Dorothy “Dot” Cain was a 25-year-old married woman who died in front of her family and 20,000 people when a parachute jump went wrong. The parachute caught on the undercarriage of the plane and she fell about 1,000 feet. Her death made headlines across the world.
In 1926 Dorothy was running the Empire Hotel in Leicester with her husband when she read about Captain Muir, a seasoned pilot who had made a solo flight from England to Sweden. He had been giving passenger and exhibition flights in Leicester and offered the public a chance to parachute. Dot was eager to try it. She should have remain at home and washed her hair.
The plane took off from Royal Show Ground in Leicester with Dot’s excited family watching on. She gaily waved back to the crowd which cheered. She was wearing ordinary clothes beneath a cloche hat as the plan ascended the skies.
At 1,000 feet she appeared on a wing of the plane and jumped. She was clutching a bunch of white heather for good luck but it did not work: the silk caught on the plane’s undercarriage, Dot slipped out of the harness and plummeted to earth. The sight of her falling was so heart-wrenching for the gasping spectators that they rushed in all directions.
Dot turned several somersaults and then fell straight to the ground with the parachute that should have delivered her still stuck to the plane. Newspapers say she bounced about 6 feet high and landed in a hedge. Her father-in-law Arthur Cain was the first person to reach her. The death of an adventurous young woman falling from a tiny biplane was reported on front page of the Daily Mirror the following day. Nothing spreads faster than bad news and Dot was in the pages of newspapers across the world though her body was now here where I am stood.
Pointing to the plan and Dot is circled…
You can still make out “Dorothy Cain”…