Aircraft crash in Hove, 1938

This photograph shows an airplane that crashed into a house on the corner of Lyndhurst Road and Holland Road in Hove. The accident took place on 24 January 1938 and this photograph was published by the Brighton and Hove Herald newspaper later that week.

What can we see?

The plane

The plane is a Gloster Gladiator. Brought into active service in 1937, it was the last biplane fighter used by the Royal Air Force.

The plane crashed after it failed to recover from a spin at 4,000 feet.

Roof damage

The roof of this house was damaged by the plane, and the occupants can be seen looking out.

The damage seems relatively minor given that the house was struck by a rapidly descending plane. This is probably because the aircraft was built from light materials: wood and a canvas covering.

Police investigation

Police are on the scene investigating the accident. It appears that the garden fence has taken the most damage.

Crowd

The incident has attracted a curious crowd. The man with the bicycle is wearing an apron and may well have been on his way to work.

The pilot

The pilot, Sergeant Ernest Harry Lomx, cannot be seen here. He bailed out of the plane as it lost control and landed in Beaconsfield Road in Brighton.

He only suffered minor injuries and was treated in the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

Lomax resumed his flying career as part of Number 3 Squadron of the RAF, based at Kenley in Surrey. The squadron switched to using the Hawker Hurricane aircraft later that year.

Sadly, Lomax was killed in 1940 after his Hurricane went into an uncontrolled spin during a training run in Folkestone. His plane crashed into the local golf course and he was killed at the age of 28.

Author: Charles Paddick, Collection Assistant

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