The 26th of August 1918 was a bad day for 100 squadron.

Lt.George H. Box (aged 23) and Lt.Robert N. Inches (aged 20) died on that day in an accident at Xaffervillers airfield. Both were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for conspicuous gallantry. A third man, Harry Boyd (aged 19) of Malone Avenue ,Belfast, also perished in the accident.

Roy Shillinglaw, a young witness to the tragedy told me in 1988, from his Isle of Man home (by then he was in his nineties) that Box was a little fellow, the pilot of the huge Handley Page 0400 bomber which just failed to clear trees at the end of the runway. To the horror of the onlookers it crashed in a sickening fireball of exploding bombs. The engines were thrown hundreds of yards from the wreckage , from which all present tried in vain to extricate the unfortunate occupants.



Go Back