Accident Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c , Thursday 11 March 1915
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Date:Thursday 11 March 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:4 Sqn RFC
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Neuve Chapelle -   France
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:St. Omer, France
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
18.3.1915: Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c, 4 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. The RFC was closely involved in supporting the attack against the village of Neuve Chapelle that opened on 10 March 1915 and, although the bulk of the air co operation fell to the First Wing, the St Omer squadrons played an active role before the offensive ended on 12 March 1915. 1 and 4 Squadrons bombed railway junctions and bridges while 9 Squadron undertook artillery wireless co operation. During a night bombing operation against Lille on 11 March, 4 Squadron lost all three BE2cs involved, Captain R.J.F. Barton crashed on take-off while Lieutenant Alastair St. John Munro Warrand and Captain G.W. Mapplebeck were shot down over the target. Warrand was killed (the IWM states "Taken prisoner by the Germans, and died of his wounds in Lille Hospital. Western Front" - see link #4) but Mapplebeck evaded capture and later escaped back to the UK through Holland.

The incident was debated in the House of Commons in Parliament. Flight magazine (August 17, 1916 page 859 - see link#1) reported on what was recorded in "Hansard" (the official record of debated in Parliament):

"Hansard.—Shot down, flying low, in bad weather.
Died of injuries. Ordered out On bomb raid in the dark and rain.
Supplemental statement.—
Date, 29th March, 1915.
Place, Lille.
Pilot, Lieutenant St. J. Warrand.
Machine, Number unknown, suspected to be a B.E. 2c. If so, machine too slow.
The machine was a B.E. 2c. Captain Warrand with two other officers started on a special bombing expedition before daylight. As day broke it became foggy. Captain Warrand and one officer went on and reached their objective. The third lost his way. In order to do their work it was necessary to descend very low over a well-defended place.
Both officers were brought down. Captain Warrand had his leg broken by anti-aircraft fire.

There is here no trace of negligence. It was an occurrence such as is inevitable in war, and of which no doubt many instances could be given.

NOTE: The aircraft was lost on combat operations on 11 March 1915. However, several published sources - including the aircraft accident record card (see link #5) - give a date of 18 March 1915, which is presumed to be the date that Alastair St.John Munro Warrand actually died in hospital. The date quoted in "Hansard" is believed to be the date that the War Office were notified of his death (via the Red Cross).


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

Revision history:

02-Dec-2018 00:35 Dr.John Smith Added
06-Dec-2018 17:03 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
20-Jan-2019 22:02 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Source, Narrative]

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