Military aircraft crashes in the south west
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.
details 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.
03/01/1918 SE5A B681, of 28 Training Squadron dived into the ground off
a turn at low altitude – presumably near Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt G
D Floyd was severely injured.
08/01/1918 Avro 504 A3371, of 74 Training Squadron turned with
insufficient airspeed and crashed – presumably near Castle
Bromwich. 2/Lt D F Farrar was injured.
11/01/1918 Avro 504 A8572, of 28 Training Squadron crashed into trees
and wires when the engine failed on take off from Castle
Bromwich. Cadet P A Kennedy was injured.
20/01/1918 Pup C213, of 55 Training Squadron crashed after colliding
with another machine. C213 was being flown by Lt B S Smallman and
the other machine, which has not been identified, was flown by 2/Lt
Smith. Both appear to have been unhurt.
22/01/1918 Bristol F2, serial B1236, of 59 Training Squadron crashed
near Lilbourne after its pilot was thrown out during aerobatic
practice. 2/Lt Harold Griffith Nelson was killed. He was
the son of Mrs Nelson, 770 St. Nicholas Avenue, New York, USA and was
also friends with Martha Grover of 27 Stockport Grove, Altringham,
23/01/1918 A formation of Pups was flying over Castle Bromwich, when
2/Lt Hamilton in Camel B2480, of 54 Training Squadron did an Immelman
turn from below them. His Camel collided with Pup B5957 and both
crashed. 2/Lt Reginald Douglas Hamilton and Lt Ralph Hall were
both killed. Hamilton was the son of Mr George E O Hamilton, 314
Notre Dam Street, Montreal, Canada. Hall was the son of Mr J H
Hall (or Thomas Hall), 150 Valentine Avenue (or Ballantyne Avenue),
27/01/1918 BE2c, serial 4419, of 59 Training Squadron stalled and
crashed – presumably near Lilbourne. 2/Lt G P Kells was injured.
28/01/1918 Camel B5589, of 54 Training Squadron crashed at Castle
Bromwich when it stalled and spun after the engine
choked. 2/Lt L C McHugh was injured.
31/01/1918 Avro 504 B4230, of 10 Training Squadron blew a cylinder off
its engine, which hit the pilot, rendering him unconcious. The
machine crashed – presumably near Lilbourne. 2/Lt J H Waterworth
16/02/1918 Avro 504 B4379, of 28 Training Squadron hit a tree while
force landing close to Castle Bromwich aerodrome. 2/Lt J Farley
18/02/1918 Camel B7363, of 54 Training Squadron spun into the ground
off a loop, near Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt Charles Brock Whitney was
injured. Whitney was born at Woodstock, Ontario and later lived
in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
28/02/1918 SE5A C5371, of 28 Training Squadron had a wing collapse
during a roll. It spun to the ground and caught fire. Cadet
L Ludwig was killed. He was the son of Mr W W Ludwig, 4810, 14th
Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, USA.
09/03/1918 Avro 504, serial D57, of 74 Training Squadron crashed after
the pilot attempted to turn down-wind and stalled, at Castle
Bromwich. 2/Lt H W Ford was seriously injured.
22/03/1918 Camel B2519, of 74 Training Squadron stalled and spun into
the ground after the engine was choked. 2/Lt W F Hay was injured.
24/03/1918 Pup B7530, of 55 Training Squadron spun into the ground near
Lilbourne. 2/Lt Harry Norman Van Duzer died of his injuries on
26/03/1918. He was the son of Mrs W H Van Duzer, Grimsby,
25/03/1918 Handley Page 0/400, serial D5403 was the 3rd of 50 aircraft
built by the Birmingham Carriage Company. It was being tested by
the makers prior to acceptance by the RAF, when it crashed. This
probably occurred at the makers flying ground in Smethwick,
Birmingham. There are no details of any casualties.
04/04/1918 SE5A B8293, of 28 Training Squadron swung on take off and
stalled avoiding wires, at Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt Victor Topping
was seriously injured.
