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Author Topic: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944  (Read 32080 times)

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Offline unfairytale

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Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
« Reply #29 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?
When you've got your back to wall, there's only one thing to do and that's to turn around and fight. (John Major)
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Offline lutonlad

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Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
« Reply #28 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.
If it cant be mended with a hammer, it must be an electrical fault, bash it anyway.

Offline lutonlad

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Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
« Reply #27 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.
If it cant be mended with a hammer, it must be an electrical fault, bash it anyway.

Offline Bilgerat

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Just by way of filling in a gap:

This is a B26 Marauder



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
"I did not say that the French will not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Lord St Vincent

ealdwita

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Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
« Reply #25 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.

Offline Lyn L

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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.
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life tryi

Offline Paul

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  • Batpigs'n'Boobies.. ;)
Posted on behalf of Maid of Kent,


Maybe it's big horse I'm a Londoner. :{

Offline Maid of Kent

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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

Offline Paul

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Maybe it's big horse I'm a Londoner. :{

Offline Maid of Kent

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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.

seafordpete

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Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
« Reply #19 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.


WildWeasel

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Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2008, 00:36:38 »


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

WildWeasel

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Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
« Reply #16 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

WildWeasel

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Re: Mid-air Crash of Two B-26 Marauders over Gillingham - June 6, 1944
« Reply #15 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

 

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