Air crashes in Jersey

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Air crashes in Jersey


The crash of a Dakota in 1965 was Jersey's worst

Although there have been a number of fatal accidents over the years, most notably in 1938 and 1965, flying in Jersey has been remarkably safe. Millions of passengers have been carried to and from the island and the total death toll remains under 100. This excludes the period of the German Occupation, when flying under the control of the enemy was decidedly unsafe, and the death toll from accidents in just the three months from November 1940 to January 1941 was probably in excess of 50.

The seaplane Cloud of Iona met a mysterious end


Not in Jersey, but the first fatal accident involving a local aircraft was on 22 July 1935, when Jersey Airways' DH Dragon, G-ACMP - St Clement's Bay - crashed into the Bristol Channel on approach to Cardiff Airport. The pilot and two passengers were all killed.


The loss of the flying boat Cloud of Iona on 31 July 1936 remains a mystery to this day. Piloted by Captain William Halmshaw, the aircraft took off from Guernsey shortly after 7pm, bound for Jersey. All contact was lost and it was not until wreckage of the seaplane was found at the Minquiers 13 days later that everybody's worst fears were confirmed.


On 4 November 1938 a Jersey Airways DH86 Express airliner, St Catherine's Bay, crashed in Rue es Minquiers, near the Airport. The pilot, radio operator and 11 passengers were killed, as well as Edmund Le Cornu, who was working in the field.

In terms of loss of life, it was the worst crash of a rigid aircraft in the British Isles to date and the second-worst involving a British aircraft after the crash of an Imperial Airways airliner in Belgium in 1933, in which 15 people died.

The airliner had just taken off from Jersey en route to Southampton. The sky was overcast, with a cloud base of 120–150 feet. The aircraft had been fully inspected and was not carrying a full load.

The Air Ministry investigation concluded that the accident was due to pilot error. The pilot had made a climbing turn into the clouds and inadvertently allowed the aircraft to sideslip when he was still too close to the ground to avert disaster. The aircraft had exploded and several bodies had been thrown up to 40 feet away.

Wartime crashes
Despite having the freedom of the skies the Germans' flying record was not good, as this diary of a 2½-month period shows:
  • 1 Nov 1940 - Training flight crashes at La Rocco, four killed
  • 3 Nov 1940 - Plane overturns, two killed
  • 5 Nov 1940 - Scouting plane crashes at Rozel, two killed
  • 7 Nov 1940 - Troop carrier crashes, 20 returning pilots killed
  • 20 Dec 1940 - Plane crashes and burns out
  • 16 Jan 1941 - Troop plane crashes in sea off St Catherine, all lost


In the early weeks of the Occupation a Dornier DO-17 on a training flight crashed on La Rocco Tower while attempting to land at the Airport. Training flight crashes at La Rocco


A Spitfire crashes at Dielament Manor in November 1942 after being hit by anti-aircraft fire and running out of fuel. The French pilot was eventually imprisoned in Germany and his character featured in the film The Great Excape


On 7 February 1944 Second Lieutenant Joseph Krebs was returning to his base in Essex from escorting a bombing raid on Frankfurt, well off course in a badly damaged Mustang P-51B fighter when he was shot down by German anti-aircraft fire over St Ouen's Bay.

A US Air Force C-47 was shot down off Bouley Bay on the night of 30 October 1944. The transportation flight from Villacoublay (close to Paris) to Querqueville, (close to Cherbourg, Normandy) was shot down over Jersey. Due to an electrical fault and poor weather, the aircraft was following a German radio beam directly to the island and not Querqueville.


In June G-AHMC, an Airspeed Consul operated by Westminster Airways, an airline formed by a group of Members of Parliament, crashed on landing at Jersey Airport. The aircraft was operated on charter flights from Blackbushe and Gatwick airports. It must have remained airworthy after repairs and was sold to Harold Lough White later the same year.

On 3 July an Avro Anson, G-AHFV, was lost off the Isle of Wight, with Capt Shepherd and wireless operator Prim on board.


On 5 February 1951 G-AIXZ, an Avro 652A Anson 1 operated by Transair London and registered to Dennis Aviation undershot the airport on approaching in fog. The aircraft was carrying national newspapers. The pilot and co-pilot survived but the aircraft was written off.

In the same year, G-AGWR, a DH89A Rapide operated by Morton Air Services, overshot the runway and ended up near the Airport boundary. The aircraft survived and was subsequently re-registered in Norway and then Sweden.


The date of the incident is presently unknown, but G-AHKU, a Rapide, tipped over on to its nose on the airport apron and suffered damage to its nose. This was repaired and the Rapide transferred to the Lands End to Scilly Isles route and flew the last Rapide service between St Mary's and Lands End in 1963.

The Airspeed Consul which crashed in 1947
The ill-fated St Catherine's Bay


A Percival Proctor crashed within the boundaries of the Airport and was destroyed. No further details of this accident are available at present.


On 14 April 1965 a British United (CI) Airways Dakota crashed just to the east of the airport when it hit a landing pole in thick fog on a flight from Paris. The accident claimed the lives of 23 passengers and three of the four crew.

The only survivor of the flight, piloted by Guernseyman Peter Self, was 22-year-old air stewardess Dominique Silliere who was thrown from the aircraft when it crashed and suffered two broken legs.


Piper Tri-Pacer 160 G-ARXK belonging to the Quennevais Flying Club crashed in the sea near Alderney killing the pilot, Charles Lockett, and two passengers.


Aero Club Cessna F172H, G-AXBK, crashed into a French hillside on 11 April, killing the pilot, Martin Mourant, and passenger Graeme Lane.

A privately owned Beagle B206S, G-AVAM, crashed at Corbière on 6 August after taking off from the Airport, killing the pilot, Ken Desmond, who was the only person on board the plane, which was owned by Leonard Matchan (picture below). There have been a number of other crashes involving light aircraft, failing to make the Airport and landing in the sea or fields, all without loss of life.

On Christmas Eve 1974 an Air UK Herald skidded through the Airport perimeter fence after a heavy landing. Amazingly there were no serious injuries.

An aircraft straddles the perimeter fence


On 1 October 1980 50-year-old Norman Harvey was returning alone to Jersey in his twin-engine Cessna Citation executive jet when he crashed into the roof of an old granite house, Sous L'Eglise, to the right of the approach from the east.

The aircraft skidded into outbuildings and exploded. Mr Harvey, who had only owned the Citation for four months, was killed instantly.


On 18 September a Jersey European Airways Islander crashed into a Guernsey field after taking off for Jersey. The aircraft was wrecked but the pilot and all passengers survived.

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