Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The 1948 Battle of Britain air display disaster at RAF Manston

On 18th September 1948 disaster struck at the RAF Manston Battle of Britain air display. A Mosquito taking part in the air display crashed onto the traffic attending the air display at Vincent Farm killing 12 people including the crew. This article from the Margate Historical Society magazine Autumn 2005 gives three eye witness accounts of the terrible events.
Please feel free to download.
This is an account was sent to me by Peter G Wall to add to the archives. Thank you Peter.
I too was at the Manston air show in 1948 aged 11. I was with my parents and 4 year old sister Janetta.
There was a band and a small parade and Lord Tedder took the salute.
When the flying display began we stood on the crowd line, about three quarters of the way down the runway. I remember the Mosquito flying past inverted and at speed and too low to get out of the roll he was performing. The aircraft appeared to clip the ground and burst into a ball of smoke and flames. 13 year old (Trixie ) Lewis was killed that day, she was a friend and she attended the Saint Andrews Reading Street, Girl Guides, where I was in the Wolf Cubs. In 1998 on the 50th anniversary of that fatal air crash I tended her grave in Saint Peters Church Yard, It was very overgrown and in a poor state as she then had no family left to look after it. I wrote to someone a few years back who was writing a history of Manston Aerodrome and he said he would contact the war graves commission or someone like that to see if they would take over the grave maintenance. Alas I have not been back to have a look.
As fate would have it I was also at the Farnborough Air show in 1952 when a DH 110 disintegrated killing the crew and 29 spectators.
I was also in Saint Peters Church Yard in April 1952 playing cowboys and Indians when an American Thunder Jet crashed in the High Street, none of this has put me off flying though and I am off to Kenya next month.
Yours sincerely
Peter G Wall


Anonymous said...

I too was at the Manston open day only four and a half years old, all I recall was the aircraft flying over and then a great ball of smoke rising in the distance and the shock of the crowd. I remember the road was closed and we returned to Cliftonville via Birchington.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Annon, it must have been frightening if you can still remember it when you were 4.5 years old.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for these accounts. My grandfather was killed in the plane. I've been trying to find information for years and had almost given up hope. The whole dreadful accident seems to have disappeared from archives so I was beginning to doubt it had happened!

ricky said...

At the time of the crash I was stationed at manston on national service.As the airfield was open to the public we were not working and with a couple of mates I had climbed onto the roof of our section to watch the proceedings.We were only a few hundred yards from where the mosquito crashed onto the road where the public were still coming in.I am now 81 and still have a vivid memory of that horrific sight

Bill Allen said...

My grandfathers sister Marie Allen was kill when the aircraft hit her car. Her mother Helen was rescued and survived but not Marie.
I have been looking for information about the disaster, and so far this article is the best.
Many thanks,
Bill Allen

Tony Beachcomber said...

Details as promised this afternoon re the Manston crash of 18th September,1948.
Aircraft type;-Mosquito Type;-FB6. Unit;-Air Ferry Unit. Aircraft Serial Number;-TE808.
During a Battle of Britain display,the pilot pulled up from 200 feet and commenced a slow roll from a height of 400 feet.Half way round,the aircraft flicked out of control and crashed inverted,probably due to the pilot's harsh handling of the controls.The aircraft struck members of the public who were watching the display or using the road adjacent to the spectators area.The heavy casualties were caused in part by the pilot's failure to adhere to the briefed display heading. Casualties;-
Flight Lieutenant.Geoffrey Alan Hanson. aged 29. Pilot,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,killed.
Flight Lieutenant.James Leslie Martin aged 46. Navigator....................killed.
Miss Marjorie G.D.Astell aged 42.....................................killed.
Master Stuart Graham Chiesman. aged 13.....................................killed.
Miss Francis Claire Lewis aged 13.....................................killed.
Mr.Peter Charles Scott. aged 19.....................................killed.
Mr.Charles Edward Taylor aged 35.....................................killed.
Mrs Murial Lawrence aged 48.....................................killed.
Mrs Gertrude Andrews aged 38.....................................killed.
Master Brent Andrews aged 3......................................killed.
Mr.Frederick Austin aged 67....................................killed.
Miss Marie Allen aged 21....................................killed.

