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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 220502
Last updated: 1 December 2021
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Date:12-NOV-1916
Time:15:40 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic jn4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Curtiss JN-3
Owner/operator:16 (Reserve) Sqn RFC
Registration: A1255
MSN:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Beaulieu, Hampshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RFC Beaulieu, Hampshire
Destination airport:RFC Beaulieu, Hampshire
Narrative:
12.11.16: Curtiss JN-3 A1255, 16 (Reserve) Squadron, RFC Beaulieu. Written off (destroyed) when Dived into ground, near Beaulieu, Hampshire. Pilot - 2nd Lt Henry Elliott Byers (aged 22, on attachment from 3rd Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry) - was killed. It was surmised that the deceased was seized with illness while in the air, as apparently the machine was in good order and nothing was seen to break while it was being flown. At the inquest at Boldre on the following day, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned. According to the aircraft record card for Curtiss JN-3 A1255:

"Court of Inquiry 87/8955
17/11/16
Flying accident. Appeared out of control at 3,500 feet and nose dived into the ground. The Court of Inquiry was of the opinion that there was no evidence to show the cause of the accident"

Second Lieut. Henry Elliott (Harry) Byers, killed in aeroplane accident at Beaulieu, Hants. on November 12th, 1916, aged 22 years. At the Inquest, Captain O.A. Westondarp, CO of the flying station said: “He had been on one flight alone before and had been up with others for a considerable time past. He was sufficiently skilled to go up alone. The deceased was particularly keen and asked that he might go up again as he had been up alone in the morning. It was a particularly fine day for flying.”

Lieutenant M. Hallegrin said: “On Sunday afternoon about 3.40 he saw the deceased’s machine make a vertical nose dive from a height of about 3,500 feet. When about 1,000 feet from the ground the machine seemed to right itself again and went along for a little distance in flying position. The machine then veered to the left and nose dived again, disappearing amidst the trees.”

The doctor who examined the body about 15 minutes after the accident in the copse said; “Death was instantaneous and deceased probably lost consciousness in the air as he came down.”

The jury returned a verdict that “the deceased’s death was due to a fracture of the skull and other injuries, owing to the aeroplane in which he was flying accidentally falling to the ground.”

Henry is buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery, Dublin (Officers Plot, C of E, Grave 5). (His elder brother 265205 Sergeant George Elliott Byers, 6th Battalion Royal Highlanders, was killed in action near Bapaume on 21 March 1918; his younger brother Benjamin Elliott also served as a Private in the same regiment). He was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals.

Sources:

1. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1916.htm
2. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/899876/byers,-henry-elliott/
3. http://www.rafmuseumstoryvault.org.uk/archive/byers-h.e.-harry-elliott
4. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/57621246
5. https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/230675-2nd-ltn-henry-elliott-byers-killed-in/
6. http://www.eastboldre.org/byers.html
7. Flight magazine (November 16 1916 page 1002): https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1916/1916%20-%201010.html?search=Henry%20Byers
8. Flight magazine (November 23 1916 page 1023): https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1916/1916%20-%201031.html?search=Henry%20Byers


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
03-Jan-2019 21:39 Dr. John Smith Added
03-Jan-2019 21:39 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
03-Jan-2019 21:47 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
13-Jan-2019 13:22 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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