Tuesday 10 April 2012

Airman's Cross - The Accident

Captain Eustace Lorain and his passenger Staff Sergeant R H V Wilson were flying a Nieuport Monoplane out of Larkhill on a routine morning practice sortie. They were executing a tight turn when the aircraft fell towards the ground and crashed. Wilson was killed outright and although Loraine was speedily transported to Bulford Hospital in a horse-drawn ambulance, he succumbed to his wounds only a few minutes after arriving at the Hospital.[5][6] Loraine and Wilson were the first Flying Corps personnel to die in an aircraft crash while on duty. Later in the day an order was issued which stated "Flying will continue this evening as usual", thus beginning a tradition.
The site of the crash at Greenlands Bottom, near the intersection of the A344 and the A360 roads and less than a mile west of Stonehenge, is now known as 'Airmen's Cross'. There is a stone cross memorial in middle of the grass island at the junction and its inscription reads:
'To the memory of Captain Loraine and Staff-Sergeant Wilson who whilst flying on duty, met with a fatal accident near this spot on 5 July 1912. Erected by their comrades'.

(The postcard seems to have been posted on 18th July 1912 from Rollestone Camp - The message doesn't mention the crash -

1 comment:

  1. Dear Timothy,

    Would it be possible to reproduce your image of the crash site in the Wiltshire Local History Forum Newsletter? We are a small local history group, with c. 200 members, which produces three newsletters a month - of which I am the editor. One of our members has written a short piece about the crash, inspired by an article in the Salisbury Journal from 2009 which reproduced a picture of Capt. Lorraine's funeral. I would very much like to include your image of the crash site, if that would be possible.

    Alex Craven, alex.craven@uwe.ac.uk