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History Section - Flying School Fatalities

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Wesley Alexander Archibald

Royal Air Force - Second Lieutenant 760337

Died 8th November 1918  Age 24


Wesley Alexander Archibald was born 19th October 1894. His father was Mr. J. J. Archibald of 672 Homer Street, Vancouver, Canada.

He enlisted at Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on 4th April 1918, Age 21. No. 760337 as a Private in the Canadian Infantry, 121 Battalion. He also served in the 11th Regiment, Irish Fusiliers of Canada.

He transferred to RAF 29th Training Depot Station on 7th November 1918.

There are conflicting reports of his death. According to “Boldre and the Great War” by John Cockram, Richard Williams and the Boldre Parish Historical Society he was killed in an accident on the 8th November 1918 when the engine of his Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin cut out shortly after take-off. Robert Cole’s “History of Beaulieu Airfield” says he was killed when his engine burst into flames on take-off, before he left the ground.

On 22 November 1918 he was Gazetted 2nd Lieutenant, back-dated to the 7th November 1918.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

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Douglas Walter Baker

Royal Air Force - Flight Cadet

Died 26th October 1918,  Age 21



Flt. Cadet Douglas Walter Baker served with RAF 29th Training Depot Station

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baker and was born in Reading on 9 May 1895.

There are conflicting reports of his death. According to “Boldre and the Great War” by John Cockram, Richard Williams and the Boldre Parish Historical Society he was killed on 26th October 1918 when his Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin spun into the ground from 500 feet. The reason for the accident is unknown. Robert Coles’ “History of Beaulieu Airfield” says he was one of two pilots who were killed in a mid-air collision on 26th October 1918. The other pilot was 2nd Lt. Malcolm Van de Water

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

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Fred Bauer

USA Air Service

Died on 1st or 2nd June 1918.



Fred Bauer, was an American aged 22, a member of the USA Air Service who joined No. 1 Training Squadron.

He died on 1st or 2nd June 1918. There is no tombstone for him but the Vicar of East Boldre informed Bob Coles, author of “History of Beaulieu Airfield” (out of print) that he was exhumed and reburied elsewhere, presumably in the U.S.A.

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Toné Hyppolyte Paul Bayetto,

a.k.a. “Mad Jack”

Royal Air Force - Captain

Died on 28th July 1918



Jack Bayetto, a.k.a. “Mad Jack” joined the RFC in 1915. He saw extensive service in France and was shot on 30th September 1917. He fractured his skull during a crash landing and was brought home. When he recovered he was posted to Beaulieu in March 1918.

"Mad Jack” got his name from crazy stunts such as flying in amongst the hangars.

There are conflicting reports of his death. According to “Boldre and the Great War” by John Cockram, Richard Williams and the Boldre Parish Historical Society he was killed on 28th July 1918 when the wings of his Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin folded during an air display.

Robert Coles’ “History of Beaulieu Airfield” says he was killed in a mid air collision with his pupil, Sgt. Patrick Hogan, who also died in the accident. This does not tally with Patrick Hogan's date of death which is recorded as 4th August 1918. His plane came down in the treetops at Clay Hill and Jack's body landed spread-eagled in the soft earth below making a deep impression. His relatives planted two ornamental trees on the site as a memorial.

There is no tombstone for Jack Bayetto at East Boldre.

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Arthur Fred Belyea

Royal Air Force - Second Lieutenant

Died 17th September 1918, Age 23


Arthur Fred Belyea was born in Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada on 21st October 1894.

He joined the Traders Bank of Canada, Calgary, on 4th September 1909 and enlisted from the Calgary branch, into the Royal Flying Corps on November 27th 1917. He was engaged in Scout Duty on the East Coast of England.

He was killed when his Sopwith F1 Camel collided with fellow pupil Austin Blackie (see below). They possibly arranged to fly in formation and photograph each other.

Son of John E. and Sarah Belyea, of 333, 15th Avenue West, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Note: there is a difference in the date of death recorded on the headstone (19th October 1918) and the CWGC record and the RBC memorial (17th September 1918). The latter is probably correct.

The War Graves Commission records his age at death as 24 but if the above date are correct he died shortly before his 24th birthday.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

Press clipping from Calgary Herald 20 September 1918

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Austin Wyard Blackie

Royal Air Force - Lieutenant

Died 17th September 1918, Age 22


Austin Wyard Blackie was born in Spring Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada on 17th November 1895. Son of John Blackie of Downey, California, USA and Mary Blackie, of Mother Providence Bay, Ontario, Canada.

