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Wreckage from plane of World War Two hero on display at Hove pub near crash site
The wreckage of a plane belonging to a Battle of Britain hero has gone on display just yards from the fatal crash site where it lay undisturbed for 56 years.
Sergeant Dennis Noble was just 20-years-old when his Hawker Hurricane crashed in Woodhouse Road, Hove, in 1940.
Wartime authorities filled in the crater – and it wasn’t until 1996 that archaeologists excavated the site and recovered the pilot’s body.
The lead historian has now donated pieces of the fuselage and engine to the nearby Noble House pub, named after the pilot.
A special ceremony and lunch was held at the Portland Road pub on Thursday.
Special guests were lead historian from the 1996 dig Keith Arnold and crash eyewitness John Samuel.
Mr Samuel, who was 12 at the time, said: “It was the height of the Battle of Britain so we were used to planes flying overhead.
“But this noise was horrendous. It was a terrible screeching, it was like a sound from hell. I’ll never forget it.
“I rushed round to the crash site on my bike and found the wreckage.
“It looked like he had tried to miss the nearby flats. He [Sgt Noble] was a real hero – and only 20-years-old.”
The crash site was quickly resurfaced in an attempt to minimise disruption and a funeral was held in Sgt Noble’s hometown of Retford, Nottinghamshire.
But in the 1990s, historian Keith Arnold decided to excavate the site.
Remarkably, not only did he find the crashed Hurricane but also Sgt Noble still in the cockpit in his flying suit.
It turned out undertakers had filled his coffin with sandbags.
Landlord Peter Wilson said: “When we took over the pub we had to come up with a name.
“I heard about Denis Noble and the proximity of the crash site – it was perfect.
“We are privileged to have these historic items in the pub. We’ve also got a photo of Sgt Noble pride of place in the bar.”
Mr Samuel said: “He shot down a German plane on his way down, he was a real hero.
“We were saved by brave young men like Sgt Noble. I think this is a fitting tribute.”
The remains of Sgt Noble’s Hurricane along with his log book are in Tangmere Museum, near Chichester.
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