Incident Sopwith Gnu G-EADB,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 20954
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Date:Tuesday 2 March 1926
Time:11:35 LT
Type:Sopwith Gnu
Owner/operator:Lloyds Commercial Aircraft Co
Registration: G-EADB
MSN: W/O 2976/1
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Horley, Surrey -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Brooklands Aerodrome, West Byfleet, Weybridge, Surrey
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
First registered 20.5.19 as K-136 (in the early pre-"G-" register). Registered as G-EADB 1.7.19. Variously owned by Sopwith Aviation & Engineering Co Ltd, Ernest Arthur Douglas Eldridge, J.R. King, Byfleet, Southern Counties Aviation Co, and finally, from 19.2.26, Lloyds Commercial Aircraft Co (whose registered office was at 124 Baker Street, London NW1, but the aircraft was usually based at Brooklands Aerodrome, Byfleet, Weybridge, Surrey.)(C of R 1241)

Written off 2.3.26 when stalled on approach to field and dived into the ground at Horley, Surrey. A contemporary newspaper report has further details of the incident ("Surrey Mirror - Friday 5 March 1926):

Many residents in Horley were drawn to the field opposite the Market on Tuesday on the startling statement that an aeroplane had crashed there in the morning. The machine was a Sopwith, capable of carrying three people, and belonging to the Lloyd’s Commercial Aircraft Company, of Baker-street, London. It had been used the previous Sunday for passenger-trips and spectacular flights.

On Tuesday morning the engine and machine was overhauled by the mechanic, and pronounced airworthy. At 11.30 the pilot, Lancelot Richards Gladwin-Errington, Shaftesbury Hotel, London, the mechanic, Mr. John Robertson, Southern Counties' Aviation Co., Brooklands, and a passenger, Mr. Paul Judge, “Hollylands,” Horley, embarked on a test-flight—the first flight of the morning.

The machine took off against a north wind, rose to a height of about forty-five feet and turned to the right. At this point, according to the pilot and mechanic, she lost flying speed, stalled on a steep bank down-wind and dived.

The marks made by the machine on the ground—it fell just inside the hedge—and the damage to the machine suggested that it bumped after striking the ground, nose-dived and twisted round. One of the pilot's fingers was broken and his right leg strained, and he sustained slight concussion. The mechanic’s collar-bone was broken, and Mr. Judge was bruised from head to foot. All three were conveyed to the Horley Cottage Hospital for treatment but, with the exception of the mechanic, were discharged.

The machine was completely wrecked, the engine being smashed and driven in almost to the seat, the left wing broken in several places, and the right wing loosened. There were rents and gaps in various parts of the fabric. An inspection was made later by representatives of the Air Ministry, and the aeroplane was under the care of the police during the night.

A surprising sequel to the accident occurred on Wednesday evening at about 8.10, when the machine was—except for the tail-piece—totally destroyed fire.

A small crowd was standing round the aeroplane when it burst into flames. They, the flames, at once rose to a great height, and the machine was burnt in a few seconds. The crowd was forced to retire some distance away, and no effort could made to extinguish the fire.

It is supposed by the police that matches were deliberately thrown by two men—strangers to the district—who went off immediately after. Their attempts to trace the supposed incendiarists are complicated by the fact that everyone else near the plane at the time of the accident hurried away."

Registration G-EADB cancelled 2-3-26 due to "destruction or permanent withdrawl from use of aircraft"


1. Surrey Mirror - Friday 05 March 1926
2. photo of accident:
5. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 5/8/C86:

Revision history:

12-Jun-2008 00:36 JINX Added
13-Dec-2013 22:54 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
08-Mar-2020 23:50 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Total occupants, Source, Narrative]
08-Mar-2020 23:52 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Narrative]

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