Flying Accident at Thornycroft Hall.

Flying Accident at Thornycroft Hall.


In the graveyard of All Saints Church, Siddington, Cheshire.


Twin white stone crosses.


In Loving Memory of
Alexander George McGILLIVRAY
Lieut RAF
Hamilton, Canada,
Oct 4th 1899 - June 16th 1918
"Blessed Are The Pure In Heart"
In Loving memory of
Claude Edmund WATCHORN
Lieut RFC
Calgary, Canada,
Sep 12th 1897 - June 17th 1918
"For They Shall See God"

Flying Accident at Thornycroft Hall.


Alexander "Buller" McGILLIVRAY and Claude WATCHORN were Canadian, and Second Lieutenants in the Royal Air Force. They were in Europe for the war, and were stationed at Shrewsbury, Shropshire, fourty-four miles south-west of the scene of the accident. Their RAF biplane crashed on the broad lawns of Thornycroft Hall, three miles south-west of Macclesfield, Cheshire. Its two occupants died of their injuries.

They are buried in a favoured corner of the graveyard at All Saints Church, Siddington, alongside the grave of John Elstob, Vicar of the parish, and close to the graves of the Bickertons of Thornycroft Hall, and the Bromley-Davenports of Capesthorne Hall, the main landowning family of the district.

At the time my father, Lyonel, was ten years old and living at the Blacksmith's Arms in Henbury, about a mile and a half from the accident. He spoke with eyewitnesses. They told him that the aircraft had been doing a low pass over the lawn when it snagged a rope from a particularly tall flagpole and cartwheeled.

Gossip in the village had it, that one of the fliers had formed a friendship with a young lady who lived at the Hall. The two pilots were showing off their flying skills for the benefit of her and her sisters when the accident happened. That is genuine gossip of the time. I don't know what relationship it has to the truth.

Carl's Cam