04/04/1918 SE5A D3447, of 54 Training Squadron spun into the ground off
a roll – presumably near Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt Cyril Riches Lee
09/04/1918 Pup B7501, of 54 Training Squadron flew into a tree –
presumably near Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt Cecil David James was
slightly injured. He was the nephew of Mr A Clark, 806 Keel
Street, Toronto, Canada.
13/04/1918 There was a Zeppelin raid during the night. Lt Cecil Henry
Noble-Cambell of B Flight, 38 Sqn, based at Buckminster, took off 23-25
(on 12/04/1918). While patrolling at 16,000 feet at 01-15, he saw
Zeppelin L62 north east of Birmingham. He closed in to
attack. Unknown to him, Lt Brown of C Flight, 38 Sqn, based at
Stamford, who had taken off 23-18, was also making an attack.
Without warning, Noble-Campbell’s prop was smashed and he descended to
a controlled crash near Radford aerodrome in Coventry. He scrambled
clear before his aircraft, FE2 serial A5707, caught fire. Brown’s
FE2, A5578, also crashed at Radford. The squadron recorded that
both pilots thought they had been shot down by Zeppelin L62, but German
records make no mention of this and it seems likely that the FE2s
either shot each other down, or collided, without the Germans even
knowing they were there. Both airmen were injured. Lt William
Alfred Brown, 12707, had been in the 24th Northumberland Fuseliers.
19/04/1918 Avro 504, serial D1, of 74 Training Squadron stalled and
crashed at Castle Bromwich when the engine
failed. Lt Henry Blackman and 2/Lt W H Hadfield were seriously
19/04/1918 RE8 C2373 spun in off a turn at Radford, when being
collected by a delivery pilot from 38 Squadron, Melton Mowbray.
Lt Sidney Angus Leith was killed. He was the son of Mrs Parker,
Star Hill Hostel, Farnborough, Hampshire and was from from Forest Hall,
Northumberland. His brother was John Armstrong Leith, Lyoak
Cottage, Lame Rilns by Dunfermline.
22/04/1918 Pup B5943, of 28 Training Squadron dived into the ground
while attacking a target in Sutton Park. Sgt Henry Joseph Birtles
was killed. He was the son of Mr R V Young, 33 Phayre Road,
Quetta, India. Both of his parents were dead and his guardian was
John Henry Martin, of Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent.
22/04/1918 RE8, serial E56 was being collected from Radford aerodrome,
for ferrying to the Artillery & Infantry Co-operation School at
Hursely, Winchester, when it stalled and spun into the ground. Lt
A McDunlop was injured. He was the son of Mrs J McDunlop, 29
Cartha Street, Langside, Glasgow.
25/04/1918 Camel B9230, of 10 Training Squadron flew into telegraph
wires while attempting to fly underneath them, near Lilbourne.
2/Lt David Percival McIntyre was killed. He was the son of Mrs
McIntyre, Roselea, Seafield Road, Broughty Ferry
29/04/1918 Avro 504 D185 of 54 Training Squadron stalled and spun off a
turn at Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt C W Mercer was slightly injured.
April 1918 SE5A C6419, of 1 Aircraft Acceptance Park is believed to
have crashed at Radford.
05/05/1918 Avro 504 C568, of 74 Training Squadron spun into the ground
– presumably near Castle Bromwich. Sgt Mechanic Christopher
Charles Dawson was slightly injured.
06/05/1918 Avro 504 B3102, of 74 Training Squadron spun into the ground
– presumably near Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt Jim Joy was slightly
09/05/1918 SE5A D3571, of 55 Training Squadron broke up in the air when
pulling out of a dive, near Lilbourne. 2/Lt James Donald McRae
Reid was killed. He was the son of Mr C G L Reid, Central Park
Post Office, Vancouver, Canada.
11/05/1918 Camel B9242, of 10 Training Squadron spun into the ground
near Lilbourne. 2/Lt Roderick Oliver Sherar was killed. He
was the son of Mrs Sherar, 5 Charles Street, Pokran, Victoria,
Australia and seems also to have been related to Mrs Percival, 51
Eastbourne Road, Birkdale, Lancashire. He was born at at Prahran,
Victoria, Australia, to Caleb and Ann E Sherar of 338 Punt Road, South
Yarra, Victoria, Australia.
