Tucked away in an isolated field bordered by the A130 and a railway in Shotgate, near Wickford, Essex, lies two memorials constructed in 1920 to a tragic plane crash which occurred on 7th March 1918 at Dollyman’s Farm. The incident occurred at night when the two young pilots were flying from the RFC Rochford and RFC Stowmaries airfields respectively on their way to defend London from a German Gotha bomber air raid. Without any form of reliable traffic control at the time, the pilots’ aircrafts collided in the air and landed approximately on the sites of the two memorials, which are almost as old as the crashes themselves and are believed to remain in their original positions. Both pilots were veterans who saw combat earlier in the First World War, from the Western Front to Gallipoli.
It is thought that the stone elements of the memorials are original, but the wooden and metal enclosure of the Capt. Henry Clifford Stroud memorial was added several decades ago. The propeller at this memorial, close to the A130, is speculated to be contemporary WW1 vintage, although it is thought that the original propellers from the wrecked aircraft believed to have been originally present were likely stolen and replaced over the years. The Capt. Bruce Alexander Kynoch memorial is located close to the railway and lacks a later enclosure, so is likely in a more original state to when it was first built sans the propeller.
We visited the memorial in May 2021 with local adventurers Austin and Thomas who kindly discovered this gem and brought it to our attention. You can see our video of the trip below. A detailed description of the pilots and the memorials is available at Historic England