18th Aug 1917. Fatal Accident to an Aviator

FATAL ACCIDENT TO AN AVIATOR.

A shocking aeroplane accident, resulting in the instant death of a pilot, Lieut William Alexander Taylor, of the Royal Flying Corps, occurred near Rugby early on Friday evening last week. Lieut Taylor, who was only 21 years of age, and the son of Mr William Taylor, of Mary Hill Park, Glasgow, was flying at a height of about 3,000 feet, when one of the plane collapsed, and the machine fell to the earth. The engine was deeply embedded in the pound, and the unfortunate aviator was badly mangled. His skull and practically every bone in his body were broken, and Dr Wardrop, who was quickly on the spot, was only able to state that death had been instantaneous.

The inquest was held by Mr C H Davis, Northampton, on Saturday evening. Mr J G Harper was foreman of the jury.

Second-Lieut Frank William Balls, R.F.C, identified the body, and said deceased was 22 years old. He had been in the Flying Corps at least 18 months.

Captain Kenneth Graeme Leask, R.F.C, said the accident happened about 5.53 p.m on Friday last week. Witness was in the air at the time testing a new machine, and saw the accident. Deceased’s machine was the only other one a in the air. It went up vertically at great speed. Witness than saw the left-hand wing collapse. The machine spun upwards one turn, and then fell to the earth with a spinning nose dive. There were no flames about the machine. When deceased went up vertically witness thought he was trying to loop the loop, and probably he pulled the control back too suddenly, pausing a great strain on the planes and the left-hand plane to collapse. The machine was in order, and had been used the same day by Lieut Park, while witness had used it the night before, when he looped and spun it, and everything was all right. The speed must have been very great for the machine to speed upwards as it did. Witness was about half-a-mile away when deceased went up. Deceased had done observing in France, and also acted as a pilot. In witness’s opinion deceased was very capable pilot for the time he had flown, and on one occasion witness saw him show great presence of mind in saving two machines from clashing together. Deceased had only been in witness’s flight about ten days. Immediately witness saw the occurrence he came down.

A verdict of “ Accidental death ” was returned.

A REMARKABLE COINCIDENCE.

This is only the second fatal mishap that has occurred at the aerodrome since its institution, and when we take into account the number of aeroplanes that go up daily year in and year out, this immunity from more numerous accidents is quite re-assuring.

But there was a remarkable co-incidence about the two accidents. The records kept by Surgeon-Major Collins, the Medical Officer of the Flying Corps, show that both happened on the same day of the month, August 10th, within a few minutes of the same time of the evening, and at a spot which might be said to be identical. The other fatality was twelve months ago, when two officers came into collision.

LOCAL WAR NOTES.

Corpl W Hyam, Lincolnshire Regiment, son of Mr H Hyam, Drury Lane, was wounded in the last big push. He is going on well. He ia an “ Old boy ” of St Matthew’s School.

Mr P F Fullard, R.F.C., son of Mr A H Fullard, of West Haddon, who recently received his captaincy, has just been awarded the Military Cross for services at the front.

Mrs May, 8 Ringrose Court, North Street, has received information from the War Office that her youngest son, Joe, who is in the Rugby Howitzer Battery, was wounded in action on July 18th, and is now making satisfactory progress. Before the War he was an apprentice at Willans & Robinson’s.

Captain Alan Greenshields-Leadbetter, R.H.A, who was killed last week, was an Old Rugby boy. He served in Gallipoli with the 29th Division until January 8, 1916 — the night of the evacuation of Helles.

Quarter-Master-Sergt Painter, of the Rugby Howitzer Battery, has been injured in action by his horse falling upon him.. His foot was fractured.

Mrs John French, of 3 Bridge Street, Rugby, has received news that her husband, Pte J French, R.W.R., has won the Military Medal in France. He has been wounded three times, and has returned to the trenches for the fourth time. He also won the Queen’s Medal in the South African War. He is the son of Mr and Mrs James French, Long Itchngton.

REV. F. B. HARBORD KILLED IN FRANCE.

General regret was occasioned in Dunchurch and Thurlaston and the district around at the news, which arrived on Sunday morning, of the death from wounds while serving as chaplain with the R.F.A of the Rev F R Harbord, vicar of Dunchurch. Mr Harbord was 49 years of age, and was the youngest son of the late W Engledow Harbord, of the Manor House, Stutton. He was preparing for Cambridge when he had a breakdown in health, and was ordered to South Africa, where he took Holy Orders. For many years he was stationed in the Orange Free State, and for two years was an acting chaplain with the Forces in the Boer War. On returning to England he was curate of Yorktown and Camberley, Surrey, 1909-10, and then rector of Pershore till his subsequent appointment to Dunchurch. On the outbreak of the present War he volunteered for service, but was not called up until August, 1916, and had completed exactly a year of service abroad on the day of his death, August 8th. He had just arranged for a further extension of leave from his parish, and in one of his last letters home wrote :- “ I cannot leave the Army when the hardest fighting is to take place.” Mr Harbord succeeded the Rev C T Bernard McNulty, Leamington, as vicar of Dunchurch five years ago, and he was exceedingly popular in the parish. He was a true friend to the poor, taking a keen interest in all matters appertaining to the welfare of his parishioners. He was one of the governors of the Boughton Trust, chairman and correspondent to the Managers of the Schools, chairman of the Almshouse Trustees, a trustee of the Poor’s Plot Charity, and a member of the Committee of the Dunchurch Working Men’s Club. He is the 19th man from Dunchurch to fall in they present War. Until recently the vicarial work at Dunchurch was undertaken by the Rev B B Carter, who relinquished duty about a fortnight ago, and has been succeeded temporarily by the Rev A F G Wardell.

