Parish Notes

Air crash in 1919: Lieuts. Yorke and Croudace.
The Morpeth Herald 17/01/1919 reports:
“Two Airmen killed at Ashington.
Lieut. Frederick Yorke, of Hylton, and Lieut. Harold Croudace, of Sunderland, were killed at Ashington on Monday. The airmen were flying in one-seater machines, and collided in a mist. Both airmen died almost immediately on reaching earth.

An inquest was held on Wednesday at Ashington by Mr. C. Percy, M.P. on the bodies of Lieut. Frederick Yorke (24) and Lieut. Harold Croudace (24) of the Royal Air Force, who had been killed by a collision in mid-air. Both officers belonged to Usworth, and were attached to the Hylton Aerodrome. Lieut. Sydney Denham Chard, in command of the Ashington Aerodrome, stated that the deceased officers went to Ashington on duty on Monday. Both were flying Sopwith scouting biplanes. They arrived at 12.30 and left half an hour later. Witness watched them for about eight minutes. They were flying in an ordinary manner, and about 50 yards apart, which witness considered was rather close. The weather was misty, and the machines entered the mist at about 1,500 feet high. Looking into the mist with the sun at their backs, they would be able to see a long way, but with the sun shining through the mist into their faces it would be almost impossible to see at all. Undoubtedly, said the witness, this condition of things prevented them seeing one another. Both were very experienced flyers.

Two other witnesses, ex-Gunner Langdown and Christopher Wilson, a farm labourer, gave evidence to the effect that they saw the machines rise from the aerodrome and make south. One aeroplane was slightly higher than the other. Suddenly the engine of the highest machine stopped, and it dropped down upon the other machine. The machines separated and spiraled to the ground in a field on Coneygarth Farm. The officers were alive when found, but unconscious, and they died almost immediately afterwards.

Lieut. Chard was recalled and questioned with regard to the statement that one of the engines had stopped. He said he saw both engines run before the ascent was made, and they were all right then.

A verdict was recorded to the effect that the officers were accidentally killed through their aeroplanes colliding in mid-air."

Also killed here was Lieut. Alex. Wald

The CWGC entry for Lieutenant Yorke
The CWGC entry for Lieutenant Croudace