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History Air Crashes of WWII

Allied - Hurricane P3172

REF NR: 1914

The tragic tale of a forced landing that went horribly wrong and led to the loss of both plane and the young Pilot Officer J A J Davey. His Tangmere Hurricane P3172 from No 1 Squadron had been scrambled earlier in the day, to intercept a large bombing raid comprising 56 Junkers Ju88s, 25 Heikel He111s and escorts of 65 ME BF110s and 30 ME 109s, all on their way to Weymouth and Portland. The aerial combat that followed saw the Hurricane sustain fairly bad damage from a Bf109, forcing the Hurricane to look for a safe place to put down.  The place chosen to try for a landing was at what now is Sandown High School grounds. Several versions of what followed next exist.

The approach went well according to one account, being flat and level, but the aircraft overran and had to avoid a young boy in a hedgerow. It then hit a bank and tipped on its nose.  At this point, it seems the pilot tried in vain to get the canopy open but fire quickly engulfed the whole of the aircraft. Thus by all accounts it the courageous effort by the Pilot Officer J A J Davey to avoid the young boy, that ultimately killed him.

An interesting account from the young boy can be read in Wight Air Wrecks by A T Gilliam. Pilot Officer J A J Davey is the only WWII pilot who was shot down over the island to be buried locally.

Note: All images are merely representative of the aircraft and not specific.