The pilot that fell to earth in Bournemouth(updated)

Updated: Jul 26

The skies over Bournemouth on Thursday 15th August were buzzing with the sinister sound of the German Luftwaffe, a squadron of RAF Spitfires bravely swept up to meet the Nazi over Portland heavily outnumbered the RAF fought like lions causing heavy casualties, on that day a young RAF pilot officer from New Zealand Cecil Hight was in action over the skies of Bournemouth when his spitfire was hit and caught fire. Height, in an attempt not to cause civilian casualties, somehow managed to keep in his aircraft away from built-up areas and then managed to bail out of his burning spitfire. Badly wounded , he did not manage to pull his rip cord of his parachute and fell to his death in a private garden in Bournemouth "Leven Avenue". Out of respect for this pilots' bravery, the city named a road after him, "Pilot Hight". A hero that should never be forgotten.

"Hight's funeral was held on 19 August, conducted by Canon Headley Burrows. His coffin was carried by six RAF officers and draped with the British and New Zealand flags, and his uniform cap. He was buried with military honours, including a firing volley and officers' salute. Among the wreaths was a bunch of flowers from the garden where he fell, He is buried in an area of Commonwealth War Graves in Bournemouth East Cemetery. His family chose a quotation from the Book of Proverbs for his headstone, 'I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me'.

Hambledon, the house in whose garden Hight's body landed, was itself bombed in an air raid just before midnight on the night of 14 November 1940. Alfred and Edith Hoare were both dug out of the rubble, but Alfred died on the way to hospital. He was pronounced dead at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Bournemouth on the 15th, and is buried in Wimborne Road Cemetery. The Hoares' garden of remembrance continued to be tended by local people" (wiki)

Pilot Officer Hight (Hero)

An update to this brave airmen story

The house, which was in Leven Avenue, has since been demolished, although owners Alfred and Edith Hoare created a garden of remembrance where they found the body.

"He was a New Zealander determined to fight and do his bit for the war effort, so he joined the RAF. His plane came down around 50 yards from this very spot."

"Mayor John Adams - who played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes following his speech - and MP Conor Burns also paid tribute to the pilot during the short service.

The stone was dedicated by the Revd Dr Ian Terry of the town centre parish team.

Douglas Collett, president of the Poole branch of the Royal Air Forces Association, said: "I thought the service here today was very good.

We did a presentation here two years ago for Pilot Officer Hight, in which we gave the owners of the house where the aircraft came down a camellia in recognition of his sacrifice."

Margot Mabey, of Branksome Park, attended the service.

Her late husband Dennis was just 13 when he saw the aircraft fall from the sky.

"He and a friend got on their bikes and pedalled around here to see it in the road,"

("Daily Echo")

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