MEMORIES OF DUNHOLME ROAD AIR CRASH - EDMONTON 1938

By Connie Lloyd (Nee Pyall)

My son John was telling me about a feature that appears on the ‘Summerhill Road’ Tottenham Website about Inspector Ernest Newark and the Downhills Shelter tragedy.   As you know, when my husband Harry was alive, we talked about this incident on many occasions. It was therefore a great surprise for me to learn that Inspector Newark was also involved with the tragic plane crash that occurred in Edmonton on the 4th September, 1938. 

I can remember this day very well as I lived with my Mum and Dad, Brother and Sister in Chalfont Road, Edmonton. It was a Sunday and we had finished our Sunday Dinner and, as was common in those days, Mum’s and Dad’s always had a nap after Sunday lunch, so when they went upstairs we children went out to play. My brother went out to play football in Pymmes Park with his friends the Letch brothers. My sister went off with her mates while I went off with mine. It was about 2.30 in the afternoon and we were walking along South Eastern Avenue, when suddenly an engine or a lump from the plane fell from the sky and hit the ground alongside us.

We immediately run to see what was happening as we heard a large crash, and when we got to Dunholme Road we could see people running about on fire. Of course we were very shocked to see this, but still stood there and watched. Then my brother came up to me and said Mum was looking for you. So we ran off home and, when we arrived, Mum and Dad were coming out with blankets, as they were needed for the injured people. My Mum gave me a hug when she saw me and I was O.K. It appears that my Mum was reading a book, while my dad was having his nap. When the plane came over it knocked tiles off our roof and the room went dark from the shadow of the plane. It then hit the roof of the house behind ours before hitting the houses in Dunholme Road with a big crash. 

dunholme_road.jpg (16661 bytes)

Wreckage at Dunholme Road -1938

It was a terrible disaster and more so because apparently the crash could have been avoided. We understood that the plane had experienced engine troubles and had landed in the School playing field in Hazelbury Road. Apparently the plane had taken off again before crashing in Dunholme Road.  My sister’s friends surname was Saunders and theirs was one of the houses that had been hit. She was not at home at the time as she was visiting her Grandmother, but her Mum and Dad and brothers were killed. She was the only daughter and afterwards lived with her Grandmother. My brother knew two of the boys killed and some of the injured. His friends the Letch brothers, who had been playing football in Pymmes Park, ran back home and tried to help rescue the pilot.

I know that there was a collection among the neighbours to buy flowers in memory of the victims. I think all of the funerals were held on the same day, as the streets were lined with people on both sides of the road paying their last respects to the victims. 

As to the book my Mum was reading at the time of the incident she never knew what happened to it and, despite many searches for it, she never saw it again. 

I can also remember that afterwards the incident was often talked about and it was always said that the Policeman in charge was a very nice man who was very kind to the people. It was therefore a surprise to learn that it was the same Policemen who was involved with these two tragic events. I had lived close to the first incident at Dunholme Road and now live close to the second incident at Lordship Recreation ground. So it’s a very small world and even more so as you have now brought them together for me with the involvement of Inspector Newark. 

We were to later live in Dunholme Road and, as you now know, there is a memorial and roll of honour for the victims displayed in the Edmonton Library in the mall. Alongside this is another entry, which makes reference to the rescue of two children from a fire at a house in St Mary’s Road Edmonton in 1933, which now belongs to my son John. 

Connie Lloyd  (Nee Pyall 1922 – 2007)

January 2004

enfield_independant_3.09.2008.jpg (165165 bytes)

In September 2008 - To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the air crash the Enfield Independant published the above tributes to the victims

Website feature updated - November 2009

 back_button.jpg (3190 bytes)