Arlof David Hewson signature

Arlof David Hewson died in a flying accident while training with the Royal Air Force at Camp Mohawk near Deseronto. Hewson was born in Windsor, Ontario, on November 18th, 1898, the son of Frank Hewson and Eliza (née Tansley). He joined the Royal Flying Corps on January 15th, 1918 in Toronto with the regimental number 154244. He was five feet four inches tall.

There is a great deal of disagreement in the records as to the exact date of his death. The death registration by local physician Elgin Vandervoort gives May 23rd, but the RAF casualty record has May 20th and other sources have May 5th, May 22nd or 24th. The RAF Court of Inquiry report shows that the accident happened on May 22nd.

Arlof was attached to 81 Canadian Training Squadron of the Royal Air Force’s 42nd Wing in Deseronto. His accident is described in the RAF records as follows:

Date of Casualty: 20.5.18
Where occurred: Canada Camp Mohawk Deseronto
Type of Machine: Curtiss JN4
Nature and Cause of Accident: Fly[ing] acc[ident] failure to come out of accidental spin
Result of Accident: Killed 22.5.18* [*addition made 23/3/59]
Name of other Occupant of Machine: 2nd Lt C. A. [Cyril Arthur] Robotham injured

Lieutenant Robotham gave evidence at the Court of Inquiry held on May 23rd. He had suffered compound fractures of the bones in his left leg and shock.

Detail from Attorney General's 1918 file RG4-31/1276 at the Archives of Ontario

Detail from Attorney General’s 1918 file RG4-31/1267 at the Archives of Ontario

7th witness:– 2/Lieut. C.A.Robotham, No. 81 C.T.S., R.A.F., states:-

I was ordered on 22-5-18 to take 154244 Cadet Hewson,A.D. up in machine C-285 for a Medical Air Test. I had previously told the Cadet what he was to do when up in the air for the purposes of this test. We had been in the air five minutes and he had not done any of the tests that I had explained to him, so I turned back to the aerodrome for the purpose of landing and explaining the tests to him again. In turning into the aerodrome I put my nose down with the intention of closing the throttle and S-turning in, but the throttle jammed and I could not pull it back, the result being a spin.

The aircraft was examined after the accident and all controls were found to be intact. The court recommended that:

…all pilots be instructed not to make gliding turns with the engine “on”, and that in getting into a spin close to the ground, they switch off rather than close the throttle.

Arlof was buried in St. John’s Anglican Church Cemetery in Windsor.

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