29 January 1917 – A roll of honour problem

Lieutenant Hugh Bertram Hamilton Cox from 8 Reserve Squadron was killed today when he lost control of his Maurice Farman Shorthorn (A953) and nosedived into the ground.

He was previously with the Royal Field Artillery and then qualified as an Observer in 1916. He spent some time with 9 Squadron RFC on the Western Front. Like many observers he applied to train as a pilot in order to advance his career and returned to England to do so.

None of this is particularly unusual. However his death caused controversy when, as was customary at the time, he was not included in the public casualty lists because he had not been killed at the front. He father wrote to the War Office to complain.

A scathing editorial appeared in Flight Magazine on 8 March 1917 criticising the War Office and the system as “disgraceful”.

 

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