He enlisted on 7th March 1917 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada while living at 47 Playter Crescent, Toronto, Ontario. He then joined RAF 29th Training Depot Station, Beaulieu.

He was killed in an accident at East Boldre on 17th September 1918 Age 22. He was unmarried. His Sopwith F1 Camel collided with fellow pupil Arthur Fred Belyea (see above).

He is also commemorated on Carnarvon Cenotaph, Manitoulin Island.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

Click here to see copies of Blackie’s Attestation Papers.


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Victor Charles Edelsten Bracey

Royal Air Force - Second Lieutenant

Died 23rd September 1917, Age 19


Victor Charles Edelsten Bracey was born on 20th October 1897 to Lieutenant William and Florance Marion (née Goold) Bracey.

He joined the Inns of Court Regiment in December 1915 and was commissioned into the RFC on 27th April 1917, gaining his wings in July 1917.

He was killed on 23rd September 1917 when the new plane he was testing, crashed.

He is buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard in Wedmore.

Click here for a photo of the fatal accident and a press clipping.






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Robert Ray Brown

Royal Air Force - Second Lieutenant

Died 18th June 1918, Age 24


A Canadian citizen, Robert Brown was born on 18th May 1894 to William G.  Brown, of Lynnville, Ontario, Canada.

He had flown the Curtiss JN 4 (Jenny) and passed the Aerial Gunnery course at Camp Hicks, Texas. He was a proficient electrical and telephony engineer.

He arrived in England on 27th February 1918 and joined No. 1 Squadron of the 73rd RFC Training Squadron on 22th March 1918. He was killed on 18 June 1918 when his Sopwith Camel B7376 crashed into the Solent. (Click here for notes on the notorious flying characteristics of the Sopwith Camel).

Click for image of B7376 taken before the fatal crash.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

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Henry Elliott Byers

Royal Air Force - Second Lieutenant

Died 12th November 1916, Age 22


Henry was killed at the age of 22 on Sunday, 12th November 1916 during training flight. His obituary in the Weekly Irish Times from 2nd December 1916 reads:

"Sec. Lieut. Henry Elliott (Harry) Byers, killed in aeroplane accident at Beaulieu, Hants. on November 12th, 1916, aged 22 years was the second son of Henry Elliott and Frances Byers, 18 Ellesmere Avenue, N.C. Road, Dublin. Educated at the Diocesan school, Molesworth Street, Dublin. He entered the Civil Service, and was appointed a Second Division Clerk in the Accountants Branch, G.P.O., Dublin. With an older brother he joined the Black Watch (Territorials), and on the outbreak of war left for duty in Scotland. Volunteering for active service they went with their battalion to France in May 1915, the younger brother returning in February 1916, to take up a commission. He was gazetted to the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry on July 7th, 1916, and was attached to the Royal Flying Corps a few weeks later. His elder brother and two younger brothers are at present serving with the Black Watch."

Casualty card states nature and cause of accident "appeared to be out of control at 3000 ft and nosedived.


He is buried in the Grangegorman Military Cemetery. In the same cemetery, his brother, Sergeant George Elliott Byers, is commemorated. He was killed in action at Bapaume, France, on 21st March 1918.

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Sidney Foley Case

RAF - Second Lieutenant

Died 28th August 1918, Age 18


On Wednesday 28th August 1918, just before his nineteenth birthday, 2nd Lieutenant Sidney Foley Case died when his Sopwith Camel, F4180, dived into ground “due to bump or error of judgement”. He was the son of Frederick and Elizabeth Case, of 161, Wolverhampton Street, Dudley.

He is buried in Dudley Borough Cemetery, Worcestershire, Grave Reference A.386.

(Click here for notes on the notorious flying characteristics of the Sopwith Camel).


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Charles Dudley Chapman

RFC - Second Lieutenant

Died 19th January 1818, Age 24


2nd Lieutenant Charles Dudley Chapman died when his Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin, C3800, crashed near Ringwood. After his fuselage caught fire in mid-air, he glided down and turned at 200 feet but nosedived to the ground, either because the aircraft stalled or because his elevators were burnt away.

Charles was the the son of Charles and Margaret Chapman of 22 Bargery Road, Catford, London. He was educated at John Roan School in Greenwich. He enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps in January 1915 and was commissioned into the RFC in July 1917. At the time of his death he was serving with 23 Squadron.

