the aircraft was flying. Such was their haste that the firemen smashed through the a locked gate (Gate ‘D’), already kitted up in their fire-proof suits. They did not have far to go, the aircraft crashed to the ground into a potato field approximately 300 yards from the end of the runway.
The aircraft did not have time to lower its undercarriage, and slid across the field, a hedge just managed to stop the aircraft from making its way across the Gosport to Fareham (A32) Road, and narrowly missing potato pickers in the process.
The accident occurred seconds into its flight. With the undercarriage up, the tips of the propellers snapped off when the rotating blades made contact with the ground. A coal lorry on its way towards Fareham, only just managed to avoid hitting the nose of the Brigand which had protruded onto the road. The resulting closure of the road, caused serious traffic chaos.
The pilot’s quick thinking in turning off the ignition and fuel supply, prevented a fire starting in the downed plane, the fire crews almost immediately the plane came to a halt, were not needed. Thankfully pupils from Holbrook School located a hundred yards from where the aeroplane came to rest, had not reached the dinner break, when many of them would have been making their way home past the crash site.
The pilot and passenger of the stricken plane were airlifted from the scene by a naval helicopter a few minutes after the crash, neither seriously hurt or suffering from minor injuries but obviously in shock. The aircraft was later taken to Fleetlands Aircraft Repair Yard. Obstructions such as bus stop signs, were cut down to allow the wings to pass, and then re-wielded in place.
Details of aircraft:
Contract No. 12660, aircraft was a tactical Fighter Mark 1, and at the time was being used as a trial installation aircraft for cold weather modifications made by British Aircraft Corporation.
Amongst other units, the final deployment of the aircraft was taken on strength on the 25th March 1953 by the Aerial Torpedo Development Unit based at Siskin. The pilot of the aerplane at the time of the crash was Lt. Blood who was uninjured, as was his passenger.
Bristol Brigand RH 722 was assessed as category 3 on 17th December 1953, which was upgraded to category 5 and the aircraft was broken up for spares. Den Budden
More Information and Photograph from Ted Payne
Having read your article on the 1953 brigand RH772 air crash, I think the following will be of some interest. I enclose a photograph of the aircraft at the crash site.
As for the pilot of the aircraft, it was a Navy Lt Marshall, not Lt Blood as you stated, who was is fact Master Sergeant Blood. The passenger was David Quantrill (rigger). The unit to which the aircraft belonged, was aircraft torpedo development unit.
The reason for the crash was lack of fuel due to the outboard tanks being empty. It was normal at the station to wire off the outboard tanks, and only run on the inboards, unfortunately the wiring had been removed and the pilot being new to the aircraft was unaware of this process. Having selected the inboards for takeoff, he then went to the outboards for the flight which were empty. Ted Payne.
Derrick Quantrill’s Memories (Who was on the Aircraft)
Hello from an old RAF chap from H.M.S. Siskin who was in the crashed bomber. I joined the R.A.F. in 1952 aged 20 and after training as an airframe mechanic was posted to H.M.S. Siskin in January 1953. Later that year I received permission to fly with a NAVAL pilot, attached to us, in a Brigham Bomber doing circuits and bumps (familiarising the pilot with the aircraft).
We took off and whilst just crossing the outskirts of the airfield one of the engines stopped. Luckily the pilot switched off the other engine, stopping us gaining height which would have had more serious results. The reason for the stoppage was fuel starvation due to the wrong fuel tanks being used.
Although it is 59 years ago, I can still remember the school appearing and the pilot’s efforts to miss it for which we should all be very grateful.
I often wonder what happened to the gentleman who was riding his bicycle along Brockhurst Road at the time and saw us appear though the hedge! However, he jumped off his bike and helped us out of the aircraft!
I also remember that we were picked up by helicopter and returned to base. This was a very special treat in those days as helicopters were a new innovation.
Regards to Alan Adrews and Mrs. Leach (Howard) – hope this clears up missing memories.
Barry A Jones’ Memories of the Crash Site as an 8 Year Old
The weather was fine, the crop was some kind of cereal, to a small boy about waist high. there were no farmhands in the field. The crash was as described with the almost immediate attendance of a Dragonfly helicopter from the airfield.
At the time I was eight years old already embarked on a life long interest in aviation. My classroom was parallel to the northern edge of the field with myself in a window seat I think the teacher was a Mr Prescott? I did not draw the incident to the teacher fearing a rebuke for my lack of attention.
Although I have relatives still in the area, I myself live in the Midlands (Rugby) but I can remember for many years there was a gap in the hedge at the crash sight, where the soil must have been soured by leaking aircraft fluids and nothing regrew. Kind regards, Barry A Jones