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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 221217
Last updated: 20 October 2021
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Date:10-APR-1917
Time:day
Type:Sopwith 1½ Strutter
Owner/operator:28 (Reserve) Sqn RFC
Registration: A1113
MSN:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Ullesthorpe, near Market Harborough, Leicestershire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RFC Castle Bromwich, Warwickshire
Destination airport:RFC Lilbourne, Daventry, Northamptonshire
Narrative:
10.4.17: Sopwith 1½ Strutter A1113, 28 (Reserve) Squadron, RFC Castle Bromwich, Warwickshire. Written off (destroyed) when crashed at Ullesthorpe, near Market Harborough, Leicestershire. (Ullesthorpe is a small village and civil parish situated in the Harborough district in southern Leicestershire, 10 miles north of Rugby, at approximate co ordinates: 52.485°N 1.255°W).

Both of the two crew members - Lt John Alexander Williamson (pilot, aged 20, on attachment from the 10th (Royal East Kent and West Kent Yeomanry) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent) Regiment) and Corporal Clifford Newton Ryder (Observer, Service Number 941, 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, aged 24) - were killed.

According to the aircraft accident record card for Sopwith 1½ Strutter A1113 (see links 4 & 5):

"Court of Inquiry 87/7954
15/4/17
Flying accident. Error of judgement. It is the opinion of the Court of Inquiry that the accident was due to an error of judgement on the part of the pilot"

Note that the aircraft accident card in the RAF Museum Archives gives the location of the accident as "Gosport, Hampshire" (for Lt Williamson) and "Ellesthrope, Rugby, Warwickshire" (for Corporal Ryder)! However a contemporary report in "Flight" magazine (April 19 1917 page 381 - see link #6) confirms the crash location as "Leicestershire", quote:

"Fatal Accidents
Two aviators, one of whom was Lieut. J. A. Williamson, were killed in Leicestershire on April 10th. A machine was travelling very fast and high, when it suddenly started spiralling and descended rapidly. Something was observed to fall from the machine, which proved to be a passenger. The machine, with the pilot strapped to the seat, crashed into a field about 100 yards from where the passenger fell"

John Alexander Williamson was born on 21st May 1896, the 1st son of John James and Mary Williamson, of Hawks Hill House, Walmer, Kent. His younger brother, Midshipman E.J. Williamson, not a Carthusian, was lost aged 15 in H.M.S. Bulwark when she blew up at anchor off Sheerness on 26th November 1914. Of her total crew of 750 only 14 survived, of whom 2 died later in hospital.

On the outbreak of War, John Alexander volunteered for the Army and received his commission as 2nd Lt. in the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles in September 1914. He saw active service in Gallipoli and Egypt. He was afterwards attached to the R.F.C. Having obtained his ‘wings’ he was posted to the Somme. In January 1917 he was invalided home to England with frostbite. After a short period of home leave he reported for duty at Birmingham. Whilst flying high and fast over Leicestershire, his plane crashed to the ground, killing him and his observer.

Clifford Newton Ryder was born in Double Bay, near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. He was an apprentice fitter and turner, and was 24 years old and 5ft 4in tall when he enlisted in the Australian Forces in October 1916. He set sail for England from Melbourne on 17th January 1917, suffering influenza en route and spending three days in hospital.

He disembarked in Plymouth on 27th March 1917 and, after a few days at the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) Depot Perham Downs, was transferred to 71 Squadron AFC at Castle Bromwich aerodrome on 2nd April 1917.

He met his death just over one week later whilst flying as observer with 20-year-old Lieutenant John Alexander Williamson. The aeroplane was flying very fast and high over Leicestershire, when the fatal accident occured. The plane crashed to the ground, killing the pilot, who was strapped into his seat, and Corporal Ryder, who fell out of the aeroplane.

He was taken to Ellesthorpe Hospital, Rugby, where he was pronounced dead. He was buried with military honours at Castle Bromwich Churchyard.

Sources:

1. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1917.htm
2. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/366094/williamson,-john-alexander/
3. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2751088/ryder,-clifford-newton/
4. http://www.rafmuseumstoryvault.org.uk/archive/williamson-j.a.-john-alexander
5. http://www.rafmuseumstoryvault.org.uk/archive/ryder-c.n.-clifford-newton
6. Flight magazine (April 19, 1917 page 381): https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1917/1917%20-%200381.html?search=%20Stanley%20Edward%20Lukyn
7. http://www.aviationarchaeology.org.uk/marg/crashes1917.htm
8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ullesthorpe
9. http://www.leicestershire-aviation.co.uk/1899-1939.html.
10. http://charterhousewarmemorial.org.uk/RollofHonour.aspx?RecID=689&TableName=ta_factfile
11. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=9787.0;wap2
12. http://castlebromwichgraveyard.co.uk/stories-behind-the-headstones/gravestone-inscriptions/clifford-newton-ryder/
13. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/R1666038
14. https://solihulllife.wordpress.com/2017/04/10/10th-apr-1917/
15. https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=265133
16. http://www.militarian.com/threads/question-for-spidge.3486/

Media:

No photo found of Sopwith Strutter A1113; below is serial number A1924 from the same production batch RAF Sopwith 1 1-2 Strutter

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
28-Jan-2019 15:39 Dr. John Smith Added
28-Jan-2019 17:31 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description