Military aircraft crashes in the
south west Midlands - 1917
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.
07/01/1917 Shorthorn, serial 2953, of 5 Reserve Squadron
sideslipped and crashed at Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt F.
A. Taylor and Sgt G. N. Wilson were both injured.
13/01/1917 Avro 504, A2650, of 28 Reserve Squadron crashed
while attempting to return to Castle Bromwich aerodrome
with a failing engine. Capt. W. H. Costello was
probably uninjured, but may have subsequently gone missing
18/01/1917 Sopwith 1½ Strutter, serial 7801, of 28 Reserve
Squadron overturned when force-landing after an engine
failure, probably in the vicinity of Castle
Bromwich. 2/Lt A. S. Talbot was injured.
10/02/1917 DH4 A2143, of 55 Squadron was on a flight from
Lilbourne when it had an engine failure and crashed near
Solihull. Sub Lt W. H. Legge later died in
hospital. He was buried in Chingford and was
probably the son of Lt H B Legge TFA, of The Nest, Hayes
Common in Kent and also H B Legge & Co., St Cannon
12/03/1917 RE8 D4810 was being collected from Radford
aerodrome, to be delivered to 37 Reserve Squadron.
It crashed at Tannery Farm, after spinning. 2/Lt D
Stross and 2/AM A. W. Giles were both killed. Stross
had been attached to the Machine Gun Corps and the Royal
Field Artillery. He left a wife and child at 53
Grange Avenue, Chapeltown Road, Leeds and his parents
lived at West Hampstead. His brother was Maurice
Stross, Oak Bank, Harehills Lane, Leeds. Giles left
a wife and a one year old child at Kelsall, St Anne’s
Road, Headington, Oxford. He was a carpenter and
joiner by trade and had transferred from the Devon
Regiment. His brother-in-law was Henry Meadows, of
Yarnton Manor near Oxford.
23/03/1917 RE8 A3454, of 28 Reserve Squadron crashed at
Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt William Moorwood Staniforth
was killed. Staniforth, of the Yorks Dragoons, was
buried at SS Mary and Margaret churchyard, Castle
29/03/1917 A new RE8 was being collected, for delivery to
37 Reserve Squadron. It crashed at Radford
aerodrome, in a spin. 2/Lt Arthur Boon of
7/Manchester Regiment, from Buxton in Derbyshire, was
killed. He was the son of James Boon, Traver (?)
House, near Ruabon and was buried at Coventry, London Road
cemy. The serial of the aircraft has not been
03/04/1917 A pilot lost control of Shorthorn A7099, of 5
Reserve Squadron, in a violent squall. The
passenger, 2/Lt Walter Pilling , was killed in the crash
at Castle Bromwich.
10/04/1917 Sopwith 1½ Strutter A1113, of 28 Reserve
Squadron, crashed, killing 2/Lt John Alexander Williamson
and Cpl Clifford Norman Ryder. The crash seems to
have occurred in the Ullesthorpe area. Williamson
was from the East Kent Yeomanry. No. 941 Cpl Ryder, was
from Sydney, and is also listed under 4 Squadron,
Australian Flying Corps, which was at Warloy Baillon, in
France at the time. He was buried at SS Mary and Margaret
churchyard, Castle Bromwich.
11/04/1917 Avro 504 A2682, of 71 Squadron, crashed after
engine failure, probably at Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt J. G.
Moore, 1 Rifle Brigade and 71 Squadron, was injured.
29/04/1917 Avro 504 B1394, of 28 Reserve Squadron, had an
engine failure when landing at Castle Bromwich. Sgt
J. Stewart was injured.
02/05/1917 Avro 504 B1392, of 28 Reserve Squadron, had an
engine failure and stalled on a turn when trying to regain
the aerodrome at Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt C. N.
Bartlett was injured.
22/05/1917 RE8 A4688, of 1 Aircraft Acceptance Park, was
being flown from Coventry to Lympne. It stalled and
crashed in a spin near Radford aerodrome. Lt Arthur
Henry Felix Fletcher, who had transferred from the 13th
Hussars, was killed. His uncle by marriage was
Charles Henry Davis, of 26 Jersey (?) Sheer Road, East
Street, Jersey. The
Bancroftian Network page on Lt Fletcher.
29/05/1917 Shorthorn B1956, of 5 Training Squadron hit a
tree when landing at Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt W. H.
