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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 162104
Last updated: 23 April 2021
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Date:25-MAY-1918
Time:
Type:Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a
Owner/operator:74 (Trg) Squadron Royal Air Force (74 (Trg) Sqn RAF)
Registration: D6097
Msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Castle Bromwich, Birmingham
Destination airport:RAF Castle Bromwich
Narrative:
Lieutenant Raymond Tenney Balch was born December 8th 1894 in Newbury Port, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA. He entered Phillips Academy in 1912, but left before completing his course.After some business training with the American Trust Company of Boston and with Blake Brothers of Boston and New York where he worked as a Brokerís Clerk, he enlisted in the Massachusetts Naval Cadet School, from which he graduated on March 24th, 1917 with the rank of Ensign.

He was ordered to duty with the 9th Deck Division, but was prevented by a physical defect from going into active service. Disappointed in his hopes, he joined the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto and trained at Bayside and Fort Worth Texas, where he was commissioned Second Lieutenant on November 26th 1917.Going overseas in December, he licensed a First-Class Pilot in February and promoted to be First Lieutenant on April 1st 1918.

On May 25th 1918, two days before he expected to go across the Channel for combat duty, his aircraft from 74 Training Squadron (Royal Aircraft Factory SE5 D6097) broke up when coming out of a dive over Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, and Raymond Tenny Balch was killed in the accident. Balch pulled out of a dive over the park on his way back to Castle Bromwich airfield, the aircraft broke up. Balch was thrown to the ground and killed.

The SE5a was prone to have gear system problems, and it was not unknown for the propeller and sometimes the entire gearbox to break loose from the engine and airframe in flight. Lieutenant Balch was 23 years old when he was killed and one of 85 students of Phillips Academy who died in service during the First World War.

He was buried in Castle Bromwich graveyard close by the new gate. On 4 August 2014 a vigil took place at Castle Bromwich Church led by Rev Gavin Douglas to commemorate the centenary of the declaration of hostilities between Britain and Germany. The service started at the grave of Lt Raymond Tenney Balch.

Sources:

1. http://www.aviationarchaeology.org.uk/marg/crashes1918.htm
2. http://www.birminghamhistory.net/category/castle-bromwich-in-world-war-1-and-2/
3. http://castlebromwichgraveyard.co.uk/stories-behind-the-headstones/gravestone-inscriptions/accidental-deaths/raymond-tenney-balch/
4. https://www.airfieldresearchgroup.org.uk/forum/airfield-discussion/5238-sutton-park-crashes


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
13-Nov-2013 13:39 ryan Added
11-Feb-2017 21:38 Dr.John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
14-Nov-2018 14:54 Nepa Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Operator]

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