This article is the eighth 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 March 2011.

In this article we will focus on three men who died towards the end of the war. Two of them, Frederick Young and Kenneth Vick, are buried in St. Mary's cemetery in Beverley although neither appears to have had any special connection with the town. The third airman to be buried in St Mary's was Lieutenant Harry Teetzel, the Canadian who was the subject of the fifth article of the series. The third person to feature in this article is Harry Isherwood.
The first person to be allocated to the office of coroner was St. John of Beverley. More widely though, it has been the duty of coroners since 1194 to investigate the circumstances of unnatural, sudden, or suspicious deaths, and deaths in prison. They post they occupied was originally "keeper of the crown's pleas" but this was shortened to "crowner" and then "coroner". Until 1926 all inquests were held before a jury. The main surviving record of the coroners' hearings is usually the individual inquest or inquisition, giving the verdict, name, date, time, cause and place of death with the signatures of the jurors.

The coroner for the East Riding was Sir Luke White MP, a solicitor and justice of the peace. His deputy was Herbert Brown, a Driffield solicitor and clerk to the Urban District Council. Sir Luke became coroner in 1897 and held the position during the war. He died in 1920 in penury in the Driffield Workhouse Infirmary but his last few years were touched by scandal as he and his deputy were arrested on fraud charges. Brown was acquitted but Sir Luke's health prevented the matter being processed to a conclusion.

Inquests were held for each these airmen as they were for the others. Some are reported in a very perfunctory way in the local press but towards the end of the war, some of the stresses and strains of these premature deaths begin to filter through.

Kenneth Vick was the son of a Baptist minister. His father attended the inquest but was told that his son's death would be considered by a Special Accidents Committee which he would not be able to attend. Sir Luke probably took some offence at this and may well have induced a fellow Liberal MP, Robert Outhwaite to ask a question in the House of Commons of the then Secretary for War, Mr Macpherson. Juries were also upset at being asked to give verdicts with little information being presented or scant regard being paid to due process. The account of the inquest into Harry Isherwood's death reports a complaint that it took over 6 hours to report the accident to the police by which time much evidence was no longer available to them. In Frederick Young's inquest, there was criticism that his instructor had failed to attend.

Frederick Young died in his first flight in a service aircraft while Kenneth Vick already had two years' experience of flying while stationed in France having enlisted in the London Rifles as a private at the outset of war. The men came to flying in very different ways.

Frederick was the son of a boot-maker who had moved to Bournemouth having developed his skills in the Addle Hill area of the City of London, well known for its boot-makers, before moving out to Croydon with his wife. He and Annie started their family in Bournemouth and Frederick was their first son, born in 1898.
Harry Isherwood was the last airman to die at the aerodrome, three weeks before the end of the war. The inquest received a quite graphic account of his accident:

"The deceased was a pilot in one of four aeroplanes which set off in formation under Captain Bembridge. At about 10.45 three of the machines were over an agricultural town at 5,000 feet. The captain was leading the formation and started a dive at about 120 miles per hour.

The deceased was flying on the leader's left and he also started diving and subsequently dived vertically behind the tail of the captain's machine. The captain watched him, and he suddenly pulled out of the dive with a great wrench sideways. The machine then dived again and went straight down to earth in a series of dives and turns. The machine was a total wreck. The control parts were found to be in order and the supposition was that the deceased had fainted otherwise the cause was not explainable."

Henry was the son of Rupert and Bertha Isherwood. Rupert was a commercial traveller for a paint and varnish manufacturer in Bolton.

Kenneth Vick was born in Loughborough to a Baptist minister, the Reverend C W Vick and his wife, Agnes. Much of Kenneth's youth would have been spent in the Brondesbury area of North London and he worked as a clerk in a tourist office before the war. He appears on another memorial that probably hung in the Baptist chapel where his father was minister. It was though discovered in a rather sad state in the back garden of a nearby Highgate film producer.

 

Attachments:
Download this file (FR Young.pdf)FR Young.pdf[ ]115 kB
Download this file (H Isherwood.pdf)H Isherwood.pdf[ ]112 kB
Download this file (KJ Vick.pdf)KJ Vick.pdf[ ]193 kB

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