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1936: Lightning horror at Slough Green

Lightning played havoc in the neighbourhood of Slough Green, Cuckfield during the storm which broke at about two o'clock on Whit-Monday afternoon. Mr Frederick Everest, of 23 Slough Place Cottages, an employee of Mr. T. Stevens, of Slough Green Farm had a most unpleasant experience. While walking behind a roller drawn by two horses in a field at the top of Holmsted Hill, he saw what appeared to be a ball of fire come down a few feet behind him.

He can remember nothing of what happened between that moment and when he recovered consciousness in his home a few hours later. It seems that he unhooked the horses from the roller, and they instinctively went through the gateway and proceeded towards the farm, Mr Everest, with his arm over the chain which coupled the animals, half walked and was half drugged along.

Fortunately his son, who lives nearby, noticed him coming up the road, and, getting no reply to a shout, went to see what was the matter. He found his father in a dazed condition and unable to speak, and after taking him home sent for Dr CJ Farr, of Cuckfield Mr Everest, who is getting on in years, is suffering from severe shock, and has been ordered a complete rest.

At Holmsted Farm a short distance from Slough Green, some eighty cows were standing in the milking shed when there was a blinding flash of lightning. Three of them collapsed, but some time afterwards were able to rise again. The quantity of milk which the cows susequently gave was many gallons less than usual. A window was broken and some slates were torn off the buildings, while in one of the sheds the casing of some telephone fittings was smashed.

A telegraph pole at the rear of the bungalow home of Mr and Mrs T Bourne, on the road leading to the farm was split into hundreds of pieces. The pole stood beneath an oak tree in a field, in the centre of which some of the pieces of wood were found. Other pieces were flung across the main road.

An 80-year-old occupant of the bungalow - Mr JT Hogben, grandfather of Mrs Bourne - had a narrow escape. He was seated at the table having dinner, when an earth wire between the wireless set and a pipe came down around him. Mr Hogben had just used a glass pepper-pot, and no sooner had he put it on the table than it was broken to pieces. Six small panes of glass in a window at the back of the bungalow were smashed, the electric lights were fused and the wireless aerial outside was carried away.

In a nearby house, occupied by Mr and Mrs GH Bourne, electric switches and a fuse box were tom off the walls.

Mid Sussex Times, 9 June 1936

Photograph. Lightning in Etosha National Park in Namibia. Wikimedia public domain image.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.



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