Jones was injured. Jones was later posted missing
and subsequently prisoner of war, on 24/10/1917 when
flying FE2b A5706, with Lt J S Goddard. His father
was Arthur Harries, of St Helen's Road, Swansea.
04/06/1917 Shorthorn, serial 7355, of 5 Training Squadron,
hit trees at Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt R. H. Timmis and
2/Lt W. E. H. Blyth were both injured. 2/Lt William Ernest
Hill Blyth, then of 89 Squadron, was killed while flying
on 22/4/1918 and was buried in Norwich. He was a
native of Johannesburg.
08/06/1917 Shorthorn A6897, of 5 Training Squadron,
crashed at Blisworth after the pilot got lost. 2/Lt
L. H. Higgs died in hospital, possibly on 09/06/1917. 2/Lt
Lucien Herbert J Higgs was buried at SS Mary &
Margaret churchyard, Castle Bromwich.
09/06/1917 Avro 504, serial 2923, of 73 Squadron, crashed
in a spin at Lilbourne. 2/Lt H. Bradley was injured.
23/06/1917 Avro 504 B925, of 28 Training Squadron, was
being looped when the seat broke and jammed the
controls. It crashed in the Castle Bromwich
area. 2/Lt C. W. Jacot was killed and 2/Lt E.
Villiers was injured. 2/Lt (Temp) Conrade William Jacot,
from Perry Bar, was buried at SS Nicholas and Peter
Church, Curdworth. Villiers was from the East Kent
26/06/1917 FE2 A5508, of 28 Training Squadron, crashed at
Castle Bromwich after an engine failure. Lt W. F.
Findlay was unhurt and 2/Lt J. Noad was injured.
05/07/1917 Sopwith 1½ Strutter A8262, of 71 Squadron,
sideslipped and crashed on take off from Castle
Bromwich. Australian airman A/1078 AM1 A. J.
Merritt, who was the passenger, was badly burned in an
attempt to save the pilot’s life and received the
squadron’s first decoration, the Meritorious Service
Medal, which was gazetted 02/11/1917. 2/Lt Leslie
Morley Fletcher, Australian Flying Corp, was killed and
was buried in SS Nicholas and Peter Church,
Curdworth. He is commemorated on a simple wooden
11/07/1917 Shorthorn A2493, of 5 Training Squadron was
being force-landed in a field adjoining Castle Bromwich
aerodrome after the engine stopped. The machine
struck a hedge, the nose hit the ground and the pilot was
thrown out. 2/Lt Bertram Joseph Venn was killed. He
was the son of Mr J Venn, 24 Glena Avenue, Knowle,
21/07/1917 Longhorn B3982, of 5 Training Squadron hit
trees between Castle Bromwich village
and the aerodrome. 2/Lt W C Gray was injured.
24/07/1917 Avro 504 B954, of 71 Squadron crashed on Castle
Bromwich aerodrome. 2/Lt R A Halliday (or Holliday)
25/07/1917 Avro 504 A480, of 84 Squadron crashed at
Lilbourne aerodrome, when the rudder bar jammed. Lt Oliver
Mortimer Johns from Toronto was being instructed prior to
going solo and was seriously injured. Assistant instructor
Lt E V D Matthews was slightly cut.
27/07/1917 RE8 A3772 was a newly-built aircraft, being
collected from 1 Aircraft Acceptance Park. It spun
into the ground after take off from Radford
aerodrome. Delivery pilot, Lt Roy Cumestree Trout of
69 Squadron, was killed. He was the son of Mr W J
Trout, Victoria Street, Redhill, Brisbane.
03/08/1917 Sopwith 1½ Strutter A8257, of 71 Squadron hit a
tree while spinning, near Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt W F
Stiver was injured.
10/08/1917 Pup A7326, of 84 Squadron spun into the ground
at Lilbourne after a wing collapsed. Lt William
Alexander Taylor, was killed. He was the son of Mr W
Taylor, Florence Mount, Mary Hill Park, Glasgow.
14/08/1917 Avro 504 B928, of 71 Squadron crashed at Castle
Bromwich in gusty conditions. 2/Lt T F Hosking, who
had fought with the ‘Garry Horse, RES Battalion’,
survived. He was the son of Mrs Annie Hosking, 38
Victoria Street, Rozelle, New South Wales. 2/AM
Sidney Bernard Larkin, Australian Flying Corps, was
20/08/1917 Shorthorn B2036, of 5 Training Squadron tried
to turn to avoid a machine on the ground at Castle
Bromwich, but crashed when a wingtip struck the
ground. Lt Frederick Arthur Whitfield was injured.
