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Julian Evan-Hart

Gotha Crash listed as nr Wickford in Essex

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Julian Evan-Hart

Hi to everyone. I was wondering in this vast pool of expertise if anyone could help me. Recently I excavated the Zeppelin L48 at Theberton which hopefully will be the topic of a BBC Timewatch programme aired later this year. However my interest in things World War One in air has developed into "Gotha Chasing" I am interested in researching a Gotha that crashed nr Wickford in Essex on the night 28th-29th Jan 1918. I know who shot it down, its unit and most of the background info, and have got the PRO report on the wreck, but I am now trying to pinpoint where exactly the wreckage impacted. Some records state "Frunds Farm" however unless this farm, changed its name, incorporated itself into a larger farm or has been built on this must be typo in the military records........as there is no Frunds Farm in the parish of Wickford, nor has there ever been. However in the adjacent parish of Downham there is a Frierns Farm and I feel this may be the site of the impact. I have seen photos of the wreckage and the scenery does look quite remote/rural. Does anyone know someone who may have seen the wreck (in their 90`s now...... however I did find one for the Theberton L48 so anything is still possible) know where the location is, or is aware of a family member who passed down any info relating to this incident. If anyone has the slightest smallest piece of info I would love to hear from them, well anyone who shares a passion for all things aviation Id like to hear from them anyway. Kind regards

Julian Evan-Hart

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makkis

Hello, I may have some info that could help, many years ago I was travelling on a train wich ran on the wickford line, at one point it passed what looked like a pole with an old propeller on it, I later told a few people what I had seen and my dad and a few others comented that a zeppelin had crashed around that way during WW1, I took it that what I had seen must have been a memorial to that, however I never got an official explanation of what it was so this maye have well been something to do with your gotha, as I said it was many years ago so I cant remember exactly where along the line it was, but it mite be a lead worth checking out.

good luck.

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Regulus 1

Julian, don't know if this might help, but it seems there was a member of No. 3 Divisional Cycle Company who was one of the first at the scene, and who noted the plane's serial number, and a small metal plate in the wreckage which gave the factory number as 1696. Perhaps there remains also a report from this which might make things clearer ?

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Regulus 1

Nothing on the farm, just the crew :

Gotha V 398/16

+ Unteroff. Karl Ziegler, ° 22/10/1898 Stuttgart, gunner Kasta 14, KIA Essex

+ Lt. von Thomsen Friedrich observer Bosta 14 was KIA at Essex (D), originally with Feld Artillerie Regiment 46

+ Unteroff. Walter Heiden, pilot, Kasta 14, KIA Essex

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Regulus 1

Heiden was born at Hamburg 11 June 1895 - Thomsen at Wilhelmshafen 8 September 1893

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mo44th

Hello Jullian

An Old friend of mine lives at Brock Hill, Wickford and he took my husband and I uop the raod one afternoon to Downham Church, which is on the outskirts of Wickham. There arer two German Graves in the churchyard. Our friend told us that the graves were Germans from the airship crash and yes there is a Frierns Farm not far from the Church which stands on a hill overlooking the crash site. Hope that is of some help

Alison

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Regulus 1

Alison,

That is also good news for my book on the bomber units, thank you very much !

Best from Johan

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Jim Clay

There is a recollection recorded in "Wickford Memories" by Jim Reeve (Tempus Publishing, 2005) of the Gotha coming down "between the river and London Road". This ties in with the identification of the crash site as 'Frierns Farm' - Frierns (see the attached scan from the Godfrey Edition of the 1919 OS map) was near the junction of London Road (bottom of map) and Downham Road oops! Castledon Road ... (left of map). Much of this area has since been built over.

post-2135-1215468380.jpg

Hope this helps.

Jim

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mo44th

Hi Johan <_<

I just had a thought, there was an exhibition in Southend on Sea Museum a couple of weeks ago about the bombs dropped on Southend by the Zepplins. It may be worth getting in touch with the curator who arranged it all. There was a great collection of photo's and information etc. there. and a model of a Zepplin.He might be able to help.

Regards

Alison

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Jim Clay

I just came across in the local library a booklet compiled and published in 1999 by a local man, Bill Revening (of Crays Hill, near Wickford), entitled 'Death of a Gotha'. Mr Revening's research reveals that the Gotha in question was shot down by fighter planes flying from Hainault Farm aerodrome.

