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Errol Martyn

Two RNAS flying accident queries – April and May 1916

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Errol Martyn
Posted (edited)

 

 

According to Royal Naval Aircraft Serials & Units 1911- 1919 FSL Norman Reginald Davenport, RNAS experience accidents in BE.2c 1139 (27 Feb 16) and Short 184 8037 (28 Apr 16). He also appears to have suffered two other accidents that are not recorded in the book and I am wondering if someone might be able to pin down a serial and exact date for either of these. (He was posted from Eastchurch to Killingholme 2 Feb 16 and to the seaplane carrier Riveria mid-Apr 16.)

 

(1) A New Zealand newspaper correspondent writing from London on 25 Apr 16 mentioned that:

 

Writing to a friend in England, Lieut. Norman R. Davenport, of the Royal Naval Air Service, describes a rather unpleasant, if typical, experience which he had while flying a new type of seaplane in very rough weather at a certain station on the North Sea. There was a stiff breeze blowing, and he had just risen about 30ft, and had not yet attained flying speed, when a squall struck the seaplane, which sideslipped into the sea. "My left wing hit the water, and the machine then nose-dived straight into the deep-blue. Before I could say Jack Robinson both my machine and I were under water. The next thing that I remember was that I commenced kicking out hard to release myself from the machine. For an instant my leg caught round the steering-wheel, but after another violent jerk I got loose, and up I came to the surface like a cork. I then adjusted my life-belt (which we always wear when flying seaplanes), and then splashed around a bit to see if any parts of my anatomy were missing or out of action. On finding that all my limbs were in good working order, I began to wonder if my poor old machine had disappeared for good, and on looking around saw her pap up to the surface in an upside down position about twenty feet away. Luckily the floats were undamaged, and they had brought her to the surface again. You can guess I wasted no time in swimming over to her and perching myself on top of the floats. Here I sat, cold and wet, until the ship's came tearing along and picked me up. Before leaving my machine, however, I managed to fasten a rope around her, and in a few minutes we were full steam ahead with the machine in tow. In the naval air service such occurrences are almost daily during this bad weather, so you can guess we shall not be sorry when the good summer weather comes along."

 

(2) The London correspondent wrote again on 1 Jun 16 about another accident that occurred in May:

 

Lieutenant Norman R. Davenport, of Auckland, who has been flying in France, had a serious accident a fortnight ago. Owing to the failure of the engine, his machine fell about 150 ft into the sea. It happened close to the coast of Belgium, only a few miles from the German lines. When picked up by one of our ships, Lieutenant Davenport was taken to the Alexandria Hospital at Dunkirk, suffering from exposure and shock, besides being severely bruised. He is now convalescent and in London on leave, and staying at the Ivanhoe Hotel.

 

NRD’s ADM273 records that he was Admitted to Haslar Hospital on 10 May 16 suffering from psych asthenia. Presumably this relates to the above event.

 

NRD’s commission was terminated on 25 May 16 due to his being ‘physically unfit’. He subsequently served with the Aeronautical Inspection Department before returning to New Zealand in late 1917.

 

 

TIA,

Errol

 

 

 

Edited by Errol Martyn

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