Highclere Castle is the setting for the blockbuster TV series Downton Abbey, but the English Stately Home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon has had its own fair share of real-life drama as during World War Two, its grounds were the scene of several plane crashes, including one from which a single airman would miraculously survive.
Join Lady Carnarvon for a very special evening at the Army Flying Museum in Middle Wallop, Hampshire on the evening of 3 April as she shares the stories of the air accidents and the men who lost their lives in the grounds of the estate. Lady Carnarvon said “During research into the second World War, I discovered that eight planes had come down over the estate. The pilots, navigators and airmen who died were all somebody’s son, part of someone’s family and a life not lived, with most of them young Americans in their early twenties.”
Fragments from many of the aircraft have been found across the estate, including those from the B-17 Flying Fortress named Fort Worth Jailhouse which was on a short non-operational flight to the airbase at nearby Greenham Common. In bad weather and poor visibility, the aircraft circled around Highclere Castle before flying off south, a course that proved fatal as the bomber clipped some trees on a large hill and crashed down in the grounds of the stately home.
A memorial to the crew of the eight aircraft who came to rest at Highclere Castle during WW2 was unveiled in 2018 and features wreckage from one of the B17 aircraft.
The 5th Earl of Carnarvon’s life, wealth and sudden death became front-page news throughout the world following his discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun with Howard Carter and this special event in the stunning surroundings of the Army Flying Museum will also chart the twists of luck and tragedies that shaped Carnarvon’s life and his restless and enquiring mind that drove him to travel to escape conventional society life in Edwardian Britain.
Lady Carnarvon will also be signing copies of her new book, The Earl and the Pharaoh at the event.
For more information or to book, visit www.armyflying.com
Interviews – Lady Carnarvon is available for interview – to arrange contact firstname.lastname@example.org