I have received this email regarding the Manston air crash 1948, something I am sure local historians will find interesting for their archives. The author has no objection to me circulating the email and is pleased to share this information.
My name is Malcolm John Andrews, aged 78. After resigning my commission with the RASC in 1963 I moved to Belgium where I married Liliane Vanbrabant.and have lived here to this day.
On Sept 18 1948: I lived in Dane Valley, Margate with my mother Gertrude May Andrews and my baby brother Brent. I was aged 11 (born Feb 1937). At the time of the crash, my father, Francis Andrews, was an RAF flight engineer serving in Palestine (part of the UN Mandate).
On that fatal day my mother and, I believe, two other friends, decided to cycle up to Manston Airfield to see the Battle of Britain display. My mother had Brent on the back and I had my own bike. I cannot recall the other friends but we were all by bike.
I was about 50m ahead of the others near Vincent Farm when the mosquito roared over my head and crashed onto the roadway. The explosion threw me off my bike and, when I came to a few moments later, I found myself lying on my back in a vegetable field. Frankly I was too young and too dazed to recall every detail but there was a blazing mess of plane and cars on the road and billowing black smoke. Keeping away from the heat I simply waited for help, not knowing if my family members were hurt.
Surprisingly quickly a policeman approached me and asked me to go home and wait for news. Of course there was no-one at home and I did not have the key, so I went to the next-door neighbour (Mrs Morris?) in a bungalow like ours in Dane Gardens. Later the police arrived and I was moved to my uncle and aunt’s place, also on the Dane Valley road.
Ironically, my father received a telegram saying “wife and son killed in air crash” but he had no idea which son.
Consequently I went to boarding school (Sir Roger Manwoods) in Sandwich then Boys Squadron RAC, then RMA Sandhurst and was finally posted to (West) Germany in the early 60’s.
I am now anxious to correspond with all those involved in that disaster.
Malcolm (Mel) Andrews,
Clos de Valognes, 8
1410 Waterloo, Belgium
Phone : +322 3844362. Mobile : +32 478 2895330