Aviation => Aviation Disasters => Topic started by: WildWeasel on November 14, 2008, 22:13:54

Title: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: WildWeasel on November 14, 2008, 22:13:54
Some time during WWII an aircraft crashed into Corporation Road in lower Gillingham
You can see several re-built houses on the East & West side of the road which are a more modern style than the surrounding Terraces
My father lived in the area and recalls seeeing it come down..He was born in 1935 so would have been a young lad at the time
I have heard that it was an American Bomber but this doesnt make sense as as far as I am aware the Americans were based in East Anglia so why would one be this far south....Unless it was lost / Damaged trying to follow the Kent Coast line back
Anyone know anything about this.....


WW
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Paul on November 14, 2008, 22:24:37
This End ???
http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCC&cp=sjz4qph1csnv&style=b&lvl=2&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=24345079&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&where1=corporation%20road&encType=1
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Guest on November 14, 2008, 23:08:37
It wasn't unusual for bombers to land at different airfields if there was bad weather at there own airfield or they had been damaged and needed to get down quick. It could have been trying to make for Rochester or West Malling.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: WildWeasel on November 15, 2008, 00:06:32
Nice Link Paul...I think I can see which houses were destroyed as the rear layout is a bit different from those either side...Excellent...
Will take a few Photo's  and try and workout exactly where the plane hit....
Merc, Victory Pier development looks pretty good... I grew up at the bottom of Milner Rd opposite the gates of the former Akzo Nobel ( Originally Novodels ) Chemical factory...Nice to see it re-developed...Mum & Dad still live there so I am there a lot...
WW
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: WildWeasel on November 15, 2008, 00:09:39
If it was a US plane damaged on the way out it may well have been trying to make West Malling... Rochester was probably too short and at 450 ft ASL not an option...
Always been fascinated about this so hopefully will uncover the facts...

WW
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: WildWeasel on November 15, 2008, 00:21:37
This is bugging me now keep looking at the arial shot.....Gonna go and count the houses and pinpoint this exactly...
I reckon I can see where it hit on the East side of Corporation Rd by the slightly different shape of the rear of the houses and different roof color...Trying to see the same on the opposite side but its not so clear....

This is good stuff !
WW
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: WildWeasel on November 15, 2008, 01:07:51
OK... I found it :-)
Can sleep now...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/43/a3089243.shtml

It was a B26..... June 6 1944  D-Day !! So what I was told was true...
Seems that two collided and the other one crashed in the Grange Road area.....
Going to track down the crash sites for the record...

This is an excellent example of what can be done via Internet Archives....Ok I spent a few hours on this but got exactly what I wanted...
Fantastic....

WW
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: seafordpete on November 15, 2008, 09:29:42
I have heard that it was an American Bomber but this doesnt make sense as as far as I am aware the Americans were based in East Anglia so why would one be this far south
WW
Remember that bombing raids were made into France as well as the fact that normally a different route back was used to that out so  Southern Germany raids would come back over France. Lot of crashes on the North Downs Ridge along by Hollingbourne, numerous on the South Downs near Beachy Head as well as in the sea.
Pete
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: colin haggart on November 15, 2008, 13:10:14

(http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk90/colinhaggart/PlanecrashWW2.jpg)
(http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk90/colinhaggart/PlanecrashWW22.jpg)
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Frustrated Ferret on November 15, 2008, 19:18:37
The B26 Marauder Bomber started service in England with the US 8th Aiirforce, when the invasion was being planned the Americans decided to move the 9th Airforce from southern europe to england, and have the 8th AF concerntrate on strategic bombing, and use the the 9th AF for tactical bombing.

In 1943 the 9th AF took over the four B26 groups (225 aircraft) serving with the 8th AF and added these to their complement.  As the B26 was only a 2 engined bomber they were based mainly in Essex. Bases include Great Dunmow, Rivenhall, Earls Colne, Dunmow, Ongar, Boreham, Birch, Boxted, and Andrews Field (Great Sailing
).  Andrews Field was the first base constructed in the UK by US Army Air Corp personal ( the USAF was not formed until after WW2) and is the only US base in the UK to be named after a person, its named after Colonel Andrews who was to be the bases first CO, but died when his plane to the UK crashed in Greenland.

