All the story below concerns the crash of Sopwith Snipe F2444 Crash 28.8.24 19 Sqn Duxford


Flying Officer Stanley James Mason (aged 27) was killed and the following girls also injured
Ada Miller slightly injured (aged 11)
Emily Miller injured (aged 3 1/2)
Elsie Riches injured (age 5)

Can anyone fully ID the 3 girls - I have Elsie E M Riches Born 1919 Eye Cambridge but have drawn a blank on all of them really ? Thanks Paul





The illustrated Police News
September 4, 1924
Page 3

ALARMING AEROPLANE CRASH IN A COPPICE.
TWO CHILDREN BADLY HURT. PILOT KILLED.
Children playing in a coppice at Duxford, near Cambridge, wore badly injured in an aeroplane crash in which Flying-Officer Stanley James Mason, Royal Air Force, a native of Ebbw Vale, Mon., lost his life. Two of the children, Elsie Riches, 5, and Emily Miller, 3 1/2, were unconscious when picked up, and were taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, whore both of them were operated on. The scene of the tragedy was a belt of trees which runs along the road between Duxford and Royston at Duxford Grange. The two little girls, with Ada Miller, 11, were playing " house" under a tree nearest the road and away from the aerodrome. With the aid of some low branches and sacking they had erected a shelter over their heads, and they sat on stools in front of an imaginary fire. They had found an old fender and some pots and pans with which to play, while hanging on the tree was a looking-glass. The accident occurred about noon, and Flying-Officer Mason was up in a single-seater Snipe machine, apparently stunting. People working in the vicinity declare that the pilot was looping the loop, but this may have been, the result of his efforts to extricate himself from a difficulty while flying. In an upside-down position he crashed through the thick coppice, which is about twenty yards deep. The wings of the 'plane were stripped off and fell in the coppice, but the engine and body were found 15 yards or so farther on, on the opposite aide of the road. The body of Flying-Officer Mason was found fifteen yards away. Ada Miller bad a wonderful escape, being only bruised and cut about the head, but the other two, as stated, were taken to hospital unconscious. The engine appeared to be running at full speed at the time, and the wreckage was scarcely recognisable as that of an aeroplane. The grandfather of Miller children, who saw the machine strike the wood, and Mrs. Riches were among the first on the scene, and the latter ran out into the road in her night clothes and succeeded in pulling the children out from under a wing. Elsie had not regained consciousness when taken to the hospital at Cambridge. Emily came round and was found to be suffering from a broken thigh. In the evening both were operated upon at the hospital, and were afterwards reported to be as well as could be expected. The theory of the accident put forward by those who were near-by was that the airman got into difficulties very low down, and was trying to right himself when he crashed into the trees. This would account for the fact that he was running his engine at full speed.—At the inquest Flight-Lieutenant Theodore J. West (Theodore James West MC 08186) stated that Mason was a skilled pilot, having done over 550 hours' flying. He had been at Duxford nearly three months. The machine was a single-seater Sopwith " Snipe," and was in good condition, having been overhauled within the last month Mason- had been flying about twenty minutes when the accident happened.—Flight-Officer Sidney T. B. Cripps (Sydney Trevor Brander Cripps DFC #03200) , who was flying at the same time, explained that it, was a very good good morning and quite fit for flying.—Arthur Miller, farm foreman, and Charles Howe, a farm labourer, declared they saw the machine flying low, with the wheels upside down.—The coroner found that deceased crashed while flying in the execution of his duties, his death being, accidental.