On 30 August 1940, No 43 Squadron’s Sergeant Dennis Noble took off from RAF Tangmere with other Hurricanes of his squadron to meet an incoming Luftwaffe raid. Sadly, over Brighton, Dennis was killed in his cockpit and his aircraft crashed just before noon in Woodside Road, Hove. On impact, the wings and main spar of Hurricane P3179 broke away. The engine and cockpit carried on into the ground, deep into the Sussex clay. On the next day, those parts of the aircraft that had remained on the surface were taken away by an RAF salvage team.
In November 1996, Keith Arnold, an aviation archaeologist, having obtained the necessary licence from the MOD, commenced recovering the aircraft from the crash site. In 1999, the aircraft parts, including the Merlin engine were moved to the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum where they have been displayed ever since. However, about four years ago Keith was contacted by a householder in Woodside Road who had recently bought a house and found in the garden a large aircraft part. Keith identified this to be the main spar of Hurricane P3179.
During the Museum’s recent closed period, Keith has reunited the main spar with aircraft. To do so, he has turned the aircraft through 180 degrees which has also enabled him to add additional parts not previously displayed. The Museum’s Curatorial Department has also produced new information boards on Dennis Noble, Hurricane P3179 and its excavation from Woodside Road which are displayed with the aircraft.