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British Industrial History

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John Empson

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John Empson (1891-1914), early aviator aka 'Jack'

1891 Born in Yorkfleet the son of Arthur Reginald Empson, a Landowner, and his wife Laura Micklethwaite

Killed at Northallerton on the 15th May 1914 in a flying accident with his passenger Reginald George Cudmore.

Inquest May 1914 [1]

The accident which occurred at Northallerton on Friday of last week, in which Lieut. John Empson and Air-Mechanic George Cudmore, of No. 2 Squadron Military Wing R.F.C., was the subject of a coroner's inquest at Lonesome Hill, Northallerton, on Saturday.

Major C. J. Burke, in command of No. 2 Squadron, said they left Montrose on Monday morning, and everything went well until leaving Seaton Carew on Friday morning. It was perfectly clear when the witness left Seaton Carew. He could not say when Lieut. Empson left. The machines were always examined and overhauled before a flight. Lieut. Empson was perfectly competent. The witness went north as soon as he left Seaton Carew, as he saw fog and mist arising when five miles out. They had general instructions to follow to the effect that in the event of fog no landing had to be effected on the landing ground.

The Coroner said he thought the instructions might be made a little more explicit. If the airmen saw fog arising, could they not descend where it was clear? Major Burke replied that this would be impossible, as the fogs moved about, the air being clear at one moment and dense at the next. From his investigation, it was clear that the machine overturned on its back after striking a hedge. He believed the two men were 'vol planing' very fast at the time.

Dr. Tweedy stated that when he saw Lieut. Empson he was dead, being inside the wreckage on his back with his knees drawn up. His head was severely crushed, and he had received internal injuries. Death was instantaneous.

Dr. Carter stated that the base of Cudmore's skull was fractured and he had internal injuries, either of which would have caused immediate death.

The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death," and expressed sympathy with the relatives.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Flight magazine of 22nd May 1914 [1]