Accident Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2b 4899,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 220808
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Date:Thursday 18 January 1917
Type:Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2b
Owner/operator:28 Sqn RFC
Registration: 4899
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:BRNC (Britannia Royal Naval College) Dartmouth, Devon -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:BRNC Dartmouth, Devon
Destination airport:BRNC Dartmouth, Devon
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
18.1.17: Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2b No.4899, 28 Squadron, RFC Fort Rowner, Gosport, Hampshire. Written off (destroyed) when Hit trees on approach and crashed, Dartmouth. Passenger - Naval Cadet John Salusbury Riley (aged 15) killed. Pilot - Lt Roger Charles Bernard Riley - was injured. According to one published source (see link #4)

"18 January 1917 - Joyride Tragedy
An innocent joyride ended in disaster for Lieutenant Roger Charles Bernard Riley an instructor at the Gosport training school.

Lieutenant Riley had been invalided home after being shot down in his FE2b (5212) on 27 June 1916. His observer Lieutenant EH Bird was killed. After convalescence he took up as post as an instructor at the Gosport Training School in December 1916.

Today Lieutenant Riley flew to Dartmouth Naval College and took his younger brother, John Salusbury Riley a 15 year old naval cadet up for a spin in an FE2b (4899). The aircraft suffered some sort of malfunction and crashed in the grounds of the college. Roger was severely injured but his brother John was thrown out of the aircraft and killed.

A minor story perhaps, but it demonstrates the relatively lackadaisical approach to things in the RFC at the time where pilots were permitted to use aircraft as personal runarounds.

It also demonstrates a bit of mystery solving as there is obviously no record of John Salusbury Riley as a military casualty. He is however mentioned it the RFC casualty cards detailing the accident and in the aircraft record. Two separate groups attempted to identify him and a combination of coroner’s, parish and census records pointed to the fact that he was Roger’s younger brother.

Roger survived the war and lived until 14 September 1960. He named his first son, born 6 April 1920, John Salusbury."



Revision history:

14-Jan-2019 16:53 Dr. John Smith Added
14-Jan-2019 16:53 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport]
21-Jan-2019 19:19 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]

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