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Remembered Today:

Staff Sergeant Richard Wilson, RFC


mrfish
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Although pre-war, I'm hoping someone on this part of the forum can help me!!!!

Wilson and Loraine are recognised as the first 'flying' casualties of the RFC, but I understand that there was a member of the Corps killed a few weeks before them, in an accident involving a runaway horse and wagon, or some such?

I seem to remember reading about this some time ago, but can not find any reference on the web! Does anyone know if this is correct and if so, do you have details of this accident, name, date etc? Or have I just dreamt this???? If it was a dream, does that make Wilson and Loraine the first casualties of the Corps, flying or otherwise?

Also, does anyone know what Staff Sergeant Richard Wilson's service number might have been, and when he possibly joined the Royal Engineers. I suppose it is too much to hope that any service papers have survived this pre-war death?

Yours in hope

><(((((*>

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Staff Sergeant RHV Wilson (probably) had RFC number 92 (No.88 is untraced and may relate to him)

Born Andover 12.3.1883

He earned RAeC certificate 232 on 18.6.12 in a Bristol at CFS Salisbury Plain and was thus the 2nd NCO pilot in the RFC

He was passenger in a 70hp Nieuport when the aircraft sideslipped in a tight turn at 1400' on 5.7.12

Pilot was Capt Eustace Broke Lorraine

He was the first 'other rank' casualty

see the 'Forgotten Ones'

On 17.9.11 Lt Reginald Archibald Cammell was killed in an Aeronautical Syndicate Valkyrie at Hendon (2 Company, Air Battalion, RE)

Later in 1912:

Lt Athole Wyness-Stuart killed 6.9.12 in Deperdussin 258 at Gravely (3Sq)

Capt Patrick Hamilton was killed 6.9.12 in Deperdussin 258 at Graveley (3 Sq)

Lt Claude Albemarle Bettington killed 10.9.12 in Bristol Coanda 263 at Wolvercote (3 Sq)

Lt Edward Hotchkiss killed 10.9.12 in Bristol Coanda 263 at Wolvercote (3Sq)

Lt Wilfred Parke, RN, killed 15.12.12 in Handley Page Type F (Mil trials no.28) with Mr A Hardwick at Wembley

No.420 AM2 Searle died of meningitis 26.12.12 at Swindon (4 Sq)

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Thanks for the reply and the info re his service number. Could I please ask where this info came from? I assume this was his new number when he was attached to the RFC. Would his Royal Engineers number be known?

So Wilson was definately the first RFC casualty (he died about an hour before Loraine)? Not sure whe I got the idea that someone had been killed in May/June 1912 before him!!!!!

Can I also ask what the 'Forgotten Ones' is?

Many thanks

Craig

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Craig, were you thinking of the incident on 19 May 1912 when Lieutenant A. E. Burchardt-Ashton's aircraft ploughed into a crowd of spectators as it landed near the Bristol sheds on Lark Hill airfield, killing a boy, Leonard Williams. A Royal Aero Club inquiry absolved the pilot from blame, though noting the accident might not have happened had his view not been obstructed by his radiator; it also criticized spectators for encroaching on the aerodrome in the absence of proper control.

Moonraker

Late thought: A Google Images search for the pilot's name will take you to an image of his overturned aeroplane. Doing likewise for "Loraine Wilson 1912 Salisbury" will provide relevant photos. I believe that the monument has been relocated because of the building nearby of the Stonehenge visitors centre.

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Hi, thanks, Moonraker. I knew about William's death (but not the detail, thanks), but am trying to establish if Wilson (and Loraine, of course) was the very first RFC casualty, flying or otherwise! I have this niggling feeling that an OR was killed in what today would be an RTA, before the 5th July 1912 crash, but can't find anything on the interweb!

The monument was relocated and rededicated on 1st May this year, but the event, overseen by Prince Edward, did not receive a great deal of publicity, considering its significance. English Heritage have now taken responsibility for the memorial, and I personally think it looks good in its new location, it is accessible and should be looked after. It appears to be equidistant, but 180 degrees, from the original crash site. The old location would now I think be on the edge of the new, large Stonehenge visitor's centre roundabout.

Craig

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Don't know his RE number - this was his RFC number

'The forgotten ones-the story of the ground crews' by Sir Phillip Joubert de la Ferte ASN B0000CL2I8. Going cheap on Amazon!

'A Contemptible Little Flying Corps' by I. McInnes and J.V. Webb ISBN 0948130989 (great record of the first 1400 RFC other ranks)

'Airmen died in the Great War' Chris Hobson. ISBN 087150581X (includes pre-war deaths RFC)

All aviation fixed wing deaths to August 1914 - Dave Lam (internet source)

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Thanks for the info. I think I can now safely say that Staff Sergeant Richard Hubert Victor 'Bertie' Wilson of Andover was the first casualty, flying to otherwise, of the RFC, followed shortly afterwards by Captain Eustace Broke Loraine, of Bramford.

><(((((*>

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Mrfish, yours is a nice and worthy point. I've long felt that Loraine got most of the publicity following the crash, perhaps because he was an officer and Wilson "merely" a staff sergeant. It would be interesting to compare reports of the two funerals and lists of attendees.

Moonraker

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I think Wilson's was the 'bigger' funeral, but he died very locally. The reports in the local paper say that at least 50 different units of the Army and Navy were represented that day, either in the procession to the church, or in the crowds that lined the streets. I think Loraine's funeral two days later was a quieter affair, although he had a large send off from Bulford hospital to Bulford station on the morning of Wilson's funeral. I know that Rawlinson was the senior officer present at Wilson's funeral. I guess Wilson 'benefitted' from having all the Salisbury Plain units on the doorstep.

I noticed today that Loraine's medals, QSA & KSA, sold online earlier this year.

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