This article is the seventh 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.  The summary version of the article (below) was first published in the Bishop Burton newsletter of January 2011.

By 1918, Beverley Aerodrome was firmly established as a base for a training squadron and inevitably the number of accidents increased. In the sixth article of this series we recounted how three men died on the same day when two planes collided. Five airmen died in that month, April 1918.

In this article, we will focus on the deaths of Charles Alan Clarke Fullerton and Tom Jowett in a single accident on 29th May 1918 and Colin Bevington who died earlier in the same month. Colin Bevington was the youngest of our three casualties, dying at the age of 18; he and Tom who was 20 were 2nd lieutenants indicating that they were still undergoing training. Lieutenant Charles Fullerton was older but still only 22. These three men provide an interesting insight into the social make-up of the RAF.

Firstly, we have Tom Jowett, the son of a leather merchant from Cleckheaton, Yorkshire. His father, Leonard, had started as an assistant to a leather merchant; then he was employed as the manager of a leather merchant, until in 1911 he owned a leather merchant business. Retailing was in his blood as Leonard's mother had been a grocer and his wife's family were stone merchants. Private business was the mainstay of places such as Cleckheaton; very few people were employed in the public sector so on the same 1901 census page as the Jowett family for South Parade, Cleckheaton you get a machine maker, a staple manufacturer, a portrait painter (working on his own account), a confectioner (employer), a wire drawer's labourer, a card setting machine tenter, and a carpenter. None of the families employed a servant.

The leather industry had also played an important part in Colin Bevington's family or rather in forming its wealth. Both his father and grand-father were Lloyd's underwriters, an occupation reserved to those with significant personal wealth. In 1901, Colin, aged 1, lived with his parents at a "nice" house in Sevenoaks Kent and enjoyed the benefits of two nurses, a cook, and a housemaid who lived with the family. Colin was privately educated and in 1911 was a boarder at Allen House, Guildford.

The Bevingtons were a well-known Quaker family. Colin's father and grand-father had become Lloyd's underwriters but Colin's great grandfather, Samuel, was a leather dealer whose father moved to London from Warwickshire in the mid 18th century to set up a tinplate business. Samuel was a co-founder of the famous Neckinger Mill in Bermondsey which at one time was the largest leather factory in Europe until the business re-located to Leicester in the 1980's. The family also had its black sheep, including Louisa Bevington a poet who was linked to the anarchist movement in the late 1890's.

If Colin Bevington came from the suburban upper middle class where "new" money came from the "city", Charles Fullerton was firmly located in the landed gentry of Yorkshire. His father, John, was the owner of the Thrybergh estate in Rotherham. From 1895 to 1902 John Fullerton was Master of the Badsworth Hunt; he was also Master of the Fox Hounds in Thrybergh and progressed later to the York and Anstey Hounds which would probably have made him an acquaintance of the Hall Watt's of Bishop Burton, another keen hunting family. Charles' father had married the daughter of a land-owner from Barnsley who had coal mines at Silkstone and Noblethorpe Hall became one of the family's residences.

The Fullertons probably didn't spend much time on the business side of their estates as their social obligations would have been significant. The family clearly moved in exalted circles. So in 1911, they were house guests of George Fox MP at Bramham Park near Leeds. He was later to become the Secretary of State for Mines. The family seems to have suffered from the pressure on the finances of the landed gentry after the first world war, so in the 1920's Thrybergh was sold and is now the site of Rotherham Golf Club. But schools, pubs and roads in the Rotherham area still bear the name of Fullerton.

Like several of our casualties, Colin learned to fly courtesy of the Royal Aero Club of Great Britain, a popular pre-war activity amongst young men with plenty of money. The Club continued to provide training throughout the war as initially the RFA had no training facilities. Colin qualified as an aviator on 9th April 1918 but died the following month.

It is unlikely that these three men would have come across each other socially in the normal course of events, but the requirements of war brought them together momentarily before they died.


Download this file (CAC Fullerton.pdf)CAC Fullerton.pdf[ ]283 kB
Download this file (CC Bevington.pdf)CC Bevington.pdf[ ]438 kB
Download this file (T Jowett.pdf)T Jowett.pdf[ ]96 kB

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