#53441
Nick
Participant

In response to a previous post on this aircraft, I identified the aircraft that crashed near Miadenhead/Bray in September, 1913, as ‘312’ (quoting Aeroplanes of the RFC (MW). This identification seemed to have been based on the fact that the notable thing about 312 is that, unlike the other known (it is unconfirmed that all those ordered were delivered), it had a metal clad/ metal rear fuselage and not a fabric covered one. Further, the assumption is that the RFC Breguets were the only ones flying in Britain in September, 1913.

312 was with 4 Squadron by January, 1913, when Major Raleigh, the squadron commanding officer, was reported demonstrating spins in it at Hendon, despite indifferent weather. It continued to be used by the squadron until late August, 1913, and was deleted in December, 1913, having flown 5 hours and 49 minutes (by 19.12.1913). As the Breguet which crashed in Berkshire was wrecked, it would have had to have been virtually rebuilt to be retained on 4 Squadron strength. This seems strange as the type was due to be deleted so soon afterwards.

To refresh memories on the Flight report of the crash: : ??he Maidenhead Smash. It was tragical that after his success in the Speed Contest at Hendon on Saturday Debussy should have met with disaster later in the afternoon when taking the machine across to Farnborough. He started from Hendon on the Breguet with Mr. H. de Havilland, who only recently qualified for his brevet, and Mr. R. G. Crouch, of the Breguet Company, as passengers, at about half-past five and all went well until over Maidenhead, when the engine began to give trouble, subsequently found to be due to a broken exhaust-valve. As the engine stopped, the pilot apparently tried to plane down into a field near Bray, but from a height of 60 feet, the machine, after flattening out, dived into a field of marigolds. All three occupants were seriously injured, Mr. Debussy sustaining concussion of the brain and a bad sprain of the right ankle, Mr. de Havilland had his left arm fractured, while Mr. Crouch had his right leg broken, both the latter being also cut and bruised a good deal.??

So no one in the aircraft was in the RFC. M.A. Debussy (pilot) was employed by Breguet Aeroplane Limited to demonstrate the type in competitions at Hendon, and R.G. Crouch was a company employee also. Hereward de Havilland had recently gained his ticket on a Caudron at the Ewen School, and may have been a potential customer ?

Therefore, it seems more likely that the aircraft was a company demonstrator.

Perhaps it was the 90 h.p. Canton-Unne engined Breguet flown by Richet at Hendon from early 1913, but it more likely to be the 110 h.p. Salmson engine aircraft Debussy was flying in September. Both had ‘metal’fuselages like 312, and may have been the same aircraft, fitted with different engines ?