According to Mr Revening:

---The Gotha G.V. no. 938/16 was crewed by Lt Freidrich von Thomsen, 24, Commander; Unteroffizier Walter Heiden, 22, Pilot; and Unteroff. Karl Ziegler, 19, Rear Gunner.

---The two British Sopwith Camels which engaged the returning Gotha were piloted by Capt G H Hackwell, RFC, and Lt C C Bankes, 44 Home Defence Sqdn.

---The 3 Gotha crew men were buried with full military honours at St Margaret's, Downham, on 22 Feb 1918. (Their remains were later transferred to the German Military Cemetery at Cannock Chase)

---The propeller memorial beside the railway line between Wickford and Rayleigh, recalled by outkast (post #2), was erected by the local farmer as a memorial to 2 British fighter pilots, Capt H C Stroud and Capt A B Kynoch, who collided over Shotgate on the night of 7 March 1918.

Jim

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makkis

so thats what that was, no help with regards to the Gotha but clearded up the mystery memorial though, thanks for the info, I wonder if its still there?

I also remember a bit in the local paper with regards to a gravestone on a small bit of land next to the A127 in rayliegh, apparently it was a downed WW1 airman that is buried there, next time I am down that way I will take a look.

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Steve Newman

The memorial to Kynoch and Stroud is still there but has been moved when the new A130 went through and large scale earth extraction took place on that part of Dollymans Farm. A new fabricated propellor was added to replace the original that was stolen and doubtlessly found it way to some collector. You can see the memorial fairly clearly as you go down the 130 from Chelmsford and look to your right by the aptly named 'Memorial Bridge' and it is now close to the road rather than the railway line. There is also a memorial to Kynoch if memory serves me correctly at the church in Rochford sited at the end of the runway to Southend Airport, whilst some members of teh family did still reside on Canvey Island.

Steve

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Dolphin
The propeller memorial beside the railway line between Wickford and Rayleigh, recalled by outkast (post #2), was erected by the local farmer as a memorial to 2 British fighter pilots, Capt H C Stroud and Capt A B Kynoch, who collided over Shotgate on the night of 7 March 1918.

Jim

To add a little to your post:

Capt Alexander Bruce Kynoch from No 37 Sqn RFC (formerly Duke of Wellington's Regiment) was flying BE 12 C3208, and Capt Henry Clifford Stroud of No 61 Sqn RFC (formerly Royal Engineers) was flying SE 5a B679 when the two aircraft collided on 7/8 March 1918.

Gareth

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makkis

Very interesting, thanks for the info guys, I travel up the a130 all the time but will keep an eye out for it now.

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Cliff S

Travelling on the Southend Victoria Line the memorial which you refer to was plainly visible before the new road and I often wondered what had happened to it, I will look out for it next time I travel the new A130.

I think the incident to which you are referring is mentioned in "Sagittarius Rising" by Cecil Lewis concerning the mid air collision of the two RFC pilots and yes Steve you are right, one of them is buried in St Andrews Churchyard to the north of Southend Airport, if my memory serves me right the grave is under a large tree to the south of the church.

I shall get a pic sometime and put it on the forum.

Cliff

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Cliff S

Picture taken of memorial plaque of Capt HC Stroud in St Andrerws Churchyard, Rochford, Essex

post-24490-1218994928.jpg

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Cliff S

Pic also of the four RFC graves surrounding his, Lt HE Davis, MC, 2nd Lt GC Malcolm, Lt JW Sheridan, Lt AS Talbot

post-24490-1218995506.jpg

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Guest
I just came across in the local library a booklet compiled and published in 1999 by a local man, Bill Revening (of Crays Hill, near Wickford), entitled 'Death of a Gotha'. Mr Revening's research reveals that the Gotha in question was shot down by fighter planes flying from Hainault Farm aerodrome.

According to Mr Revening:

---The Gotha G.V. no. 938/16 was crewed by Lt Freidrich von Thomsen, 24, Commander; Unteroffizier Walter Heiden, 22, Pilot; and Unteroff. Karl Ziegler, 19, Rear Gunner.

---The two British Sopwith Camels which engaged the returning Gotha were piloted by Capt G H Hackwell, RFC, and Lt C C Bankes, 44 Home Defence Sqdn.

