WWII plane crash in Hove

Park Crescent bomb damage

During WW2 I lived near the top of High Park Avenue. About 150 yards away at the east of Park Close, where houses were built after the war ended, a British war plane crash-landed. Although I tried to find some reference to this incident in these pages, up until now, the search has been unsuccessful. As far as I can remember, it was a Wellington bomber, but does anybody have more information?

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  • Hi Ken, you can zoom in on aerial maps of the area from 1946 here: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/geography/researchprojects/airphotos-historic/1940/index.html

    Click on the “view, download and print scanned versions of air photographs from the 1940s”

    Use the zoom feature on the right and then pick the plane icon right over Hangleton, but there is no evidence of remains of a plane crash by 1946!

    The Hangleton link is here: https://www.sussex.ac.uk/geography/researchprojects/sussexairphotos/1940/17-5063.jpg


    By Peter Groves (06/04/2022)
  • Thank you Peter, I shall follow your tip. The place where the plane crashed was waste land during the war at the top of Park Close and was built on afterwards. Where Amberly Estate now is, was in those days still farm land and we kids used to enjoy going between the sheep and the shepard had a hut on wheels. At the top of High Park Avenue, (to the north), there was a golf -links and to the east a short pathway to Hangleton Park, which was little more than a field which stretched across almost to the Dyke Railway. Between park and golflinks were rolls of barbed wire, meant too hold up the enemy in case of invasion. I cannot remember how often I was told off for tearing my clothes, (they were rationed then), while playing there.

    By Kenneth Ingle (07/04/2022)
  • Thank you Peter,
    The air view shows Hangleton as I knew it. High Park Avenue was the end of the town, towards the north. The black stripe which runs upwards from Hangleton Road was a hedge which was once the border between two land owners. To the north of Lark Hill is Hangleton Park and the black line going east on the northern side, is where the barbed wire was placed. The thin white line going northwards is to my memory, the old Dyke Railway track, which after the removal of the bridge over Hangleton Rd., was used as a foot-way up to Devils Dyke. I do not know if anybody is really interested in this, but it was kind of you to give me the tip.

    By Kenneth Ingle (07/04/2022)
  • Hi Ken, I lived on the Hangleton council estate from 1957 ( a two year old then). We used to play in an old WWII concrete gun emplacement which was located just 50 or so yards north of St. Helens Church, and I wonder if you know any more about it? We also use to play on the old track bed of the Dyke Railway, I revisited it with my young son in 2008 and you can read all about exploring it and its history here https://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/places/placetrans-2/the-dyke-railway/the-dyke-railway

    There are 14 parts, click the tab on the right to each part.

    The golf course you mention is Brighton & Hove Golf Club, even in the late 1950’s it came right down to Hangleton Way. They sold off the lower land (9 holes) in the late 50’s and early 60’s and are now a 9 hole course. Take care, Peter.

    By Peter Groves (07/04/2022)
  • Hello Peter,
    I was 9½ years of age when WW2 ended and my war memories are like a jigsaw puzzle, where some pieces are missing, so please excuse me, when I an unable to give you all the information you might like. I can only use the facts as I remember them. It was surprising however,to read, that somebody doubted the existence of the Dyke railway. As something not considered to be necessary at the beginning of WW2 and metal for making weapons was in short supply, the rails, the iron bridge over Hangleton road and railings from parks and people’s gardens were all taken for what was called the “war effort.”
    Whether the large square blocks of concrete, which could be found at various places in the countryside were gun emplacements is beyond my knowledge. The Homeguard definitely did a lot of practising in the district. We used to laugh a bit, when some of them marched up our road with broomsticks over their shoulders, because they did not have enough rifles for everybody. Also at times, commonwealth troops had their camps there.
    Living up on the hill as we did, we had a fairly good view over the town. During the daytime, we could see the barrage balloons over Portslade gas works, down by Shoreham harbour. At night time, the Bofors shot, what looked like red balls of fire, into the air when planes were attacking.
    Going northwards from the edge of the town, along the old railway track, on the eastern side, was a field where shooting practice took place. In addition to the silver paper dropped by bombers, and pieces of shrapnel which we found, another thing we collected were the empty cartridges from this shooting range.
    Later, the dyke railway was a very good place for collecting Blackberries, they grew along the disused embankment and our mother made Blackberry and Apple jam to save using our rationing cards. As you will know, some rationing went on until 1954.
    cheers for now, Ken.

