Military aircraft crashes in the
south west Midlands - 1915 and 1916
Details of the crashes and the names of the
aircrew involved appear on this page. Please contact us
if you are related to somebody on the list, or know of
a photograph of them. If original photographs or
papers are still in the family, we can help to caption
photographs and explain the codes and nicknames that
were used at the time. We appreciate the opportunity
to copy original material for the museum's archive.
The Midland Aircraft
Recovery Group has found the sites of many of the
crashes, but we are still looking for a significant
number, so we'd like to hear from anyone who can
pinpoint a crash that we've listed. We are
always looking for photographs, log books and
anecdotes relevant to the units based in the Midlands.
below are have been compiled from numerous sources of
information in the public domain over many years.
We've done our best, but errors are inevitable. Please
contact us if you have more accurate information on
any of the crashes or people listed, or can add the
names of crew that we haven't traced. Thank you.
13/11/1915 An Irish labourer was killed at Radford
aerodrome, Coventry, by an aircraft flown by 2/Lt Maurice
Basden. The labourer's name and aircraft details have not
yet been traced.
08/12/1915 Avro 504, serial unknown, of 5 Reserve
Aeroplane Squadron spun into the ground at Castle
Bromwich. Lt Ian Macdonald was injured and 2/Lt Cyril
Talbot Burley Croft was killed. 2nd Lt C T B Croft,
9/Somerset LI & RFC, was 24, son of Rev O T B Croft,
of South Cadbury. He volunteered in Canada and came
to England in October 1914 before volunteering for the
31/01/1916 RE7 serial 2363, of 5 Resere Aeroplane
Squadron ascended at night to check the
blackout, while Zeppelin L21 was in the area. On return,
it was wrecked in a forced landing at Castle Bromwich, in
mist. Major A B Burdett and 2/Lt R A Cresswell were
24/07/1916 Shorthorn serial 7353, of 5 Reserve Squadron
crashed at Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt W Hodgeson (or
Hodgson) was injured.
25/07/1916 BE2d serial 5838, of 55 Squadron crashed at
Lilbourne. The pilot 2/Lt G S Rogers and passenger 2/Lt
Allan Stanley Hett were both injured. 2/Lt
Hett suffered serious injuries which kept him from
operational flying for the remainder of the war, some of
which he spent flying from Castle Bromwich, Lilbourne and
Coventry. Rogers' was less fortunate: see below.
10/08/1916 Two aircraft collided near Lilbourne. One
landed safely, without injuries and has not been
identified. The other, FK3 serial 5527, of 55
Squadron had its tail cut off by the propeller and
crashed. The pilot, 2/Lt George Stanley Rogers, and
passenger 2/Lt Cyril de Frece were both killed. Second
Lieutenant Cyril de Frece was the only son of Mr Alfred de
Frece, a London solicitor of 153 Abbey Road, West
Hampstead and 2 Devonshire Square. He was educated at the
Haberdashers’ School, Taplow Grammar School and in
Brussels. He also studied under Professor Thompson
at the City and Guilds School, London. In October 1915 he
joined the Middlesex Yeomanry and obtained a commission in
the RFC in June 1916. He was buried at the Liberal
Jewish Cemetery, Willesden. 2/Lt George Stanley
Rogers came from Barrie, Ontario, Canada and was
originally with the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
17/09/1916 Sopwith 1˝ Strutter A1060, of 28 Reserve
Squadron had a structural failure during aerobatics at
Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt John Cyril Hodges and 2/Lt Leslie
Syson were both killed. Hodges was the son of Rev’d E I
Hodges, of Marl Hall Rectory, Coggeshall, Essex.
Leslie Syson, of the Royal Garrison Artillery was from
Liverpool and Shepherd’s Bush and had brothers Frank and
23/09/1916 Sopwith 1˝ Strutter, serial 7772, of 54
Squadron dived into the ground in the Wishaw area,
possibly because the pilot was ill. Lt Sidney
Woodrow, from Neutral Bay, New South Wales, Australia, was
killed. He left a wife in Sydney.
03/10/1916 Sopwith 1˝ Strutter A889, of 54 Squadron
stalled at 30 feet and crashed at Castle Bromwich.
The pilot, the Hon. M. Greville was injured.
13/11/1916 Sopwith 1˝ Strutter, serial 7797, of 28 Reserve
Squadron landed fast in fog and ran through a hedge at
Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt J. V. A. Gleed was injured.
04/12/1916 Pup A643, of 54 Squadron stalled from a
vertical bank and crashed at Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt
N. E. Startin was injured.
20/12/1916 Longhorn, serial 2986, of 5 Reserve Squadron
sideslipped from 400 feet, crashed and caught fire at
Walmley. 2/Lt Frank Leslie Garner was killed at the
scene. 2/Lt Percy Andrew Wright died of his injuries
on 21/12/1916. Garner was from Runcorn; Wright was
buried at Birmingham Lodge Hill cemy.