Lieutenant Colonel DOUGLAS HYDE HYDE-THOMSON
Unit Directorate of Air Organisation, Royal Air Force
Buried at DOVER (ST. JAMES’S) CEMETERY
He passed into the Royal Navy from school in 1904, aged 13 years. His first ship as midshipman was HMS Dreadnought, then carrying out her first commission. As sub-lieutenant he attained “firsts” in all his courses, and, after a brief period of sea time, joined HMS Vernon, and qualified as a Lieutenant.
He joined the Royal Naval Air Service during 1914, and was associated with the early experimental work. During the war he spent brief periods at Dunkirk and in the Mediterranean, and the rest of the time was employed at the Admiralty and Air Ministry on important work. Latterly his energy was devoted chiefly to wireless telegraphy and electrical matters, in which branch the loss of his services will be greatly felt. He recently became one of the service members of the Civil Aerial Transport Committee. He flew to France on 19 May 1918 and returned soon after completing an inspection visit.
Dover Express – Friday 24 May 1918
COLONEL’S FATAL FLYING ACCIDENT. An inquest was held on Wednesday afternoon on the body of Colonel Douglas Hyde Thomson, who met his death in a flying accident the previous day. Captain Hamilton Hing Paton, R.A.F., identified the body at the mortuary as that of Lieut.-Colonel Douglas Hyde Thomson, R.A.F., aged 27 years. The deceased arrived on Saturday evening on official business. He was flying an Avro 504J B8603 when he came to grief.
Sergeant William Lunley Dyson, R.A.F., said that the deceased started at 9.15 a.m. on Tuesday morning. On Monday afternoon witness was asked to examine the engine of the machine. On the morning in question he found a few trivial defects, and put them right. The engine was tested, and was found to be running perfectly. The deceased was on the scene, and directly he saw the machine going quite well he got in. He gave witness his approval, and commenced to take off, and swerved slightly to the right. He straightened his machine, and rose from the ground. He did not seem to be climbing properly, owing to his not having got the necessary speed. He managed to get up to 50ft., and then did a right-hand turn. The machine began to nose-dive to the ground, probably due to it having insufficient speed. He seemed to be quite used to the machine.
Captain Thomas Allen, R.A.F., said that on Tuesday morning, at 9.15, he was cycling quite close to the scene of the accident. He saw a machine flying at a height of about 50ft. He noticed that it was going slowly, and was not gaining any height, although the machine was flying steadily and the engine running. In his opinion the engine was throttled down. Suddenly the machine turned and nose-dived vertically to the around. Witness was about 200 yards from the spot. He went to fetch an ambulance, and took the medical officer to the spot. The body was placed in the ambulance, and the medical officer informed witness that the pilot wsas dead, and that death was due to a fracture of the skull and other injuries. In the opinion of witness, the accident was caused by the pilot turning at the height with insufficient flying speed.
A verdict of accidental death was returned.