He is buried in Brockley cemetery, where his name is recorded on the screen wall listing those whose graves have no headstone. He is also remembered on the war memorial in the church of St Mary the Virgin, Lewisham.

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Rochford Richard Connor

Corporal 29805, 70th Training Squadron

Died 30th January 1918, Age 37


Corporal 29805 Rochford Richard Connor of the 70th Training Squadron, died when his Avro 504J, B3247, hit the roof of a coal hut and overturned during a forced landing after his engine failed. His passenger, 25 year old, 2nd Lieutenant Cecil Affleck Herbert Aspinall was injured in the accident.

Rochford Connor was the son of George Connor and husband of Kate Emma Connor, of 15, Ambergate Street, West Newington, London.

He is buried in Streatham Cemetery, Grave Reference, Screen Wall. D. 365.

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James Leslie Cumming

Royal Flying Corps - Second Lieutenant

Died 24th March 1918, Age 19


James Leslie Cumming was the son of Edwin Charles and Mary Jane Cumming of Cardean, Morley Place, Arbroath, Scotland. He was an instructor with 64 Training Squadron.

He was flying a dual control training aircraft with his student, Cadet George Johnstone near Winchester, when the aircraft nose dived to the ground. He died before reaching Winchester Hospital and his pupil died shortly after.

He is buried in Arbroath Eastern Cemetery.

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Foster Davidson

RAF - Second Lieutenant

Died 30th August 1918


Foster Davidson and his instructor, 20 year-old 2nd Lieutenant Vernon Monroe Kidd were both killed when their dual seat Avro 504J, C5759 crashed near Bucklers Hard during an attemped forced landing after their engine cut-out on a training flight. Vernon Kidd was killed in the crash and Foster Davidson was severely injured and died a short while later.

Click for photo of the crash.

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Richard Gordon Eastwood

Cadet Sergeant 110027

Died 8th October 1918, Age 18


Cadet Sergeant Richard Gordon Eastwood died a month before his nineteenth birthday when his Sopwith F1 Camel, F2207, started to spin with insufficient height to recover, after he attempted a roll.

He was born on 7th November 1899 and was the youngest son of Mr J Eastwood of The Towers, Sholebroke Avenue, Leeds. He attended Leeds Grammar School from 1908 until 1918, and had hoped to work in medicine when he left school.

Richard is buried in Lawnswood Cemetery, Leeds, Grave Reference T.39.

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Ernest Lawton Hargrave

Royal Flying Corps - Lieutenant

Died 22nd September 1917, Age 18


18 year old Ernest Lawton Hargrave was the son of Ernest Lawton Hargrave and Ada Florence Hargrave (née Otten), of 97, Grandison Rd., Clapham Common, London.

He joined the RFC and was posted to 79 Squadron, Beaulieu.

He died on the 22nd September when his dual control Avro 504 stalled and dived to the ground. His instructor, Lt. W F Dry, survived the crash. Ernest was given a military funeral five days later.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

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Patrick Jack Hogan

Royal Air Force - 9315 Serjeant

Died 4th August 1918, Age 21.



9315 Sgt. Patrick Hogan of the 29th Training Depot Station was the first non-commissioned officer to die at East Boldre.

He was flying an Avro 504K when he collided with another aircraft. Robert Coles’ “History of Beaulieu Airfield” says he collided with the leader, Jack Bayetto a.k.a. “Mad Jack” who had turned back to look for him whilst flying in formation. This, however, does not tally with the recorded date of death for Jack Bayetto which is 28th July 1918. See the entry for T.H.P. Bayetto above.

Sgt. Hogan is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

Jack Bayetto also died in the accident but there is no tombstone for him at East Boldre.

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George Robinson Johnstone

Australian Flying Corps - Cadet

Died 24th March 1918, Age 22.


George Robinson Johnstone was born at Lake Rowan, Victoria, Australia to the Reverend Johnstone and Jane Kennedy Johnstone. He joined the 6th infantry Battalion early in the war and later transferred to the Australian Flying Corps.

He was flying as a pupil in a dual control training aircraft with his instructor, 2Lt. James Cumming, near Winchester, when the aircraft crashed. He died shortly after admission to Winchester Hospital and his instructor was declared dead on arrival. Both had fractured skulls.

George is buried at Winchester (West Hill) Old Cemetery.

