Maker, William

Maker, William        1918 August 23rd         Dorchester

Young Airman Killed in his Mother’s Sight

A distressing aeroplane accident, resulting in the immediate death of the pilot and the injury of the observer, took place at Dorchester on Friday evening. The pilot was Second-Lieutenant William Fernley Maker, RAF, from a School of Aviation on Salisbury Plain. He was a nephew of Mrs Charles Parsons, of Dorchester, and at her house was staying with his mother and his fiancee, Miss Riccard. On Friday Miss Riccard left by train for Amesbury in the hope of seeing the lieutenant, who by a strange coincidence had decided to fly that day to Dorchester to see her. He left Salisbury Plain in a machine with Sergt Sidney Chapman as observer. A good descent was made in a suitable field. Lieut Maker had tea with his mother and Mr and Mrs Parsons, and then, accompanied by his mother, walked back along the road to his aeroplane, with the intention of returning to Salisbury about six o’clock. As he waved farewell on the machine rising, he cried “Good-bye. We shall be in Salisbury in 25 minutes.” Less than half a minute later the machine in turning at no great altitude to make for Salisbury Plain suddenly, to the horror of the onlookers, including the pilot’s mother, nose-dived, turned turtle, and crashed to the ground. The lieutenant, whose age was 26, was killed instantly, but the sergeant-observer escaped providentially with little worse than a severe shaking, bruises and shock to the system. He is now in the Dorset County Hospital. Deep sympathy is felt with the family of the officer, especially the mother, who had the terrible experience of witnessing the fatal fall. She is a widow, with four other sons, of whom the eldest two are in the Army on foreign service, one in India and the other in Salonika.

An inquest was held at the County Hospital at Dorchester on Saturday, at which the Coroner, taking advantage of new regulations, dispensed with a jury. The principal witness was the injured observer, Sergt Chapman, whose evidence was taken from the side of his bed. He declared that before flying to Dorchester they had been to Reading. When leaving Dorchester at 6.20 they went up about 2000 feet, then turned to get the right direction for Salisbury. In turning the lieutenant got too much “bank,” the machine got into a rapid spin and came straight to the ground.

The Coroner found that the death was due to an accident.

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