100 Memorial Service

  • Author: Nichola Winstanley
  • Date: Friday 27th January 2017
100 Memorial Service 100 Memorial Service

Young Officer's from BRNC took part in a graveside memorial service for a predecessor who died in an air accident 100 years ago.

In 1917 Occicer Cadet John Salisbury Riley was being flown to the College for the first day of his new term by his 27-year old brother, Lieutenant Roger Riley, of the Royal Flying Corps in a FE2B Biplane. While Lt Riley was trying to land, the biplane was caught by an air current between the hills; the plane was forced through some trees and then nose-dived. OC Riley was thrown from the aircraft and received fatal injuries. His brother was rescued from the wreckage suffering broken bones in each of his legs.

Aged just 16, OC Riley was buried in the churchyard of St Slement's Church in Dartmouth which is where the group of young officers gathered for the short service, conducted by Rev Keith Robus, one of the College Chaplains.

BRNC's Flight Training Officer, Lt Tim Curnock, said: "We thought it was fitting to remember OC Riley and to lay a wreath on his grave to mark the 100th anniversary of his death. The YO's who attended the memorial service are all aiming for a career in the Fleet Air Arm and while they look forward to a very bright future, it is vital that they keep an eye on those aviatiors that have gone before.

The Royal Flying Corps operated the FE2 type biplanes as both a bomber and a fighter plane during day and night operations in World War One. Along with the single-seat DH2 pusher biplane and the Nieuport 11, the FE2 was instrumental in ending the German Air Service air superiority on the Western Front.

Return to listings