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  • Christina Drummond

Second Lieutenant James Ashwell Howe, the Royal Flying Corps

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Second Lieutenant James Ashwell Howe, the Royal Flying Corps, was killed during a training flight at Bramham Moor (later known as R.A.F. Tadcaster).

One of five children of a veterinary surgeon, he was educated at Buxton College and Denstone College in Uttoxeter, leaving in 1915 to join a shipping company as a junior clerk. He joined the Royal Flying Corps in August of 1917, and in December received his commission.

On the day of his death he was on a training flight for pilot qualification when he ran into fog and suffered engine failure. His plane was seen to plunge from several thousand feet and nose-dive into the ground, killing him instantly. He is buried in Buxton Cemetery beside his parents. The local newspaper gave an account of his funeral: “"The day was bright and calm, with a sharp snap in the air…towards the hour of 2.30, little knots of people gathered which were swelled by constant additions, until the crowds of people became linked together by the long line of the road itself, of which St Mary's Church was the centre. There were eighty men lined in two rows of forty through which the cortege could pass. His coffin was carried from the church by eight sergeants before being placed in a hearse and, preceded by four buglers, made its way to Buxton Cemetery, where James was buried with full military honours. The buglers sounded the Last Post.”

James, from Wirksworth in Derbyshire, was 17 years old.

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