Surface Sites - Memorials

Sergeant HH Adair

 Created 09-10-2001    Last update 27-11-2007

The Pilot

Hubert Adair - known as Paddy - was born in 1917, the son of Robert and Elizabeth Adair. He was educated at the City of Norwich School and joined the RAF in January 1936 - service number 580088. After training  he joined 88 Squadron and flew Fairey Battle aircraft during the Battle of France. In August 1940 he converted to Hurricanes and joined 213 Squadron based at Tangmere. 

On 5 November 1940 he was involved in a night landing accident at Tangmere, and the day after was in combat over Southampton, flying Hurricane AK-D-V7602. He never returned. It is almost certain that he was the 53rd(?) kill of Major Helmut Wick of JG2 who was himself to loose his own life 22 days later. Adair was posted 'missing', and was presumed to have came down in the English Channel. His family never knew of his actual fate until they read this account on this website (see emails below). He is named on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, UK on panel 11. 

F/O Tillett may well have met the same fate on the same day 3.5 miles to the west - details

The site

On Portsdown to the east of the Churchillian  Pub is a small memorial stone dedicated to Sergeant HH Adiar. The location of the the actual crash site is just under 1 mile away to the north west.

There were plenty of eye witnesses around this area on 6 November 1940, and it appears that the aircraft, in a power dive, went into the ground vertically at 500mph from 15,000 feet. My Mum (Betty Hunt) was 13 at the time and lived at Wymering, a quarter of a mile away from the crash site. She recalls: We heard loud roar and a bang so all the kids went up the Hill to have a look. There was a crowd of people near Pigeon House Lane but the MPs kept us back.

The RAF never recovered the body nor fully recovered the wreckage.


The End?

On 6 October 1979 an excavation by the Wealden Aviation Archaeological Group was begun in an attempt to recover what was left. Fortunately for them some of the original witnesses were still alive and location was rapid. Much of the more solid parts of the  mangled aircraft were found including both groups of Browning .303 machine guns, which were resting vertically in the chalk. They came across the Merlin engine crankshaft and the propeller boss 9 feet down. The remains of the pilot were also recovered. The excavation team could not officially identify the pilot but they did manage to reveal the armament numbers on the Browning gun butts. The authorities then ordered the weapons to be broken up.

On 22 November 1979 the Portsmouth Coroner's Office stated that an inquest would not be held, and that the Coroner had ordered the disposal of the remains, which was carried out at Portchester Crematorium on 29 October 1979. Because of this outcome Sergeant HH Adair still remains officially missing and never received the ceremonial burial that he certainly deserved.


With thanks to Peter Rogers for his contribution and photographic interpretation


Aerial photo site location    Grid Ref SU661064

Google Earth Aerial View (crash site)

Visit this site - Portsdown Walk No1

The Plaque long shot

 This memorial plaque is situated on top of Portsdown, slightly to the east of the Churchillian Pub, and is in tribute to SGT. HH Adair who was killed when his Hurricane aircraft crashed near here during WWII. 

Plaque close up

 This memorial plaque close up:



HERE ON THE 6/11/1940







The crash site at Pigeon House Farm

  NEW - 25-03-2005

2005. This is the site where the Hurricane actually crashed (SU646069) - 1700 yards north west of the memorial shown above. Pigeon House Farm is in the background and the field between the farm and the hedgerow in the middle of the picture is the crash site. The Ware brothers owned the farm in 1940.

Recovering the aircraft

 NEW - 25-03-2005

6 October 1979. The Wealden Aviation Archaeological Group begin recovery of the wreckage. On the extreme right is farmer Ernest Ware who witnessed the crash 39 years previously. Pigeon House farm can be seen in the background.

Photo: Alexander McKee


  NEW - 21-03-2005

The tail was found 3 feet down and the excavation went down to a depth of 9 feet. The impact was of such force that the aircraft measuring 32 feet in length was compressed to just 6 feet. The black bag on the left was used for the remains of the pilot which amounted to just a few bones.  

Photo: Alexander McKee

HH AdairMajor Helmut Wick

 Warriors of the sky

Sgt. Hubert Hastings Adair

Died 6 November 1940

aged 23.

Major Helmut Wick

Died 28th November 1940

aged 25.



Here are some extracts from emails received about this subject. Any italicised comments in [] brackets are mine.

  NEW - 27-11-2007  


I am extremely grateful to those who have done so much to commemorate my Uncle Hubert.

As a child I well remember that when it was Remembrance Sunday my whole family stopped to remember Hubert. He was the only one lost in the Second World War from both my father's and mother's large families. He was my mother's brother.

It is sad to recall that the brother that my mum (nee Esther Adair) was so fond of had no resting place and was presumed missing in action over the Channel. My mum hated to think that he was in the water. Sadly she never got to hear about the discovery of his aircraft and the marvellous web site that honours his name. On her behalf I am extremely proud. 

My 9 year old daughter, Ellie, has been set homework this weekend that asks her to write a letter to a friend explaining why poppies are special. I have shown her this web site. She is proud of and grateful to her great uncle for the price he paid for our freedom. The memory lives on.

Andrew Sherwood - November 2007