G J Carter

Godfrey Jackson Carter was in the Hill from 1925, and played for the 2nd XV (image above courtesy of the Wellington College Archive), before studying engineering at Birmingham University before going to the D.H. Technical School and then joining the De Havilland Aircraft Company. He started as a fitter in 1933, before transferring to the inspection department in 1936, and becoming a supervisor in 1938.

The war saw him become a supervisor of the flight shed.[1] He was Killed on Active Service in 1943, just five days after Henry Garratt.

A seven-year-old eyewitness recalls the tragic accident on 23 August 1943, approximately three miles east-south-east of St Albans[2]:

“I remember looking up and seeing a Mosquito coming towards us from the west. We then spotted another one coming from the opposite direction. They appeared to be at the same height and they were travelling very fast. Someone cried “My God, they’re going to crash!” and a split second later they did – pretty well head on. The sound of the impact made a sharp crack. The aircraft disintegrated into a myriad of small pieces, most of which floated down uncannily slowly as the aircraft were made of wood. To my seven-year-old eyes one fragment was shaped just like a model glider. There was one open parachute.”[3]

The aircraft were Mosquito Mark VI fighter bombers, numbers HX849 and HX850, on test flights from Hatfield, the De Havilland aerodrome. The pilots were John de Havilland, younger son of the company’s founder Geoffrey de Havilland, and George Gibbins. JHF Scrope and Godfrey Carter were the respective observers. There were no survivors, the parachute belonged John de Havilland who died on the way to hospital .[4]

Carter was 32.


[1] Flight Magazine 02-09-1943

[4] ‘Mosquito, the Illustrated History’ Philip J.Birtles