Accident Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c 1758, Monday 26 April 1915
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Date:Monday 26 April 1915
Type:Silhouette image of generic be2 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c
Owner/operator:8 Sqn RFC
Registration: 1758
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:St. Omer -   France
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:RFC St. Omer, France
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
26.4.1915: Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c, 8 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. Written off (destroyed) when crashed on take off from St. Omer, France. Pilot - 2nd Lt Frederick William Polehampton - was killed. He was the squadron's first casualty. His body was taken to 10 Stationary Hospital.

His wife received the following telegram dated the 28th of April 1915 while she was living at Walton Woodhouse, Wellesbourne, in Warwickshire: -

"Deeply regret to inform you that 2nd Lt. F.W. Polehampton Royal Flying Corps was killed in action on 26th April - no further details. Lord Kitchener expresses his sympathy."

The incident was debated in the House of Commons, and Flight magazine (August 17 1916 page 859 - see link #1) report on what was noted in "Hansard" the official record of Parliamentary debates:

"No. 34. Hansard.—Killed in a side-slip. Typical of this type of machine.
Supplemental statement.—Date, 26th April, 1915.
Place, St Omer, France.
Pilot, Second Lieutenant W. Polehampton.
Machine, B.E. 2C.
Accident occurred in getting off the ground. This machine is apt to take a side-slip if not up to its flying speed when it leaves the ground. The negligence was the use of this type of machine. There is special danger in the first 500 feet of the ascent and the last 500 feet of the descent with this machine.

The accident happened at St. Omer.
This was a regrettable accident such as happens from time to time. It would probably not have been brought forward but for the fact that it happened on B.E. 2C. machine. Mr. Pemberton Billing has criticised this machine severely, and, as the Committee understand him, goes the length of saying that to allow the use of a B.E. 2 C. machine for any purpose except that of flying in peace times, and then only by an experienced pilot, is negligence. The Committee entirely dissent from this view, and consider that, though somewhat slow, a B.E. 2 C. has always been relatively to other machines a safe machine to fly. There was no negligence in supplying Lieutenant Polehampton with a B.E. 2 C. machine."


1. Flight magazine (August 17 1916 page 859):

Revision history:

02-Dec-2018 00:12 Dr.John Smith Added
06-Dec-2018 17:03 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
16-Jan-2019 22:09 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
16-Jan-2019 22:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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