The pilot and navigator are buried within Margate Cemetery. The pilot hailed from Chapel Place,Ramsgate.

Terry Pilcher said...

I was also watching this display back then with my Dad and his friend (dingy) Scott. Who`s son Peter Scott is named as one of the casualties. My name is Terry Pilcher, and my father was Tom Pilcher, both of us from Margate.

Dan Sanders said...

My Father, Henry (Harry) Sanders was at this airshow with his best friend Billy Allen (National Service together) Bill Allen who posted here previously please get in touch

Anonymous said...

I wish I knew the location of the grave of the navigator, he was my father.

Anonymous said...

Rest in peace

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I wish I knew the location of the grave of the navigator, he was my father.

8 September 2013 22:28

Articles say they are buried in Margate Cemetery.
Call Thanet Crematorium.

St John's Cemetery in Margate

Manston Road, Margate

Kent CT9 4LY

Phone: 01843 577333


Closest train station - Margate

Please call us on 01843 577333 during office opening hours (Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 4.30 pm).

Please note family history searches via email will be answered as soon as practicably possible. However, if you are planning to visit Margate Cemetery to locate the final resting place of family members, please contact us to ensure a member of staff is available to assist you with your enquiries.

Anonymous said...

And if it's G. Hanson the Grave Number is 16268.

maegscale said...

I was very sorry to hear about this tragic event. I found an original program for the day whilst sorting out my late mother's papers. I did not want to throw it away as she must have kept it for some reason.

I was thinking about giving it to the RAF museum at Manston but there are no contact details in there site.

Anonymous said...

My mother and brother were killed in the crash - how I survived was miracle. All those interested should know that the Isle of Thanet Gazette has just published an article on 12 Sept 2014 - marking the 66th anniversary - and including Malcolm Andrews' story.

Anonymous said...

My father was the navigator on this aircraft I was 2 an 1/2 at the time so don't have many merrories of him only wot I've read over the years .so it good to read others account of the crash an wot lead up to it ...

Wynne White nee Martin said...

Hi I posted a while ago that the navigator was mine an my brothers father ..I thought maybe someone may have commented on this as we know very little of the dreadful crash I can barely recall him ..I undertand he also had another family in Scotland altho the information we have is very limited we were born in Barnsley Yorkshire an moved to newark nottts late 1947 early 1948 not sure of date ...any info on James Lesley Marin would be most welcoming many thanks in advance ty wynne. Nee Martin

Wynne White nee Martin said...

Hi just seen that someone has left a comment stating her grandfather was in the plane just wondered if that's the pilot or navigator would be good to here from u. Ur post was anonymous 6th August 2010 it mite fill a few blanks in ty wynne

f said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wynne said...

Hi think u must be the person who contacted me tonite on face book .both my brother an I know of another side of the family not by name just from years ago think ur grandma was aware of us wynne x

Roger Gregory said...

My father was part of the crash rescue team on that fateful day, I grew up with his account of how they had to deal with the aftermath of the disaster. My father has now passed on but I remember his story.

saygoodnitebob said...

My father was the navigator in the crashed aircraft and I subsequently attended the funeral with my Mother and elder Brother and Sister. I would like to contact Wynn White nee martin who believes she is also the daughter of James Leslie Martin.

Anonymous said...

I can be contacted via face book wynne White newark

Alan Epps said...

On the day of the crash my mother took me to Manston on the seat on the back of her bike.We rode from our house in Quex road Westgate.When we arrived at the air port there was a large crowed instead of going around the the road my mother decided to take a chance and cut across the airfield .When we were half way across the field the mosquito past over us, to this day I still have the memory of the crash.If we had taken the road instead of cutting across the air field I would not be telling this story now.I was seven years also on that day.