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Thread: Lt Robert Allen Caldwell (Canada) / Francis Caldwell Killed Dayton Ohio July 1919

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    Default Lt Robert Allen Caldwell (Canada) / Francis Caldwell Killed Dayton Ohio July 1919

    Lt Robert Allen Caldwell (from Canada) is reported to have died July 11th at Dayton Ohio while testing a Guardian Angel Parachute. (He is also listed as Robert Alan Caldwell, and Robert Allan Caldwell) and he was RFC on 56 Sqn with DFC. His grave marker in Canada confirms his name as Robert Allen Caldwell

    As does National Archives

    Robert Allen Caldwell AIR 76/73/37 (YOB June 1897) - So 22 in 1919


    However, all US newspapers I can access at the time report the person who died him as (Frank S Caldwell aged 28, of Belfast, Ireland,) which indicates DOB of 1891 which matches a Francis Caldwell AIR 76/73/21 Francis Caldwell Date of Birth: 18 January 1891 (28 in 1919) - There is also an enlisted man record for

    "Francis Caldwell 1898 Antrim 1918 291389 Moulder " though DOB 1898 different


    I was just wondering if anyone could clear this mess up. I assume Canada Newspapers may have an Obit

    thanks

    Paul

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    Paul, Hi,
    A brace of Royal Princes did their first parachute drops at Hullavington and South Cerney between 10 Apr 78 and 28 Apr 78. It was Op GUARDIAN ANGEL!!! I was on the small Mobile Met Unit team ensuring that the met conditions were within the limits laid down! I now know how the Op got its name! Thank you.
    Yrs
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Paul

    Ancestry.co.uk has several entries for Robert Allan Caldwell, born Meath, Ireland, June 14th 1898, and died Dayton, Ohio, July 11th 1919, aged 21.

    One source is the US Department of Health's Death index for Ohio, which has Robert A Caldwell, died Montgomery, OH, July 11th 1919. Another entry has the following:

    2nd Lt. (Hon. Lt.) Robert Alan [sic] Caldwell D.F.C.
    This officer has been conspicuous for his daring attacks on ground targets. On 28th September, descending to 400 feet over a town, he found it congested with transport. Flying along the streets, he dropped bombs with excellent results, and also attacked enemy troops with machine-gun fire. Later, he materially assisted the advance of our infantry by diving on and engaging the enemy holding a bridgehead.

    CALDWELL, Lieutenant Robert Allan - Distinguished Flying Cross - Awarded as per London Gazette dated 8 February 1919 - Home in Iroquois, Ontario; formerly in 2nd Battalion, CEF; wounded twice in France; Hitchins lists indicate he returned to Canada and joined RFC in this country; taken on strength of RFC overseas, 23 March 1918; to No.23 Wing, 10 April 1918; to No.81 Squadron, 12 April 1918; to No.1 Flying School, 14 August 1918; with No.56 Squadron, 4 September 1918 to 5 February 1919. Killed at Dayton, Ohio, 11 July 1919, testing a parachute which failed to open.
    (this last paragraph is credited to our own Hugh Halliday)


    There's also an entry from the National Probate Calendar:

    CALDWELL, Robert Allan of Iroquois, Dundas, Ontario, Canada, Lieutenant R.A.F. died on or about 11 July 1919 at Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A. Administration (limited) London 24 November to John Hindley, controller, to Messrs. Cox and Co. the attorney of Robert Caldwell.


    He is listed in the shipping passenger arrivals for Canada as arriving in Canada, aged 7 in 1905, aboard the S.S. Victorian with his parents and two older sisters and a younger brother.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Simon


    Thanks that clinches it


    I also found following article from The Washington times which as a source I believe and also they mentioned Caldwell in another issue when they covered jumps at College Park, Mt. on July 1

    The Washington times., July 13, 1919, FINAL EDITION, SECTION TWO

    CALDWELL DIES IN PARACHUTE LEAP
    Lieut. R. A. Caldwell, formerly of the British royal air force, one of the men
    who made the parachute demonstration in conjunction with Miss Sylvia Boyden
    at College Park, Mt. on July 1, was killed Friday at McCook Field. Dayton. Ohio.
    according to word received here last night.

    The accident occurred at 7 o'clock Friday evening in an attempted parachute Jump.
    Lieutenant Caldwell a veteran of over a dozen parachute leaps, was making a
    parachute demonstration. He leaped from a D. Haviland 9 at a height of over a
    thousand feet. but his life line. connecting him to the parachute.
    fouled in the elevator rocker in the tail of the plane, causing the
    harness to break. He plunged to earth like a plummet, smashing every
    bone in his body.

    The accident at McCook Field Is the first of its kind that has occurred in parachute work. it is said.

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    Hello Paul.

    My name is Robert Maclaren Caldwell. Canadian. Robert Allan Caldwell was my get uncle (my paternal grandfather's brother). I am the keeper of his military belongings...uniform, pictures, Letters, books (bible), original newspaper articles and medals - including his DFC.

    I'll submit more biographical information about hime if there is interest. The McCook Field information is accurate and there is much more behind the story of the event.

    Kindest regards,

    Robert

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    Hello Paul.

    My name is Robert Maclaren Caldwell. Canadian. Robert Allan Caldwell was my great uncle (my paternal grandfather's brother). I am the keeper of his military belongings...uniform, pictures, Letters, books (bible), original newspaper articles and medals - including his DFC.

    I'll submit more biographical information about him if there is interest. The McCook Field information is accurate and there is much more behind the story of the event.

    Kindest regards,

    Robert

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    Robert

    Most interested in any additional info.

    Amongst the witnesses at Ohio that day, were a number of pioneers of Parachute development in the US.

    They saw that in his actions Robert Allan Caldwell was alive when he fell.

    They then knew that a man could pull a rip-cord and so the self deploying parachute was born. Up to then people believed someone who fell would be unconscious /unable to help themselves

    His sad death resulted in a major improvement to pilot safety from that point onwards as they knew the pilot could be attached to the pilot not the plane

    Note: Guardian Angel was housed to the plane and was 'pulled out' (and thus deployed) - Caldwell died because his fouled (as newspaper reports) severed on the airframe. This was how all parachutes prior to this point were deployed.

    If you could separate the parachute from the plane and attach it to pilot, the risk of fouling was reduced, (but not eliminated) - that's why you count to "5" if you can

    Numerous parachutists still died due to fouling if the parachute deployed to soon, but occurrence was reduced.


    Paul

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