The Marauder was 'a bitch to fly' and know as the Baltimore Whore (after the town in the US where they were originally built), or the 'Widow Maker'.

It would appear that these two aircraft were on a mission to France in support of the invasion on the day the crashed.

I have a great respect for 'Marauder Men' two of my mums elder cousins married them and back in the 70's when they used to visit the Uk thier storys used to impress me a great deal.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Riding With The Angels on November 15, 2008, 19:23:01
The 394th's mission on D Day was bombing of Gun Positions at Cherbourg where most other units where primarily sweeping the beaches at Omaha beach.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: WildWeasel on November 15, 2008, 22:03:31
Excellent stuff !

From just a memory yesterday I now know so much more... This is powerfull...

Talked to my father about this today... He lived in Parr Avenue Gillingham and saw this crash happen... He recalls being woken up early morning ( This was June so it would have been light for an hour or so by then )  The B26 that crashed into Corporation Road passed low over his house.... He was 9 years old at the time...but remembers that it was on fire and lit up the whole house..
Typical as kids in those days they ran to the crash site... Its very close.... He remembers seeing the buildings destroyed and fires which " made the garden wall Glow red.."

The B26 is a large aircraft.... I am surprised that the damage done is so small.... Probably would have been far worse if the Bombs it carried had gone off....  As this was D-Day I can only assume that they where part of a force to bomb the beaches in Normandy to clear the way for the invasion.... Fascinating stuff
MOD police and ( I suspect ) EOD where on scene pretty quickly to take care of un-exploded bombs

I have wondered about this for years.... Now have the facts...

WW
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Riding With The Angels on November 15, 2008, 22:12:24
Can't remember where I read it earlier but I am sure it said that they took of around 0200 on that day for the first mission so were probably on their way back when this happened.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: WildWeasel on November 15, 2008, 22:21:17
Yeah
That would make sense....  Maybe damaged with a full bomb load and trying to make it back...
But from what I have learned crews would never try to land with a bomb load as it would just make a bad situation one hell of  a lot worse
Normal practice was to lose the 'Load" and try to get back home with low weight...
We will probably never know why these guys did what they did.... But it happened ...
WW
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: WildWeasel on November 20, 2008, 21:59:58
My mate Sharon....She's a Gillingham/Rainham girl so I told her about what I had found RE The crash .Turns out a relation of hers " Aunt Jess " lived in one of the houses that was destroyed in the crash.... She has a press cutting with an interview which she is going to scan and send to me... Excellent...
I now need to find out where the other aircraft came down... All I know so far is that it was in Grange Road.... Someone must know something about it...


WW
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: WildWeasel on November 21, 2008, 23:31:02
Yeah,
Now I found out a bit more... My mates lad came over this evening and the way he remembers is that his "aunt" lived in Grange road where the other plane came down... This is the one that I cant find out much about...
Getting a copy of a press clipping soon so that will shed some more light on the subject
Fascinating stuff this...
Gonna put together a good post on this topic..

WW
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: WildWeasel on December 29, 2008, 00:36:38
(http://i517.photobucket.com/albums/u335/WildWeasel1963/D_Day_Corporation_Rd.jpg)

Link to a scan of the press article  An interview with a friends relation who lived in one of the houses
Seems like it was Corporation Rd as I believed...Now I need to find out what happened in Grange Road

Pics of the Crash site Later this week

WW
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: rossco on December 29, 2008, 09:52:11
Found this bit about it too - http://forum.armyairforces.com/tm.aspx?high=&m=159130&mpage=1#162327 (http://forum.armyairforces.com/tm.aspx?high=&m=159130&mpage=1#162327)

and here: http://www.footnote.com/image/29432264/gillingham/ (http://www.footnote.com/image/29432264/gillingham/)
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: seafordpete on December 29, 2008, 11:11:08
Searching Civilan War dead by date for 6/6/44 gives
George Thomas Gandon age 45 24 Corporation Rd died same day at St Barts Hosp
Joan Beatrice Taylor age 18 , Fanny Whiitington age 60 & Percy M Williams age 59 all of 61 Corporation Rd -all died there
Looked for a further 3 days nothing else and none for Grange Rd.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Maid of Kent on May 31, 2010, 16:57:24
Someone questioned about where the planes were based and why over Gillingham.

