Accident Airco DH.4 A2413, Saturday 10 February 1917
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Date:Saturday 10 February 1917
Type:Silhouette image of generic dh4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Airco DH.4
Owner/operator:55 (Reserve) Sqn RFC
Registration: A2413
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Solihull, Warwickshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RFC Lilbourne, Daventry, Northamptonshire
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
10.2.17: Airco (DeHavilland) D.H.4 A2143, 55 (Reserve) Squadron, RFC Yatesbury. Written off (destroyed) when crashed due to engine failure; crashed near Solihull, Warwickshire. Pilot - Sub-Lt Walter Holden Legge (Canadian, aged 35 on attachment from the Royal Navy) died 11.2.17 (next day) of injuries sustained.

According to a contemporary report in "Flight" magazine (February 22 1917 page 185 - see link #4)

"On February 10th Lieut. Legge met with a fatal accident at Solihull. He had started from Rugby, and on nearing Solihull something went wrong with his engine, and the aeroplane fell into a field. Lieut. Legge was removed to hospital, where he died on the following day."

Walter Holden Legge was born in Stoke Newington, London on 20th November 1882 and was the youngest of the five sons of parents, Henry (a merchant) and Sarah Martha (née Bevington). Both parents pre-deceased their son Walter Henry died in 1899 and Sarah in 1901 – and they are buried at Chingford Mount Cemetery.

Several of the brothers seemed to travel frequently, and two of them – Walter and Gilbert – appear to have emigrated to Canada in the early 20th century. Walter owned a ranch at Caesar’s Landing, Kelowna, British Columbia, which he sold some years before the war.

Both brothers enlisted in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. Walter enlisted in November 1914 and was subsequently commissioned Temporary sub-Lieutenant with the Royal Naval Division in October 1915. He took his aviation certificate at Castle Bromwich in November 1916 and then took a Royal Flying Corps certificate on 30th January 1917. With effect from 31st January he was gazetted temporary Lieutenant on the General List, for duty with the Royal Flying Corps.

However, apparently disobeying orders not to leave, he flew from RFC Lilbourne, Rugby on Saturday 10th February 1917. Records suggested the plane was an Airco DH.4, although information from the family is that it was a DH.9. A report in the Evening Despatch 13th February 1917 suggests that Lt Legge became lost over Solihull and, attempting to land to ask for directions, the aircraft lost speed attempting to turn and crashed in a field. The pilot was taken Solihull Hospital but died of his injuries the following day.

He is buried at Chingford Mount Cemetery with his parents. He is also commemorated on the First World War Cenotaph in Kelowna’s City Park, Canada.


4. Flight magazine (February 22 1917 page 185):

Revision history:

16-Jan-2019 21:16 Dr. John Smith Added
17-Jan-2019 18:55 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Narrative]
19-Jan-2019 16:37 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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