Colin Goss Coleridge signature

Colin Goss Coleridge came to Canada from England on the SS Pomeranian in August 1911 at the age of 22. He joined the Royal North West Mounted Police and served with them in Saskatchewan and Manitoba before being discharged to join the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto on August 13th, 1917. He was awarded a temporary commission with the Corps on December 21st, 1917 and worked as a flying instructor at Fort Worth in Texas and then at Camp Mohawk near Deseronto.

While he was in Fort Worth, at Camp Taliaferro, Coleridge was involved in a flying accident on February 9th, 1918, when he was instructing Cadet Cecil Bradford Corbin. Corbin suffered a broken leg and nose in the crash, while Coleridge had broken ribs. Both men suffered burns but Coleridge managed to rescue Corbin from the aircraft and was given an MBE for this action.

Colin was killed in another flying accident near Deseronto on this day in 1918. He and Lieutenant Priestman were flying from Camp Mohawk to Camp Rathbun. The following is a description of the crash by Lieutenant Stevenson at the Court of Inquiry held the day after:

Lieutenant Stevenson's evidence re Coleridge crash

Detail from Court of Inquiry, Attorney General 1918 file RG4-32/1762 at the Archives of Ontario

2nd Witness.

Lieut. A.R. Stevenson, states:-

I was standing about 50 yards from the scene of accident. I saw machine C-226 making a right hand vertical bank just North of the Officers’ Quarters, the undercarriage and right hand Wings struck a tree and then the machine swung nose down to the ground. I saw the engine knocked back to the petrol tank and almost immediately the machine burst into flames.

I saw an Officer jump from the rear seat, and owing to the extensive heat I was unable to render any assistance to the passenger I saw in the front seat.

Coleridge suffered burns to 90% of his body in the crash and died five hours later in the Camp Rathbun hospital.

He was born in Ashton, Devon, England on December 8th, 1888, the son of John Coleridge and Ellen Anne (née Goss). They were living in Snettisham, Norfolk, when their son died. He was buried in Deseronto Cemetery, and this photograph is believed to be of his funeral:

Funeral of Colin Goss Coleridge

Headstone of Colin Goss Coleridge

Coleridge’s parents donated a table to St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Deseronto, with a plaque commemorating their son. The plaque and the table were donated to the National Air Force Museum of Canada in 2018.

Lt Coleridge plaque

TO THE GLORY OF GOD

AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF

Lt. Colin Goss Coleridge, R.A.F.

OBIT JULY 23rd A. D. 1918

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