Whilst visiting a Surrey churchyard this afternoon I came across this grave of a pilot with the Experimental Squadron of the R.A.F. who was killed in a flying accident on 8th May 1918.
The design of the cross has something about it, don’t you think? Pity the name’s in shadow. Click to enlarge, of course.
And to the lovely lady who was reading her book in peace and quiet beneath Godalming war memorial until yours truly crashed in to photograph everything around her – told you! Man of my word.
Well that’s an unusual one! I had no idea there was such a thing. Test pilots, yes, but an entire squadron..
Bravest of men. Stepping into an untested aircraft back then must have been like flipping a coin. I bet the fatality rate was as extraordinary as the men flying the aircraft
I must confess to being unsure of the title reference
You and the rest, I suspect. I am so glad someone (you) asked. I shall explain. This is the grave of 23 year old ex-Royal Fusilier, transferred to R.F.C. mid-1916, Lieutenant Derek Lutyens, nephew* of Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, and when he was killed his uncle designed the cross you see in this post. Look at the lines, and more importantly, the curves. Compare with the cross in the background. Bearing in mind his staggering amount of post-war war memorial work, does this count as the first war memorial Lutyens ever designed? Hence Landseer’s Prototype? I bet you’re glad you asked now.
*Lutyens had five nephews, and all were killed during the war.
I am very glad I asked, and very well spotted!
Some research I did a while ago showed more pilots died in flying accidents than killed in action in the Great War. How tragic for him to lose 5 nephews perhaps what spurred him on to design such fabulous memorials. You seem to have a nose for the unusual, do they just call to you.
Yes, I wonder how much he thought of them and whether it influenced his future designs. Me, I dunno, maybe I ‘ve just got the Knack……