I was extremely interested to read the letter in “Vintage Postbag” from a correspondent, John Thorpe of Smallfield, concerning Lt. Cmdr. Glen Kidston’s air crashes.
Referring to the accident which occurred on November 6th, 1929, Mr. Thorpe states that “descriptions of the actual crash location are rather vague”. This statement prompted me to reply as I well remembered hearing at the time a most vivid description of the accident from a relative who was on the spot. He saw the plane emerge from a break in the clouds only seconds before the crash which was at Fosterdown Farm about 400 yards to the west of Godstone Hill on the London-Eastbourne Road, A22.
The relative, Mr. “Mike” Tharby, was working at a nearby house at the time and upon hearing the crash rushed towards the scene. On the way he was met by Cmdr. Kidston who, although seemingly thrown clear of the aircraft in the crash, was badly burned and his clothing was in fact still on fire. Having helped to extinguish the clothing, “Mike” Tharby took him to the house where he was working (Oakleigh Grange—since demolished) and notified both the police and the airport authorities at Croydon.
I recently had occasion to visit Mike, who now lives at Ferndown in Dorset and he still has vivid recollections of the tragedy which occurred on that foggy November day 42 years ago. Unlike your correspondent, Mr. Thorpe, who says the crash location is “rather vague”. Mr. Tharby is convinced that he could still point out the tree which was damaged in the crash!
A. A. Crowhurst.