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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 218585
Last updated: 28 August 2019
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Date:10-MAR-1915
Time:day
Type:Short Sommer pusher biplane
Owner/operator:RNAS Eastbourne
Registration:
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:English Channel, 300 yards off Eastbourne, Sussex -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RNAS Eastbourne, Sussex
Destination airport:St. Anthonys (Willingdon Levels), Eastbourne, Sussex
Narrative:
10.3.15: Short Sommer pusher biplane, Royal Naval Air Service Eastbourne, crashed into the sea some 300 yards offshore, into the English Channel off Eastbourne, Sussex, turning upside down in the process. Pilot - Flt Sub-Lt Arthur Gelston Shepherd (aged 21) - was killed. Possibly died of injuries sustained. Note that the make, model, type and serial number of the particular aircraft involved in the accident is not referred to in contemporary reports, such as the following from Flight Magazine (March 19, 1915 page 195 - see link #2):

"Fatal Accident at Eastbourne.

IT is with the greatest regret that we have to record the death of Flight Sub-Lieut. A. G. Shepherd as the result of an accident at Eastbourne on the 10th inst. At the inquest on the following day it was staled that Sub-Lieut. Shepherd started on a biplane from the seaplane sheds to fly to the aerodrome. After one circuit the machine, which was flying very low, fell into the sea.

Squadron-Commander Philip Shepherd, K.N., explained to the jury that it had been ascertained that when flying over smooth water an aviator could not tell whether he was 10, 100, or 200 feet above the water. He saw the deceased flying, and thought he intended to make a turn and come in towards the land, but before he could turn he hit the water, apparently through not being able to judge the height. An examination of the machine showed that there was no defect in it or in the engine.

Flight Su'i-Lieut. Graham Donald stated thai, seeing the machine in the water, he swam out 200 to 300 yards, and after a struggle succeeded in releasing the pilot's body from the seat.

Dr. Rainey attributed death to the injuries to Lieut. Shepherd's head, there being a large cut caused by contact with a wire. A verdict of accidental death was returned, and Sub-Lieutenant Donald was commended for his gallant attempt at rescue."

Flt Sub-Lt Arthur Gelston Shepherd was buried at Wootton St Peter Church, Berkshire

Sources:

1. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1916.htm
2. Flight magazine (March 19, 1915 page 195): https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1915/1915%20-%200195.html?search=Arthur%20Gelston%20Shepherd
3. Biography: https://www.abingdon.org.uk/flight_sub_lieutenant_arthur_gelston_shepherd
4. https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/70938-lt-charles-robert-chapman/?tab=comments#comment-641353
5. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/648638/shepherd,-arthur-gelston/
6. http://www.ukairfieldguide.net/airfields/Willingdon-Levels
7. http://www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1915-03Mar.htm
8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sommer_1910_biplane


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
26-Nov-2018 15:09 Dr.John Smith Added
27-Nov-2018 19:55 Dr.John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Source, Narrative]

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