Accident Hawker Hurricane Mk I L1738,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 208253
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Date:Saturday 22 April 1939
Type:Silhouette image of generic HURI model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Owner/operator:43 Sqn RAF
Registration: L1738
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:RAF Tangmere, Chichester, West Sussex, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:RAF Tangmere, Chichester, West Sussex
Destination airport:RAF Tangmere, Chichester, West Sussex
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Hawker Hurricane L1738: Written off (damaged beyond repair) 22/4/35 when crashed into trees on landing at night, RAF Tangmere, Chichester, West Sussex. Pilot - Flying Officer Charles Auston Rotheram (aged 25) - was killed. According to a contemporary local newspaper report of the inquest into the pilots death ("Portsmouth Evening News" Tuesday 25 April 1939):


A Tangmere jury yesterday recommended the Air Ministry to cut down or remove altogether the tall elm trees that stand in clumps on the western side of the aerodrome. This recommendation, endorsed by the Chichester Coroner (Mr. J. W. Loader Cooper) was made at the inquest on Flying Officer Charles A. Rotheram (23), who was killed when he crashed into one of the trees at the conclusion of night flying operations early on Saturday morning.

Rotheram was piloting a Hawker Hurricane machine. The noise of his crash awakened George J. R. Smith, a young tractor driver, of Easthampnett, who told the Coroner that after searching in the darkness he found the machine in a field 50 yards from his cottage.

"There was a hissing sound from the engine and I thought I heard a groan," said Smith. "I found I could get to the pilot and I crawled under the machine. As I got under, it burst into flames. I was burned on the wrist and the face, and I crawled out again."

Rescue Bid Praised.

"Just then two airmen came over from the camp." Smith added that by the light of the fire they could see where the machine had hit a tree.

The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death" due to a fractured skull, and added their praise for Smith's attempts to rescue the pilot at considerable risk to himself."


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-N9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 1983)
2. The Fighting Cocks: 43 (Fighter) Squadron By Jimmy Beedle
4. Flight April 27, 1939 page 423 at

Revision history:

26-Mar-2018 22:00 Dr. John Smith Added
03-Oct-2018 07:10 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
12-Apr-2022 23:32 angels one five Updated [Aircraft type]
03-May-2023 10:42 Nepa Updated [[Aircraft type]]

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