Accident Vickers R.E.P Monoplane 8, Sunday 12 January 1913
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Date:Sunday 12 January 1913
Time:day
Type:Vickers R.E.P Monoplane
Owner/operator:Vickers Ltd
Registration: 8
MSN: 8
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:River Thames near Crayford, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Test
Departure airport:Joyce Green, Dartford, Kent
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Narrative:
Vickers R.E.P monoplane No.8 took off from Joyce Green, Dartford, Kent and crashed into the River Thames near Crayford, Kent. Apparently the aircraft involved was the eighth and final example built by Vickers at Joyce Green, Dartford. Kent. Both crew were killed. According to a contemporary newspaper report ("Cheltenham Chronicle" - Saturday 18 January 1913):

"TRAGIC DEATH OF TWO AIRMEN
An airman and his mechanic, flying in a monoplane on Monday afternoon, fell into the Thames near Crayford, Kent, close to the Kent shore, and were drowned. A few minutes previously they had been heard singing. They were Mr. L. F. Macdonald, an engineer, and Harry England, mechanic, who left the flying ground of Messrs. Vickers at Joyce Green, near Dartford, for a short trial flight in a 70-h.p. Gnome-engined Vickers monoplane.

In the course of a few seconds they were seen flying over the Long Reach Tavern, and were, in fact, heard singing. After flying for a few minutes at a height of a few hundred feet, trouble with the engine caused them to make a rapid descent while they were above the river. The monoplane fell gently and floated for about a minute. One man was seen climbing along a wing before the machine sank. He then swam a few yards and disappeared. He was presumably the mechanic, for Mr. Macdonald could not swim, and evidently went down with the machine.

The accident was seen through a telescope three-quarters of a mile away by Mr. H. G. Ticehurst, manager of the Thames Ammunition Works, on the Essex shore. "They were flying at a height of about a hundred feet and making for the Essex shore when I first saw them," he said. "I could distinctly hear the engine, and it seemed to be running steadily. They seemed unable to keep the head properly elevated, and gradually it dropped and the machine descended into the river. Just before it touched the water I heard a loud explosion. I saw the man on the wing let go and swim for about ten yards before he sank. His companion I did not see. Two boats started from the Essex shore, but could not get to the spot in time to give assistance."

Mr. Macdonald was a young airman of experience, in the employment of Messrs. Vickers as an engineer. Two years ago, shortly after getting his certificate, he went to Australia for the Bristol Aeroplane Company and gave exhibition flights there. Last summer, with a Vickers monoplane, he flew in the military trials at Salisbury Plain. Mr. England was also employed by Messrs. Vickers".

Sources:

1. The New York Herald, June 14, 1913
2. Cheltenham Chronicle - Saturday 18 January 1913
3. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=2755.0
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Joyce_Green#Accidents_and_incidents
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vickers_R.E.P._Type_Monoplane

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
19-Feb-2020 21:45 Dr. John Smith Added
20-Nov-2020 18:24 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date]

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