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Vernon Monroe Kidd

Royals Air Force - Second Lieutenant

Died 30th August 1918, Age 20.


Vernon Monroe Kidd was born to Albert and Fannie Kidd (née Withers) on 6th September 1898, in Wako, Montana, USA. They moved to Yorktown in 1902 and later they moved to Port Angeles, Washington.

Vernon applied to join the US Army but was rejected on several occasions so, in September 1917 he went to Canada and enlisted in the Canadian Flying Corps. He was sent to England and in August 1918 he was a flying instructor at 29 Training Depot Station, Beaulieu.

He, and his pupil, were killed during a training flight in an Avro 504, C5759 near Bucklers Hard. Kidd was killed in the crash and his student, Foster Davidson, was severely injured and died a short while later.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

Click for photo of the crash.

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John Lawson Kinnear

Royal Air Force - Major, Liverpool Regiment, D.S.O. M.C.

Died 28th April 1918, Age 28



The most senior and distinguished officer to die at East Boldre was Major John Lawson Kinnear, DSO. MC. He was born on 9th February 1890 to the Reverend and Mrs. HG Kinnear of Copygrove Rectory, Yorkshire.

He attended Sandhurst and was commissioned into The King’s Liverpool Regiment. He volunteered for flight training and was posted to No. 6 Squadron in France in 1914. On 13 December 1917  he was posted to No. 1 Training Station, Beaulieu.

He was killed on the 28th April 1918 during a display of stunt flying. A large crowd saw the 28 year old Major doing rolls, loops and spins when, as one set of wings of his Sopwith Scout became detached, he spun to the ground, switching off his engine just before impact.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

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Aladdin Richard de Lay

Royal Air Force - Second Lieutenant

Died 23rd July 1918, Age 25



Aladdin Richard de Lay was born to John Joseph and Alice (née Loveday) de Lay in London. After attending Oxford University, Aladdin started a career in banking which took him to Canada where he enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps in August 1917.

His flight training started in Toronto and continued in Fort Worth, Texas, before being transferred to No. 1 Training Squadron, Beaulieu on 21st March 1918.

While waiting to move to France, Aladdin was killed when his Sopwith F1 Camel crashed.

Click for photo of the crash.

He is buried in St. John’s Crematorium, Woking.

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Roy Lindsay

Royal Air Force - Flight Cadet

Died 6th January 1919, Age 26



Roy Lindsay was born on 9th March 1892 in Tamrose, Alberta, Canada and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lindsay, of Prescott, Ontario, and husband of Mary E. H. Lindsay (née Ellingson), of Camrose, Alberta.

Before enlisting he worked as a dairyman in Canada. After joining the RAF he was attached to the 3rd Training Reserve Depot Station at Salisbury. He came to East Boldre to collect an aircraft and fly it back to Salisbury but the aircraft crashed shortly after take off.

His death was recorded in the Lymington Advertiser on 16th January 1919.



















Click here to read his Attestation Papers.

Roy is buried in Andover Cemetery, Hampshire, Grave Reference, D 602.

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Frederick Richard Lucas

Second Lieutenant - No. 16 Reserve Squadron

Died 20th October 1916  Age 18


Second Lieutenant Frederick Richard Lucas of No. 16 Reserve Squadron, Beaulieu, died on 20th October 1916, age 18 when his Curtiss JN3, A3831, crashed. The Court of enquiry concluded, 'Accident due to some cause unknown'. Nose dived on cross-country flight, Rustington, (near Littlehampton) Sussex.

He is buried in the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium, Manor Park

Grave Reference: 235. 85323.

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John Lindsay Morrison

Royal Air Force - Second Lieutenant

Died 31st July 1918, Age 24


John Lindsay Morrison was born on 1st February 1894 in British Columbia, Canada. He worked as a book keeper for four years before moving to Oxford. He joined the military and was posted to No. 8 Flying Training School, Netheravon in July 1917.

He was transferred to 93 Squadron on 21st February 1918 and three weeks later he was sent to Beaulieu. By this time he was an experienced pilot.

He was killed on 31st July 1918 when his Sopwith Camel crashed. An inquiry concluded the accident was caused by an error of judgement. (Click here for notes on the notorious flying characteristics of the Sopwith Camel)

The gravestone and the War Graves Commission records his age at death as 25 but the Canadian Virtual War Memorial records his age at death as 24. Assuming his dates of birth and death are correct it suggests he was 24 when he died.

