Orde, Michael

Orde, Michael       1920 August 13th       Netheravon

Flying Officer Killed

An Ex-Prisoner Of War’s Accident at Netheravon

On Friday evening the Deputy Coroner for South Wilts (Mr H E Vincent) held an inquest at No 1 Flying School, Netheravon, to discover the cause of the death of Flight-Lieut Michael Julian Orde, RAF, aged 22, the son of Sir Julian Orde, Harford House, Beaulieu.

Flight-Lieut Joseph Porter, RAF, spoke of being called to the scene of the accident when the machine in which Mr Orde was flying crashed to the ground, at about 1.45pm the previous day. Mr Orde’s skull was fractured, both legs were broken, and death must have been instantaneous.

Flight-Commander Robert Howell Coaster Usher, RAF, stated that Mr Orde had just come to the School to undergo tuition with a view to passing the service machine test. During the war he did a certain amount of flying, but was shot down and taken a prisoner in 1916. He was released after the Armistice, and two months ago took up a “refresher” course on another type of machine. Upon the morning of the day he met his death he had been taken up in the machine for 35 minutes to get used to its peculiarities, and the machine was then quite in order. Witness watched the commencement of the flight in the afternoon. The pilot appeared to make a satisfactory start, but suddenly the machine started a steep climb, turning to the left at the top of the climb. It then seemed to be under control, but when about ten feet from the ground it started a left-hand spin and hit the ground after about a quarter of a turn had been accomplished. The machine crashed badly. Witness at once proceeded to the spot, and found the pilot in his seat, quite dead. The flight instructor who had accompanied him was standing by the aeroplane, very much shaken. This particular machine was of the dual-control type, and worked satisfactorily, except that the pupil really got the mastery of the machine if he gripped his controls too hard. The instructor seated behind had not the same power over the controls.

The Coroner : You think that is what happened in this case?

The witness replied that he thought that that was the cause of the accident. The instructor endeavoured to get Mr Orde to release his hold of the controls, but without avail.

Frank Neville Hudson, another flying officer, stated that he witnessed the flight from the beginning, and corroborated the evidence of the last witness.

Sergt T Goodband, RAF, spoke to preparing the machine for flight, and said it was quite in order when it left his hands. He thought the affair was a pure accident.

A verdict of accidental death was returned.

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