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Narrative:10.9.1912: Bristol-Coanda Monoplane 263, 3 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, Larkhill, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire. Written off (damaged beyond repair) when dived into the ground,Godstow Road, Lower Wolvercote, near Port Meadow, Oxfordshire. Both persons on board were killed:
|Owner/operator:||3 Sqn RFC|
|Fatalities:||Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2|
|Aircraft damage:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||Godstow Road, Lower Wolvercote, near Port Meadow, Oxfordshire -
|Phase:|| En route|
|Departure airport:||Larkhill, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire|
|Destination airport:||Port Meadow, Oxfordshire|
|Confidence Rating:|| Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources|
Lt Edward Hotchkiss (aged 28) killed
Lt Claude Albemarle Bettington (aged 30) killed
This accident was traced to one of the bracing wires becoming detached, and it resulted in a five-month ban of flying of all monoplanes by the military wing of the RFC. Lt Claude Bettington, as a young officer serving with the Royal Artillery was fascinated by the possibilities which flying offered to the artillery regarding observation and reconnaissance. After learning to fly and becoming the first South African to take the Aviator's Certificate of the Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.
Bettington transferred to the newly formed Royal Flying Corps (RFC). The autumn army manoeuvers of 1912 included the RFC for the first time. Bettington was paired with Edward Hotchkiss, chief test pilot for the Bristol Aeroplane Company to fly a Bristol Coanda Monoplane.
Taking-off from Larkhill at 07.00 on 10 September 1912 they flew directly to Port Meadow, Oxford which was the first stage. Arriving over Port Meadow at 2000 feet. On their approach for landing a quick-release catch holding a strap opened and the strap fractured a flying wire which whipped about, tearing a hole in the starboard wing. Fabric stripped off and control became impossible; the aircraft crashed into the ground at Godstow Road, Lower Wolvercote, 120 yards (110 metres) short of Port Meadow. Bettington was flung to his death from the aircraft and Hotchkiss perished in the ensuing impact.
The crash site, opposite the Trout Inn pub in Wolvercote, is now known locally as "Airman's Bridge"
2. Barnes, CH (1964). Bristol Aircraft Since 1910 (First ed.). London: Putnam.
8. MARLBOROUGH EXPRESS, VOLUME XLVI, ISSUE 254, 25 OCTOBER 1912 at https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/MEX19121025.2.13
3-view drawing of a Bristol-Coanda Monoplane.
Monument in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire to Lieutenants Edward Hotchkiss and Claude Bettington, killed in a Bristol Coanda crash in 1912
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