Saturday, 31 October 2009

The Crash Site



Having been not so much strangely but emotionally absent from my blog for sometime, this article is somewhat of an introduction; namely for myself and to mark a return to writing by removing that mythical block writers so often mention when faced with a sudden loss for words.

During this period I quite selfishly took time away from everything including my partner and visited the area surrounding the New Penkridge Road. In essence the scene of Harold South's alleged encounter with a Military Road Block wayback in 1964.

What follows are my observations and thoughts of that day.... having arrived in Cannock early that morning and with the sun shining I made my way along the New Penkridge Road quickly passing the residential properties to reach Sandy Lane (the scene of the only known Road Closure which occurred on the 10th May 1964) along with its Public House "The Shoal Hill Tavern" Here I left the road and walked through the wooded area on the opposite side of the road passing the War Memorial. Afterwards emerging further along on to open land which ran parallel to the New Penkridge Road. Ultimately this brought me onto Cocksparrow Lane, pausing on an isolated heavy wooden bench within this area my thoughts were two fold "Was this the field South Crossed with his Camera?" and had he at this point "In effect by passed the Road Block?" Although its unclear as to the exact location of the Crash Site, for the purpose of this and future blogs or until a time further information becomes available the Crash Site, which based on Harold South's testimony resides somewhere in the region between Cocksparrow Lane and Mansty Lane on the right hand side of the New Penkridge Road.

Having emerged onto Cocksparrow Lane at the Junction with the New Penkridge Road I crossed the road to the other side and briefly watched the traffic which was occasional and light, this was around mid-morning on a weekday (Tuesday) as it would have been forty five years ago although I would surmise traffic in 1964 would've been considerably modest by today's standards.

Here I made a number of observations. Looking at the road as it stands today along with the hedge row and tree's the field only really becomes visible when virtually on top of the Junction with Cocksparrow Lane in addition the grass verges either side of the road are raised and would offer a limited view being seated low down in a car or van, although having said that the hedge row and undergrowth over the perimeter fencing may not have existed back in 1964 and the view may have been unrestricted but nevertheless Harold South would have almost certainly had to have reached this point to view the field when he encountered the Road Block.

Furthermore having travelled around the perimeter of the open farm land there were indeed several access points that would've allowed unhindered access into the field presenting little problem to maneuver a transporter or crane in a retrieval operation.
Travelling down Cocksparrow lane towards Shoal Hill I noticed a Nature Reserve on the right hand side more or less directly opposite an entrance to the open farm land but did not follow this through and continued on towards Shoal Hill and Huntington, Having reached the base of the hill I took a short break before ascending up to the top, which did indeed afford me a greater view of the surrounding area.
It was immediately clear that looking towards Huntington many of the new developments would not have existed back in 1964 and the area itself looking towards the New Penkridge Road had remained largely undeveloped. Nevertheless if something of a unusual nature did occur here back in 1964 its descent should really have not gone unnoticed and if we acknowledge there maybe additional witnesses to the Retrieval Operation, someone, somewhere must have bore silent witness to its arrival....