31st July 1936

Guernsey to Jersey plane crashed into the sea

The Cloud of Iona, a de Havilland Dragon sea plane flying between Guernsey and Jersey, crashed into the sea with two crew and eight passengers onboard.

With high seas and closing fog, there was little hope of finding any survivors. All the same, various aircraft and boats, including the Guernsey lifeboats, spent hours searching through the night and into the next morning for the twin-engined Guernsey Airways plane.

A discovery

By 3 August, various pieces of wreckage, including a door, aileron and parts of the wings had been found at Minquiers Reef. They were confirmed to have come from the missing plane and the search was focused on recovering more of the craft – and the victims.

Within a week, the bodies were starting to wash up on the French coast. The remains of the plane were eventually found by two fishermen on 13 August.

An official inquiry

The Cloud of Iona’s flight between the islands should have taken just half an hour, with the plane touching down in Jersey at 7.30pm. When she hadn’t arrived at St Aubin’s Bay by 7.45, Jersey called Guernsey to see whether the plane had turned back, but Guernsey had nothing to report.

Although the aircraft had a very basic radio, it wasn’t powerful enough to be picked up by any ground stations, of which there was nothing suitable within a radius of 100 miles. The following year, Guernsey Airways was fined £300 for not having fitted its aircraft with the kind of radio approved by the Secretary of State for Air.

Eventually, the remaining bodies washed up. The resulting inquiry, which was conducted in Jersey, found that none of the victims showed any signs of injury from a crash. This suggested that the Cloud of Iona had put down on the sea in a fairly controlled manner and the passengers and crew had drowned after she had broken up. The sea had been rough at the time, with waves of up to 10m (30ft) reported.

 

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Other events that occured in July

Guernseyman Edward Tupper killed by cannibals 1st
Alderney is occupied by German forces 2nd
Seigneur of Sark, Michael Beaumont, dies aged 88 3rd
Guernsey hosted the Island Games 2003 closing ceremony 4th
New coins are minted for Guernsey 5th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Museum opens 6th
Victor Hugo statue is unveiled in Candie Gardens 7th
First Commando raid of the Second World War 8th
Birth of Sark-based writer Mervyn Peake 9th
Guernsey nurses go on hunger strike 10th
ITV broadcasts first episode of Island at War 11th
A Guernsey man posted himself to Sark 12th
Murderer Peter Robin sentenced to death 13th
Victor Hugo plants his United States of Europe oak 14th
Point Law runs aground off Alderney 15th
Racing yacht Westward is blown up off Guernsey
BBC made its first ever Channel Islands broadcast 16th
The Star received some “grave” news 17th
The Guernsey Martyrs were burned at the stake 18th
Prince Charles and Camilla visit Guernsey 19th
President Garcia is re-floated in Saints Bay 20th
Typhoid suspect holidaymaker flies home 21st
Guernsey Controlling Committee’s Sir John Leale died 22nd
Alderney to Guernsey radio connection established 23rd
Val des Terres was first opened for traffic 24th
The BBC broadcasts from Sark for the first time 25th
Guernsey court escapee was caught again 26th
Braye du Valle was gifted by the crown 27th
Murderer sentenced to death in three hours 28th
Guernsey bought Herm from the mainland 29th
Albert Lamy appointed Guernsey Police Chief Officer 30th
Guernsey to Jersey plane crashed into the sea 31st