Reginald Warneford was the first aviator in history to bring down an enemy airship. He did this just ten days ago by flying over a Zeppelin and dropping a bomb on it, causing the hydrogen filled airship to explode. For this daring feat he has been awarded the Victoria Cross. And today he travels to Paris to be awarded the Légion d’Honneur by General Joffre himself, commander in chief of the French army.
After a celebratory lunch Warneford makes his way to the aerodrome at Buc to pick up a new aeroplane to fly to his base at Vuerne. He takes off, accompanied by Henry Beach Newman, an American journalist. But they are barely in the air when something goes wrong. The two men are thrown from the aeroplane (which seems to have no seatbelts fitted) and fall to the ground. Newman dies instantly while Warneford expires on the way to hospital.
Warneford’s death plunges Britain into mourning.
image source (BBC)