Click here to view his Attestation Papers.

He was buried on 3rd August 1918 in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

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Walter Stead Pawson

Royal Air Force - Second Lieutenant

Died 6th May 1918, Age 22













Image courtesy: Iain Lilly

Walter Pawson was born in Glasgow to Albert Ernest and Louisa Pawson.

He emigrated to Canada and joined the Canadian Air Force when war broke out. He was trained in Canada and on 12th April 1918 he joined No. 70 Training Squadron, Beaulieu. He died on 6th May 1918 when his Avro 504 aircraft nose dived to the ground. The cause of the accident was attributed to pilot error.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

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Edward William Wise Rebbeck

Second Lieutenant - 16 Reserve Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Died 24th April 1916, Age 19



Second Lieutenant Edward William Wise Rebbeck transferred to 16 Reserve Squadron,Beaulieu, from the 13th King's Royal Rifle Corps.

He was the son of Lilian Cardew (formerly Rebbeck), of Stafford Lodge, 26, Dean Park Rd., Bournemouth, and the late Edward Wise Rebbeck.

Edward died on 24th April 1916, Age 19, when his 80 hp BE2c, 4511, crashed. The Court of Enquiry found that he, 'Left Bournemouth in a somewhat exhausted condition. Turned downwind at too low an altitude trying to turn steeply into wind. Side slipped. Nosedived into ground. All controls in order'.

He is buried in Bournemouth (Wimborne Road) Cemetery, Grave ref. B. 6. 17 N.

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Frank Rice Reid

Royal Air Force - Second Lieutenant

Died 30th September 1918, Age 20.


Frank Rice Reid was born to George W and Annie M Reid of Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. His gravestone records his date of birth as 1st September 1898 while his war record gives his d.o.b. as 1st March 1898. He worked for the family jewellery business before joining the RAF.

He served in the Royal Naval Air Service, No. 17 Naval Squadron before being transferred to No. 1 Training School on 24th February 1918. On 19th July 1918 he was  posted to the 29th Training Depot Station, Beaulieu as an instructor.

There are conflicting reports of his death. According to “Boldre and the Great War” by John Cockram, Richard Williams and the Boldre Parish Historical Society he was killed on 30th September 1918 in a Sopwith F1 Camel F1359 when he started a half roll too near to the ground and failed to pull up.

Robert Cole’s “History of Beaulieu Airfield” says he was flying an Airco DH4 and was killed when he crashed into Hatchet Pond. Many pilots landed in the pond but his was the only fatal accident.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

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Peter Rylands

Flying Instructor, RAF - Lieutenant

RAF Service number 9924

Died 9 August 1918, Age 18.






Peter Wolferstan Rylands was the eldest son of Thomas Kirkland Rylands Esq. And Betha Nesbit Wolferstand Rylands of The Down House, Tockington, Gloucestershire and Grandson of the late Rev. J.S. Thomas, Bursar of Marlborough College.

He was born 9th March 1899 and was educated at Marlborough College from May 1913 to Easter 1917. Three days after leaving School he was called up and received a Commission in the R.F.C. in July. He showed singular ability as a flying Instructor and consequently was kept at home for this work.

One of the skills to be mastered by the trainee pilots was accuracy at firing their machine guns - the training would start on the ground at the airfield's Rifle Range before commencing airborne practice.

A floating target in the Solent was the next stage, near Pitts Deep, and it was during one of these training sessions on the 9th August that the fatal accident occurred. A telescopic sight was used with the gun and the instructor, Peter Rylands, somehow managed not to take his eye off it in time and continued into the sea.

He was just 18 and during his time at Beaulieu was befriended by Mrs. Poole of Buckler’s Wood. St. Mary's Chapel at Bucklers Hard was substantially renovated by her in his memory and bears a brass plaque and embroidered kneeler to that effect

He is buried at Langton Matravers Church Cemetery (3rd row east of middle path).


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Richard Shaw-Wood

Royal Flying Corps - Second Lieutenant

Died 17th March 1918


Canadian Richard Shaw-Wood was born on 18 November 1890 in Middlesex County, Ontario. He was a career soldier, becoming Sergeant Major of the Cadet Corps of St. Andrew’s College from 1905 to 1907. He then worked as a clerk and was married to Alice Duggan in November 1913.

After serving in the US Army at Fort Worth, Texas, he joined the British Army and was commissioned on 14th December 1917.