---The 3 Gotha crew men were buried with full military honours at St Margaret's, Downham, on 22 Feb 1918. (Their remains were later transferred to the German Military Cemetery at Cannock Chase)

---The propeller memorial beside the railway line between Wickford and Rayleigh, recalled by outkast (post #2), was erected by the local farmer as a memorial to 2 British fighter pilots, Capt H C Stroud and Capt A B Kynoch, who collided over Shotgate on the night of 7 March 1918.

Jim

Hello Jim,

These two memorials you mention, were originally placed on site with two nine foot crosses by the then landowner, Mr. W.W. Wilson, gentleman farmer. An Officer from 37 (HD) Squadron flew down soon afterwards and landed at the farm, bringing with him a small memorial to be placed at the foot of Kynoch's memorial. We think that over the passage of time, this memorial was later placed at the base of Strouds memorial. Both parents of both airman visited the respective crash sites, and wrote very moving letters to Mr. Wilson thanking him for his kindness and consideration towards the earthly remains of their respective sons. Later Mr. Wilson had a clause written into the title deeds of the farm, that if sold the two pieces of land where those memorials stand, should forever more remain his property. Later as time progressed two more fashionable memorials appeared, we think paid for by the parents. In 1994 together with a group of friends we restored Captain Henry Clifford Strouds Memorial/ four new oak posts were manufactured and donated by a local woodyard, the Royal Air Force Museum at Cosford was instrumental in providing us with a new propeller ( former Avro Anson ). A local businessman from Rayleigh, Essex was instrumental in the manufacture of a security cradle that would secure the propeller to the exisiting concrete post in an attempt to make it vandel proof. We repainted the poles that surround the memorial, cut the grass

and stood back, job done. It was then decided to replace the concrete posts around Captain Kynochs memorial, but we were late into the year and the weather was closing in. Sadly we never went back. However a recent visit to the site left me with a very heavy heart, the memorial to Captain Stroud is now at the very bottom of the new road/earthworks and is again in a very poor state. The propeller is still in good condition, but the post which has been got at by the frost is now leaning. To the best of my knowledge Captain Kynochs is still as was. I was approached recently by a group of chaps from Rayleigh, and asked if I would assist them in yet another restoration attempt. Plans are now being made for just that, however my research led me to Captain Kynochs grave, which is in the Victorian part of North Finchley cemetery, called

Islington Cemetery. I also found the road where he lived in Finchley, and the site where his house used to stand. The road is still called Welbeck Avenue. Further research led me to an elderly lady who was the niece of Captain Kynoch. She thanked me for our first restoration attempt and told me that she was still in possession of Captain Kynochs airmans chest, and did I want it ?. It now resides with me and is a marvellous item. These two gentleman were our first Battle of Britain heroes, up trying to get to the Gothas before they got to London. A photograph of Captain Kynoch came from an aging nephew living in Australia who still has Captain Kynochs personal photograph album. With the way the world is changing today, we must never let the memorials to these young lads fall into disrepair, they are a very important link to our continued survival as nation.

Hope this helps

Mick.

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Julian Evan-Hart

Cheers Alison I do apologise for length of time taken to reply...Im currently writing volumes county by county in the War Torn Skies series and this is taking up much of my time. These are aviation history books Ive had Herts and Cambs just published and am now just starting on Essex...many thanks for your information....Julian

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KevinBattle

Mick, thanks, have just got round to this thread.

So glad that you and your associates have done so much to ensure these memorials are preserved. I often travelled on the Victoria line and recall seeing them and wanted to know the background. I also visited a lot of local churchyards whilst doing some research for the Hockley RBL upgrade of their Rolls of Honour and noted the fairly unusual arrangement of Captain Stroud's grave, almost with an "Honour Guard" of fellow pilots. As you say, St Andrews is on the edge of Rochford (now Southend) airport. Very glad to have unearthed this information, thanks to all contributing (and the Gotha at Wickford). didn't Rochford also have a "surrendered" German aircraft crashland on it (and again in WW2?).

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Guest
Mick, thanks, have just got round to this thread.

So glad that you and your associates have done so much to ensure these memorials are preserved. I often travelled on the Victoria line and recall seeing them and wanted to know the background. I also visited a lot of local churchyards whilst doing some research for the Hockley RBL upgrade of their Rolls of Honour and noted the fairly unusual arrangement of Captain Stroud's grave, almost with an "Honour Guard" of fellow pilots. As you say, St Andrews is on the edge of Rochford (now Southend) airport. Very glad to have unearthed this information, thanks to all contributing (and the Gotha at Wickford). didn't Rochford also have a "surrendered" German aircraft crashland on it (and again in WW2?).

