Rare plane found in Charterhouse

PUBLISHED: 12:30 29 July 2011

De-Havilland Hornet

De-Havilland Hornet

Archant

PARTS of an extremely rare twentieth century fighter plane have been found by an aviation archaeology enthusiast near Cheddar.

Chris Collins, aged 39, found the crash site of a De-Havilland Hornet F1 PX229 in a field a mile north of Charterhouse.

Chris, of Wick St Lawrence, was issued with a licence by the MOD to recover the remains of the plane which crashed in November 1946 on its way to Weston from Hampshire.

He was joined by his partner Tina Wood and members of North Gwent Aviation Society, Gareth Jones, Glyn Morgan and Steve Bretton who all helped to recover parts of the plane in April this year.

Chris has had to wait now until he could release the information on the find because he was awaiting confirmation from the MOD.

He said: “The plane is extremely rare.

“The period of 1946-1950 was the pinnacle of fast-piston aircraft engines.

“The plane, designed during World War Two, came out too late to be used in the war however the aircraft type was used fighting in Malaya and various other early post war conflicts.

“Because the jet age started so fast these aircraft were all destroyed and there is nothing else except a few parts world wide.”

The plane was flown by Lieutenant Commander Thomas Bentley who was travelling to Weston where they were converting and testing aircraft for use with torpedoes.

However, the day the aircraft flew to Weston weather conditions were poor and the pilot became lost.

He flew through the clouds and clipped some trees which resulted in the plane flying into the other side of the valley into the hillside.

Chris said: “I have got fragments of the engine which were all scattered across the hillside.

“I am very pleased to have found it and I would like to give it to museums.

“It belongs to Somerset and should stay here.”

Chris has been investigating air crashes for 25 years after his grandmother told him about a German plane that crashed in Portbury.

He said: “Since then the obsession started and I have got quite a few bits and pieces.

“I like to find small pieces and put them in a box to show them off.

“My dream find would be a propeller blade.”

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