Flying Officer Basil Douglas John Broadway
On 14th May 1926, Flying Officer Basil Douglas John Broadway, of 32 squadron, R.A.F. Kenley, was killed in the wreckage of his Gloster Grebe, when he crashed in Caterham.
Broadway had only taken off from Kenley minutes earlier and was flying over Caterham at around 300 ft, when a witness, Mr. S. Daniels of 16 Oak Rd, noticed the unusual sound of the engine, which stopped shortly afterwards. The aircraft nose-dived into a field.
Rescuers found the pilot’s body amongst the remains of the Grebe. Alongside him was his half opened parachute – evidence of his desperate attempt to save himself.
The aircraft was brand new and had been test flown for 15 minutes, earlier that day, by F/L Augustine Boret, who reported that everything appeared to be in working order. The Coroner concluded that there had been a mechanical failure while the Grebe was airborne and delivered a verdict of accidental death.
Flying Officer Basil Broadway was born in Murree, Punjab, India on 26th September, 1903. His parents, Sir Alan Brice Knight Broadway (a Barrister) and Lady Agnes Mabel Broadway (nee. Bennell) were still living in India when their son died, so his Uncle, Theodore Broadway, from Dorchester, represented the family at his funeral.
He was laid to rest in St. Luke’s, Whyteleafe, alongside his fellow airmen.
Rest in peace Sir, and thank you for your service.