The two involved in this collision were definately from Boreham in Essex, they were making for Normandy/Cherbourg Peninsular. I  looked at the OS Maps I have of both areas and the distance from Boreham, straight down the runway brings one over that part of Gillingham and 'as the B26 flies' its probably no more than 20 miles away. I presume they were marshalling around the Gillingham area from other bases before turning en mass for Normandy.

My interest in this subject is
that I knew, very well ,the area where the other plane fell - the orchard of East Court Farm, East Court Lane, though I wasnt there by that time.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Paul on May 31, 2010, 17:31:40
Is this area the area?

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=east+court+lane&sll=51.31967,0.692482&sspn=0.168651,0.444603&ie=UTF8&hq=east+court+lane&hnear=&ll=51.382174,0.60133&spn=0.081532,0.222301&z=13

Ive had a quick look and its a bit vague.
Someone will find info it :)
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Maid of Kent on June 01, 2010, 16:34:31
On Google go to Junc of Lower Rainham Road and Eastcourt Lane, Enlarge and find The Speirs (why that name!!!!?- has no relevence to the surrounding area's history). The Barn like buildings now there where built on the site of the main Barn of East Court Farm. The Bomber fell, mainly behind that in what is now their back gardens blowing a hole in the back of the barn. You will get a go0d idea if you look on goole earth. Another chunk fell against the Drawing room window on the extreem west of East Court farm. Some also in the one time orchard on the south side and bits of men and machine scattered all over the place
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Paul on June 01, 2010, 18:15:13
Posted on behalf of Maid of Kent,


(http://i297.photobucket.com/albums/mm223/Paulwp/AerialViewofFarm.jpg)
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Lyn L on June 01, 2010, 18:50:57
Ooh , and to think my friend lived in the first 'new' barn in that pic until about 3 yrs ago, I'll have to tell her the history and what went on in her back garden.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: ealdwita on August 03, 2010, 16:52:09
On June 6th 1944 two B-26 Marauders on route to France suffered a mid air collision and crash in Gillingham, Kent. The crew of both planes perished as well as four civilians on the ground. Less the half an hour later two more B-26 Marauders from the same squadron suffered the same type of accident over Battle, Sussex. Only the pilot of one plane was to survive.  

Flying above Gillingham, Kent at 5:30 am two bombers piloted by Lt Witcher Berger and Lt Claude W Kline collided mid air. Lt Berger?s crew all perished in the resulting crash after trying to jettison it bombs. Unfortunately this plane crashed into homes on Corporation Road in Gillingham resulting in the deaths of four civilians. Lt Kline and his crew all perished in the explosion when their plane crashed into the orchard at the East Court Farm.

Living close to Corporation Road, on Parr Avenue Gillingham was, the then nine year old father of Chris Ford. Mr. Ford recalls being woken up early as the B-26 which crashed close by, passed low over his house. He recalls it as being on fire which lit up the whole house. Typical as kids in those days, they ran to the crash site. It was that close. Mr. Ford remembers seeing the buildings destroyed and fires which "made the garden wall glow red". He was on the site the following day watching them remove the unexploded bombs and remembers seeing the bodies of the airmen. Chris and I had only just began the research for this web site when we realized that another accident very similar to this had occurred above Sussex about an half hour later and had involved two more B-26?s of the same 394th Bombardment Group.

The other B-26 crashed at East Court Farm...
... into the orchard of East Court farm about ? of a mile away killing the pilot 2nd Lieut. Claude W Kline Jnr and his crew Emil F Ostrowsky; Raymond F Sablatura; Joseph Amato; Boris R Selinsky and James F Bechtler. Wreckage was strewn over quite a large area of the orchard. Some landed behind the barn and the resulting explosion blew out the back of the barn. Another large piece landed against the Drawing-room window of the house. The body of Claude W Kline is buried now at the American Cemetery at Cambridge. I understand that the Military removed what they could find of the rest of the crew but Uncle Ken quietly buried ?bits?, when he found them, where they lay and said a quiet prayer. Alas the orchard is no more.

