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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 218368
Last updated: 8 September 2019
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Type:Henry Farman Biplane
Owner/operator:RNAS Hendon
Registration: 940
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Hendon Aerodrome, Hendon, Middlesex -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Hendon Aerodrome, Hendon, Middlesex
Destination airport:Hendon Aerodrome, Hendon, Middlesex
10.9.14: Henry Farman biplane 940, RNAS, Hendon. Substantially damaged when Crashed on night landing, Hendon Aerodrome, Hendon, Middlesex, while returning from an anti-Zeppelin patrol. The patrol must have been as the result of a false alarm as the first airship raids did not commence until 1915.

The aircraft was later repaired. The pilot - Flt Lt The Hon Richard Thomas Gates (aged 38, Instructor at Hendon) died 14.9.1914 (four days later) of injuries sustained. He ascended from the Aerodrome during the night to manoeuvre about London in search for foreign aircraft but, when endeavouring to land to deliver his reports, he evidently mis-judged his distance in the dark. Fellow RNAS officer FSL Claude Graham-White (observer) was uninjured. This was the first night patrol over London. According to a contemporary report in Flight magazine (September 19, 1914 page 964 - see link #2)

IT is with profound regret that we have to record the death of Flight Lieutenant Richard T. Gates, which took place at the London Sick Asylum on Monday last, following on an accident which occurred at Hendon late on the previous Thursday. Lieut. Gates had only recently been appointed to the R.N.A.S. for special work connected with the training of pilots for the Royal Navy, and while on duty on the night of the accident he made an ascent on a Henry Farman machine.

On returning to the aerodrome difficulty was experienced in landing, either because, in the darkness, the pilot was unable to see the ground clearly or, as some think, owing to the glare of the searchlights confusing him. In any case, it would appear that the machine failed to flatten out at the right moment; it struck the ground at a bad angle, and was smashed, the pilot being pitched on his head, and sustaining injuries to which he succumbed, despite the most expert surgical attention.

He leaves a widow and two children— one only a few months old—to whom we offer our deepest sympathy in their great bereavement.

At the inquest held on Wednesday last, the evidence showed that after the machine had circled the aerodrome three times it struck the ground with such force that the pilot was thrown a distance of thirty feet. A verdict of " Accidental death " was returned. The funeral took place on Thursday with full naval honours"

Flt/Lt Gates is buried in HENDON (St Mary) CHURCHYARD and is commemorated on Brighton War Memorial .Listed in St Peter's Memorial Book under RFC/RAF LT's


2. Flight magazine (September 19, 1914 page 964) at

Revision history:

22-Nov-2018 23:03 Dr.John Smith Added
22-Nov-2018 23:04 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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