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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 162107
Last updated: 3 June 2021
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Time:15:15 LT
Type:Handley Page O/400
Owner/operator:14 AAC Royal Air Force (14 AAC RAF)
Registration: D4593
Fatalities:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Maxstoke, North Warwickshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Castle Bromwich Aerodrome, Warwickshire
Destination airport:-
The Handley Page 0/400 of 14 Aircraft Acceptance Park took off from Castle Bromwich Aerodrome for a test flight with two pilots and five crew on board. The plane was over North Warwickshire when it lost fabric from a wing causing a loss of control. The plane crashed into a field at Maxstoke. All seven crew were killed in the accident. At the time this was the worst air disaster for the Royal Air Force and the UK. According to a contemporary newspaper report ("Nottingham Evening Post" 21st August 1918).


A terrible tragedy of the air took place in the Midlands on Monday afternoon [19th August 1918], resulting in the death of all seven occupants of a large aeroplane which fell in a field. The names of the occupants were:

Lieutenant R. E. Macbeth (Toronto).
Lieutenant F. J. Bravery (Worthing).
First Air Mechanic J. May (Nottingham).
Second Air Mechanic A. J. Winrow (Chorlton-on-Medlock).
Second Air Mechanic H. Simmonds (Petersfield).
Third Air Mechanic C. W. Offord (Chiswick).
Third Air Mechanic Greenland (Mile End).

An inquest was held at a small town in the vicinity of the accident yesterday [20th August 1918]. A sergeant in the Royal Air Force, stationed at a Midlands aerodrome, said the machine went up at 3.15 p.m. on Monday on a test flight, with seven occupants. Lieutenant Macbeth, who was in charge, was an experienced pilot and accustomed to the type of machine he was flying. Evidence was also given of tests which were satisfactorily carried out on this machine before flights were made.

A farmer, in his evidence, said he was carrying corn in the adjoining field when he heard an explosion and saw the aeroplane come nose down out of a cloud at a great height. The machine righted itself and went about a mile, and then turned over while flying at a low altitude and fell straight to earth.

Another farmer said he first noticed something unusual in the throb of the engine. He saw the aeroplane come immediately over the roofs of some houses, and, after rising a little, turn sharp and then drive straight to earth. Witness ran to the spot, but all the men were dead.

Medical evidence was given that death was instantaneous in all cases. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death,” and that no evidence was submitted which would reveal the cause of the accident.”

Lieutenant Robert Edward Andrew Macbeth, buried at Maxstoke (St. Michael) Churchyard. Age 28. Son of William John and Annie Colhoun MacBeth, of Toronto, Canada. Born at Toronto, Canada. B.A.Sc. University of Toronto.

Lieutenant Frederick James Bravery, Royal Air Force, buried at Worthing (Broadwater) Cemetery. Age 22. Son of Thomas Bravery of 23 Montague Street, Worthing.

A.M.1 James Benjamin May, 14th Aircraft Acceptance Park, buries at Nottingham (New Basford) Cemetery. He was a “passenger up for a rigging test.” Son of Mrs. W. May, 36 Gladstone Street, Nottingham.

A.M. 2 Albert J. Winrow, 14th A. A. P., Royal Air Force, buried at Manchester Southern Cemetery. He was a “passenger to make up war load to pilot’s instructions”.

A.M.2 H. Simmonds, Royal Air Force. Buried at Maxstoke (St. Michael) Churchyard. Aged 31. He was a “passenger to make up war load to pilot’s instructions”. Son of Henry and Emma Simmonds of West Meon, Hampshire.

Acting A. M. 3 Charles William Offord, 14th Aircraft Acceptance Park, Royal Air Force. Buried at Acton Cemetery. Age 18. His role was to was testing the dynamo and lighting system. Son of Mrs. Annie Offord of 7 Meeting Street, Ramsgate.

A.M. 2 George Greenland, Aircraft Accept. Park, Royal Air Force. Buried at City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery. He was the passenger in charge of petrol pumps. Aged 22. Son of Mr. and Mrs. George Greenland, of 145 Canal Road, Mile End, London.



Revision history:

13-Nov-2013 14:07 ryan Added
13-Nov-2013 14:08 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Narrative]
29-Dec-2018 23:03 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Other fatalities, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
02-Feb-2019 12:15 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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