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Offline hardluckTopic starter
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« on: March 27, 2012, 05:08:05 am »
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Hello All

Treasure legends can come in big and small packages Cheesy

The following treasure legend in one such small treasure that the everyday person might find a relic from one of worlds first commercial airline disasters.

Over eighty years ago, a Junkers F 13 (G-AAZK) of Walcot Air Line set off from Berck-sur-Mer near Le Touquet, France.

At the controls were Lieutenant Colonel George "Budgie" Henderson MC AFC, a very distinguished and experienced former RAF World War 1 pilot and Mr Charles Shearing, assistant pilot - also ex RAF.

On board were four wealthy passengers returning from a weekend high society party.

The weather was very poor for the time of year with gale force winds and driving rain. However, despite the terrible conditions, the aircraft safely crossed the English Channel and continued on it's flight over Kent heading towards Croydon, which at that time, was London's main airport.

At around 2.35 PM, disaster struck!

High above the skies of Meopham, eye witnesses reported hearing a sound like an explosion and then looking up in horror as the aircraft disintegrated in mid air and bodies fell to the ground.

The wreckage from the aircraft was spread over a wide area. The aircrew and passengers all perished in the crash. Five of the bodies were found dead in Leylands Orchard but the assistant pilot was still strapped in his seat alive.

He was carefully removed from the aircraft by the local Bobby and the village Doctor was summoned quickly. Sadly the assistant pilot never regained consciousness and died shortly afterwards.

The passengers.

Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 3rd Marquess of Dufferin and Ava was born in Ottawa, Canada in 1875. He joined the British Army and served with distinction in the Second Boer War, was awarded the DSO and gained the rank of Captain.

After leaving the Army in 1913 he was appointed military secretary to the Governor General of Australia. In 1914 he rejoined his old regiment and was seriously wounded whilst serving on the Western Front. In the autumn of 1915 he was again seriously wounded having only returned to duty three days earlier.

In 1921 Lord Dufferin was elected to the Senate of the Northern Ireland Parliament where he served as Speaker until his untimely death.

Lady Rosemary Millicent Leveson-Gower, Viscountess Ednam was born on 9th August 1893. She was the daughter of the 4th Duke of Sutherland and wife of the 3rd Earl of Dudley whom she had been visiting in France.

Sir Edward Simons Ward, 2nd Baronet Ward was born on 1st July 1882. Educated at Eton, he served with the Grenadier Guards during the First World War and achieved the rank of Captain.

Mrs Henrik Loeffler was married to a mining engineer with business interests in South Africa. She was a very well known society hostess and had organised the party in France attended by the Marquess and Sir Edward.

The aftermath.

The loss of so many high profile society figures in one fell swoop prompted the Air Ministry to launch an extensive investigation into the cause of the crash. The enquiry was lead by Major Cooper and the results were to be made public for the first time. A precursor to the modern day AAIB (Air Accidents Investigation Branch).

The aircraft manufacturers, Junkers and the German Government also conducted an investigation into the aircraft's loss.

Following extensive scientific tests conducted at Croydon, Major Cooper concluded that the aircraft's loss was due to a phenomenon he called "tail buffeting". Under certain wind conditions and above a particular air speed it was found that the aircraft would suffer severe vibration which could cause catastrophic structural failure.

The Germans on the other hand discounted this theory and seemed to imply that the crash may have been due to pilot error and/or the weather conditions.
 
It should be born in mind that the Great War had only ended just over ten years prior to the accident and Anglo-German relations were naturally still very strained. Admission of any potential deficiency with the Junkers aircraft would have been an embarrassment for both the company and the German government.

Needless to say, the British Air Ministry accepted the outcome of Major Cooper's enquiry.

There is a treasure legend from this tragic event. 65000 pounds worth of jewlery 1930's value was lost consisting of a heirloom, Brooch and diamond clasp and parts of pearl necklace among other things scattered over a large area. Some items was perhaps stolen others perhaps lost in the grass to perhaps be recovered by a lucky metal detectorist one day.The value and historical nature of the items world be much more valuable today?

It is interesting to note that the same orchard still exists to day. Perhaps with permission a intrepid detectorist might find a valuable if not small treasure relic from one of histories first airline crashes?

Hardluck


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CRASH SITE IN 1930 KENT.jpg
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WEST AUSTRALIAN SAT 26 JULY 1930 65OOO LOST JEWLERY.jpg
leylands orchard meopham kent.jpg


« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 12:22:35 am by hardluck »
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Offline seldom
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2012, 07:37:25 am »
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Good story Hardluck. Wish I was closer to the site.

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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2012, 01:01:01 am »
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Hello Seldom

I am even further away from that site than you. However It might be a nice one for our thunting members in England to hunt down? It is some thing I would not go out of my half way around the world for. A story with a possible treasure worth a look for a local Wink

Here is pictures of the aircraft and other passengers.

Another thing that intrigues me is eyewitness claims the Aircraft exploded and broke up in flight? It seems very different event to what the official explanation of the crash was. Fokker claimed it was not a fault of the aircraft even the British government claimed it was a faulty design on the aircraft. I suspect there might of been foul play at hand and British covered it up out of embarrassment. If you look at one of the passangers.

Lord Dufferin was elected to the Senate of the Northern Ireland Parliament where he served as Speaker until his untimely death. The biggist issue he was dealing with was the partition of Ireland between Northern and Southern Ireland during the formative years of IRA. So perhaps he was asasinated by the Irish Republican Army?

Perhaps there is more to this story than meets the eye? Lady Ednum and others could also perhaps be victims of one of the first ever acts of terrorism on a aircraft? Thus making any artifacts and jewellery from these unfortunate victims ever more intriguing and valuable?

The aircraft exploded in midflight so the valuables might of been scattered over a large area. A good idea would be to get the direction of the flightpath before the crash and check any Fields ,laneways or parks along that flight path might be worth a try?

Anyway of bit of fun for the locals

Hardluck



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Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-00007,_Berlin,_Start_eines_Junkers-Flugzeuges.jpg
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JUNKERS F13 GAAZK OF WALCOT AIRLINE CROYDON.jpg
MARQUESS OF DUFFERIN AND AVA.jpg
MRS LOEFLLER.jpg
SIR EDWARD SIMON WARD.jpg


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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2012, 06:03:54 pm »
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Definitely an interesting story and probably worth investigating by those close to the scene.

BA

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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2012, 09:42:18 am »
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Hello BA

Yes I agree with you and I may add with the historical information of the events behind it any jewlery found could be worth many times its present value simply because of the story behind it. Researching the smaller legendary treasures can bring out the amazing stories.

Hardluck

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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2016, 01:53:14 pm »
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I know a lot of people have searched that orchard and surrounding fields with no luck what so ever not even a piece of the aircraft so maybe it crashed somewhere else close by at the time the army had small area's around meopham and gravesend at that time Smiley

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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2016, 07:39:49 pm »
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WoW.   A whole pile of Duke and Stuff in that story.   Best I ever did over there was make Esquire Status.  Lost that when I got Married. 

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