Military aircraft crashes in the
south west Midlands - 1918
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.
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
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
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 survived.
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 was injured.
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
18/02/1918 RE8 A3576, of 59 Training Squadron stalled and
crashed at Milcombe, Oxfordshire. 2/Lt George Thomas
Bodycomb was killed.
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
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
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, Ontario, Canada.
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
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 was injured.
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,
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 injured.
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.
01/05/1918 BE2e B4593, of 24 Training Squadron Witney
stalled on a low turn, crashed and burnt near Broad
Marston. 2/Lt Fred John Young was killed.
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
06/05/1918 Avro 504 B3102, of 74 Training Squadron spun
into the ground – presumably near Castle Bromwich.
2/Lt Jim Joy was slightly injured.
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,
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,
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,
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 injured.
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 injured.
21/06/1918 Camel B6416, of 55 Training Squadron spun into
the ground at Lilbourne. 2/Lt W Berwick was slightly
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 Avro 504J B3153, of 10 Training Squadron took
off from Lilbourne
but the engine choked and the machine crashed. The
pilot, Lt John McDonald stood up in the rear seat and held
his passenger back, but he was thrown out and survived,
while 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
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 slightly injured.
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
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
06/11/1918 Pup B7533, of 28 Training Squadron stalled and
crashed – presumably at Castle Bromwich. Lt F B
Bainbridge was slightly injured.
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.