war dead

Arlof David Hewson signature

Arlof David Hewson died in a flying accident while training with the Royal Air Force at Camp Mohawk near Deseronto. Hewson was born in Windsor, Ontario, on November 18th, 1898, the son of Frank Hewson and Eliza (née Tansley). He joined the Royal Flying Corps on January 15th, 1918 in Toronto with the regimental number 154244. He was five feet four inches tall.

There is a great deal of disagreement in the records as to the exact date of his death. The death registration by local physician Elgin Vandervoort gives May 23rd, but the RAF casualty record has May 20th and other sources have May 5th, May 22nd or 24th. The RAF Court of Inquiry report shows that the accident happened on May 22nd.

Arlof was attached to 81 Canadian Training Squadron of the Royal Air Force’s 42nd Wing in Deseronto. His accident is described in the RAF records as follows:

Date of Casualty: 20.5.18
Where occurred: Canada Camp Mohawk Deseronto
Type of Machine: Curtiss JN4
Nature and Cause of Accident: Fly[ing] acc[ident] failure to come out of accidental spin
Result of Accident: Killed 22.5.18* [*addition made 23/3/59]
Name of other Occupant of Machine: 2nd Lt C. A. [Cyril Arthur] Robotham injured

Lieutenant Robotham gave evidence at the Court of Inquiry held on May 23rd. He had suffered compound fractures of the bones in his left leg and shock.

Detail from Attorney General's 1918 file RG4-31/1276 at the Archives of Ontario

Detail from Attorney General’s 1918 file RG4-31/1267 at the Archives of Ontario

7th witness:– 2/Lieut. C.A.Robotham, No. 81 C.T.S., R.A.F., states:-

I was ordered on 22-5-18 to take 154244 Cadet Hewson,A.D. up in machine C-285 for a Medical Air Test. I had previously told the Cadet what he was to do when up in the air for the purposes of this test. We had been in the air five minutes and he had not done any of the tests that I had explained to him, so I turned back to the aerodrome for the purpose of landing and explaining the tests to him again. In turning into the aerodrome I put my nose down with the intention of closing the throttle and S-turning in, but the throttle jammed and I could not pull it back, the result being a spin.

The aircraft was examined after the accident and all controls were found to be intact. The court recommended that:

…all pilots be instructed not to make gliding turns with the engine “on”, and that in getting into a spin close to the ground, they switch off rather than close the throttle.

Arlof was buried in St. John’s Anglican Church Cemetery in Windsor.


Thomas Vincent Patrick signature

Thomas Vincent Patrick died in a flying accident at Camp Rathbun in Deseronto on this day in 1918. He was a cadet in 89 Canadian Training Squadron of the Royal Air Force’s 42nd Wing. The RAF casualty record notes:

Date of Casualty: 18.5.18
Where occurred: Canada Camp Rathbun
Type of Machine: Curtiss JN4
Nature and Cause of Accident: Machine was observed at approximately 2500ft coming down in nose dive & crash to earth.
Result of Accident: Killed

Thomas was born on January 26th, 1893 in Souris, Manitoba, the son of Thomas Hughes Patrick and Margaret (née Nicol). He enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto on December 13th, 1917 and was officially appointed to the service on December 17th, with a regimental number of 153643. He had previously been working as a teacher. He was five feet five and a half inches tall, with a medium complexion, brown hair and brown eyes.

Thomas Vincent Patrick was buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Souris, Manitoba.

Herbert Fielding Paul signatureCadet Herbert Fielding Paul died at Camp Mohawk on this day in 1918 as a result of a flying accident. He joined the Royal Flying Corps in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on November 24th, 1917 and was accepted into the Corps in Toronto three days later. He was 24 years old and five feet eight inches tall. His regimental number was 153008.

Herbert was born in Springhill, Nova Scotia on August 11th, 1893, the son of Elisha Budd Paul and Lavinia Paul. At the time of enlisting, he was working as a civil engineer. He was attached to 82 Canadian Training Squadron at Camp Mohawk, part of 42nd Wing at Deseronto.

The official Royal Air Force report into the accident states only that he was killed in Canada. The death registration entry records that death was caused by “Fall with aeroplane”. The Court of Inquiry held the day after the crash found that the right hand wing of the aircraft broke off when it was at a height of 6,000 feet, from an unknown cause or causes.

Belleville’s Intelligencer newspaper gave a different account of the accident:Intelligencer newspaper's report of May 6th 1918 on Herbert Paul death

Spinning Nose Dive Carried Young Cadet to Instant Death

Cadet Herbert Paul, No. 153,008, was instantly killed in a crash at Camp Mohawk at 9.30 on Saturday afternoon. It is believed the accident was due to a spinning nose dive. Cadet Paul was a Canadian training with the Royal Air Force and his next of kin is E. Paul, Springhill, Nova Scotia. He was a young man of great promise, bright and genial and had the makings of a brilliant aviator. He was a prime favorite in the camp and his passing is regretted.

Cadet Paul was 1800 feet in the air in a solo flight when his machine was observed to being a spinning nose dive and escape from the control of the young aviator. The plane struck the ground with great force and was smashed to pieces, the cadet being instantly killed.

Paul was buried in Hillside Cemetery, Springhill, Nova Scotia.