Only my Uncle and Aunt were living there at the time. I had left 8 months before, with my mother. But I went back to stay in August 1944 and was shown the bits of the wreckage that were still there. I was then 8 years old.

Ann Brooker was a young girl living at East Court Farm in Gillingham where one of the planes involved in the mid air crash came down. Ann had only left the farm eight months before the crash.



My grandmother lived in Grange Road at the time, and I vividly remember her telling me about it.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Bilgerat on July 13, 2011, 22:32:12
Just by way of filling in a gap:

This is a B26 Marauder

(http://i941.photobucket.com/albums/ad255/stuartwaters/300px-B_26.jpg)

and here's all you would want to know about the aircraft and it's history

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_B-26_Marauder (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_B-26_Marauder)
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: lutonlad on April 16, 2012, 20:35:23
I have been allowed onto the East Court farm site a couple of times now, and had some interesting finds.Found some spent 50 cal rounds,a radio jack plug.parts of some sort of instrument,as well as a few small metal fragments.It was a pretty moving time finding these remains, knowing the last time they were seen the crew were still alive. We also found some musket balls and some old naval 17th century tunic buttons. I will be going back as we only searched a small area,will let you know if we find anything else.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: lutonlad on April 16, 2012, 20:38:21
Please note the land owner is a personal friend ,and will not allow anyone else on to the land.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: unfairytale on April 16, 2012, 20:43:45
Are the wrecks of downed German aircraft not covered by the 'Protection Of Military Remains act' as British and American aircraft are?
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: lutonlad on April 16, 2012, 22:06:56
We were looking for the naval connection to the land ,we understood it was used as a naval rifle range , hence the buttons, and musket balls.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Maid of Kent on May 05, 2012, 19:36:26
We were looking for the naval connection to the land ,we understood it was used as a naval rifle range , hence the buttons, and musket balls.
Would you enlarge on this statement for me please. Are you refering to the garden of the old house and its adjoining neighbour or the gardens of the Speirs or the field that surrounds all the properties -the bare oblong bound by Grange Rd, East court lane and Lower Rainham rd and the dark green on the far border as seen in  the aerial photo earlier in this topic. Can you tell me where you got the info that it was used as a rifle range - I have never heard that before. In fact if anyone as any information on this site would be most grateful.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Maid of Kent on May 05, 2012, 19:42:57
I forgot to say that last Rememberance Day (2011) I went to Boreham Airfield near Chelmsford where those planes had taken of  just a short while before their tragic end and looked at the names of Kline, Berger and all their comrades and laid a Memorial Cross
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: lutonlad on May 05, 2012, 20:00:26
It is the large field behind the house, bordering
Grange rd/Eastcourt lane.not sure where the naval connection came from. might have been on the forum.however we have found more naval buttons and musket balls.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: lutonlad on May 06, 2012, 23:00:22
Maid of Kent.That was a great thing to do, well done. A great link to this crash is  gillinghambattleb26crash.weebly.com  look at the age and pictures of the crew,it brings a tear to your eyes. Also think it is so good that people still remember those brave young men and civilians today.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: kyn on June 30, 2014, 20:03:22
Due to some technical hitches I have been asked to post the following memories on behalf of new member Dave Smith.

I was awoken at daybreak to the sound of many low flying aircraft overhead. As a 14 year old, “ mad keen” on aircraft, I was up and sash window raised high, peering up into the sky for a sight of these aircraft. Unfortunately, low “ skud” cloud prevented any sighting but suddenly, a “crump” from above and within a few seconds a B26 (Martin Marauder) broke through the cloud to the North East (my window faced North) in an ever steepening dive before disappearing vertically behind trees in the cemetery behind our house. A huge explosion ensued, followed by a column of black smoke. From the corner of my eye, I was aware of another aircraft appearing and disappearing to the North West. The first B26 had come down in the Grange Road orchards area and I later heard that the other aircraft, also a B26, had crashed into some gardens/houses in lower Gillingham. After school that day, I cycled along Grange Road and found one large orchard with “no entry” signs - but the crash/crater must have been too far in to see anything.                                                                           
What a sad end to 14 young American lives, so far from home.   “We will remember them.”           
Dave Smith
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Bilgerat on June 30, 2014, 21:38:33
                                                                         
