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Thread: My own Bremont story.

  1. #1
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    My own Bremont story.

    Hello - my name is Phil Parrott and I was recently asked to share my story on the forum.

    Most of you will know as Bremont supporters that Nick and Giles lost their father whilst practising for an air display back in 1995. It was this major turning point in their lives that fuelled their desire to do something they were passionate about, and the Bremont Watch Company was borne out of this tragedy through the skills their father taught them and his passion for aviation which of course runs through Nick and Giles' veins.

    So you're probably wondering where I come into the story?

    On March 4th 1995 I was a 15yr old boy, and was out on a bike ride with my 2 friends at the time. Rather than taking a normal route, we decided to go explore some of the country lanes we'd never been down before. A couple of miles into our journey we heard the distinctive sound of two vintage planes overhead, so we pulled over to the side of a field and sat in awe of the WWII Harvards that were practising their formation flying overhead. The North American Harvard, or T6 Texan as it is known in America was a WWII training aircraft for Spitfire and P-51 pilots. A two seater aircraft with the instructor in the back, and the training pilot in the front cockpit.

    Shortly into the display, the rear plane came out of formation whilst going into a loop, Nick was in the lead plane and continued into the manoeuvre but when he got to the top of the loop, something faultered with the engine which then brought the plane down in an upside down spin.
    With only a couple of hundred feet to spare, Nick and his father, Euan managed to recover from the spin, but by the time the plane levelled out it was below the tree line.
    As it was, they were heading directly for a house, so rather than risk the lives of the people in the house, they turned hard to the right, only to be faced with a long line of tall trees. They pulled up and cleared the trees, but unfortunately the plane stalled, or there was another engine fault and the Harvard with Nick and his father crashed into the field where I was sat.

    When the plane came down, it went into a cartwheel and broke up on impact. There was a huge fireball as the fuel tanks ignited and it eventually came to rest a 100ft or so from where I was, and facing in the other direction. For a couple of seconds I was completely numb by what I had seen, but then instinct took over and I ran over to the plane. On this particular day, I had taken my father's mobile phone because I thought it was cool to have one, and being 15 I thought I was pretty special for having it. Thankfully this allowed me to call the emergency services immediately as I ran across the field.

    When I got to the plane, I could see the front half of the cockpit where Nick was sat had been folded back along the left hand side of the plane, there were flames coming from it and the smell of fuel was quite overwhelming. I could see a man in the back seat of the plane, so I went around to the other side where the fuselage had been torn away in the crash to enable me to get to him. The man in the back seat was Euan English - Nick and Giles' father. Tragically, there was nothing I could do for Euan. I tried to pull him out of the plane, but the heat and flames prevented me from doing so. It was clear that he had already passed, but I just didn't want him to be sat in there.
    I stood back from the plane and looked to the right where I thought I would undoubtedly see another body, and about 15ft in front of the plane I could see Nick.
    My immediate thoughts were that he had passed too. He was face down in the mud, his leg and wrist were snapped, and there was a chunk of flesh missing from the back of his other leg. I didn't know what to do, but then I saw him blink.

    I ran over and moved Nick's head to allow him to breathe, his initial breath in was rattled and weak, but he started to groan in pain and eventually started talking.
    By this time, a lot of other people had arrived at the plane, including a doctor who was playing at a local golf course, so I just dropped back and helped to keep people away from the crash site until police and the emergency services arrived.

    Luckily for Nick an RAF Sea King helicopter was nearby carrying the RAF's top medical staff, including an anaesthetist and trauma specialist, so they were diverted to the field and managed to stabilise Nick as much as they could before the London Air Ambulance picked him up and took him to hospital to have his 30 broken bones fixed, and 90 pints of blood pumped through him to clear out all of the dirt that entered his system from his horrific injuries.

    Whilst all this was happening, Giles was waiting at North Weald Airfield to go out in the next sortie. I can not imagine how it must have felt for him to hear over the radio that his father had died, and his brother was probably dead. To be so far away and helpless, not knowing what was happening, then having to break that news to your family..... It doesn't bare thinking about.

    I was absolutely distraught after Nick was taken away. I was terrified that I might have paralysed him for life by moving his head, or that I could have damaged him so much that it might have killed him. After he was taken away in the helicopter I never heard anything about him, and spent the next 16 years feeling immensely guilty that I could have ruined someone's life.

    In December 2010 I had been shopping with my wife and had seen a watch that looked like a plane dial. I didn't see who made it, but when I got home I started 'googling' "aviation watch"...then "pilots watch", but nothing came of that, so I typed in "spitfire watch" and I saw one of the most beautiful time pieces I'd ever seen. That watch turned out to be the EP-120 by Bremont.

