Accident Bleriot XI 2854,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 218595
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Date:Saturday 1 May 1915
Type:Bleriot XI
Owner/operator:13 Sqn RFC
Registration: 2854
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:RFC Fort Grange, Gosport, Hampshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:RFC Fort Grange, Gosport, Hampshire
Destination airport:RFC Fort Grange, Gosport, Hampshire
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
1.5.15: Bleriot XI-2 2854, 13 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps Gosport. Written off (destroyed) Side slipped and dived off slow turn, RFC Gosport, Hampshire. Of the crew of two, one - Sgt William Thomas James McCudden (aged 24) - was killed, and the other - 2nd Lt Norman Hatfield Read - was injured. According to a contemporary report in Flight magazine (May 7 1915 page 323 - see link #2)

"Fatal Accident at Gosport
IT is with great regret that we record the fatal accident which occurred at Fort Grange, Gosport, on Saturday evening, by which Flight Sergeant W. McCudden lost his life and Second Lieut. N. Read, R.F.C., who was a passenger on the Bleriot monoplane, was seriously injured. According to the evidence given at the inquest it appears that the engine was working badly, due to the carburettor flooding, and owing to the loss of speed the machine side-slipped.

As the machine was only about 100 feet up there was not sufficient room to overcome the movement. It was stated that Sergeant McCudden, who was an experienced pilot, was in charge of the machine at the time and giving instruction to Lieut. Read. A verdict of " Accidental Death " was returned.

It was announced that Lieut. Read was making a good recovery."

William ("Bill") McCudden was part of what became known as the "McCudden Syndicate"-he was one of four brothers, three of whom were killed during the Great War whilst serving with the Royal Flying Corps or its successor, the Royal Air Force. He was known as a Barrack Rat-the name given to those born at the Garrison Hospital in Brompton Barracks, Maxwell Road,in old Brompton-part of Gillingham. He was a son of Sergeant Major William Henry McCudden (Royal Engineers) and Amelia Emma McCudden, nee Byford, the daughter of a Royal Marine Drum Major.

William served with the Royal Flying Corps, 13 Squadron. His Service Number was 61 (he had been in the Corps before war broke out-hence his low service number). He was a Flight Sergeant (Pilot Instructor)and was killed in a flying accident at Gosport, aged 24.

He had trained both his brothers in flying and in a letter,William predicted that James had a great career ahead of him and that he would one day win the VC. William's death had a profound emotional impact on James. Of the 14,000 aircrew deaths in the Great War, 8,000 were in training accidents.

His aviator brothers, Major James Thomas Byford McCudden and Second Lieutenant John Anthony "Jack" McCudden
also fell in the Great War-James gained the Victoria Cross and John, the Military Cross. The McCudden brothers are also commemorated on a panel on the Carlow Great War Memorial, Leighlinbridge Memorial Garden, Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow, Ireland which notes also that their father was born in Carlow.

Civil Registrations:
Births Jun 1891 McCudden William Thomas J Medway 2a 612
Deaths Jun 1915 McCudden William T J 24 Alverstoke 2b 773


2. Flight magazine (May 7 1915 page 323):

Revision history:

26-Nov-2018 16:51 Dr.John Smith Added
27-Nov-2018 20:55 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]

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