25/08/1917 Sopwith 1½ Strutter A6914, of 84 Squadron force
landed near Kettering. When it took off again the
engine failed and it collided with a tree. 2/Lt S H
Preston was injured.
06/09/1917 Avro 504 A2640, of 28 Training Squadron crashed
at Castle Bromwich after failing to flatten out on
landing. Lt G S Curtis was injured.
07/09/1917 Sopwith 1½ Strutter, serial 7999, of 28
Training Squadron banked when too close to the ground
after taking off from Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt J
Burdekin and the wing photography corporal, Cpl Males,
were both injured.
14/09/1917 Avro 504 A9803, of 71 Squadron crashed in a
wood at Water Orton near Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt David
K Billings, had fallen out of the cockpit to his death,
when the straps broke during aerobatics. He was the
son of Reverand J Billings, 5109 Kinbark Avenue, Chicago,
29/09/1917 Shorthorn A4155, of 5 Training Squadron
collided with a telegraph pole – presumably at Castle
Bromwich. 2/Lt W R Butler was injured.
01/10/1917 BE2e A3148, of 1 Aircraft Acceptance Park,
crashed on the outskirts of Radford aerodrome after an
engine failure. Captain R H C Usher and Captain W E
Reason, who was the chief technical officer from ‘Norwich
EOI’, were both injured.
05/10/1917 Avro 504 B3129, of 28 Training Squadron spun in
off a turn at Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt Cyril Thornton
was killed outright and 2/Lt Granville Vernon Lewis died
some hours later. Lewis was born in Melbourne, Australia
but had married and settled in north east London by 1912.
He had enlisted in the the 3rd London Field Company, Royal
Engineers at Denham Camp by 14 September 1914. He
transferred to Cadet Wing RFC, Denham, 8 March 1917 and
was gazetted Flying Officer 15 September 1917, becoming an
instructor at 28 TS. He left his pregnant wife
Myvanwy Jacob Lewis at 15 Aveling Park Road, Chingford
Road, north east London. His son Richard Granville
Lewis was born in 1918 and was killed in action with 165
Squadron on 9 February 1943. Thornton was the son of Mr E
E J Thornton, 28 Acacia Road, Bournville, Birmingham.
13/10/1917 Shorthorn B2038, of 5 Training Squadron crashed
at Minworth after side-slipping on a turn. 2/Lt
Robert Francis Christie died of his injuries the following
day. He was the son of Reverend E B Christie,
Middleton Rectory, County Armargh, Ireland.
19/10/1917 Avro 504 A9782, of 28 Training Squadron crashed
on Castle Bromwich aerodrome after the engine was
choked. 2/Lt Frederick Gerald Powell was injured.
07/11/1917 Camel B2485, of 71 Squadron stalled and crashed
after an engine failure – presumably at Castle
Bromwich. 2/Lt J Topliffe was injured.
08/11/1917 Avro 504 B3179, of 73 Squadron spun into the
ground adjacent to Lilbourne aerodrome. 2/Lt Norman
Euslace Sassoon Croager (or Groager) and 2/Lt Victor
William Price were both killed. Price had joined the
Worcestershire Regiment and was the son of Mr W J Price,
The Valley, Great Malvern.
02/12/1917 SE5A, serial B563, of 28 Training Squadron spun
into the ground after the pilot attempted too steep a turn
near Castle Bromwich aerodrome. 2/Lt Walter Gordon
Coutts was killed. He was the son of Mr C Coutts, 65
Gothie Avenue, Toronto, Canada.
07/12/1917 Camel B5577, of 73 Squadron stalled on a turn
at Lilbourne after the engine was choked. 2/Lt
Charles Robert Rawbone was injured and died on
18/12/1917. He was the son of Mr C J Rawbone, of 4
Templar Street, Myatts Park, London.
10/12/1917 SE5A B4870, of 28 Training Squadron struck a
tree while force landing out of fuel – presumably near
Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt W Newby was injured.
17/12/1917 SE5A B680, of 28 Training Squadron overturned
when force landing in a ploughed field after the engine
cut – presumably near Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt S S
Punnett was injured.