Accident Lieut George Philip Lempriere Gas Balloon Unregistered, Tuesday 20 May 1902
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Date:Tuesday 20 May 1902
Time:07:40 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic BALL model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Lieut George Philip Lempriere Gas Balloon
Owner/operator:Lieut George Philip Lempriere
Registration: Unregistered
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Location:Sheffield Wednesday FC Ground, Owlerton, Sheffield, South Yorkshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Owlerton, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Destination airport:Owlerton, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
20.5.1902: A Gas balloon, owned and operated by Lieut George Philip Lempriere was involved in a fatal accident. Parachute failed to open in fall from balloon at Sheffield Wednesday's Football Ground, Owlerton, Sheffield. The parachutist, Edith Brookes (23) was killed. She was using a parachute damaged the day before in a jump by her older sister Maude. According to a contemporary newspaper report ("West Gippsland Gazette (Warragul, Victoria, Australia). Tuesday 22 July 1902 Page 5 - see link #7):


A lady parachutist named Miss Edith Brookes was killed at Sheffield on Tuesday. The unfortunate woman was a younger sister of Miss Maude Brookes, a well-known parachutist.

The latter, on Monday, made a successful ascent at the gala held at the Wednesday Football Club's ground at Owlerton, rising to a height of about 3,000 feet, and alighting safely near Neepsend Station, on the Great Central Railway, about a mile and a half from the ground. The balloon, however, was somewhat seriously injured by falling on the roof of a house, and there was doubt whether the second ascent advertised for the second day of the gala could be made.

Unfortunately, as it has proved, 'Miss Brookes and her manager, Lieutenant Lempriere, were able to repair the balloon, and it was decided that the younger sister, Edith, should make the ascent.

When a start was made at twenty minutes to eight a nice breeze was blowing, and thousands of" spectators,. inside and outside the. ground were eagerly anticipating another successful performance. Amid hearty cheers the balloon soared aloft, but when it had reached a height, estimated at no more than 700 feet, the onlookers were surprised to see the occupant of the car tugging at the ropes holding the parachute. A moment later Miss Brookes dropped from the balloon, and it was quickly realised that nothing but a miracle could avert a tragedy.

Practically the only danger attaching to a descent of this kind is the failure of the parachute to open, and this is what happened. Usually the parachute opens after falling about 200 feet, but on Tuesday, to the horror of the spectators; the huge canvas dropped, as one spectator graphically described it, "like a wet rag." It could be seen that Miss Brookes was trying to pull the ropes, but when still some considerable distance from the ground she appeared to turn over, and continuing to fall at great speed, was dashed to the ground in Hillsborough Park, only a few hundred yards away from the field from which she ascended.

Lieutenant Lempriere and the organiser of the gala were almost immediately on the spot. Miss Brookes was still alive when picked up, but died in a few moments. The tragedy created a painful sensation in the neighborhood and the gala was, of course, at once abandoned. Miss Brookes was to have made a descent at London on Wednesday. She was twenty-three years of age."

Lieut George Philip Lempriere (born 1856) survived this incident unhurt. He also survived two world wars, and died in 1949 at the age of 92


6. Sheffield Daily Telegraph (several reports 20-29 May 1902):
7. West Gippsland Gazette (Warragul, Victoria, Australia) Tuesday 22 July 1902 Page 5 at

Revision history:

14-Nov-2018 18:35 Dr.John Smith Added
14-Nov-2018 19:07 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total occupants, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
14-Nov-2018 19:07 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
14-Nov-2018 19:08 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source]

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