2007: Memorial to two plane tragedies

A memorial for the victims of two plane crashes has been unveiled at Purbeck.

An RAF Swordfish Mark One aircraft from RAF Gosport crashed near Corfe Castle on March 18, 1938, killing three people.

On June 15, 1945, an RAF Liberator Mark Four aircraft from RAF Transport Command’s 232 Squadron also crashed there, killing 27 passengers and crew.

Bournemouth Echo, Thursday 1 November 2007

1936: ‘’Witnesses deny there was any undermining’’

Inquest at Encombe House.

Denials that there was any undermining of the face of a gravel pit to cause a fall which buried Andrew Dorey, aged 57, of Encombe, Corfe Castle, with fatal results, was made by witnesses when the occurrence was investigated by the Coroner for East Dorset (Mr R Neville Jones) at the inquest held on the victim at Encombe House (the residence of the Hon. Sir Ernest Scott) on Monday evening. A graphic account of the tragic incident was given by Charles Stephen Dorey, a 26yrs old shepherd in the employ of Sir Ernest Scott, residing at South Street Kingston. He related how he went to the gravel pit at Encombe on Friday morning last, to assist in drawing gravel. His uncle, the deceased, and William Sansom were already working there. Witness went back to the pit at 2pm, after dinner, and with his companions he was engaged in sorting the gravel and loading it on the lorry. He was on the left of the lorry with his uncle and facing the cliff. The lorry was loaded and they were discussing whether they should load anymore, witness continued. Just then I looked up at the face of the cliff and saw a trickle of dirt and gravel falling on my left. My uncle was standing to the left of me. I thought I saw a movement on the face of the cliff and I think I shouted “we are going to have a fall,” but I am not quite sure. I shouted some warning or other and jumped to my right to give my uncle a chance to get out. At the same time a large quantity of dirt and gravel fell and tore off one of my shoes. I looked round to see where the others were and couldn’t see my uncle. I ran to the fall and heard a faint groaning under the gravel. The lorry driver, Fred Sansom helped me to scramble away the gravel with his hands. We uncovered his right shoulder and worked to his face, this was blue and he was silent.

Straight cliff.

Witness added that this was about ten minutes after the fall, other help then came. Deceased was lying on his left side with his head down hill, furthest away from the cliff. The face of the cliff was not undermined at this point-

The cliff was straight faced at the point of the fall.

The Coroner. Had there been any previous falls there?

Witness : No Sir; None while I have been working there.

Coroner: You knew it was dangerous to undermine, didn’t you? Yes Sir.

Mr P N Saddal (HM Inspector of Mines) You know that there is a piece at the side which is undermined? Yes Sir.

When was that done? Before we went there Sir.

The Coroner: Had you been working anywhere near this spot? We hadn’t been working opposite the spot.

Inspector of Mines: You are sure that no undermining was done during the time you were there? None Sir. We moved a large heap at the bottom of the cliff and scraped some loose stuff off the face.

Replying to other questions, Witness said that he believed instructions had been given that there was to be no undermining.

Another witness, William Alfred Sansom a labourer, employed by Sir Ernest Scott and living at Encombe, said that he saw a movement of dirt and gravel and shouted “look out!” He was standing on the platform on the right of the lorry, and as he shouted there was a big fall of gravel. He looked round but couldn’t see any sign of deceased, so ran for help.

Estate order.

The actual fall, the Witness said, took place where they had been working for a fortnight. He knew it was dangerous to undermine and there was an estate order not to undermine.

Walter Emmanuel  Candy, agent for Sir Ernest Scott, of Kingston, said that deceased was engaged with three other men in drawing gravel at a pit, the face 16ft high. He had previously warned the men not to undermine. Deceased had worked in this pit for some time past at intervals. I had reliance in him, he was a most experienced work man one of the most experience on the estate and “I had great confidence in him.” Mr Candy said, adding that he would be in charge of the gang, and had been employed by Sir Ernest Scott all his life.

In reply to the Inspector of Mines, Mr Candy agreed that it rained exceedingly hard on the night before the occurrence.

Dr. G Drury, Corfe Castle, said that the actual cause of death was suffocation. When he arrived on the scene he examined deceased and found that the right leg was shattered below the knee, both bones of the leg being fractured, and the left humerus was fractured high up. Witness tried artificial respiration for a short time, but without effect.

Evidence of identification had earlier been given by Arthur Harold Dorey, a son of the deceased and a chauffeur employed by Sir Ernest Scott, who said that he last saw his father alive at 1.50pm on Friday when he was in his usual good health. He next saw him about 3.30pm. He was then dead and partially buried under about 18inches of gravel.

Inspector’s opinion.

At the close of the evidence the Inspector of Mines, at the invitation of the Coroner pointed out that the face of the cliff was now vertical, and a stranger going to it would say that it had been over hanging, for where did the fall come from. In the face of the evidence he couldn’t say anymore.

