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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 231468
Last updated: 2 December 2021
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Date:22-JUL-1953
Time:day
Type:Miles M.65 Gemini Mk 1A
Owner/operator:Leonard Reginald Snook
Registration: G-AKHE
MSN: 6509
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Hilsea, near Portsmouth City Airport, Portsmouth, Hampshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Take off
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Portsmouth Airport, Portsmouth, Hampshire
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Miles M.65 Gemini Mk.1A: First civil registered (C of R 11918/1; C of A 9769) on 23/9/47 as G-AKHE to Miles Aircraft Ltd., Woodley, Reading, Berkshire. Registration cancelled upon sale 3/10/47.

Sold on and re-registered (C of R 11918/2) on 10/10/47 to Walter Hutchinson, Stanbridge Earls, near Romsey, Hampshire. Registration cancelled 8/11/50 upon sale.

Sold on and re-registered (C of R R1992/3; new C of A A1992) to Hampshire School of Flying Ltd., Southampton Airport, Southampton, Hampshire. Registration cancelled upon sale 27/9/51.

Sold on and re-registered (C of R R1992/4) 2/10/51 to Leonard Reginald Snook, Southsea, Hampshire.

Written off (destroyed) 22/7/53 when crashed at Hilsea, near Portsmouth City Airport, Portsmouth, Hampshire. According to a contemporary newspaper report: ("Portsmouth Evening News" - Thursday 23 July 1953)

"HILSEA PLANE CRASH CASUALTIES.
THREE persons are in hospital - one of them seriously injured - following a plane crash near the Portsmouth Airport last evening. The plane had only just taken off from the airfield. It was struck by a strong gust of wind, side-slipped, and crashed, turning over twice.

Seriously injured was Mr. Leonard R. Snook (50), of Havelock Road, Southsea, pilot of the aircraft - a Miles Gemini, of which he was the owner. In crashing he narrowly avoided the railway line and a row of pre-fabricated bungalows near Hilsea gasworks.

The passengers were:-
Mr. P. Vine (32), a Havant butcher, living at 376, Havant Road, Farlington, Portsmouth.
Mr. Stanley Fairbanks (31), of 66, Cambrook House, London, N.W.5. and
Donald Hunter (17), of 6, Raleigh Road, Feltham, Middlesex.

All four were taken to the Royal Portsmouth Hospital, where they received treatment for head injuries. Hunter and Fairbanks were admitted, and their condition was stated this morning to be "comfortable." Snook who was seriously injured, was transferred to Odstock Hospital, Salisbury; and Vine was allowed to go home.

Mr. J. Reynolds (19), of 41, Cranleigh Road, Feltham, Middlesex, another member of the party, told the Evening News: "We are on holiday at Hayling Island, and were asked if we would like to go up in a plane for a pleasure trip. Nine of us came to Portsmouth, but only seven of us went up. We heard that the two who went up first had had a bit of a shake-up, but we did not realize how serious it was, at first, and went up ourselves in another plane."

Among the first on the scene of the accident were Driver L. Drew-Reading (42), of Alcot Road, Copnor, and Fireman R. Johnston, of 2, Felix Road, Gosport. They were waiting in Hilsea siding to take a goods train to Fratton station, and saw the crash.

Mr. Drew-Reading told the Evening News, "Everything happened so quickly. We saw a large plane take off first, and then a smaller one take off after it. When the smaller one was about 60 or 70 feet off the ground it made a left-hand turn, and the wind caught it. It slipped to the ground, and crashed. The plane turned over a couple of times, but it did not catch fire. My fireman and I hurried across and undid the safety belts of the four passengers. We helped one young fellow who was a bit dazed to get out of the plane. He was able to walk. The others we left in the plane because we did not know how serious their injuries were, but if it had caught fire we should have been able to get them out"

Mr. Drew-Reading asked a man with a cycle to go to the nearby signal-box and summon the Fire Brigade and the ambulance service.

A police guard was kept on the wrecked aircraft all night. An inspector from the Ministry of Civil Aviation was expected to arrive in Portsmouth to-day to examine the plane."

Registration G-AKHE cancelled by the Secretary of State, Air Ministry 15/12/53 as "destroyed"

Sources:

1. Portsmouth Evening News - Thursday 23 July 1953 https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/heritage-and-retro/retro/portsmouth-plane-crash-just-missed-gasworks-nostalgia-1357276
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT 219/57: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C414829
3. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT 219/58: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C414830
4. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-AKHE.pdf
5. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?action=printpage;topic=10425.0
6. http://www.hampshireairfields.co.uk/hancrash.html

Media:

The Aviation Photo Company: Miles Gemini &emdash; Miles Gemini G-AKHE

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
16-Dec-2019 21:03 Dr. John Smith Added
16-Dec-2019 21:03 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
22-Feb-2020 18:56 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
14-May-2020 16:14 Anon. Updated [Source]

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