For KevinW4

Hello Kevin,

I wrote the full account of our first restoration of Captain Strouds memorial for the Cross and Cockade magazine about fourteen years ago. During which time I was lucky enough to make contact with Captain Kynoch's niece. This lady probably now deceased gave me Captain Kynoch's 'Airmans Chest'. I also have portrait photographs of both airman and a research file some two inches thick. I also believe I have in my possession the only piece of the Gotha that was shot down by Hackwill and Banks. I would love to see a memorial placed near to the crash site of the Gotha crash. As this was the very first enemy airc raft to be bought down at night by RFC fighters over Great Britain. I am searching for p[hotographs of both Captain Hackwill and Banks, if the correct permission can be obtained I would like to see both airman remembered in the local library and Royal British Legion, many thanks for your response. You are also correct, Rochford did have its own Gotha crash, near the golf course I think. The aircraft was pretty much intact and there was a recent report in the local paper,'Evening Echo', of a Rochford couple who had a very unique piece of the aircraft fashioned to look like a little Dutch figure.

Mick.

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Guest davecastle
For KevinW4

Hello Kevin,

I wrote the full account of our first restoration of Captain Strouds memorial for the Cross and Cockade magazine about fourteen years ago. During which time I was lucky enough to make contact with Captain Kynoch's niece. This lady probably now deceased gave me Captain Kynoch's 'Airmans Chest'. I also have portrait photographs of both airman and a research file some two inches thick. I also believe I have in my possession the only piece of the Gotha that was shot down by Hackwill and Banks. I would love to see a memorial placed near to the crash site of the Gotha crash. As this was the very first enemy airc raft to be bought down at night by RFC fighters over Great Britain. I am searching for p[hotographs of both Captain Hackwill and Banks, if the correct permission can be obtained I would like to see both airman remembered in the local library and Royal British Legion, many thanks for your response. You are also correct, Rochford did have its own Gotha crash, near the golf course I think. The aircraft was pretty much intact and there was a recent report in the local paper,'Evening Echo', of a Rochford couple who had a very unique piece of the aircraft fashioned to look like a little Dutch figure.

Mick.

Hi Mick, not quite the only person with a piece of the Gotha - my brother has a piece of the wing fabric, mounted and framed by our grandfather, CC Banks, as well as his logbook, flying helmet, gloves, and various medals. He was awarded the MC and DFC for this and other activities. We have some photos of his too.

Dave

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DCC said:
Hi Mick, not quite the only person with a piece of the Gotha - my brother has a piece of the wing fabric, mounted and framed by our grandfather, CC Banks, as well as his logbook, flying helmet, gloves, and various medals. He was awarded the MC and DFC for this and other activities. We have some photos of his too.

Dave

Hello Dave,

My God there was I thinking I was the only one with a piece of the towns Gotha, and along comes you with news of your brother's hoard, how could I compete with that ?.

My piece of the Gotha is only a small piece given to a Museum at Ongar, and when the Musem folded two years ago, the curator knowing my love of such valued pieces of local history offered the piece to me. You will never know how long I have searched for a piece of that aircraft. More to the point David after allot of research I never could find out where your late Grandfather last resided or where he was buried after his death. I tracked his carreer across France together with Hackwill and drew a blank as to where he last resided and is buried today.The last entry for your Grandfather is of him attending Buckingham Palace to receive the postumous award of the George Cross for his son who was torchered and killed by the militia blackshirts whilst serving with 112 Squadron flying the P51C Mustang in Italy. David if possible could I contact your family with the aim of filling in some of those missing answers, and above all if a portrait photograph of your Grandfather exisits I would love to obtain a copy and have it framed - if you would consent to it also, I would love to obtain photographs of his medals, flying helmet and log books for my file. I thank you for your time and patience and look forward to hearing from you at your convenience, thanking you in anticipation.

Mick Mannock. My personal email address is hurri249 at blueyonder.co.uk

Edited by keithmroberts
email address divided for security

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auchonvillerssomme

I know this is an old thread but I have just come across this letter in the January 1960 edition of the Essex Countryside magazine.

post-11859-0-98587800-1359994359_thumb.j

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