The Kings Cup Aeroplane Race

The Kings Cup Aeroplane Race Over Dalbeattie

Craignair Bridge

It was in 1935 when a dramatic incident took place over Dalbeattie. The Kings Cup Aeroplane Race was to come over Dalbeattie. The race was to fly over the farm called "ReedWeel", which is situated on the Quarry straight, just on the outskirts of the town.

  This area was a turning point or check station, before the planes headed on to Blackpool. A large white cross was put out onto a field. This was to let the pilots, while flying over Craignair, at about the height of 300 feet, see where to drop their official markers. The markers were in a small parachute. In the parachute was 5 old pennies riveted together, with the inscription " Dalbeattie Marker", inscribed on them. Dalbeattie Museum is in proud possession of one of these markers and is on display to let our visitor see.

Two "Leopard" planes came over at about 12-30pm and the officer incharge of the station thought he recognised the first plane as that of a personal friend, but when the second plane dropped a message, the officer jumped to the conclusion that he had mistaken the plane and that the second plane was his friend. This message, which was wrappd in two hankerchiefs and a piece of paper, was picked up by Mr Andrew Smith, from the "Crown Hotel", Dalbeattie, and thought  to be a cheery greeting from the pilot, but on reading the note he got a terrible shock, as it reported, "plane down in Irish Sea, Ship close at hand".

Immediately he got onto the telephonic communications with the Coast Guard Station at Portpatrick.

He later heard from London that the ship had gone to rescue the plane and crew, and that they were all safely on board and on their way to Ireland.

The planes which came from Newtonards in Ireland mostly arrived before mid-day. Some of them flying very low and at great speed. The name of the pilot concerned was Alexander Henshaw, one of the youngest competitors, who was flyimg a Miles Hawk Major.