    By Kenneth Ingle (08/04/2022)
  • Hello Kenneth,
    You mention above that you were 9 and a half at the end of WW2. Elsewhere, on another page that I can’t find, I believe you said that you walked across the area in front of the Grenadier on your way to the Knoll school. Would this have been to the Infant’s or Senior parts of the Knoll School? I think I am just a few months younger than you. If you were at the Infant’s school, it seems possible that we might have been in the same class(es). It was a long time ago and I can only remember a few names from then and, unfortunately, not yours.
    I remember the clock “tower” at the Hangleton Road end of Applesham Avenue although I never saw it working. I remember, briefly, the Dyke railway bridge over Hangleton Road. I seem to remember that the road dipped under the bridge at that point. Perhaps someone can confirm or correct me on this point? This is one of the haziest parts of my memories. I remember, also, the bridge where the Dyke railway crossed the Old Shoreham Road. The railway went under the road close to what was, or became, Harringtons (don’t know what became of that).
    I lived on the Knoll estate (Wilfrid Road) at that time.

    By David Robertson (28/04/2022)
  • Hello David,
    To your comment from (28/04/2022), I went both to the Infant and Senior, or (Secondary Modern Grammar), Knoll school and in-between to Ellen street juniors. I did know somebody at the school with your name, but like yourself, over the years many names have been forgotten. Also, there were A, B & C, classes for each age group, so that some of us only met on the playground. Because I left Hove at fifteen, I never saw any of my school-mates, or scouts from the 11th Hove group again. The only name I am really sure of was a Trevor Howard, who lived at the bottom of Applesham Ave 2 or 3 doors away from the Butcher’s shop , we used to play football up at Hangleton Park. I can remember though, that between the Grenadier and Stapley Road, ther was a row of shops and a private school on the north side and just before Stapley Road, on the south side, there were swings for small children and also a Kitchen which supplied school meals.
    Where Harringtons was, at least at the last time I visited the town, there is still a car company, or motor works, I believe the name starts with Ca— but I do not know the rest. If I remember properly, there was certainly a dip in Hangleton Road, as you mentioned, but this was made level after the bridge was removed. I almost lost a shoe in the warm tar when trying to cross the road when it was renewed. At the time I was at the Infants’ there was still a mound of earth on the north side, where the railway embankment had been. All the best,

    By Kenneth Ingle (01/05/2022)
  • Hello Ken,
    Thanks for your interesting reply, particularly re; the Knoll Infants School which I attended from 1941 to 1944. Testing my memory to its extreme, my class teachers were, Miss Dimbelin (Yr. 1) , Mrs Chappell (I think, Yr. 2), Miss Arrowsmith (Yr. 3). Miss Lelliot was the headmistress. I then went to Portland Road (West Hove) Juniors.
    I remember the Hangleton Road shops and private school as you have described. I vaguely remember the swings and strongly remember the kitchen at the top of Stapley Road which supplied school meals. If the wind was in the “wrong” direction we used to hurry past the kitchen to avoid the powerful pong.
    As I recall, during the war, the area between Martin Road and the section of Godwin Road which joins Stapley Road was mainly an open grassed, recreation area. Also in this area was a reservoir – I think – and a Scout hut.
    I never attended the Knoll Senior school so I would have felt a bit of a fraud if I had tried to become an Old Knollite.

    Thanks for the memories. Best wishes.

    By David Robertson (10/05/2022)
  • Thanks David, your mention of Miss Lelliot ( could it be Elliot?), who was the headmistress the Knoll Infants School has filled in a missing space in my memory. To my shame, I do not remember the teachers Miss Dimbelin, Mrs Chappell, or Miss Arrowsmith, although we must have been there at the same time.. What I do remember, was that children were made to stand alone in the front right-hand corner of the class room, as a punishment for doing something wrong and that one of the teachers had a great fear of the war was going to be as long as the “Great War” was. She could not have known then, that it would be even 2 years longer.
    I do not see why you should feel a fraud for trying to be an Old Knollite. I was born in London and left Hove six months after leaving school, but will always feel a connection to the town. It is where I grew up and will always remain a part of my life!
    Cheers for now, Ken.

    By Kenneth Ingle (12/05/2022)
  • I haven’t seen mention of the bridge over West Way, which was probably removed at the same time as that over Hangleton Road and left an embankment for many years on the north side, I think where the flats now are to the immediate west of Hangleton Library.

    By Geoffrey Stoner (17/10/2022)
  • Hello Geoffrey,
    The Dyke Railway closed in January 1939. In April 1941, when I started going to the Knoll Infant School, the bridge over Hangleton Road then still existed. I can remember seeing it being demolished. However I have no recollection of seeing the bridge over West Way, although we children used to play along that part of the old rail track which ran along behind the back gardens of some houses nearly all the way up to Lark Hill, until reaching the countryside, where there were some shooting ranges on the left hand side, just after passing Hangleton Park.
    I assume therefore that the West Way bridge was removed at the same time as the rails were, that started soon after the closure, but any eyewitnesses would now be about 90years old. May be the library can help you.
    Cheers for now,

    By Kenneth Ingle (18/10/2022)

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