Main St plane crash vivid memory

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Alex King can clearly remember the day 75 years ago when a plane crashed in Gore’s Main St.

The Gore resident was 11 at the time and two Tiger Moths had flown in to conduct a practice evacuation of the town.

As the planes were flying into Gore, one of them clipped a stay wire attached to a power pole, Mr King said. The pilot, Geoffrey Coldham, died shortly after the crash.

The King family’s neighbour at the time, George Dempster, witnessed the crash.

Mr Dempster and a friend, Les Anderson, were walking along Main St when the accident happened, Mr King said.

While Mr Dempster stopped to tie his shoelaces, Mr Anderson walked on to the pedestrian crossing near H&J Smith and was hit by the stay wire.

“Les stepped out and the wire had broken and it whipped out and scalped him,” Mr King said.

Sawdust was put on the bloodstains on Main St where the accident happened.

Pieces of the crashed aircraft were scattered on the street.

A vehicle turning from Mersey St into Main St was also damaged as a result of the crash.

“He got clouted as well – it was a big thing,” Mr King said.

At the time of the crash, he and his older brother, Cullen, were attending East Gore School.

The headmaster sent a pupil to investigate and report to the school on the happenings.

His brother and a friend also left school, without permission, to see for themselves what had happened, and were reprimanded when they returned, Mr King said.

But when the boy sent to find out what had happened failed to report what he had seen to the headmaster, brother was called to give his account.