Author Topic: Spitfire forced landing West Grinstead Park 19th July 1940  (Read 446 times)

Offline K8T

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Spitfire forced landing West Grinstead Park 19th July 1940
« on: Monday 01 April 19 18:55 BST (UK) »
Does anyone have any information about the Spitfire which was attacked and had to make a forced landing in West Grinstead Park on 19/07/1940?
The only information I can find is on the Cowfold History Society site but carries no more information.  I have been told by someone who was in his mid teens at the time who remembers the Spitfire landing and assisted the pilot getting out of the plane, who was then picked up by the military.  The plane was put under guard by authorities to stop souvenir hunters etc but when he was it the following day it was burnt out.  Despite much delving no other information as to the aircraft itself or the pilot can be found. 
Can anyone help?
K8T

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Offline Kimbrey

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Re: Spitfire forced landing West Grinstead Park 19th July 1940
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 02 April 19 09:43 BST (UK) »
I googled "Spitfire Crashes" it comes up on the RAF Archives site but not much detailed info but may give a clue on where else to look :)

Kim

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Offline Hornchurch

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Re: Spitfire forced landing West Grinstead Park 19th July 1940
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 02 April 19 10:19 BST (UK) »
 ( Temp' deleted )
Am interested in N.W.Norfolk Hudsons in the Docking, Sedgeford, Heacham & Hunstanton regions,

Offline josey

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Re: Spitfire forced landing West Grinstead Park 19th July 1940
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 02 April 19 10:20 BST (UK) »
Have you tried newspaper archives?
Seeking: baptism Philip Murray 1813 nr Chatham Kent, death Ralph James Dunn b 1808 1861 - 1868 in Newington 1861
IRE: Kik DRAY[EA], PURCELL, WHITE: Mea LYNCH: Tip MURRAY, SHEEDY: Wem ALLEN, ENGLISHBY; Dub PENROSE: Lim DUNN[E], FRAWLEY, WILLIAMS.
87th Regiment RIF: MURRAY
ENG; Marylebone HAYTER, TROU[W]SDALE, WILLIAMS Con HAMPTON, TREMELLING Wry CLEGG, HOLLAND, HORSEFIELD Coventry McGINTY
CAN; Nova Scotia [Halifax, Pictou]: HOLLAND, WHITE, WILLIAMSON

Offline John915

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Re: Spitfire forced landing West Grinstead Park 19th July 1940
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 02 April 19 14:44 BST (UK) »
Good afternoon,

The only candidate I know of would be sqn ldr Ernest Ralph Bitmead of 611 sqn.

Aircraft damaged during an engagement over the channel in May 1941. He made a forced landing in a field nr East Grinstead suffering a fracture at the base of the skull from the canopy.

After recovery he took command of 71 (Eagle) sqn but relinquished command after a week as he considered himself unfit to command.

John915
Stephens, Fuller, Tedham, Bennett, Ransome (Sussex)
Rider (Fulham)
Stephens (Somerset)
Kentfield (Essex)

Offline K8T

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Re: Spitfire forced landing West Grinstead Park 19th July 1940
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 02 April 19 18:07 BST (UK) »
Thanks to all who have answered so far. 
John915 your reply is interesting and sounds good but not the right date. I will pass this info by the person involved but he was quite sure it was West Grinstead Park.
josey I haven't tried newspaper archives although I'm not sure these were reported at the time. 
Kind Regards
K8T

Offline John915

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Re: Spitfire forced landing West Grinstead Park 19th July 1940
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 04 April 19 14:08 BST (UK) »
Good afternoon,

I have now spent some hrs going through different lists of crash landings, forced landings etc. Nowhere does a spitfire appear on any list for that date. I have also read through everything I could find about the different sqns based at Gatwick, nothing. Same for any other nearby airfields that had fighter sqds, nothing.

Have also checked out everything I could find on Polish, Czech and US sqds. But these all flew other aircraft at that time or did not yet exist.

It would seem that the Cowfold history site is the only place that knows about this aircraft. The possibility is that they have the wrong aircraft type. Or it was an emergency landing followed by takeoff again and did not get recorded in the same way.

Cowfold is only just down the rd from me so I will put out some feelers and see what comes to light. Always possible that someone got a photo of it.

John915
Stephens, Fuller, Tedham, Bennett, Ransome (Sussex)
Rider (Fulham)
Stephens (Somerset)
Kentfield (Essex)

Offline K8T

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Re: Spitfire forced landing West Grinstead Park 19th July 1940
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 04 April 19 19:31 BST (UK) »
Thanks for putting so much time and effort into this John915, I really appreciate it.  It all seems very odd.

K8T

Offline John915

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Re: Spitfire forced landing West Grinstead Park 19th July 1940
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 04 April 19 21:06 BST (UK) »
Good evening,

I have made one further discovery. The Brighton firm of Arthur V Nicholls and co was contracted by the goverment in 1940. Their job was recovery of all aircraft, British and German across Sussex that had been shot down or forced to land for any reason.

All such aircraft from across southern England was taken to "no49, RAF Faygate". I assume this was a salvage yard which would sort all reusable parts for reuse. Again, this is only just up the rd from me so will put out more feelers.

Hopefully some sort of records still survive from both of these. So if anyone else feels inclined to assist we may find something.

John915
Stephens, Fuller, Tedham, Bennett, Ransome (Sussex)
Rider (Fulham)
Stephens (Somerset)
Kentfield (Essex)