This article is the fifth in a series about Beverley Aerodrome and the 17 men who died in air accidents in World War I that are commemorated on a plaque in Bishop Burton Church. This article focusses on two airmen who came from Canada. The summary version of the article (below) was first published in the Bishop Burton newsletter of July 2010.

The full details on Harry Teetzel and Norman Scott are in attachments to this article.

The air-force of World War 1 was predominantly manned by young men of the United Kingdom. But the British Empire also made a significant contribution. The beginning of the First World War in August 1914 found Canada involved in the conflict by virtue of Britain's declaration of war. Some European nations were using airplanes for military purposes and Canada's Minister of Militia and Defence, Sam Hughes, who was organizing the Canadian Expeditionary Force, asked how Canada could assist military aviation. London requested six experienced pilots immediately, but Hughes was unable to fill the requirement. By the end of the war over 20,000 Canadians had joined the RFC/RNAS and the RAF which indicates the rapid increase in the importance of aerial warfare during the course of the war.

Two of the 17 men who died at Beverley Aerodrome were Canadians. They were Norman Scott and Harry Teetzel.

Norman Scott was the son of a police superintendent in Lancashire. Norman emigrated with his older brother to Canada around the turn of the century. Norman worked as a wireless operator for the Eaton Company in Toronto, Ontario - a company that still today runs a famous chain of department stores in Canada. His training was employed to great effect when he joined the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry at the start of the war and was sent to France as a private. In 1916 he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery under bombardment and was also wounded on the Somme. He was then attached to the signalling staff at Headquarters but was subsequently offered a commission in the RFC/RAF. He died during training in June 1918 when his plane flew out of control while flying at about 1000 feet above Beverley just after attempting a spin at about 5000 feet. His commanding officer was unable to explain at the inquest why this had happened.

Harry Teetzel is one of only two of the seventeen airmen who died at the Aerodrome to be buried locally. His grave is in St Mary's cemetery in Molescroft where an official CWGC headstone is to be found. Harry, like Norman, had joined the Canadian army and had then qualified as an airman. Harry completed his pilot training in Canada before joining the RAF where he progressed to become an Instructor. Unlike most of the casualties, Harry was not based in Beverley but was stationed at RAF Scampton where he was attached to the 60th training squadron as a flying instructor. He was killed after coming to Beverley to collect an aircraft that he was expected to fly back to Scampton. As the report of the inquest indicates, he crashed shortly after taking off from Beverley when the plane developed engine trouble shortly after take-off. The plane was a Sopwith Camel notoriously difficult to handle, particularly during take-off.

Harry did not die immediately at the time of his accident and was taken to the, now demolished, Cottage Hospital in Beverley. He lived for 21 hours after the accident and was able to take liquid refreshment. "He did not appear to suffer much and he had no idea that he was so badly injured. His injuries were chiefly internal." The matron of the hospital, Letitia A Coulson wrote to the Teetzel family describing in quite tender terms his death. A lady called Elsie who may have been a nurse at the time of Harry's death also communicated with Harry's mother. After the war, Elsie worked at the Yorkshire School for the Blind in York. She is also believed to have tended his grave in Molescroft for many years. We also have a copy of a letter written to Harry's mother by the Reverend W A Pearman who was the driving force behind the village's YMCA support for the airmen and was influential in the subscriptions for the memorial in the church.

The Teetzel family has maintained their links with Beverley and recently, Harry's great niece, Ruth Teetzel, recently visited Beverley and Bishop Burton.

 

Attachments:
Download this file (HD Teetzel - web article.pdf)HD Teetzel - web article.pdf[ ]548 kB
Download this file (N Scott.pdf)N Scott.pdf[ ]775 kB

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