He died during flight training at Beaulieu when his Sopwith F1 Camel crashed on 17th March 1918. (Click here for notes on the notorious flying characteristics of the Sopwith Camel)

Richard was buried on 20th March. That same day another fatal accident took the life of 25 year old American, John Thomas. Both were stationed with No. 1 Squadron.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre. His headstone bears the name R. S. Woods.

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Fletcher Smith

RFC - Lieutenant

Died 28th July 1916

On Friday 28th July 1916, Lieutenant John Fletcher Smith, a.k.a. ‘Fletcher Smith’, who transferred to the RFC from the 19th Reserve Battalion of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, (the Sherwood Foresters), drowned while bathing in Hatchet Pond. One report suggests he became exhausted while swimming.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Church Cemetery, Nottingham, Grave Reference, 9451.


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Alexander Talbot

Royal Air Force - Lieutenant

Died 3rd June 1918, Age 22


Son of Thomas and Jeannie Talbot, of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada, Alexander was born on 16th February 1896. From 1914 until 1917 he attended the University of Alberta, Edmonton. Shortly before graduating in law he enlisted into the RAF on 22nd September 1917 and was posted to England, joining No. 1 Training Squadron, Beaulieu in March 1918.

He died in a flying accident on the 3rd June 1918 while flying a Sopwith F1 Camel. He stalled the engine and spun into the ground. (Click here for notes on the notorious flying characteristics of the Sopwith Camel).

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

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Ion Mordaunt Tatham

Royal Flying Corps - Second Lieutenant

Died 11th July 1917, Age 19


Ion Tatham was born in Natal province of South Africa to Charles Tatham JP and Lilian Elizabeth (née Leuchars). The Tathams were a very wealthy and influential family.

He was a pupil in a twin seater de Havilland DH6, which crashed at East Boldre. Both he and his instructor, Henry Edward van Goetham were killed. The Court of Inquiry recorded the aircraft caught fire in the air causing it to crash.

Ion is buried in the ANZAC War Cemetery in Brockenhurst.

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Arthur Rowland Taylor

Royal Air Force - Second Lieutenant

Died 19th January 1918, Age 22


Arthur Rowland Taylor was born in 1896. He was educated at Berkhampsted School.

He moved to America in March 1913 and joined the Canadian Army. He became a Flying Officer on 3rd October 1917 and was posted to 79 Squadron RFC, Beaulieu on 25th November 1917.

He was killed when the Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin he was flying crashed and burst into flames shortly after take off.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre. His gravestone records his rank as Lieutenant and his age at death, 21.

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John Dobson Thomas

Royal Flying Corps - Second Lieutenant

Died 20th March 1918, Age 37



John Dobson Thomas was born on 26th August 1881 in Pennsylvania, USA. His family was originally from Newcastle-on-Tyne.

He graduated from St. John’s Military Academy and the University of Wisconsin before enlisting in the RFC. He was commissioned on 1st November 1917 and was posted to Beaulieu shortly after.

He died on 20th March 1918 when his Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin crashed after failing to pull out of a dive while stunt flying. The accident was on the same day as the funeral of Canadian 2nd Lieutenant, Richard Shaw-Wood, who died three days earlier. He was also stationed with No. 1 Squadron.

Robert Cole’s “History of Beaulieu Airfield” gives his age at death as 25.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

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Percy Thomas

Royal Air Force - Second Lieutenant

Died 6th February 1919, Age 22




Percy Thomas was the youngest son of Robert and Mary Elizabeth Thomas, of Tregonebris, Cornwall. He enlisted in 1914. He served with 6th D.C.L.I. and R.A.V.C.

His death was reported in the Lymington Advertiser on 13th February 1919.













He is buried in Sancreed Churchyard near Penzance in Cornwall.


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C. R. Tolley

Lieutenant

Died 1919



Lieutenant Tolley is mentioned by Peter New in "The Solent Sky" as having been fatally injured when he crashed whilst flying at 50 feet above the aerodrome at East Boldre in 1919. His death was also recorded in the Lymington Chronicle on 24th April 1919 but the spelling of his name is not the same in both reports.


There is no tombstone for CR Tolley at East Boldre.

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Edward Percival Augustus Topley

Royal Air Force - Second Lieutenant

Died 30th October 1918, Age 18.


Edward Percival Augustus Topley was born on 6th November 1899 in London.

