war dead

Every year there is a graveside ceremony in Deseronto, organized by Pat and Murray Hope of 418 Wing Belleville, to remember the airmen who died while serving at the two Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force training camps near Deseronto. Seven of the men were buried here.

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of many of those deaths, including that of Lieutenant Colin Goss Coleridge, who was killed on July 23rd, 1918. Colin’s family lived in the village of Snettisham, Norfolk, England and was one of 45 Snettisham men who died during the First World War. The local Parish Council has created the Snettisham Remembers website as a memorial to each of these men.

This weekend three Snettisham residents were able to be in Deseronto. The village’s vicar, The Reverend Veronica Wilson; Norfolk County Councillor Stuart Dark; and Parish Council Chair, Rosalind Pugh came to lay a wreath of Norfolk lavender and rosemary on Coleridge’s grave as part of this year’s service.

Rosalind Pugh laying a Norfolk wreath on Colin Goss Coleridge’s grave

The Archives became involved with this event because we hold a brass plaque remembering Lieutenant Coleridge:

This became part of the Archives’ collection in 2002 when St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Deseronto was deconsecrated. It had been attached to a credence table and was donated to the church by John Coleridge of the Manor House, Snettisham in memory of his son. The table remained in the church when the plaque was sent to the Archives.

As part of the commemorative events this weekend, the plaque and the table were both donated to the National Air Force Museum of Canada. Here are the three visitors from Snettisham, reuniting the two items on Friday:

Photo courtesy of Paul Robertson

The table and plaque will now form part of the collection of the National Air Force Museum of Canada, a permanent reminder of the close connections between the air forces of the United Kingdom and Canada.


Carl August Bender signatureOn this day in 1918 Cadet Carl August Bender was killed in a flying accident near Deseronto. The Royal Air Force casualty card records the following details:

Date of Casualty: 10.6.18
Where occurred: Canada East of Camp Rathbun Aero
Type of Machine: Curtiss JN4 C1004
Nature and Cause of Accident: Failure to come out of spin
Result of Accident: Killed

Bender, a bank clerk, enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps in Winnipeg on November 17th, 1917 with a regimental number of 153630. He was five feet seven inches tall, with a medium complexion, light brown hair and blue eyes. He was officially appointed to the Corps in Toronto on December 14th.

Bender was born in Montmagny, Quebec on May 28th, 1894, the son of Eugene Bender and Kate (née Forrest). By 1911 the family had moved to Winnipeg. At the time of his death Carl was in training with 81 Canadian Training Squadron, part of the Deseronto Wing at Camp Rathbun.

At the Court of Inquiry convened on June 11th to investigate the accident, 2nd Lieutenant E. P. Cavanagh reported that:

Detail of file RG4-32/1334 at the Archives of Ontario

Detail of file Attorney General 1918 file RG4-32/1334 at the Archives of Ontario

About 4 p.m. on 12-6-18 I sent No.154630 Cadet Bender C.A. up in machine C-1004 to spin. I gave him instructions to go to 4000 feet before spinning. This Cadet had been taken up by myself in the morning and had been spun twice by me, and then had spun the machine twice with the instructor in it and came out of it by himself, thereby satisfying me that he was quite able to spin. Before sending this Cadet up I examined the machine and found all in good order.

Carl was buried in the Roman Catholic section of the Deseronto Cemetery.

