Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Lieutenant William Henry Stubbs, 54 Squadron, Royal Air Force, died in Belgium as a prisoner-of-war.
One of a family of four children, Lieutenant Stubbs worked as a clerk at the Union Bank of Manchester in Middlewich, Cheshire. He received his commission on the 1st of April, 1918, the day that the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service amalgamated to become the Royal Air Force. It is believed that he is the pilot W.H. Stubbs referred to in the 1948 memoir by Charles Brewer, The Spice of Variety: “Whilst flying over the lines had an anti-aircraft shell come up through the floor of his aeroplane, pass between his ankles, take the joy stick out of his machine and continue on up through the centre section without exploding. With the control column shot away he spent the next few minutes stretching out on each side and grabbing loose ends of aileron and elevator wires. Eventually he brought the machine home and landed her safely."
Lieutenant Stubbs’ date of death is given as the 25th of June as that was when he was last seen – flying his Sopwith Camel west of Bailleul, two miles from the Belgian border. He was shot down near Ypres and presumed killed, but it was later discovered that he had been taken prisoner and died of his wounds. He lies buried in the Aeroplane Cemetery at West-Vlaanderen in Belgium.
William, from Winsford in Cheshire, was 19 years old.