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Richard Thomas Gates (1876-1914), early aviator and manager of the Hendon Aerodrome
1876 Born in Brighton
1914 September 14th. Died.
At Hendon, yesterday, Mr. Cohen held inquest concerning the death of Mr. Richard Thomas Gates (38), manager of the Hendon Aerodrome, who died as the result of injuries sustained in an accident to his aeroplane while landing last Thursday. Only a little over a week ago was gazetted lieutenant in the Royal Naval Air Service for special duty at the naval air station at Hendon.
Squadron Commander John Cyril Porte, of Royal Naval Air Service, said Mr. Gates was an expert air man. Last Thursday evening he started out at 10.20 on a reconnoitring flight to see if could see any airship, as one had been reported. He circled around the aerodrome two or three times and misjudging his landing took the ground with great force, probably at fifty miles an hour. Three searchlights partly lit up the aerodrome. Gates was flung thirty feet away from the machine, a Henri Farman biplane, which was completely wrecked.
Lieutenant Eric Beauman and Lieutenant R. J. Hope Vere, both of whom heard Gates switch his engine on and off, also expressed the opinion that he misjudged the distance from the ground, and the latter added that during night flying it was extremely difficult to judge where the ground was.
Frederick Mirrram, civilian instructor the Royal Naval Air Service, said Gates had done night flying two years ago, but not recently. The machine was in perfect order when it set out. Medical evidence showed that death followed a broken neck and other injuries, and the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."