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Schneider Trophy Crash

A premonition c. 1931/8/1 by J. Lloyd-Owen

A few weeks before the 1931 Schneider Trophy air race, (My husband says it was 1931) I went to the cinema with my husband and a woman friend one evening; the news reel contained photographs of the British Schneider Trophy team, (the date could be fixed by this to within a day or two). We were first shewn the team standing in a group and were then shewn each member separately. I may say at this point that all the members were complete strangers to me nor did I know anyone who was acquainted with any one of them; I had no interest in the race whatever, nor any connection with it, beyond that of an ordinary member of the public, the Schneider Trophy race has, however, interested me very much always, I find it almost terribly exciting.

The team that year consisted of R.A.F. men with the addition of one single Naval flying man, he stood out in the group by reason of his different uniform; when the group photograph was shown I noticed nothing except that he seemed very young and rather good-looking. Then we were shewn each man singly. As the photograph of this young naval man was thrown on the screen (it is his name I have forgotten) I received a sudden terrific sensation of shock, the shock of violent physical impact. I started so violently in my seat that my friend sitting next me whispered "what's the matter?" I answered in great distress "he's going to be killed, he's going to crash." That was all.

But either two, or three weeks later the newspapers came out with headlines "Schneider Trophy Fatality," the only Naval member of the team had crashed into the sea and had been killed instantly while on a practice flight. Those are the facts; my friend Miss Florence Fletcher, at present at 3 Bilton Road, Rugby, can confirm them, and my husband to a lesser extent (he was sitting on the far side of my friend and did not hear all that was said).

Yours faithfully,
J. Lloyd-Owen
[Two letters of corroboration follow. Miss Fletcher recalls the flier's name "began with a B"; Lloyd-Owen's husband, that "it was something like Brunton".]

I have ascertained that the name of the young man who crashed while practising for the Schneider Trophy race in 1931 was Lieutenant Brinton. He was drowned when G.6 plunged into the Solent during a trial. The accident happened on August 18th, 1931. The race took place on September 13th, 1931.

I have made several efforts to discover the exact date when this film was shown, but it seems impossible--it was only an item in the programme. [Though the distributor could not fix the date, they agreed it was "a considerable time" before the crash; Lyttelton appends follow-up letters from the witnesses, who estimate two to three weeks before. My date of August 1 is only an estimate based on these.--C.W.]

Source: Some Cases of Prediction by Dame Edith Lyttelton (1937); p.100

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