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Thread: A Hawkinge Story...

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    Public Relations ATAG_Lewis's Avatar
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    A Hawkinge Story...

    A short story of Hawkhinge

    Holidaying in Kent a couple years ago the missus and I decided to got to Hawkinge to see the grounds of the old airstrip...When we got there we stumbled on the 'Kent Battle of Britain museum' with 3 full scale model Hurrincanes in the grounds...The museum is pretty good and boasts the 'Most important collection of Battle of Britain artefacts on show in the country'..Well worth a visit if you are near.

    As we looked around the museum the mangled wreck of a Hurricane caught my attention. It had been shot down by a 109 during the battle and was seen by many witnesses in the area to go vertically straight into a road in Brighton clipping a house as it went in. The pilot was killed but no one else injured. A funeral was held at the pilots local town and a burial with plot and marble headstone. At the time there were rumours that the remains of the pilot had not been put in the coffin and sand bags had been used for weight instead and that the crash site had simply been filled in over the wreck in order for the road to be used quickly again. Apparently this was quite common during the battle in the south of England.



    The pilot was Dennis Noble. He was 20 years old



    Eventually, in 1996, Sgt Noble's remains, along with his plane, were dug out thanks to Battle of Britain historian Keith Arnold.

    The bones were sent back up to his home town to be buried in his grave and the wreckage sent to Hawkinge museum. His sister attended the funeral in 1996.





    On reading the information about Sgt Noble I find out that his home town was Retford which is our neighbouring town so I planned that when we got home we would go and see his grave. When we got to the grave yard we realised that it was going to be quite a task to find his site as the grave yard was so huge. After an hour of no luck we went to the vicarage close by to talk to the vicar. He had no idea of the story or of the whereabouts of the BOB pilot in his graveyard and asked us to go and let him know if we had any success in finding it. So off we went again. We decided to have one last look before going and just as we were about to leave I chatted to an elderly woman carrying flowers who knew the story and where the grave was...We found it!

    The grave has written on the front in the marble...

    'One of the Few'



    http://www.kbobm.org/
    Last edited by ATAG_Lewis; Sep-14-2013 at 10:44.
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    Re: A Hawkinge Story...

    good story Lew !!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Re: A Hawkinge Story...

    Great story!!!
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    Re: A Hawkinge Story...

    Wow, that is a powerful story, Lew!

    I've read a book called "Finding the Few" that relates similar stories throughout Southern England. It seems callous by today's standards, but wartime expediency didn't allow for large scale excavations in 1940, and sometimes the MOD/RAF's lack of follow up in retrieving the buried and shattered remains of fallen airmen (RAF and LW) has been a source of bitter controversy. Lots of issues surround this, though, so I hesitate to judge from the comfort of my easy chair.

    Glad this brave pilot was properly honoured.


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    Re: A Hawkinge Story...

    Good story, Lew

    Thank you for that.


    Cheers,
    ATAG_DRock

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    Re: A Hawkinge Story...

    R.I.P. Dennis.

    Great post Lew ~S~


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    Re: A Hawkinge Story...

    Rgrt Snap...I remember being a bit suprised that pilot remains were not always excavated....Just seemed weird to leave someones young boy 20ft under a road....Still seems strange..even in the knowledge of what was going on at the time....
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    Re: A Hawkinge Story...

    Excellent post Lewis, its reminds me of the debate that still goes on around remains found on the First World War battlefields all these years later and the most appropriate ways to honour the fallen and whether disinterment is always the right thing to do.

    As the newspaper article you posted says and from what I have read about the subject I believe it wasn't unusual for sand bags to be used in the coffin with whatever body parts could be immediately found, the assumption being that the rest of the body was destroyed on impact. I remember similar stories from my old man and his mates who flew Tornados in the RAF until the late 90s, among aircrew it was a common macabre joke that if they crashed there wouldn't be much to bury and it'd be 'sandbags in the coffin'. Near vertical impacts at high speed are devastating to the human body and can leave very little immediate trace of remains. A lot of what might survive the initial crash will probably also be quite deeply buried and scattered, so finding a 'body' to bury is not always straightforward.