22/05/1918 SE5A C9509, of 54 Training Squadron collided with a tree on
take off from Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt Percy Charles Moynihan was
killed. He was the son of Mr G W Moynihan, Gloucester Road,
Finsbury Park, London.
25/05/1918 SE5A D6097, of 74 Training Squadron broke up when coming out
of a dive over Sutton Park. 2/Lt Raymond Tenny Balch was
killed. He was the son of Mr W M Balch, 4 Summit Place, Newbury
Port, Massachusetts, USA.
27/05/1918 RE8 E139 spun into the ground at Radford. It was being
delivered to 72 Training Depot Station. Lt Harry Philip Walter
Laughton was killed. He was the son of Mrs Laughton, Mount Villa,
Mount Road, Rondeboseh, Cape Town, South Africa. His fiancée was
Miss V Bennett, of 78 Gleneagle Road, Streatham, London. Laughton was
in the 10th Middlesex Regiment. He had served with the 2nd Natal
Light Horse, proceded to England and joined the Royal Berkshire
Regiment, serving in Egypt, Mesopotamia and on the North-West frontier
of India, where he was wounded.
29/05/1918 DH9 D5610, of 7 Training Depot Station stalled and crashed
near Balsall Common. 2/Lt Roy Cowell Townsend was killed and Lt
Edward Reyneald Watts was seriously injured. Watts was a pilot
instructor, of the Gordon Highlanders and 7 TDS. Townsend was the
son of Mr H E Cowell Townsend, Croft House, Hungerford, Berks
31/05/1918 Avro 504 D4364, of 55 Training Squadron side-slipped into
the ground at Lilbourne. 2/Lt James Willard Ironmonger was
slightly injured and 2/Lt R K Wilson was unhurt.
May 1918 SE5A C6462, of 1 Aircraft Acceptance Park is believed to have
crashed at Radford.
04/06/1918 Avro 504 D6299, of 28 Training Squadron spun into the ground
near Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt Victor George Cheeseman was seriously
16/06/1918 Avro 504 D162, of 54 Training Squadron spun in off a turn
when landing at Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt Joseph Herries was slightly
21/06/1918 Camel B6416, of 55 Training Squadron spun into the ground at
Lilbourne. 2/Lt W Berwick was slightly injured.
21/06/1918 FK8 C8617, of 1 Training Depot Station spun into the ground
near South Kilworth. 2/Lt Douglas Lavington Little was
killed. He was the son of Mr W G Little, 30 Vicarage Road,
Rugby. He had worked at BTH in Rugby.
25/06/1918 SE5A C1776, of 28 Training Squadron stalled and spun into
the ground, bursting into flames. It isn’t clear whether this
happened at Castle Bromwich, or perhaps Hounslow. 2/Lt George
Galloway Cordiner was killed. He was the son of Mrs M Cordiner,
23 South East Street, Brechin, Scotland.
30/06/1918 Lt John Joseph McDonald took off from Lilbourne in a machine
from 10 Training Squadron, giving Air Mechanic Smith a joy ride.
The identity of the machine has not been traced, but it may have been a
single-seater, with both men in the cockpit. The engine choked on
take off and the machine crashed. McDonald was thrown out and
survived, but 1/AM Richard Smith hit his head on the fuel tank and died
of his injuries.
01/07/1918 Handley Page 0/400, serial D4573 was built by the
Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Company Birmingham and
delivered to the RAF at Castle Bromwich by 29/06/1918. On this
date it crashed while en-route to Martlesham Heath for tests.
Nothing further is known.
