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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 220840
Last updated: 31 August 2019
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Date:29-JAN-1917
Time:day
Type:Maurice Farman S.11 Shorthorn
Owner/operator:8 (Reserve) Sqn RFC
Registration: A953
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Pewsey, Wiltshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RFC Netheravon, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire
Destination airport:RFC Netheravon, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire
Narrative:
29.1.17: Maurice Farman S.11 Shorthorn A953, 8 (Reserve) Squadron, RFC Netheravon, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire. Written off (destroyed) when pilot lost control and machine nose dived, near Pewsey, Wiltshire. Pilot - Lt Hugh Bertram Hamilton Cox (aged 23, on attachment from the Royal Field Artillery) - was killed. According to the aircraft accident card for Maurice Farman S.11 Shorthorn A953:

"Court of Inquiry 87/9353
3/2/17
Flying accident. Lost control and nose dived. Pilot had 5 hours solo, making 30 successful landings. The Court of Inquiry found that the pilot had lost control of the machine"

Lieutenant Hugh Bertram Hamilton Cox from 8 (Reserve) Squadron RFC was killed 29 January 1917 when he lost control of his Maurice Farman Shorthorn (A953) and the aircraft nosedived into the ground.

He was previously with the Royal Field Artillery and then qualified as an Observer in 1916. He spent some time with 9 Squadron RFC on the Western Front. Like many observers he applied to train as a pilot in order to advance his career and returned to England to do so.

None of this is particularly unusual. However his death caused controversy when, as was customary at the time, he was not included in the public casualty lists because he had not been killed at the front. He father wrote to the War Office to complain.

A scathing editorial appeared in Flight Magazine on 8 March 1917 criticising the War Office and the system as “disgraceful” (see link #4 for the full editorial piece, but the following is an extract):

"We have no hesitation at all in describing the system as a disgraceful one, when it denies to the relatives of the fallen that small, but prideful, consolation of seeing the name of their dead inscribed on the Roll of Honour. These officers and men who are killed on duty at home are just as much on active service as those at the front, and to keep back their names in the way that is done is nothing but a piece of callous pedantry, which is the result of too heavy a diet of precedent. It must be altered and the names of our dead who died at the post of duty must be given equality of treatment."

The same issue of "Flight" has an obituary for Lt Cox on page 234 (see link #5):

"Second Lieutenant H. B. H. Cox, R.F.A. and R.F.C., the youngest son of Mr. G. W. S. Cox, J.P., of the Indian Police (retired), was accidentally killed on January 29th, while flying in England, owing to an accident to his machine. He was just about to proceed to the advanced part of the pilots' course. He was educated (1905-13) at Bedford School, where he distinguished himself by his ability and vigour, not only in work and games, but as Company Sergeant-Major in the O.T.C., and as head of the school. In 1913 he accepted an appointment at Selangor. On the outbreak of the war he returned to England, and was nominated to Woolwich.

In 1915 he passed out into the Artillery, but was soon afterwards selected for the R.F.C. He was on active service in France for 10 months, and did excellent work in the region of the Somme."

Sources:

1. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1917.htm
2. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/3066986/cox,-/
3. http://www.rafmuseumstoryvault.org.uk/archive/cox-h.b.h.-hugh-bertram-hamilton
4. Flight magazine (March 8 1917 page 219): https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1917/1917%20-%200219.html?search=Hugh%20Bertram%20Hamilton%20Cox
5. Flight magazine (March 8 1917 page 234): https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1917/1917%20-%200234.html?search=Hugh%20Bertram%20Hamilton%20Cox
6. https://airwar19141918.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/29-january-1917-a-roll-of-honour-problem/


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
15-Jan-2019 17:32 Dr. John Smith Added
15-Jan-2019 17:42 Dr. John Smith Updated [Phase, Narrative]
15-Jan-2019 17:43 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
15-Jan-2019 17:44 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
19-Jan-2019 12:44 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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