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Aircrash 42 TDS Hounslow 16 Oct 1918


Iain B
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Hi,

I am a newcomer to the forum and seeking advice. My uncle died in an air crash on 16 Oct 1918 at Hounslow while serving in 42 TDS. I have his record and can trace him through the RFC to the RAF (one of the first). His picture (attached) I believe was taken in the summer of 1918. I cannot, however, find much on his accident. I believe he was flying a Sopwith Snipe and collided with an Avro but this is not confirmed.

My question is what record would exist on this accident and what is the best way to find the information?

Known details are:

2Lt Andrew Jack Prentice RAF

DOB 31 May 1899

Died 16 Oct 1918

Trained at Halton Park, St Leonards-on-Sea, Denham, Stratford, Dover (62 TS) and 42 TDS (Hounslow)

Any thoughts would be appreciated,

Iain

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Iain

The entry in "Airmen Died in the Great War 1914-1918" shows him being killed in Snipe E8079; there is no mention of a collision.

There should be a Casualty Card for the incident at the RAF Museum. You can contact the museum on 020 8358 4873 or by e-mail at research@rafmuseum.org

Graeme

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Graeme,

The 'collision' is mentioned only in a family produced book but no clear source. I have already found several photos of Sopwith Snipes with serial numbers close to the one you mention. Another piece of the jigsaw.

Many thanks for this quick response.

Iain

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Hi Iain,

Just spotted this one. Your uncle did die in an air collision, indeed with an Avro 504 (serial presently not known to me) at 500 feet and got into a spinning nose dive and crashed to his death. This information comes off my transcriptions of the Casualty Cards at Hendon. I hope this is useful. I'll see if I can track down the specific 504 - might be a bit tricky, though!

Regards,

Trevor

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Trevor,

Thank you this, is very useful. Jack died a few months after his cousin 2Lt William Alexander Hunter RAF who also died during flight training in Scotland.

I was interested that Jack Prentice was flying a Sopwith Snipe in Oct 1918. This seems to be the state of the art fighter for a student. Could this imply he was close to deploying? Did Training Stations keep a war diary at this time?

Iain

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All RAF units kept war diaries. The trouble is that those for the vast majority of training units were destroyed post-war. It would seem that someone decided that only those for operational units were worth keeping. Those for 5 and 7 Training Squadrons AFC did survive and are available on-line via the Australian War Memorial. They show the sort of information recorded, which includes a day-to-day listing of flights made (pilot, machine, times, course). If only such were available for the UK based units of the RFC/RAF!

The fact that Prentice died on a Snipe suggests that he was nearing the end of his training. The Training Depot Station system was designed to give a pupil all-though training on a single station on which there was type specialty. 42 TDS was a 2-unit one with an intended autumn 1918 establishment of 24 Avros and 24 Snipes. In reality, it had Avros for initial training, Pups for intermediate training and Camels, later some Snipes, for advanced training. It had been dedicated to turning out Camel pilots but it and 41 TDS at London Colney were re-designated as the TDS responsible for producing Snipe pilots. 2 TDS at Gullane, where Hunter was killed, was also a scout TDS but for SE5a pilots - ironically, he died on one of the handful of Sopwith Camels (D6680) that the unit also had on charge.

42 TRAINING DEPOT STATION RAF

Base

Formed in 18th Wing at Hounslow 15.7.1918 ex 28 TS and 62 TS. Autumn 1918 establishment 24 Snipe + 24 Avro. Disbanded 7.1919.

Commanding Officers

Representative Aeroplanes († two seat conversion)

Avro 504J/K B8664, D1644, D2092. D2093, D2117, D4391, D4392, D4393, D4430, D4433, D4484, D7078, D7131, D8862, E3009, F2535.

Bristol M1C C4965.

RAF BE2e B4465, C7086, C7108.

Sopwith Pup B1777, B1796, B4158, B5332, B5932, B7752, C212, C256, C280, C391, C392, C393, C1526, C3500, D4192, D4195.

Sopwith F1 Camel B7425†, C190, E1532, E1560, E1561, E1562, E1563, E1564, E1565, E1566, E1567, E1568, E1569, E1570, E1571, E1572, E1573, E1574, E9975, E9976, F2535, F9637, H8253.

Sopwith Snipe E7338, E7997, E7998, E8018, E8020, E8025, E8079, E8093, E8271.

2 TRAINING DEPOT STATION RAF

Bases

Reformed in 30th Wing at Gullane 15.4.1918 with initial machines ex 6 TS and 18 TS. Autumn 1918 establishment intended as 36 SE5a + 36 Avro. Disbanded 21.11.1919.

Commanding Officers

Representative Aeroplanes

AMC DH6 C3506.

Avro 504A/J/K A527, B3165, B4206, C4483, C4393, C4493, D44, D176, D195, D198, D527, D4410, D4413, D4418, D4461, D4462, D4464, D5851, D5853, D5887, D5948, D5950, D7699, D8299, E336, E1606, E1610, E1640, E1641, E1643, E1644, E3405, E4301, H229.

Bristol Scout D 5598.

Bristol F2B C4658.

RAF SE5a B135, B136, C5373, C8881, C9044, C9051, C9054, D3450, D3497, E1355, E3932, E3952, E4044, E5784, E5848, E5854, F883, F5633, F5637.

Sopwith Pup B4135, B5260, B5349, B5350, B5379, B7486, B7496, D4027, D4028, D4031, D4032, D4135.

Sopwith F1 Camel B5613, B7421, D6672, D6678, D6680, D6874, D6876, E1447.

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Mick,

Many thanks for this amazing set of information. This fills several gaps in the family knowledge of these two young pilots. Both families lived on the same farm during the war and when William Hunter died the army arranged for a gun carriage at his funeral. This was not collected by the army for several months, only to be required for Jack Prentice's funeral.

Iain

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  • 5 years later...

Iain B, this may be of interest.

Andrew Jack Prentice – 2nd Lieutenant – Royal Air Force

Andrew, born 1899 in Tynemouth, Northumberland, England, eldest son of Charles and Mary, Westraw Main, Pettinain, Lanarkshire.  Prior to joining the R.A.F. he had completed a course of training as a wireless operator.  In civilian life, when he was 15, he was in the employment of the Royal Bank, Lanark, where he was held in high esteem, and regarded by the agent there as a lad of outstanding ability – keen, mannerly, and considerate.

Prentice joined the Royal Air Force and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant very quickly, he was killed during a training flight 16th October 1918, whilst flying a Snipe E8079 at Hounslow, when his plane collided with another.

At an inquest held on the young aviator on 18th “inst”, a verdict of accidental death was returned yesterday afternoon at an inquest on Second Lieutenant Andrew Jack Prentice, Royal Air Force. The evidence showed that he was flying a single seater at a height of 5000 feet. Coming down out of a cloud he collided with a two-seater flying about 1000 feet lower. One of the wings of his machine was smashed, but the two machines had become locked together. With great skill the pilot of the other machine brought both to earth. It was then found that Mr Prentices head had been jammed between the two machines, fracturing his skull”

His Flight Group Commander wrote to his parents as follows – “I looked upon him as one of the best fellows I had with me.  He was very hard working, conscientious, and efficient officer, and his death is a great loss to this station.”

Andrew is buried in Pettinain Church Yard, Lanarkshire and is commemorated on Pettinain Church Memorial Plaque.

Regards,

 

Swally

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