View Full Version : Gauntlet K7866 Loss 151 Sqn 14-Nov-1938

6th December 2017, 08:38
The story of this loss is in West Sussex County Times Page: 5 Friday 18 November 1938

PILOT ESCAPES UNHURT WHEN PLANE CRASHES Machine Wrecked in Forced Landing at Handcross. A single-sealer Gloucester fighter belonging to the Fighter Squadron. North Weald, Essex, one of six which were flying to Tangmere, near Chichester, made a forced landing, on Monday afternoon, in field south of the Pitshead crossroads, near Handcross. The pilot, Pilot-Officer D H Ward (Derek Harland Ward 40786 from New Zealand), had remarkable escape. Engine failure caused the pilot lose height rapidly, and after clearing some high trees he saw large field belonging to Mr. Bonner Morris, below him. The undercarriage struck low hedge and the ’plane turned u|>side down, one the wheels being flung distance of feet. If the pilot had been able raise the ’plane a few inches higher he would have cleared the hedge. Pilot-Officer Ward spent some anxious moments while he struggle to release himself from the inverted cockpit, which was only about two feet from the ground. Fortunately. fire did not break out, and escaped apparently none the worse for the adventure. Police stood guard over the ’plane while the pilot notified the R.A.F. authorities. A “West Sussex County Times” reporter who took a photograph of the. wrecked machine, had his film confiscated.

Errol Martyn
6th December 2017, 10:00
Many thanks for this, Paul. I was not aware of the incident until now.


6th December 2017, 12:22
Hello Paul,

I had this one in my list but without the specific location and without the pilot's name. Thanks for posting. Have you discovered where 'Pitshead Crossroads' is exactly? I see old pits along the road from Handcross down to the Warninglid road. Google comes up with nowt.


6th December 2017, 12:31

If you go on Bing Maps, and go to Warninglid, select the Ordnance Survey map, and follow Cuckfield Lane eastwards, it's marked as 'Pitts Head Crossroads' where it meets the A23.



6th December 2017, 15:40
Thanks Simon, got it now.