Grave of Carl A. Bender in Deseronto Cemetery

Rosenthal and Heintzman report of deaths in New York Tribune

New York Tribune report on Heintzman and Rosenthal’s crash, May 30th, 1918

New York Flier Killed in Canada
Samuel Rosenthal and Lieutenant Heintzman Victims of Accident Near Toronto

DESERONTO, Ont., May 29. – Second Lieutenant T. H. Heintzman, of Toronto, was killed, and Cadet S. Rosenthal, of 28 Pinehurst Avenue, New York City, was so badly injured in an airplane accident near Rathburn aerodrome to-day that he died later.
Cadet Samuel Rosenthal was twenty-four years old and lived with his father and mother Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Rosenthal, and four sisters at the Pinehurst Avenue address. Until last December, when he went to Canada to enlist, he was in business with his father at 820 Broadway.
Rosenthal was born in Montreal, Canada. He came to New York with his parents ten years ago, but was never naturalized. As a result he was not accepted when he tried to enlist in this country, and went to Canada in order to get into the army.
He was placed in the Royal Flying Corps in January, and in letters to his parents told of at least six flights he had made alone in the last few weeks. He expected to go abroad in a short time.

Thomas Herman Heintzman signature

Thomas Herman Heintzman, a piano maker, enlisted in Toronto on November 20th, 1917. He was born in that city on July 26th, 1887, the son of Herman Heintzman and Lucy Ann (née Spink). He joined the Royal Flying Corps with the regimental number 152767. He was five feet eight inches tall. On April 24th, 1918, he was granted a temporary commission with the Royal Air Force, working as a flight instructor for the Deseronto Wing with 81 Canadian Training Squadron.

Samuel Rosenthal signature

Samuel Rosenthal had joined the Royal Flying Corps in Montreal on January 17th, 1918 and was officially appointed to the Corps in Toronto two days later. His regimental number was 154067 and he was five feet four inches tall. He was born in Montreal on November 4th, 1893, the son of Eleazer and Fanny Rosenthal.

The Royal Air Force report of the accident which killed the two men at Camp Rathbun noted:

Date of Casualty: 29.5.18
Where occurred: Canada
Type of Machine: Curtiss JN4a C635
Nature and Cause of Accident: Dropped nose on steep bank at 150ft. Machine caught fire on striking ground.
Result of Accident: Killed
Name of other Occupant of Machine: Cadet S. Rosenthal Died of Inj’s.

Lieutenant Heintzman was killed instantly. Cadet Rosenthal’s death registration tells us that he survived for four and a half hours, before dying of shock from his burns.

Heintzman was interred in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto. Rosenthal was buried in the Shaar Hashomayin Cemetery in Montreal.

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.

Thomas Vincent Patrick signature

Thomas Vincent Patrick died in a flying accident at Camp Rathbun in Deseronto on this day in 1918. He was a cadet in 89 Canadian Training Squadron of the Royal Air Force’s 42nd Wing. The RAF casualty record notes:

Date of Casualty: 18.5.18
Where occurred: Canada Camp Rathbun
Type of Machine: Curtiss JN4
Nature and Cause of Accident: Machine was observed at approximately 2500ft coming down in nose dive & crash to earth.
Result of Accident: Killed

Thomas was born on January 26th, 1893 in Souris, Manitoba, the son of Thomas Hughes Patrick and Margaret (née Nicol). He enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto on December 13th, 1917 and was officially appointed to the service on December 17th, with a regimental number of 153643. He had previously been working as a teacher. He was five feet five and a half inches tall, with a medium complexion, brown hair and brown eyes.

Thomas Vincent Patrick was buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Souris, Manitoba.

Herbert Fielding Paul signatureCadet Herbert Fielding Paul died at Camp Mohawk on this day in 1918 as a result of a flying accident. He joined the Royal Flying Corps in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on November 24th, 1917 and was accepted into the Corps in Toronto three days later. He was 24 years old and five feet eight inches tall. His regimental number was 153008.

Herbert was born in Springhill, Nova Scotia on August 11th, 1893, the son of Elisha Budd Paul and Lavinia Paul. At the time of enlisting, he was working as a civil engineer. He was attached to 82 Canadian Training Squadron at Camp Mohawk, part of 42nd Wing at Deseronto.

The official Royal Air Force report into the accident states only that he was killed in Canada. The death registration entry records that death was caused by “Fall with aeroplane”. The Court of Inquiry held the day after the crash found that the right hand wing of the aircraft broke off when it was at a height of 6,000 feet, from an unknown cause or causes.

