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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 64570
Last updated: 28 March 2020
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Date:24-OCT-1936
Time:23:45 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH83 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland DH.83C Fox Moth.
Owner/operator:Clifford Wright
Registration: G-ABVJ
C/n / msn: 4006
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Brooklands Aerodrome, West Byfleet, Weybridge, Surrey -   United Kingdom
Phase: Standing
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Brooklands Aerodrome, West Byfleet, Weybridge, Surrey
Destination airport:
Narrative:
c/no.4006: Registered G-ABVJ [C of R 3678] 30.3.32 to Eastern Air Transport Ltd, Skegness. (Replacement aircraft, after the loss of their Puss Moth G-AAXL in May 1932). C of A 3499 issued 24.6.32. Delivered 28.1.33 to [subsidiary company] Skegness & East Lincs Aero Club, Skegness. Registered [C of R 4334] 12.4.33 to [proprietor] Michael D Llewellyn Scott, [following appointment of Receiver to Eastern Air Transport Ltd] t/a Eastern Air Transport, Skegness.

Sold [by 31.1.35] and re-registered [C of R 7220] 2.4.35 to Midland Airways Ltd, Sywell. Re-registered 28.7.36 to Clifford Wright, Ryde, Isle of Wight (but based at Brooklands, West Byfleet Weybridge, Surrey). C of A lapsed 7.8.36.

Written off (destroyed) 24.10.36: G-ABVJ was one of six aircraft that were destroyed in a hangar fire at Brooklands Aerodrome, West Byfleet, Weybridge, Surrey. On 24 October 1936 fire broke out in one of the hangars at Brooklands Aerodrome. It seems to have spread to a second, adjoining hangar. Both hangars were consumed by the fire and destroyed. A total of six aircraft were destroyed in the fire - but thanks to the diligence of the ground staff, a further 32 aircraft were removed from the hangars and saved from the fire. A contemporary local newspaper report gives further details (Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 26 October 1936)

BROOKLANDS FIRE OUTBREAK
Two Hangars and Eight Machines Burnt
32 'PLANES SAVED
Two of the largest hangars at Brooklands Aerodrome were destroyed by fire on Saturday afternoon, and with them eight aeroplanes and a number of engines. Thirty-two other machines ware wheeled out of the danger zone and saved.

The owners, Brooklands (Weybridge). Ltd , state that the loss is fully covered by insurance including loss of income. Plans have already been under discussion for the rapid replacement of the buildings by more modern accommodation, and it is expected that this will be ready before the commencement of the new year. , The Company have obtained the use of two hangars, with the result that no employee will lose his Job. The destroyed machines are also to be replaced.

The fire broke out at 12.45 pm in a repairs shop in the corner of one of the hangars of the Brooklands Flying School. Ten men there managed escape, but one man's arm was burnt. In a very short time the whole of the end the hangar was burning. Soon another hangar became involved.

The aerodrome fire-fighting equipment was quickly brought to work, and a call for assistance was answered promptly by brigades from Walton, Byfleet and Woking. Three hours later nothing remained of the hangars but brick walls, while the whole of the floor space of both structures was a mass of smouldering debris.

Immediately the fire hooter had sounded scores of people assisted in saving the aeroplanes which were threatened. Many the machines had their petrol tanks filled, and eight blew up, throwing streams of burning petrol in all directions.

"Parts of the timber roof came down within ten minutes," said a mechanic. "We were terrified of the petrol pump at the opposite corner to the fire. It must have contained 2,000 gallons of petrol. The rescue work was risky because many the machines, with petrol tanks filled, were alight as we dragged them out; but we were too excited to think of that."

With the wind blowing towards the aerodrome club house, there was at one time danger of the fire spreading, and anxiety was felt lest it should involve some petrol pumps fed from underground tanks. The electric power main ran through the burnt-out hangars, and the supply to the club and other hangars was cut off. Later members dined in the club by candle light."

The above newspaper report states that eight aircraft destroyed. A later check confirmed that the loss was six aircraft in total. A later report in "Flight Magazine" 29/10/36 confirms the loss figure of six:

"'Business as Usual
DESPITE the fire which broke out on Saturday and caused a considerable amount of damage, the Brooklands Flying Club put in some fifteen hours' flying on Sunday. Business is, in fact, going on as usual, and, though the offices were burnt, telephonic communication has been restored. This fire started under the engine shop from a cause that is, as yet, unexplained, and spread very rapidly so that the first large hangar was ablaze within a very few minutes and the second hangar soon followed.

Members, instructors and mechanics demonstrated great loyalty and courage in removing all machines save six. The rescued craft were housed, through the generosity of Mr. Maxwell Muller, the American director of Vickers, in this company's flight shed. It is more than a pity that the engine shop should have suffered, since this was one of the best in the country, outside the repair shops of manufacturers'

Five of the six aircraft lost were...
G-EBVA: Avro 594 Avian Mk.III
G-EBXE: Avro 594 Avian Mk.III
G-ADGM: Avro 504N
G-ACLI: Miles M.2 Hawk
G-ABVJ: De Havilland DH.83 Fox Moth
...plus one other (as-yet unidentified) aircraft

Registration G-ABVJ cancelled 3.12.37 due to "destruction or permanent withdrawl from use of aircraft"

Sources:

1. Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 26 October 1936
2. The Scotsman - Monday 26 October 1936
3. Flight magazine, 29 October 1936
4. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Accb1939.htm
5. http://afleetingpeace.org/index.php/component/content/article/15-aeroplanes/76-register-gb-g-ab
6. http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/dh83.pdf
7. https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/HistoricalMaterial/G-ABVJ.pdf
8. http://www.airhistory.org.uk/gy/reg_G-A3.html
9. http://www.airhistory.org.uk/dh/p040.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
22-May-2009 12:58 XLerate Added
05-Jun-2009 19:34 angels one five Updated
11-Dec-2011 19:56 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
11-Dec-2011 19:59 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
18-Mar-2013 14:50 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Damage, Narrative]
08-Dec-2017 20:53 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
28-Mar-2020 23:09 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
28-Mar-2020 23:09 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time]
28-Mar-2020 23:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
28-Mar-2020 23:11 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport]

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