In a letter to Mrs Harbord, an officer of the R.A.M.C. Writes :—“ I have just come back from a little military cemetery, where we laid to rest this afternoon, at three o’clock, the body of your husband—and to all of us—our Padre. We got the sad news this evening. I went down to the dressing station after breakfast this morning to see the arrangements carried out, and we took him back a few miles to our wagon lines. At the dressing station there was a Church of England chaplain, who saw him when they brought him in, and the end was peaceful and quiet. The doctor there assured me that he was beyond human aid. He had a billet on the main road, and, as was his custom, he used to give a cheery word to the men as they passed. It was while talking to a sergeant and one or two men that the fatal shell came. I do not think he could have suffered much pain—the shock would be so great. There were five officers and five men at the funeral, and Major Dickinson, the senior chaplain, conducted the Burial Service. How much we miss him I cannot say. We had known him now since August of last year, and had lived with him, and out here a constant friendship of a year means a great deal. We, the officers of the staff, are having a cross made to mark the spot where he is laid, and as long as we are in his area you can rest assured that the grave will be looked after. He was a personal friend to everyone, and in that degree the loss to us is a personal one. How vividly some of his great thoughts stand out-thoughts that had helped many of us to bear these hard things in the past and to look forward with some hope to the future. He used to say to us in his service and in the mess that whosoever made the supreme sacrifice out here made it as it was made two thousand years ago. It is a fine thought.”

Another officer writes :—“ I cannot possibly tell you how terribly grieved we are at the death of our Padre. He was a friend of every single man in the Divisional Artillery, and especially in this Brigade, with whom he had lived since he came out last August, and there were very few whom he did not know personally. I should think the greatest consolation you could possibly have must be the knowledge that he died as he himself would have wished—talking to some of the men outside his billet on the road where the infantry pass on their way down from the trenches, and the gunners bring their guns and ammunition wagons.”

The Commanding Officer has written :—“ I regret to have the sad task of informing you of the death of your husband in action. The best consolation I can offer you is that he suffered no pain, and that he has been tireless in his efforts throughout this trying time in cheering and looking after the men of this brigade. My staff and the whole Brigade feel his loss very deeply, and we offer you our very heartfelt sympathy in your great loss. It may comfort you to know that he performed his duties often under severe fire with cheerfulness and personal bravery. The Brigade, one and all, are deeply grieved.”

[Memorial Service also reported in this issue]

WOUNDED ENTERTAINMENT.—On Wednesday last Mr Smith and friends entertained the wounded at “ Te Hira ” with a musical programme. A sergeant acted as chairman. During the concert cigarettes were passed round, and the soldiers were very appreciative.

RUGBY SCHOOL NOTTING HILL MISSION.—Following the visit of the girl members of this Mission which is supported by past and present members of Rugby School, about 60 boys, all employed in munition work in the east end of London, have had a week’s holiday at Rugby. They arrived on Saturday, and were accommodated at the School Gymnasium. On Tuesday they played a team of wounded soldiers at cricket, and they were entertained by the R.F.C. Officers at Lilbourne on another day this week.

VARIETY OF FOOD IN WAR TIME.

In the pursuit of national economy, the daily round of mealtime is apt to become a little monotonous in these days. Any suggestions which provide change, without adding to the cost, and also show the way to use up in the form of tasty dishes such commonplace items as left-over rice pudding and stale bread , will be more than welcome to our readers.

The well-known firm of Messrs Alfred Bird & Sons, Ltd. Have sent us a copy of their very useful and well-produced cookery booklet, entitled “ Pastry and Sweets.” This contains about 120 well-tried household recipes of great interest to every housewife. They have placed a limited number of these books at our disposal. Any reader, therefore, of the Rugby Advertiser who would like to have a copy sent to them post free can obtain same by writing on a post-card to Alfred Bird & Sons, Ltd, Birmingham, and mentioning the name of this paper. As the number available is strictly limited, early application is necessary.

DEATHS.

PARNELL.—On July 23rd, 1917, Corpl. JAMES PARNELL, of Withybrook, 1st Batt. R.W.R., killed in action in France ; aged 22 years.
“ So ready to answer the call to the brave,
Although you now rest in a far-distant grave ;
More or better could any man give
Than die for his country that others might live.”

IN MEMORIAM.

LEACH.—In loving memory of our dear son, PERCY JOHN LEACH, who died at Sulva Bay, August 4th, 1915.
Two years have passed—our hearts still sore.
Day by day we miss him more ;
His welcome smile, his dear sweet face,
Never on earth can we replace.
We often sit and think of him,
And think of how he died ;
To think he could not say “ Good bye ”
Before closed his eyes.
Still sadly missed by his loving Mother and Father, Sisters and Brothers.

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