Belleville’s Intelligencer newspaper gave a different account of the accident:Intelligencer newspaper's report of May 6th 1918 on Herbert Paul death

Spinning Nose Dive Carried Young Cadet to Instant Death

Cadet Herbert Paul, No. 153,008, was instantly killed in a crash at Camp Mohawk at 9.30 on Saturday afternoon. It is believed the accident was due to a spinning nose dive. Cadet Paul was a Canadian training with the Royal Air Force and his next of kin is E. Paul, Springhill, Nova Scotia. He was a young man of great promise, bright and genial and had the makings of a brilliant aviator. He was a prime favorite in the camp and his passing is regretted.

Cadet Paul was 1800 feet in the air in a solo flight when his machine was observed to being a spinning nose dive and escape from the control of the young aviator. The plane struck the ground with great force and was smashed to pieces, the cadet being instantly killed.

Paul was buried in Hillside Cemetery, Springhill, Nova Scotia.

Edgar Patrick Le Blanc signature
Edgar Patrick Le Blanc died in Belleville General Hospital on this day in 1918. He was a cadet in the Royal Flying Corps, which he had joined on December 5th, 1917 in Toronto. He was the son of Patrick and Emma Le Blanc of Moncton, New Brunswick and had previously served in the Royal School of Infantry, Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Royal Air Force report of the accident stated:

Date of Casualty: 29.4.18
Where occurred: Canada ⅛ mile Sth of Camp Mohawk Aerodrome
Type of Machine: Curtiss J.N.4 C1001
Nature and Cause of Accident: Failing to get out of spin
Result of Accident: Injured Frac skull Broken jaw Broken collar bone
Name of other Occupant of Machine: 2nd Lt. [Edwin Henry] Menhenitt injured

Belleville’s newspaper, the Intelligencer reported the accident:

Intelligencer report of 1918 Apr 30 on Le Blanc death

Aeroplane Crashed to Earth in Spinning Nose Dive
Young Aviator Dead and Comrade Seriously Injured, Result of Accident at Camp Mohawk Yesterday Afternoon – Both Aviators Brought to Belleville Hospital

Between the hours of two and three o’clock yesterday afternoon, an aeroplane fell just east of Camp Mohawk airdrome with fatal results. Cadet Edward P. Le Blanc and Instructor Secon Lieut. E. H. Menhennit were in the machine at the time and were at a considerable height when it was observed that something was wrong as the plane began falling to the earth, nose first, in a rapid manner. The ambulance from the camp was summoned and soon reached the place where the machine had fallen. The two occupants were found to be terribly injured and as soon as possible were brought to the Belleville hospital for treatment. Shortly after being admitted to the hospital Le Blanc succumbed to his injuries, and for hours Menhennit remained in an unconscious condition. The injuries which caused le Blanc’s death consisted of a fractured skull. His face was also injured. Menhennit was severely cut about the head and face and there is a compound fracture to the right leg. The aeroplane was virtually broken to pieces.
The body of Cadet Le Blanc was subsequently taken to Tickell & Sons undertaking establishment where it was prepared for burial. The unfortunate young aviator was a member of the 8th Squadron, R.A.F. His home was at 97 Alma Street, Moncton, N.B. where his mother resides. She was notified of the sad affair and it is expected that she will come to Belleville and take the body home for interment.
Lieut. Menhennit is an Englishman and the next of kin is his brother, Mr. J. D. Menhennitt, Eastleigh, St. Malyn [Mabyn], Cornwall, England. This morning his condition showed slight improvement, but he is by no means out of danger.

Le Blanc was buried in St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Moncton.

Lieutenant Menhenitt recovered from his injuries and stayed in Canada after the war. He married Lois Elizabeth Vance on June 2nd, 1920 in Barrie, where he was working as an engineer.

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