Mystery shrouds the fate of two crashed aircraft

THIS WEEK IN 1976: Big crowds for the big band sound

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Two weeks ago I mentioned two aircraft crashes off our coastline. One was off Selsey Bill, the other between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

On the evening of January 23, 1939, an RAF plane came down at 6.20pm while flying over Spithead from Manston to St Catherine’s, Isle of Wight.

The RAF launched a search assisted by destroyers returning from a training exercises in the English Channel at the back of the island.

There was no information forthcoming from York where the plane and its crew were stationed.

Despite much research it seems neither wreckage nor the crew was ever found. One of them, Pilot Officer Allan Miles, must have come from Portsmouth as the memorial I found to him is in the Garrison Church, Old Portsmouth.

If anyone has any more information please let me know.

The following day another RAF aircraft, this time from Thorney Island, crashed into the sea in flames off Selsey Bill, a scene which was witnessed by children.

An RAF bomber was later seen circling the area about two miles out and the Selsey lifeboat was launched. Four destroyers also helped in the search.

It was believed the plane was on a training flight surrounded by many other aircraft in the sky at the same time.

Nothing was found and all naval ships returned to harbour at 6pm.

Again I can find nothing to say this aircraft or its crew were ever found.