Tuesday 27 September 2016

Replica First World War plane crash-lands hours after Somme commemorations

Tom Pugh

Published 15/09/2016 | 19:19

A replica World War One plane flies over the Caterpillar Valley Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in Longueval, France Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
A replica World War One plane flies over the Caterpillar Valley Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in Longueval, France Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

A replica First World War plane crash-landed in Britain hours after taking part in New Zealand's Battle of the Somme centenary commemorations in front of the Prince of Wales in France.

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The single-seater Albatross aircraft suffered engine failure and crash-landed in a field in Bethersden, near Ashford, Kent, ending up on its roof at 2.20pm on Thursday.

Earlier it was one of two replica First World War planes that took part in a poppy drop in front of Prince Charles in Longueval, northern France.

The aircraft staged the striking stunt in front of dozens of dignitaries to help mark the 100th anniversary of New Zealand's involvement in the Battle of the Somme.

David Kember, duty controller at Headcorn Aerodrome in Kent, confirmed it was one of the two planes involved in the commemorations in France.

He said: "It suffered engine failure and tried to land in a field but caught a fence.

"The pilot is unhurt.

"There is substantial damage to the plane's wings."

A Kent Police spokesman said: "Police were called to farmland in Bethersden at 2.20pm on Thursday September 15 following a report that a plane had been located in a field upside down.

"South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) were called. The male pilot was uninjured and the matter passed to the Air Accident Investigation Board."

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