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Thread: BE.2C Biplane Wrecked - The Mendips - 8th March 1918 - Any Ideas?

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    Default BE.2C Biplane Wrecked - The Mendips - 8th March 1918 - Any Ideas?

    Would very much appreciate any information such as the aircraft identity, pilots name, circumstances of the accident, whether it was RFC, RAF or a Navy Training Aircraft - on a BE.2C biplane that was wrecked on the Mendips near Bristol on the 8th March 1918. Apparently it was “number 82” whatever that means!?

    Thanks in advance.
    Rob

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    Rob,

    If no answer forthcoming I suggest you try the Great War Forum at https://www.greatwarforum.org/. This specialises in WW1 and has a section devoted to air operations (Air personnel and the war in the air) - very knowledgeable and a great bunch of chaps/chapesses.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 15th October 2019 at 12:59.

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    Robbo1966 (15th October 2019)

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    Rob

    This account from a local newspaper seems to describe the event, albeit a day out in date. Apologies for the loss of the formatting. Could I ask how you became aware of this, for interest?


    Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette 09 March 1918 (Saturday)

    NARROW ESCAPE OF WAR BONDS AIRMAN

    An aeroplane which had been flying over Bath distributing War Bonds literature and vouchers was forced to make a descent in the vicinity of Twerton Round Hill shortly before four o’clock on Thursday (7th) afternoon.
    The machine was piloted by Lt Cyril Ewins, with who was with a RFC Sergeant, who was dropping out the literature. They had flown from France to Bristol on Wednesday, and had come to Bath in connection with the War Bonds Campaign. Prior to their descent it was noticed that the aeroplane in passing over the city was particularly low, so low, in fact, that those in the machine were easily visible to watchers on ‘terra firma’. The airmen experienced trouble with the petrol, it is stated, and this caused the engine to give out, so that a descent was imperative. Near Twerton Round Hill the aeroplane was observed to rock violently, and then it came down in a meadow in the occupation of Mr Whatley, adjoining what is known as ‘The Hollow’. The next field ‘Black Down, belonging to Mr AE Gunning, of The Home Farm, Twerton, is ploughed, and it appears an attempt was made to clear the hedge between the grass field and the ploughed field. Only the fore part of the machine, however, got over, and the left plane rested on the hedge, while the tail was directed upward on the other side of of it.
    One of the four wooden blades of the propeller was knocked off, and the most fragile Parts of the aeroplane were considerably damaged. Lt Ewins escaped injury, but the sergeant sustained a cut lip. This was, by the way, the fourth narrow escape the sergeant has had, but on each occasion when the machine he was in had to come down he has saved himself by sitting well back and holding firmly to the struts.
    After their descent the two airmen were motored to a local aeroplane factory, from which information was sent to the central station asking for police officers to be sent out to guard the machine, and subsequently the airmen came to the city for tea. Inspector Denning and PC Milsom went out from the Twerton Police Station to the scene of the accident, and the aeroplane remained under police observation until about 9 pm when a guard arrived from Filton with an aeroplane lorry, on which the badly damage aeroplane was yesterday (Fri 8th) removed to the works.

    regards

    DaveW
    Last edited by davew; 15th October 2019 at 15:26. Reason: added "with' in front of 'a RFC Sea

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    Robbo1966 (15th October 2019)

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    Gentlemen thank you so much for your replies.

    DaveW - that makes very interesting reading thank you. My interest lies in the fact that I have a wooden propeller blade from a BE2C with an RAF 1A engine complete with centre boss, the other three blades have been broken / sawn off. Painted on the blade in an older style sign writing is the legend “Biplane No 82 Wrecked On The Mendips March 8th 1918”. The date mentioned being the 8th is now possibly the date it was actually dismantled and roaded away (and possibly when the message was written on the blade) rather than it seems the day of the incident.

    I doubt there were many biplanes that came down in that particular area that week, as looking on goggle maps the village of Twerton seems to be on the edge of The Mendips, so I’m guessing that this corresponds with the newspaper article!

    The newspaper article really does add to the history of it, but if the serial number of the aircraft can be found then maybe a photo of it can be added too!


    Rob

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    Rob,

    Lt Cyril F Uwins (note sp) was seconded to the Bristol Aeroplane Co as a test pilot in October 1918, he was later employed directly by the company and rose to be Deputy Chairman.

    DaveW

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    Or is it Lt Cyril Jack Hewins

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    Lt Cyril Frank Uwins Died 11.9.1972 he was appointed to 5 AA Park Bristol from 3.11.1917 so was certainly in the area. Appointed test Pilot 1.5.1918 at same place

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    Hello

    I came across the following excerpt from this pdf file on the https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk website:

    Another pilot involved in the leaflet dropping mission over Bath was 2nd Lieutenant Cyril Frank Uwins, then a ferry pilot based at No.5 (Bristol) A.A.P. at Filton, but a man who would later become the chief test pilot of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. However, his sortie ended badly as after suffering engine problems he had to make a forced landing at Twerton. Fortunately he was unhurt but his aircraft, which came down on a hedge opposite the local school, was written off.

    The pdf file has several entries for Uwins.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Robbo1966 (15th October 2019)

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    Dave, Paul, and Simon, many thanks for your interest and effort - much appreciated!

    Is is there any way of tracking down a serial for the aircraft?


    Rob


    EDIT... how fascinating, the bottom propeller blade I.e the one opposite the remaining blade has clearly snapped off having come into contact with something, as it has taken a chunk out of the prop boss. The other two have been sawn off :)
    Last edited by Robbo1966; 15th October 2019 at 17:58.

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    I doubt very much that the number would be included in media reports, but the GWF should be able to help - especially as you now have a considerable amount of information.

    Brian

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