    While it is sad in this case that Sgt. Noble might have been given a proper burial at the time if a more thorough search had been undertaken, I think it is at least understandable why they didn't look too hard for remains that might reasonably be expected to have been destroyed in such a crash, particularly given the circumstances of what was happening at the time.

    At least he was finally given the burial he deserved all those years later, there are many thousands more from both wars, on all sides, that will never receive that honour or whose gravestone simply reads 'Known unto God'.

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    Re: A Hawkinge Story...

    I fell over this thread Googling info on Denis Noble's Hurricane.

    Just thought I'd add a footnote. It's actually a Tangmere story and the Hurricane's remains are at the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum (Keith Arnold is a founder member) near Chichester.
    klem
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    Re: A Hawkinge Story...

    On a Fidget's excellent suggestion, I have moved Lewis' moving thread to the War History Forum and "stickied" it for easier future reference. For any Battle of Britain enthusiast/scholar this post is a must-read!

    Thanks, Lew, for posting this.


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    Re: A Hawkinge Story...


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    Re: A Hawkinge Story...

    Positive story in that they have finally recovered his remains and they can honour his sacrifice.

    As has been mentioned, 300 mph crashes don't leave much, especially when there is fire involved.

    Human physiology doesn't survive automobile accidents very well at a paltry 80 kmh, when aircraft are involved and the speeds are that much higher, the body basically disintegrates.

    One of the reasons I hate the 'Fast' series of movies and games like 'Grand Theft Auto'... they give teenagers the impression high speed vehicle crashes are no big deal and encourage driving recklessly. Anyone who has seen the aftermath of a lot of accidents involving excessive speed, as I have as a News Cameraman, knows the facts are far less pleasant. But the general public doesn't see that, we don't put it on air for obvious reasons.
    Last edited by RAF74_Buzzsaw; Jul-05-2015 at 14:16.

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    Re: A Hawkinge Story...

    Another footnote to this story...

    On 16th August 1940, when Tangmere was heavily attacked by Stukas, Dennis Noble shot a Stuka down about a mile off Selsea Bill. Opposite the recovered Hurricane remains in the museum is the engine from a Stuka recovered from..... off Selsea Bill. Much speculation over the years... is it Dennis Noble's Stuka? We'll never really know.
    klem
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    Re: A Hawkinge Story...

    Thanks lewis kind of cool to know he's being thought of all over the world at this moment in time with this post of yours

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    Re: A Hawkinge Story...

    an Extract form a battle of britain book by Richard Townsend Bickers, as next Wednesday is the official start of the Battle of Britain
    bob.jpg
    bob.jpgbob.jpg

    Wednesday 10th july 1940 - rain over most of Britain, showers in south east England and channel.
    Day- Raf No 11 group began detaching whole squadrons instead of flight forward at at first light,.
    Enemy dawn weather recon, and tactical recon during morning. A few inconclusive interceptions.
    enemy activity heavier than usual. By 13:30 pm some 20 DO17`s 20 bf109s and 30bf110`s forming
    up in calais area seen on radar. These attacked convoy escorted by six hurricanes of Dover. four more squadrons sent reinforcing
    hurricanes,one ship sunk. Three hurricanes and four 109s shot down. Near Newhaven train attacked and driver killed.
    seventy bomber raid on Falmouth and swansea killed 30, damaged ships, railways power station and ordnance factory.
    RAF Martlesham Heath in suffolk slightly damaged.

    Night-Scotland, south east and east cost raided-

    losses RAF 6 Luftwaffe 13




    (a book worth buying ) Thanks for reading
    Last edited by biggles1666; Jul-05-2019 at 11:40.

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