17 June 1915 – Victoria Cross Hero killed

Flight Sub-Lieutenant Reginald Warneford, RNAS received the French Légion d’honneur at a ceremony in Paris today for shooting down the Zeppelin LZ 37 on June 7. The London Gazette published his citation for the Victoria Cross on 11 June.

Following a celebratory lunch, Warneford travelled to the aerodrome at Buc to ferry a Farman aircraft to the RNAS base at Veurne. Having made one short test flight, he then flew a second flight, carrying an American journalist, Henry Beach Newman, as passenger. During a climb to 200 feet, the right-hand wings collapsed leading to a catastrophic failure of the airframe.

Eye witness accounts suggest that neither occupant was strapped in and were both thrown out of the aircraft, suffering fatal injuries. Newman was killed instantly and Warneford died of his injuries on the way to hospital.

Wreckage of Warneford’s aircraft


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