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Remembering the Collision Between Two RAF Mustangs Over Stoke Park 80 Years Ago

Published on: 18 Apr, 2023
Updated on: 21 Apr, 2023

By David Rose

The 80th anniversary of an unfortunate collision of two RAF Mustang aircraft over Stoke Park on April 17, 1943, in which both pilots died, has been remembered with me recording a podcast about the event.

Yesterday (Monday, April 17), I met up with Andrew Denyer who interviewed me for the Wings Aviation Museum, that’s based near Gatwick Airport and close to Balcombe and Handcross villages in West Sussex.

David Rose (left) and Andrew Denyer pose for a selfie while recording a podcast remembering the RAF Mustangs collision over Stoke Park on April 17, 1943.

I knew about this Second World War crash, in which debris from the two aircraft littered parts of Stoke Park as well as nearby homes, as my had dad told me about it.

When my editor at the Surrey Advertiser, Graham Collyer, and I wrote our book Guildford The War Years 1939-45 we included this story, with a number of people adding their memories of witnessing the collision in the sky and visiting Stoke Park soon afterwards.

Andrew has quickly edited the interview and the first part is now available to listen to on the Wings Aviation Museum’s website.

We also took the opportunity to visit the concrete anti-tank traps, known as dragon’s teeth, and a rifle pit in the woodland near the Spectrum Leisure Centre and also to Stoke Recreation Ground where there is a bricked-up wartime air-raid shelter.

We talked about these, focusing on wartime defensive positions that were installed in Guildford in the event of an invasion by the Nazis as well as discussing Guildford’s air-raid shelters. These will be featured in a follow-up podcast.

The display table at the Guildford Model Engineering Society’s open day remembering the mid-air collision.

Also, at the Stoke Park-based Guildford Model Engineering Society’s open morning last week an information table was put together by Bill and Penny Read with details supplied by historian Frank Phillipson remembering the 80th anniversary of the collision.

The society says that as far as they can find out there is no permanent memorial in Stoke Park gardens, adding: “The resilience of the Guildford residents is clear from the first hand witness accounts published in the book Guildford The War Years 1939-1945, by Graham Collyer and David Rose.”

I thank the society for also remembering and making known once more this unfortunate incident.

See also, my podcast interview with Andrew Denyer in October 2019 on the 75th anniversary of the crash of American military aircraft, “Lilly Bell II” that crashed in Jacobs Well, Guildford.

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