Our Century

Prince William dies in air crash

Copyright Express & Star
Prince William shortly before
that fateful night.

The last third of the century was an era marked by trials, tribulations and tragedies involving the Royal Family and the first of these was on August Bank Holiday Monday at Halfpenny Green Airfield in Staffordshire where hundreds of families had turned out for an air spectacular.

Copyright Express & Star
The Prince's plane engulfed
in flames

Prince William of Gloucester and his co-pilot were killed when their Piper Cherokee crashed and burst into flames just seconds after taking off in the Goodyear air race.

Horrified eye witnesses told how the plane banked sharply to port, hit a tree and then plunged into a ditch near a corner of the airfield.

Would-be rescuers tried in vain to reach the 30-year-old Eton-educated prince and his co-pilot 43-year-old Vyrell Mitchell

First at the crash scene were 31-year-old Brian Bishop, of Gardeners Close, Kidderminntsre and 18-year-old Derek Purton, of Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham.

As sightseers started to arrive in the area an all-night police guard was mounted both to keep them away and keep watch on the wrecked plabe which would undergo rigorous Ministry of Aviation investigations.

Officials from the Ministry issued an appeal for amateur cine and still film of the crash and reported a good response.

The body of the Prince was taken to Wordsley Hospital near Stourbridge where a post mortem was carried out.

News of the tragedy was broken to the Queen at Balmoral. She immediately declared a period of official mourning until the funeral and cancelled all her engagements.

Five injured as Staffords are lured into Armagh booby trap: In the year that the Bloody Sunday massacre shocked a nation by now used to seeing wars fought out on the television, another atrocity in the province on a Sunday struck particularly close to home.

Soldiers frisking marchers on Bloody Sunday

On October 15 five soldiers from the Staffordshire regiment were hurt, one very seriously, when they were lured into a booby-trapped house in Armagh.

A second booby trap, wired to a shotgun, was also found in the house.

The five men who were injured were the Staffords' first casualties since the regiment started its first stint in Ulster.

Most seriously hurt was Colour Sergeant John Morrell - married with three children - who had to be airlifted to hospital in Belfast by helicopter.

The colour sergeant was with a patrol which was alerted after a tip off to Armagh CID that a number of terrorist gunmen were holed up at two houses in the Drumarg Park area of the town.

Regimental Secretary Colonel Hugh Cook said: "The tip off was obviously a trick to lure our men into the terrorists trap."

And referring to the second shotgun booby trap he said: "This is the sort of thing the Germans used to do in the last war.

"Fortunately our men spotted it before it was too late and disposed of it."

Nude poser for police: Stafford police were called in after a series of nuisance phone calls to women in the Weeping Cross area of Stafford asking them to pose for nude photographs.

Eight housewives in one street - Widecombe Avenue - were asked to pose by a man claiming to represent a West Bromwich model agency.

Some of the women were asked to give endorsements about their neighbours.

"I was asked what sort of figure she had and what she would look like in the nude," said mother-of three- Mrs Jill Jones.

"I think this man is a crank."

Sunday games atmosphere is getting worse:


Several years ago, disgusted by the vindictiveness of certain elements at first class league games, I started attending Saturday and Sunday junior league games.

In general the atmosphere of these games was much to be preferred. Unfortunately I have noticed recently the same vindictive element creeping in.

In a recent junior league cup match the referee had a hard time to keep the game going. He had no option but to send three players off and he booked several more.

One of the spectators present ran on to the field twice to molest players while the referee's back was turned.

After the game this same lout approached the referee on his way to the changing room, insulting him and trying to goad the referee into retaliation. To his credit the referee kept a cool head and walked on.

I wold urge the amateur league associations to try and provide some form of supervision in these kind of matches.

Lover of the game, Wolverhampton.
Crash forces ace Banks to quit:
Goalkeeping superstar Gordon Banks lost an eye when his car crashed in Staffordshire.

Banks, at the time the England goalie, underwent an operation at Staffordshire Royal Infirmary to save his sight after glass splinters were removed from the eye.

Early reports suggesting that the Stoke City keeper might be out for just a week proved wildly optimistic and he was sadly forced to give up the game.

Aluned Bowen
We spent years practicing being royal, which meant wearing petticoats on our heads and doing curtsies

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