    Intrigued by this I went to the "About Us" section on their website to see the story behind the company, and I saw a picture of a man called Nicholas English. I recognised his face and his name, but I couldn't quite place it, so I 'googled' "Nick English Bremont" and found an interview by TimeZone which revealed that Nick was in a plane crash with his father in 1995. I searched a few other stories and was then 100% sure that this was the same man who I found in that field all those years ago.

    You would not believe the huge weight that was lifted from my shoulders at that point. After 16 years of feeling so guilty that I may have ruined his life, I could see that Nick and his brother were both alive and well, and more amazingly - they had taken something their father had taught them and started this amazing watch brand.

    I contacted Nick through the Bremont website, and explained that he would not remember me, but I was the first person on the scene on that day. We met up for lunch in January, along with the pilot of the other plane that day, then in February Nick took me flying in the Bremont Broussard.

    I will always be glad that I was there on that day. I don't know for sure whether or not my actions saved Nick's life, or if the next person to get to the crash site would have done the same thing, but looking back I did all that I could, and I now have some friends for life. The English family have been very welcoming and sincere towards me, and both Nick and Giles are true gentlemen in every sense of the word. I am truly humbled to be part of the Bremont story, even if it's in the smallest way.

    I hope if nothing else that this story would encourage you to go out and donate blood. Without blood donations, people like Nick would not be here today. It's a worthwhile cause and bloodstock is always needed. I know it's a bit off topic, but if this doesn't encourage you to do so, then nothing will.

    Oh....and it turns out that the watch I was originally searching for was a Bell & Ross. Of course I have now seen the light of Bremont, so as soon as I get my US visa and move across the pond to live with my wife and children, I will be making my first purchase. Most probably an ALT-1 or MBII. I have no idea. I keep suffering from watch envy every time I look at their site. I did contemplate ebaying my wife to get the P-51, but it might ruin Christmas.

    If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer.

    Thanks for your time.

    Phil

  2. #2
    Administrator jwalker9's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing that, Phil! I can certainly appreciate the relief you felt when you discovered that the man you pulled from the wreckage was alive and doing something special with his life. Cheers, and good luck with your upcoming Bremont purchase!

  3. #3
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    Here are a few photographs to help you understand the scene.

    The shot from the side shows the cockpit folded alongside the plane, and the picture showing the front shows Nick's shoe on the ground, which is next to where he was lying. You can see his seat and parachute next to the rear wing alongside the plane. Also there is a picture of Euan English, the true inspiration behind Nick and Giles' passion.
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  4. #4
    Phil,

    What an amazing addition to an already unbelievable story. Things happen for a reason. And to stumble upon Nick and Bremont to put closure to the horrible memory that you carried with you all those years really tops it off. Fact is indeed sometimes stranger than fiction! Thanks for the post. I really enjoyed reading it.

    Nemo

  5. #5
    An amazing story and with such a wonderful outcome for you and, obviously, Nick & Giles. You should be proud. Your own modesty shines through and also a touch of humour.

  6. #6
    Brilliantly written Phil.

    You are a very good man, take care mate and I look forward to meeting you soon.

    Mike

  7. #7
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    Thank you Mike, and everyone else for your kind comments. All I did was move Nick's head. Nothing heroic, I just made sure he could breathe.

    Being 15, I was kind of pushed to the side when the adults turned up. The people who made the real difference were the paramedics and doctors on the scene. Their skills undoubtedly saved Nick from the very bad state he was in.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
    I'm lost for words with this story Phill! It gave me goose bumps the more I read.

    What a tragic loss with true friendship gained!

    You were one brave 15 year old and glad you finally got closure!

    RIP Euan English.. His legacies and passion will certainly live on!

    On a more lighthearted note, your in a great position wanting a Bremont or a B&R! There amazing watches. Good luck with the search what ever you may buy...

    Ps get saving for a P-51

    SJ

  9. #9
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    Thank you, Scott.

    I was terrified at the time, so bravery certainly doesn't come into it. Just human instinct and wanting to help people in need. The smell of fuel was very strong as the plane had just refuelled before heading out to the flying area, so I did think it could ignite again. I think once I saw Nick though, that I forgot about everything else. It's all a bit of a blur really. I tried to block it out of my mind for such a long time, and it was only reading through my witness statement and looking at pictures etc that it all really came back to me.

  10. #10
    What time you at Salon QP Phil?

    We should hook up for a watch chat!

    SJ
    Last edited by scott_johnson; 11-03-2011 at 07:52 PM.

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