Accident Bleriot XI 260,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 78972
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Date:Wednesday 12 August 1914
Type:Bleriot XI
Owner/operator:3 Sqn RFC
Registration: 260
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Netheravon, Wiltshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Netheravon, Wiltshire
Destination airport:Dover, Kent
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Lt R.R. Skene and his mechanic were killed in a crash on their way to France. They were the first Royal Flying Corps servicemen killed in a war-time flying accident.

Flight magazine of the 14 August 1914 reported his death as follows:

"It is with profound regret that we have to record the accident which occurred at Netheravon on Wednesday morning last, resulting in the deaths of Second Lieut. Robin B. Skene and Air-Mechanic R.K. Barlow. At the inquest held the same day, the evidence went to show that the machine, through being banked too strongly when making a left-hand turn, fell to the ground from a height of between 150 and 200 feet. A verdict of "accidental death" was returned."

Ray Sanger's The Martinsydes file gives that at the time of the accident Skene had been piloting an 80 hp Bleriot two-seater with the comment:

"It would appear that that the machine was heavily loaded with equipment and fuel for a flight to Dover, preparatory to crossing to France, and stalled whilst carrying out a climbing turn shortly after take-off"

According to the Coroners' Inquest into the deaths of the two crew:

"Skene, Robin & Barlow, Raymond
August 14th 1914

Two Army Airmen Killed
Monoplane Wrecked

Two members of the Royal Flying Corps were killed by the fall of an aeroplane near Netheravon, on Wednesday morning. About a quarter past five o’clock Second-Lieutenant Robin B Skene, of the Third Squadron, accompanied by Raymond Keith Barlow, a first air mechanic in the corps, ascended from Netheravon sheds in a Bristol (sic) monoplane which was ready for active service. That the aeroplane was not loaded to a dangerous extent is shown by the fact that several other machines left the school carrying similar weights without accident. The monoplane had not proceeded far on its journey when the pilot n taking a left-handed turn banked sharply. The result was that the machine lost speed and dived vertically to the ground. Lieutenant Skene was found under the wrecked monoplane, while Barlow was pitched clear of it. Both died before medical aid could be obtained.

Lieutenant Skene was a recent addition to the Flying Corps, as a Special Reserve officer, but as a civilian he had done a good deal of flying. Barlow had been in the Corps since August, 1912.

The inquest was held at Netheravon Flying School on Wednesday afternoon by Mr F H Trethowan, the South Wilts Coroner.

The Squadron Commander of the Royal Flying School said that after the accident he examined the machine, which was completely wrecked. It had evidently fallen almost vertically but not from a great height. The controls were all intact. The machine was heavily loaded for active service, but was able to fly. He understood that Lieutenant Skene was a capable pilot.

Arthur Frederick Deverill, first air mechanic, Royal Flying Corps, an eye-witness, said he attributed the accident to the loss of speed in banking. This was the first time the machine had been so heavily loaded, but if precaution had been exercised flight would have been safe. Several machines left that day with the same load. The monoplane was at the height of about 150 ft or 200 ft when it dived vertically to the ground. The engine was running at full speed until the fatal turn.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death".


2. The Times, Thursday, Aug 13, 1914; pg. 8; Issue 40603; col B

Revision history:

31-Oct-2010 05:52 harro Added
10-Dec-2013 22:00 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
14-Feb-2017 18:09 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Registration, Cn, Operator, Source]
14-Nov-2018 14:51 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
16-Nov-2018 03:19 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source]
22-Nov-2018 22:38 Dr.John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Narrative]
26-Nov-2018 17:10 Dr.John Smith Updated [Aircraft type]

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