What a sad end to 14 young American lives, so far from home.   “We will remember them.”           
Dave Smith

Amen to that. When I hear people complaining about Americans, I always point out that they owe their freedom to, amongst others, the 26,000 young Americans who gave their lives in the air above Europe.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Maid of Kent on April 10, 2018, 15:53:07
We were looking for the naval connection to the land ,we understood it was used as a naval rifle range , hence the buttons, and musket balls.
Would you enlarge on this statement for me please. Are you refering to the garden of the old house and its adjoining neighbour or the gardens of the Speirs or the field that surrounds all the properties -the bare oblong bound by Grange Rd, East court lane and Lower Rainham rd and the dark green on the far border as seen in  the aerial photo earlier in this topic. Can you tell me where you got the info that it was used as a rifle range - I have never heard that before. In fact if anyone as any information on this site would be most grateful.

I now this is slightly off the subject but I have just come across a photo which might answer this question of the Naval connection which is, hopefully, attached. All that is written on the back is 'East Court 1920' I have no idea who took the photo, nor do I recognise the handwriting so no clues. In the 1890s my great grandparents rented the land belong to East Court before buying the house and land in 1917. They also took in Naval Officers as lodgers later during this period - say just pre WW1 so may be one of them 'asked' and was done on a regular basis. On other might have been a 'one off' - there are a lot of men in the photo
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Maid of Kent on April 10, 2018, 15:55:16
So sorry - that didn't work. I'll try this
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Maid of Kent on June 06, 2018, 21:57:01
Today, 6th June 2014 is the 74th Anniversary of this very sad event. The death of those 12 young Americans, who were all under 25years old has been much on my mind today.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: lutonman1 on July 08, 2018, 21:44:50
The strange thing about the air crashes that happened, was the security. Several air crashes in the Medway area, I never heard of, until after the war. I never heard what happened to the flying fortress,
I saw flying low over Rochester airport, firing a green flare. I just assumed it carried on to Gravesend airport.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Maid of Kent on July 11, 2018, 16:25:06
In 1977 a book entitled 'The War Dispatches. World War ll as it happened from the Pages of the Daily Mail' was published (15.5" x 11") consisting entirely of facsimile pages of the Daily Mail. On page for the Daily Mail, Wednesday June 7 1944 in 4th column (just above Newmarket Racing Results) is the following;

 "Planes Collide over Town

Two planes collided over Gillingham, Kent early yesterday. One an American Aircraft, crashed on a row of houses killing three people. The other fell in an orchard, causing an explosion.

Mrs Fanny Whittingham, aged 60 and Miss Joan Taylor, aged 19, were killed in their beds and Mr George Gandon, aged 45, died later in hospital. Five of the planes crews were found dead"


We now know that all the crew members died. Strangely, there is no mention of the mid-air collision of another 2 planes, also from Boreham, Essex which crashed an hour later at Battle in East Sussex when only one airman survived.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Dave Smith on July 12, 2018, 15:24:50
Maid of Kent. Please read my eyewitness account in KHF Wartime Memories of the immediate result of the collision as these Marauders rapidly descended. They were in the clouds, so there could be no "eyewitness" account of the actual collision but definitely "earwitness" by me. There were further comments by Members who knew which orchard in Grange it was that I saw the enormous explosion. When I originally reported this many, many moons ago- before KHF- a chap who was writing the history of USAF Bomber Groups operating from  airfields in Essex, wrote to me with details of all those American Airmen who perished on that sad day.
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Bilgerat on July 12, 2018, 21:42:44
This page tells you everything you might want to know about this tragedy...

http://gillinghambattleb26crash.weebly.com/ (http://gillinghambattleb26crash.weebly.com/)
Title: Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
Post by: Maid of Kent on July 14, 2018, 17:15:42
I know the exact orchard and where it fell, as my uncle Kenneth Coxe was probably the first on the scene as it landed on his family property and he was already up ( preparing to go and milk the cows) and it happened only a few seconds walk from East Court Farmhouse but there was nothing he could do.