45 Squadron now has only three crew members from its original complement, two pilots and one observer
This afternoon around 1500, two of these, Captain Gordon Mountford and 2nd Lieutenant John Arthur Vessey in Sopwith Strutter A8299 were on their way back from 1 Aircraft Depot at St Omer to their aerodrome at St Marie Cappel.
At the same time, six Strutters took off for a photographic reconnaissance, each climbing singly through gaps to join into formation above the clouds. They passed through heavy rain at 3,000 feet, which an atmospheric inversion of temperature prevented from dropping to earth; otherwise their start would have been cancelled
One of these, A8244 with 2nd Lieutenant Robert Sherwin Watt and 2nd Class Air Mechanic Walter Pocock, collided with Mountford and Vessey on their way down. The crash was heard at the airfield and the wreckage fell to the ground and ground crews ran to give assistance. The aircraft had not burst into flames, but all four men were dead.
This left the squadron with one original member, Captain Geoffrey Hornblower Cock, who had been given command of’B’ Flight on 20 May 1917, and promoted to captain from that date.