(Under the Quarry Act it was an offence against the law to undermine, but on a private estate the Quarry Act didn’t apply.)

Recalling Charles Stephen Dorey the Coroner asked him : Before the fall occurred was there any undermining at this particular spot? No Sir.

Did you see the fall occur? Yes Sir.

Did the whole face slide down? Yes Sir. It looked as though the whole face came down from top to bottom.

You have no doubt about that? No doubt whatever.

You have heard the suggestion of the Inspector that the face is vertical now and it must have come from the top it came right the way down.

The Inspector observed that the accident would be a warning that it was dangerous practice to undermine, or even to work in some instances where the face was practically vertical.

The Coroner addressing the Jury, said that there was no question but that this was a pure accident, and he was certain all their sympathy went out to the widow and family in the tragedy. He was told that the deceased was a most esteemed workman on the estate where he had worked all his life, and was respected and liked by everybody in the district.

A verdict of “accidental death” was returned by the Jury, and they expressed sympathy with the widow and family, expressions with which Inspector G E Burt, on behalf of the police, and the Inspector of Mines joined.

Dorset County Chronicle, 24 September 1936

Transcription courtesy of Carol Brown whose late husband Ken was the grandson of the deceased Andrew Dorey.




1936: Obituary: Funeral of Mr. Andrew Dorey


The beautiful little village of Kingston was in mourning on Tuesday  for the loss of Mr. Andrew Stephen Dorey, aged 57, who (as reported in another column) met his death in tragic circumstances on Friday, when he was killed by a fall of gravel in the course of his work on the Encombe Estate. Mr. Dorey worked from his boyhood on the Encombe Estate, and was for many years shepherd, but during recent years, since Mr. and Mrs. Dorey have been resident at Encombe House, where Mrs. Dorey is housekeeper, he has done general work on the estate. He was known and highly respected throughout the neighbourhood, and his lossis very keenly felt. He was a staunch churchman, and a chorister and bellringer for many years, also a bandsman in the Village Band. Mr. Dorey leaves his widow, one son and two daughters to mourn their loss.

The Vicar, the Rev. F. S. Horan, conducted the funeral service, during which he paid tribute to the character of Mr. Andrew Dorey who, through a life well lived, was leaving a happy memory for those who loved him. He was a friend to all, his cheery smile will always be remembered, and he leaves the village poorer for his loss.

Sir Ernest Scott was among those attending, and the large congregation included estate employees and parishioners. Mr. E. A. Hixson represnted Mr. W. E. Candy, the agent, who was prevented being present, and Mr. F. Pond represented the Swanage Town Band, deceased having been a member of the Kingston Band. Estate employees – Messrs. G. Hunt, H. Sansom, C. Brown, and C. Orchard – acted as bearers.

The chief mourners were the widow and family.


Beautiful wreaths were sent by the following: His loving and sorrowing wife; Art and Gladys (son and daughter-in-law); Irene and Percy (daughter and son-in-law); Olive (daughter); Charlotte, Mabel and Bill (sisters and brother-in-law) and Philip (nephew); Bessie (sister) and family; Jennie and Ernest (sister and brother-in-law); Walt and Gertie (brother and sister-in-law) and Marjorie (niece); Gilb and Frances (brother and sister-in-law); Alf and Rose (brother and sister-law); Fred and Iris (nephew and niece); Bob and Bet (brother and sister-in-law); Grace and Betty (nieces); Mabel, Will, Winnie and Gilbert (nieces and nephews); Jim and Kath (nephew and niece); Cecil and Ron (nephews); Lottie, Annie, Rose, Amy, George and Jennie (cousins); Ern (cousin); Aunt Fan, Bert, Fred, Win, Nancy and Len; Fred and Em; Bob; Cousin Poll (Ellen); Jim and Kate; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hann; Mr. and Mrs. W. Barnes and family (East Holme); Mr. and Mrs. D. Barnes (Arne); Mr. and Mrs. W. Cooper; Charlie, Nellie and Ken Orchard; Percy and Ada Damer; Mrs. Robert Damer and Dawson; Jack and Elsie; Joan; Mr. and Mrs. Seymour and family; In memory of our comrade and workmate, from men of Encombe Farm and Estate; From Garden staff, Encombe; Churchwardens, sidesman, choirmen and bellringers; Mrs C. Bartlett and Mr. and Mrs. G. Bartlett; H. Sansom and family; Mrs. Joyce; The Rev. and Mrs. F. S. Horan; Charlie and Beat (Creech); Bill and Maud; Mrs. Loxton; Mr. and Mrs. P. Churchill; Mrs. Pooss (Preston).

Mrs. Dorey and family wish to thank all who gave their assistance, also for sympathy in their sad bereavement, and floral tributes sent.

September 1936

Our thanks to Carol Brown who provided this cutting