04/07/1918 Avro 504 D7783, of 54 Training Squadron hit a tree while
taking off from Castle Bromwich. 2/Lt Neville Victor Scott was
25/07/1918 Bristol F2 B8917, of the School of Special Flying spun into
the ground at Lilbourne. Colonel Ralph Harold Austin-Sparks was
killed. He left a wife, Mrs S J Austin-Sparks at Linchams Goals,
Caterham, Surrey. He had returned from the Argentine in October 1914,
rejoined the London Scottish in November and was a second Lieutenant
with the 11th Hussars (12th Calvalry Brigade) by December. He was
promoted to Captain in the Royal Artillery in May 1915 and attached to
the Royal Flying Corps from June. He was wounded while flying
over Ypres in July 1915. He was Colonel-in-Command RAF (Midland
Area) from June 1918. He had been a member of the Thames Rowing
Club, Belsize Boxing Club and London Scottish Rugby Football Club.
19/08/1918 Handley Page 0/400, serial D4593, of 14 Aircraft Acceptance
Park was on a test flight from Castle Bromwich when it lost fabric from
a wing and crashed at Maxstoke. This was quoted as the worst
accident in the first year of the Royal Air Force and all on board were
killed. The pilot was Lt Robert Edward Andrew MacBeth, the son of
William John and Annie Colhoun MacBeth, of 60 Brock Avenue, Toronto,
Canada. He had a “BASc” from the university of Toronto and had
qualified for his Royal Aero Club certificate No 3154, on the 19th May
1916. The second pilot was Lt Frederick James Bravery, who had a
father in Worthing. 1/AM J May, B/41388, was a “passenger up for a
rigging test”, next of kin Mrs W May, 36 Gladstone Street, Nottingham.
3/AM Charles William Offord, 163783, was testing the dynamo and
lighting system. His next of kin was Mrs Offord, 6 Western Road,
Acton Green, Chiswick, London. 2/AM Albert J Winrow, 104987, was a
“passenger to make up war load to pilot’s instructions”. His next
of kin was Mrs Winrow, 56 Rosemond Street, West Chorlton, Medlock,
Manchester. 3/AM G Greenland, 194997, was the passenger in charge of
petrol pumps, next of kin Mrs Greenland, 145 Canal Road, Mile End,
London. 2/AM H Simmons, 119946, was a “passenger to make up war load to
pilot’s instructions”. He was the son of Henry and Emma Simmonds,
of The Cross, West Meon, Peterfield, Hampshire.
24/09/1918 RE8 C2897 and SE5A F851, both of 1 Aircraft Acceptance Park,
collided at Radford and fell to earth locked together. Lt Charles
Geoffrey Baker, pilot of the SE5A was seriously injured. He was
the son of Mr Charles Baker, 77A Queen Victoria Street, London.
The occupants of the RE8 were less fortunate. 3/AM Percival
George Welsman was killed outright and Lt Hedley Herbert Berry died
later in hospital. Welsman left a wife, Mrs S R Welsman, at 3
Belle View, Colehill, Wimborne, Dorset. Berry was the son of Mr J
E Berry, 299 London Road, Westcliffe-on-Sea. He had seen action
at the Somme and at Messines Ridge in 1916, whilst flying with 21
Sqn. He had survived a crash in France whilst piloting BE12 no.
6628. His brother, Douglas George Berry 59158, was a 2/AM wireless
operator, who enlisted 12/2/17.
01/10/1918 SE5A F856, of 1 Aircraft Acceptance Park, stalled and
crashed at Radford. Sgt Dafely Taweloy Austin Jones, 2196, was
killed. He had served in the Motor Machine Gun Corps and Tank
Corps. F856 was a presentation aircraft ‘Australia No. 39 Western
Australia No. 1. The Boolathana’, donated 28/8/18.
06/10/1918 Avro 504 B927, of 28 Training Squadron crashed while taking
off from Castle Bromwich, when the engine failed. 2/Lt Ormand
Hilton Curry was slightly injured.
06/11/1918 Pup B7533, of 28 Training Squadron stalled and crashed –
presumably at Castle Bromwich. Lt F B Bainbridge was slightly
Date unknown Camel B9158, of 5 Training Squadron crashed at
Lilbourne. Lt C I Lancefield.
Date unknown Camel B9316, of 10 Training Squadron is believed to have
crashed at Nuneaton.