Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England


Plane Wreck near Blackpool 1921.

'Plane Wrecked on a Sandbank

IN reference to the exciting adventure of an aeroplane pilot and his two passengers off Blackpool on Wednesday, August 17 last—which was "dealt with" in Grand Guignol style by a section of the Press—a true account of the incident appeared in the Blackpool Gazette and Herald for August 20, from which we give a brief risume of this somewhat unusual aeroplane " accident."

On the Wednesday evening in question, Capt. S. N. Giroux (late R.A.F.), Managing Director of the Giro Aviation Co., of Southport, left the Hesketh Park Aerodrome at 8 p.m. for Blackpool, on a " D.H.6," accompanied by two passengers, Capt. W. P. Gibbons and Mr. T. J. Davies. They reached Blackpool in about seven minutes, and after a stay of about half-an-hour started on their return trip to Southport.

A short distance out engine trouble developed, so Lieut. Giroux turned inshore again, and decided to alight on a large sandbank two miles from the shore, with the intention of landing one of his passengers and proceeding to Southport with the other, returning again after for the first. Owing to the extreme softness of the sand, however, the machine was damaged on landing to such an extent that further flight was impossible.

As the tide was flowing in, and slowly but surely covering the sandbank, prompt action was necessary to attract attention ashore, and sundry articles of clothing, soaked in petrol were utilised as flares until all their matches gave out—but without the desired result. The "island " meanwhile having become non est, Lieut. Giroux, pluckily, decided to swim ashore to obtain help, but after swimming for about three-quarters of an hour he was carried far out of his course by the currents, and only just managed to reach a hopper anchored in the mouth of the Ribble and climb on board.

Accompanied by members of the hopper's crew, he at once set out in a dinghy for the sandbank, which was reached just in time to rescue the marooned passengers. They returned to the hopper, where they spent the night, and the next day the aeroplane was salved, more or less damaged by its all night immersion in the sea.

Flight and Aircraft Engineer, 1st September 1921