We took full advantage of the glorious spring weather this afternoon, and headed out for a river walk from Hoveringham to Fiskerton, not far from where we live. The River Trent winds round luscious meadows and woodlands, with plenty of cows, ducks and grumpy geese to greet walkers along the way. On a day like today, it really is a little piece of heaven.
Half way through our walk, we heard a small plane circling overhead that, once spotted, quickly disappeared from sight. It was at this exact point that we came across the stone memorials to the crews of two Lancaster bombers that crashed within weeks of each other in 1945. It was hard to imagine that such a pretty piece of countryside had once been the scene of such devastating tragedies. Though we quickly established that the plane we heard was very much real – as it whooshed above our heads once again – this did set me thinking about some of the accounts of phantom planes that I have read over the years, particularly those connected to wartime disasters.
A common theme in sightings of ghostly planes, is the sense that they are re-enacting the moments before they crashed. Witnesses have reported hearing engines spluttering and seeing aircraft heading towards the ground. Sometimes people believe they have seen a crash, other times the planes just vanish from sight.
Locals living in the ‘Dark Peak’ area of the Peak District, have reported numerous sightings of silent planes flying low before disappearing from view. The Dark Peak has been the place of more than 50 plane crashes over the years; many of them wartime disasters. Recent sightings of a Douglas Dakota plane have made the newspapers, with a witness reporting seeing the jet “… sideways on and then it vanished.” In 1997, many people saw and reported an old plane with propellers crash on the moors just outside of Sheffield, but despite a large rescue operation, no sign of the aircraft was ever found. Spooky!
The wide and varied witness accounts I have read whilst looking into this subject, suggest that this is a plausible phenomena (i.e. people aren’t just making it up!) though it just seems very sad to me that these ghostly planes are destined to re-enact their final descent to Earth again and again. Perhaps there is some kind of peace for the lost crews in doing so, or perhaps they just don’t want people to forget their sacrifice.
I wonder if the planes that crashed at Hoveringham ever return to fly their doomed path. It will certainly make me think next time I hear an engine overhead…