Edgar Patrick Le Blanc signature
Edgar Patrick Le Blanc died in Belleville General Hospital on this day in 1918. He was a cadet in the Royal Flying Corps, which he had joined on December 5th, 1917 in Toronto. He was the son of Patrick and Emma Le Blanc of Moncton, New Brunswick and had previously served in the Royal School of Infantry, Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Royal Air Force report of the accident stated:

Date of Casualty: 29.4.18
Where occurred: Canada ⅛ mile Sth of Camp Mohawk Aerodrome
Type of Machine: Curtiss J.N.4 C1001
Nature and Cause of Accident: Failing to get out of spin
Result of Accident: Injured Frac skull Broken jaw Broken collar bone
Name of other Occupant of Machine: 2nd Lt. [Edwin Henry] Menhenitt injured

Belleville’s newspaper, the Intelligencer reported the accident:

Intelligencer report of 1918 Apr 30 on Le Blanc death

Aeroplane Crashed to Earth in Spinning Nose Dive
Young Aviator Dead and Comrade Seriously Injured, Result of Accident at Camp Mohawk Yesterday Afternoon – Both Aviators Brought to Belleville Hospital

Between the hours of two and three o’clock yesterday afternoon, an aeroplane fell just east of Camp Mohawk airdrome with fatal results. Cadet Edward P. Le Blanc and Instructor Secon Lieut. E. H. Menhennit were in the machine at the time and were at a considerable height when it was observed that something was wrong as the plane began falling to the earth, nose first, in a rapid manner. The ambulance from the camp was summoned and soon reached the place where the machine had fallen. The two occupants were found to be terribly injured and as soon as possible were brought to the Belleville hospital for treatment. Shortly after being admitted to the hospital Le Blanc succumbed to his injuries, and for hours Menhennit remained in an unconscious condition. The injuries which caused le Blanc’s death consisted of a fractured skull. His face was also injured. Menhennit was severely cut about the head and face and there is a compound fracture to the right leg. The aeroplane was virtually broken to pieces.
The body of Cadet Le Blanc was subsequently taken to Tickell & Sons undertaking establishment where it was prepared for burial. The unfortunate young aviator was a member of the 8th Squadron, R.A.F. His home was at 97 Alma Street, Moncton, N.B. where his mother resides. She was notified of the sad affair and it is expected that she will come to Belleville and take the body home for interment.
Lieut. Menhennit is an Englishman and the next of kin is his brother, Mr. J. D. Menhennitt, Eastleigh, St. Malyn [Mabyn], Cornwall, England. This morning his condition showed slight improvement, but he is by no means out of danger.

Le Blanc was buried in St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Moncton.

Lieutenant Menhenitt recovered from his injuries and stayed in Canada after the war. He married Lois Elizabeth Vance on June 2nd, 1920 in Barrie, where he was working as an engineer.

Herbert Edgar Wicks signatureHerbert Edgar Wicks died in France on this day in 1918. He was serving with the 44th Battalion, which was involved in a raid on enemy lines at Marœuil on the night of April 26th/27th in which two men were killed. This action was described in the Battalion’s war diary (page 1 and page 2).

Wicks was buried at the Roclincourt Military Cemetery.

Herbert Edgar Wicks’s grave, courtesy of Find a Grave

He is also remembered on the Deseronto war memorial.

Deseronto memorial

And on the cenotaph in Napanee.

Napanee cenotaph, west side

Jack William Burman signatureOn this day in 1918, Jack Burman, an electrician, died in Toronto of pneumonia. He was born in Leicester, England in July 1901, the son of William Arthur Burman, a railway worker, and Lucy (née Bartlett). He was baptised in Brackley, Northamptonshire on September 1st, 1901. William left England for Canada in 1905, with Lucy and Jack following in 1906.

Burman joined the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto on May 1st 1917 and served as an air mechanic with the Deseronto Wing. His regimental number was 71808. He was five feet four and a half inches tall and claimed to be 18 when he enlisted, although he was 15 at the time. The family were living at 277 Ashdale Avenue, Toronto. Burman was 16 when he died at the base hospital in Toronto.

Jack was buried in the St. John’s Norway Cemetery in Toronto.

Victor Raymond Evans signature
On this day in 1918 Victor Raymond Evans, a cadet in the Royal Flying Corps, was killed at Camp Mohawk, the pilot training camp near Deseronto. He was born in Bradford, Ontario, on October 18th, 1896, the son of William Evans and Martha (née Neilly).Victor signed up in Toronto on November 14th, 1917 and was accepted into the Royal Flying Corps on December 10th. His regimental number was 153475. He was five feet five and a quarter inches tall. Evans was serving with 79 Canadian Training Squadron at the time of his death. The official Royal Air Force report noted the following facts about the accident which killed him:

Date of Casualty: 24.4.18
Where occurred: Canada Camp Mohawk
Type of Machine: Curtiss J.N.4 C477
Nature and Cause of Accident: Struck on head by propellor while getting out of front of machine
Result of Accident: Killed
Name of other Occupant of Machine: 2nd Lt. J. I. [John Inglis] Bedingfield uninjured

The Court of Inquiry verdict was:

Victor Raymond Evans verdict of Court of Inquiry

Detail from Attorney General’s 1918 file RG4-32/1152 at the Archives of Ontario

The Cause of the accident was in our opinion that Cadet Evans V.R. No. 153475 whilst on duty at Camp Mohawk, Deseronto, on 25th April, 1918, about 11 o’clock a.m., after having come down from an instructional flight under 2/Lieut. J.I. Bedingfield in Machine C-477, got out of the front seat of the machine contrary to instructions, and walked into the propellor.

Victor was buried in Bayfield Cemetery, Ontario.

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