Aviation Mysteries: 10 Strangest Aircraft Disappearances in History

6. Damer Leslie Allen

damer-leslie-allen (Image: Reed Business Information, cc-sa-3.0)

In 1910, two men competed to see who was going to be the first to fly across the Irish Sea. Denys Corbett Wilson and Damer Leslie Allen were both relative newcomers to the aviation world, friends that had bonded over their love of this new frontier. Both were flying identical single-seater Bleriot XI planes that had only a compass to help them navigate.

The previous attempt at making the flight from Holyhead to the Irish coast ended when Robert Loraine was forced to make an emergency landing within sight of the coast – he managed to swim to shore, but it would ultimately be Wilson that would complete the first Wales-to-Ireland crossing.

Unfortunately, Allen was not as lucky.

damer-leslie-allen-2 (Image: via aviapc.com)

Both men started their journey at the same time, and Allen even had an early lead. He never reached Dublin, though, as he and his plane disappeared somewhere over the Irish Sea. Nothing was ever recovered from the presumed crash, and it’s unsure what happened. Wilson’s plane – identical to Allen’s – was plagued with engine trouble that had forced him to land several times before heading out over the Irish sea and at one point, he was forced to refuel with gas siphoned from nearby agricultural machines and oil purchased from a local chemist. It’s presumed that the same difficulties plagued Allen, but it seems unlikely anyone will ever know for sure.


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About the author: Debra Kelly




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