He learnt to fly in a Caudron biplane at the Cambridge School of Flying before enlisting into the RAF on 3rd March 1918. He was commissioned on 1st April 1918, the same day the RAF was formed. He was posted to Uxbridge for flying training before being posted to the 29th Training Depot Station, Beaulieu to complete his training.

He died on his first day of training when his Sopwith Camel, stalled and span to the ground. (Click here for notes on the notorious flying characteristics of the Sopwith Camel).

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

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EH Wadsworth

Second Lieutenant - Royal Flying Corps 16 Reserve Squadron

Died 12th March 1917


Second Lieutenant EH Wadsworth transferred from the 4th Batallion Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment), to 16 Reserve Squadron, Beaulieu.

He died on 12th March 1917 when his Curtis JN3/4, A5496, entered a spinning nosedive from 800 feet after banking steeply. His passenger, Second Lieutenant, JR Taylor, was injured in the accident.

He is buried in Buttershaw (St. Paul) Churchyard

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Reginald Arthur Bakewell Warrilow

Royal Air Force - Second Lieutenant

Died 13th January 1919, Age 24


Reginald Arthur Bakewell Warrilow was the son of James Bakewell Warrilow and Clara Sophia Warrilow, of Amesbury House, Chippenham.

He enlisted in the Royal Air Force and joined the 29th Training Depot Squadron. His death was recorded in the Lymington Advertiser on 16th January 1919.


















He is buried in Chippenham (St. Paul) Churchyard, Grave Reference: K. 11.

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Joseph C. Wood

Royal Flying Corps - Second Lieutenant

Died 13th January 1918


There are contradictory reports concerning Joseph Wood’s nationality. Robert Cole’s “History of Beaulieu Airfield”  states that 2nd Lt Joseph Wood was the first of many Canadians to die at East Boldre. He was given an RFC military funeral.

www.ancientfaces.com lists Second Lieutenant Joseph Clark Wood, RFC, as being born in the UK, died on 13th January 1918 and buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.


He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.





Malcolm G. Van de Water

Royal Air Force - Second Lieutenant

Died 26th October 1918, Age 24



Malcolm Boggs, son of Mr Seth Boggs, was born on 14th August 1894 in Brooklyn, New York. His mother, Anna, later remarried Charles L Van de Water. They lived at Apartment 363, The Portner, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

2nd Lt. Malcolm Gifford Boggs Van de Water was a member of 29th Training Depot Station. He was one of two pilots who were killed on 26th October 1918. The other pilot was Flt. Cadet Douglas Baker (see above). Both men were in their early twenties, though their tombstones and the church register differ for both of them with respect to their ages.

He was flying a Sopwith Camel when the blade of his propeller was shot off by his own gun causing the aircraft to crash. He died later that day in the Forest Park New Zealand General Hospital in Brockenhurst.

The gravestone and the War Graves Commission records his age at death as 23. Assuming his dates of birth and death are correct it suggests he was 24 when he died.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard, East Boldre.

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Henry Edward van Goethem

Royal Flying Corps - Captain

Died 11th July 1917, Age 23



Henry Edward van Goethem was born in Belgium in 1894. His parents were the artist Edouard Victor van Goethem and Lucy Beatrice (née Lafone), an Englishwoman from Kent. They moved from Belgium to Parkstone in Dorset.

Henry joined the army in April 1915 and learned to fly at Netheravon. He was posted to France but was injured in a crash and was taken to hospital in London. After a long and slow recovery, he joined 16 Training Squadron as a instructor.

On 11th July 1917 he and his pupil, Ion Mordaunt Tatham were flying a twin seater de Havilland DH6, which crashed at East Boldre. Both men were killed. The Court of Inquiry recorded the aircraft caught fire in the air causing it to crash.

He is buried in Parkstone Cemetery, Poole.

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Research Resources:

“History of Beaulieu Airfield” by Robert Cole’s (out of print)

“Boldre and the Great War” by John Cockram, Richard Williams and the Boldre Parish Historical Society

Thanks to Nick Saunders for supplying copies of press cuttings and documents.

New Forest Military Archive

The Canadian Great War Project

Canadian Virtual War Memorial

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The National Archives

Forces War Records

A variety of sources suggest that at least forty-one airmen died in flying accidents at East Boldre and another drowned while swimming in Hatchet Pond. Nineteen of these are buried in St. Paul’s Churchyard.