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1910 Folkestone Aviation Meeting

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1910 Report of accident to G. A. Barnes[1]

A serious accident occurred on Wednesday afternoon the Folkestone aviation meeting Westenhanger Racecourse, when Mr. G. A. Barnes, in order to escape disaster in his aeroplane, made a desperate leap in mid-air. sustaining serious injuries, as the result of which he is now lying in serious condition in the Victoria Hospital, Folkestone.

As on the previous day, high winds prevented flying until well on in the afternoon when the wind somewhat abated. Mr Barnes was the first aviator to take advantage of the improvement in the weather and got his machine well away to the field beyond the course just before 4.30. He made a very doubtful ascent, followed by a rather imperfect flight, with plenty of sway. As he made to the right of the grand stand he flew rather low over the small ruins adjoining the stand, and then curved round for his return journey. As he was returning to the spot where he had ascended it was noticed that there was apparently something wrong with his machine. Amidst breathless excitement the large crowd of spectators watched the aviator. As he commenced an ugly descent it appeared as if he must strike the ground; then it was seen that Barnes had hastily slid from his seat and swung along the tail. It was all the work of a moment. The spectators looked on in amazement, wondering what was going to happen, and if the aviator would be able to clear himself from his awkward predicament. Suddenly Barnes took a flying leap clear of his monoplane and fell about 20ft or so on the turf. Lightened of its controller, the huge machine rushed on, and the tail, now free of its burden, came over in the air, and the whole machine "turned turtle."

A rush was made the direction of the spot where the aviator had fallen, but this was effectively stopped by a strong cordon of police. In response to signals, doctors and the St. John Ambulance men were quickly on the scone, and the unfortunate aviator was conveyed to a building on the course, where he was examined. It was deemed advisable to remove him as speedily as possible to the station at Westenhanger and send him by train to Folkestone, whore he was taken to the Victoria Hospital. Mr Barnes is suffering from a severe fracture of the of the skull and a broken arm. At night he regained consciousness and was reported to be going on as well as could expected.

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Sources of Information

  1. Hereford Times - Saturday 24 September 1910