Archibald Philpott - Air disaster
Archibald Francis Philpott was born in Sevenoaks, 27 October 1901
He joined the Royal Air Force on 20th January 1919 at the age of 18 and stayed for 326 days when he was discharged due to injury.
On the 2nd February 1937 Archibald was the wireless operator on board an aircraft, owned by the Daily Express, along with a journalist from the paper, photographer and two air crew when it took off from an airfield in Renfrew, near Glasgow onto a flight to Liverpool in poor weather conditions. They were researching a proposed expansion of UK air corridors, but the plane crashed in the Galloway Hills, killing everyone on board.
The plane crashed near the summit of Darnaw Hill, near Clatteringshaws reservoir. It is part of the Galloway Hydro Electric system which, in 1937, was just nearing completion and not yet mapped, and it is believed the pilot got confused. He may have thought he was over water, so could fly low.
When the aircraft did not arrive in Liverpool, they sent out search teams. At first they searched the Lake District as people had heard an aircraft fly over. It wasn’t until 2 days after the crash, that the wreckage was found. A local man near to the crash site had heard on the radio of a request for farmers and shepherds to look out for a wreckage in their fields. He had recalled hearing a plane the previous day and decided to climb Darnaw, where he spotted the wreckage. He cycled 16 miles to the police station to notify them of his find.
Other casualties were Major Harold James Pemberton, the great-grandson of Marie Tussaud of the waxwork fame, Reginald Wesley the photographer and Leslie Thomas Jackson the pilot.
A memorial still stands on top of Darnaw Hill where the 4 men died.