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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 218045
Last updated: 27 October 2019
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Date:02-DEC-1913
Time:day
Type:Maurice Farman MF.7 Longhorn
Owner/operator:Eastchurch Naval Flying School
Registration: 23
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:RNAS Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RNAS Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey, Kent
Destination airport:RNAS Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey, Kent
Narrative:
2.12.1913: Maurice Farman MF.7 Longhorn 23, Eastchurch Naval Flying School written off (damaged beyond repair) when Side-slipped and crashed, RNAS Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey, Kent. Of the two persons on board, one - Lt Gilbert Vernon Wildman-Lushington, RMA (aged 26) was killed, and the other - Capt Henry Fawcett, RM - was injured

Gilbert Vernon Wildman-Lushington was born on July 11th 1887 and is first mentioned in the Navy Lists in October 1905 when he was at Greenwich Naval College as a 2nd Lieutenant RMA. In July 1906 he was promoted to Lieutenant but had no posting until 1909 when he began serving on HMS Magnificent. A year later he was aboard HMS Bulwark and from October 1911 on HMS Neptune.

In August 1912 he joined HMS President but within a few months had been posted to the Central Flying School at Upavon, Salisbury. He then joined the Royal Flying Corps, Naval Wing at Eastchurch. On April 15th 1913 he is recorded as having the rank of Flight Commander RFC with temporary rank of Captain. He died when his plane crashed on landing on 2nd December 1913.

Wildman-Lushington was the first officer of the Naval Wing to lose his life whilst flying a naval machine on duty. He had been for a flight over Sheerness with Captain Henry Fawcett RMLI as passenger, on Henry Farman biplane No. 23, when on returning to Eastchurch the plane fell into a side-slip and hit the ground from about 50 feet. The plane was completely wrecked and the body of the pilot was found under the petrol tank with a broken neck. Captain Fawcett was dazed but suffered only slight injuries.

Captain Wildman-Lushington had a reputation as a daring and capable airman but came to mainstream attention when he flew with Mr Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, whilst the latter was learning to fly. Churchill had been flying for several months before Wildman-Lushington's death at the great consternation of family, friends and the nation at large. He ceased flying shortly afterwards.

At the time of his death Wildman-Lushington was engaged to Miss Airlie Hynes of Southsea to whom Churchill wrote to express his sympathy at her loss.

The burial of Captain Wildman-Lushington was held on 5th December 1913 at Christ Church, Portsdown Hill. Churchill sent a wreath of laurel, tuber roses and Madonna lilies, and inscribed in his own hand "In deepest regret for a gallant officer of achievement and promise from Winston S. Churchill." About 400 members of the RMA formed the detail as the coffin was transferred from Cosham Railway Station, where it had arrived from Sheerness Station, to the church; there were also funeral parties from HMS Excellent, the RMLI and the RN School of Music. Over 300 Officers, including Admiral the Hon. Sir Hedworth Meux (Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth) attended the funeral service.

The connection to Winston S. Churchill (1874-1965) is that on the previous Saturday, (29 November 1913) Wildman-Lushington had taken the then First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, for a series of three flying lessons in a Short Brothers S.38 biplane, during the third of which Churchill took the controls for a time, making him the first serving Cabinet minister to have flown an aeroplane.

Sources:

1. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1916.htm
2. http://www.memorialsinportsmouth.co.uk/churches/st_andrews_eastney/wildman-lushington-gv.htm
3. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/137109287/gilbert-vernon-wildman-lushington
4. https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/lifestyle/heritage/churchill-drops-in-to-portsmouth-during-flying-lesson-1-5991827
5. http://britishaviation-ptp.com/early_aviators_251_300.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
18-Nov-2018 01:06 Dr.John Smith Added
19-Nov-2018 19:28 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]

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