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Remembered Today:

Air accident Dublin 1919/1920 any chance of further details.


BrendanLee

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The image and text below appeared on the cover of The Scout magazine issue dated January 31st 1920. I am trying to get the exact date of the crash and any other details, pilots name and cause of the crash Etc.

Scouts to the Rescue

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The above image appeared on the cover with the caption Sounding the alarm which brought the 6th South Dublin (Leeson Park) Troop speeding to the rescue of a burning aeroplane. For the prompt and resourceful assistance of its members, this troop has been awarded the Silver Cross by Imperial Headquarters.

The account of the heroic rescue continues inside the magazine. Hard by the camp of the 6th South Dublin (Leeson Park) Troop at Laytown, Co. Meath, was the Gormanston Aerodrome.

Many a time the Scouts had enjoyed watching wonderful exhibitions of flight.

One day, as the Scouts were scattered about amusing themselves, they noticed that a machine was flying rather low. Suddenly there was a crash and in a moment the aeroplane was a seething mass of flames.

With great presence of mind the bugler sounded the alarm as he dashed towards the blazing machine. Scouts bobbed up from everywhere and rushed in the same direction.

Now we can let the pilot finish the tale. “Immediately on crashing my machine burst into flames. I slipped off my belt and crawled out of the seat and looked around for A.M. Gray. Not seeing him, I thought he had got clear of the machine, but on getting round the other side he was not to be seen, so I ran back to the observer’s cockpit and found him lying senseless at the bottom.

I managed to get his body out of the cockpit, but his right leg was firmly held by part of the gun mounting. Holding his body to prevent it from falling back into the pit I tried to free his right leg.

I was getting very dazed from exhaustion and the heat of the machine, when several Boy Scouts appeared, and while I held Gray’s body, they ran around to the other side and freed his right leg. Their actin was just in time, and the very least I could say Brave as the machine was a mass of flame and the heat was terrible.

The Scouts helped Gray and myself to their encampment, where they gave us First Aid treatment and brought Gray to his senses. In the meantime they had dispatched one of their number to the aerodrome and posted a guard of several others around the remains of the machine until men from the aerodrome arrived.”

For its splendid behaviour Imperial Headquarters has awarded the Silver Cross to the whole troop collectively.

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I can't find a match for Gray. The CWGC Irishman Gray, who died in November 1918, is recorded as having a Dun Laoghaire next of kin address and an Irish burial but that chap was actually born at Ballymacarrett Co Antrim and wasn't killed in Ireland:

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/899537/GRAY,%20ROBERT

(He actually died at Ramsay of septic pneumonia).

I suspect there may be poetic licence taken and that the incident did not involve a fatality. (There were dozens of crashes at Baldonnel, Collinstown, Gormanston, and Tallaght/Cookstown in 1919).

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I can't find a match for Gray. The CWGC Irishman Gray, who died in November 1918, is recorded as having a Dun Laoghaire next of kin address and an Irish burial but that chap was actually born at Ballymacarrett Co Antrim and wasn't killed in Ireland:

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/899537/GRAY,%20ROBERT

(He actually died at Ramsay of septic pneumonia).

I suspect there may be poetic licence taken and that the incident did not involve a fatality. (There were dozens of crashes at Baldonnel, Collinstown, Gormanston, and Tallaght/Cookstown in 1919).

Thanks for the reply Airshipped but the article does say Gray recovered. I was hoping to get the exact date of the crash so I could search the Irish newspapers online but the problem with The Scout magazine is that some of the articles are up-to-the-minute while other articles are on events which happen nearly a year previous to the date the magazine was published.

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maybe a request to the BS HQ would locate some info? Such an incident & awards would certainly have generated a report & note of the awards & dates of the incident? Worth a try just in case. Good Luck.

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There's no mention in 'The Scout Association - Award Photograph Volumes', but then there might not have been a photo.
(The Scout Association Heritage Team can be contacted through 'Get in touch' at the top of the page, but note the comment about the 'temporary enquiry service suspension' until 4th August - hope that's 2014)

Alternatively - unless you've already tried this route, the 6th Dublin (Leeson Park) group still exists Click, and they might have the details.

Otherwise a trawl through local newspaper archives - if available - might get a result.

Happy hunting!

NigelS

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Some potential matches:

Albert Gray from Shankill, Antrim (DOB 08/08/1900) Service no. 295846

George Frederick Gray from St Kevins, Dublin, (DOB 06/05/1900). Service no. 182614

Herbert Gray from Irishtown, Dublin (DOB 10/11/1882). Service no. 306651

James Gray from Belfast, Antrim (DOB 21/06/1874). Service no. 281794. NB: this chap apparently had a stint with No.209 TDS, i.e. he'd have been Gormanston. However, there's nothing to suggest that he was injured in any incident.

John Gray from Ballymacarrett (DOB 10/09/1898). Service no. 298766.

Robert James Gray from Co Louth. Service no. 12996. He served with 12 TS, 35 TDS, 43 Squadron and was posted to the dispersal centre at Oswestry in March 1919 BUT he was discharged at Baldonnell on 05/04/1919.

William Baden Powell Gray from Shankill, Antrim (DOB 18/05/1900). It would have been ideal for a chap with a name like that to be rescued by scouts. Alas he served with 3 TDS then was posted to Eastleigh, then 91 Squadron, i.e. no Irish link.

William Robert Gray from Belfast (DOB 02/06/1894). Ex-RNAS as F4387, RAF as 204387. Towards the end of the war he ended up at Battersea, then on to Crystal Palace for dispersal.

Thomas Grey from Mohill, Co Leitrim (DOB 15 Jul 1882). Service No. 292217

At the end of the day though you'd probably need someone to look at the ORP books at Kew for the Irish TDS and/or for 11 (Irish) Group's records there. However, if any local newspapers mention something on the lines of "Belfast man has lucky escape" or "Leitrim man survives horrific crash" then you'd have some hope of finding the incident via that route.

Note: the excellent Karl Hayes book on the RAF and US Naval Air services in Ireland does not mention an incident that could equate to the one described in the scout book.

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