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Thread: Does tragic airman's ghost still stalk barracks ? Lt Desmond Arthur , 2 Sqn RFC : Montrose

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    Does tragic airman's ghost still stalk barracks ? Lt Desmond Arthur , 2 Sqn RFC : Montrose

    Courier & Advertiser : Craigie column :
    Monday 24th May 2010:

    May 27th will be the anniversary of the death of LIEUTENANT DESMOND LUCIUS ARTHUR , 5th Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers attached to the 2nd Squadron ROYAL FLYING CORPS in 1913 . He was 29years old when his BE2 biplane crashed to the ground near Lunan Railway Station at Lunan Bay on the south side of Montrose.

    PATRICK ANDERSON of Letham , has provided details of his story and says that Lieutenant Arthur's machine was built during June 1912 , and had been fitted with new wings during AUGUST of that year . On the Morning of May 27th , 1913 , Lieutenant Arthur flew off from the tented airfield at UPPER DYSART FARM on a training exercise when in good conditions he met his death.

    At a height of 2,000 feet the wing suddenly collapsed causing the plane to fall to the ground. The officer's body was found a hundred yards from the aeroplane and it was said that had the pilot not been thrown out he might have survived .

    The Military Funeral took place from St Mary's Scottish Episcopal Church in Montrose and then made its way to Sleepyhillock Cemetery in the town. The officer's brother , Capt C W A Arthur from Limerick paid for the grave and had a headstone erected with the wording , " DESMOND L . ARTHUR , LIEUTENANT , ROYAL FLYING CORPS , killed at Montrose 27 May 1913."

    " The Airman's story is not well known nowadays in Angus. " says Mr Anderson. " I was taking photographs of Lieutenant Arthur's grave and a local couple spoke to me . I told them about the Montrose Airman Ghost but they hadn't heard that story either .

    "There were several reports of the ghost . An Officer returned to the Old Mess at Panmure Barracks and he identified a figure in full flying kit walking ahead of him on the path.

    "The figure walked up to the door but did not open it. The same officer saw the mysterious figure again and another officer ahd an encounter but this time it was inside the barracks. There were also other sightings .

    "As a matter of interest, the then Commanding Officer , Major C J Burke , said that the Upper Dysart site was not ideal as an airfield and after scouting around found a site at Broomfield Farm .

    "Situated on the edge of Montrose links , north of Montrose , the field was nearer to the town. The Squadron moved from Upper Dysart to their new home at Broomfield Farm on New Year's Day 1914.

    "The headstone could do with a wee clean as the sap from the overhead trees seems to cover the Sleepyhillock Cemetery headstones ."


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    Re: Does tragic airman's ghost still stalk barracks ? Lt Desmond Arthur , 2 Sqn RFC : Montrose

    Pat, I'm sure you could get some volunteers to help clean up the site, nothing worse than an unkempt graves site, Isn't the local council responsible for the upkeep?
    Al

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    Re: Does tragic airman's ghost still stalk barracks ? Lt Desmond Arthur , 2 Sqn RFC : Montrose

    Al , I dont know if the Angus Council are responsible for cleaning of the headstones of graves within their council owned cemeteries . They I think have the cemetery itself well maintained . Thought it would be the next of kin or other designated persons to clean the stone work . Don't know the answer for that but the Montrose Air Museum staff may read the story in the Courier and do just that with the stonework hopefully ..

    pat

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    Re: Does tragic airman's ghost still stalk barracks ? Lt Desmond Arthur , 2 Sqn RFC : Montrose

    I would be very surprised if museums staff stared to clean gravestones,if it was a cwgc they in their cemetery,s keep the gravestones clean,could the trees not be cut back by some volunteer,s?
    Joe

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    Re: Does tragic airman's ghost still stalk barracks ? Lt Desmond Arthur , 2 Sqn RFC : Montrose

    This Airman is a pre CWGC casualty so the commission won't have any jurisdiction to clean or maintain his headstone . The Air Musuem at Montrose on part of the 1914 to post WW2 closure of the RAF Aerodrome is run by volunteers and they have a Lt Desmond L. Arthur display so maybe they might be involved on the cleaning of the headstone .

    The Angus Council too as you say could cut back the 1800s planted trees in the old part of the very large cemetery . There are many very large trees ........

    There are many WW1 airmen war graves in one area of this cemetery and many WW2 airmen with a cross of Sacrifice centreing these CWGC war graves and I have spoken to the Commission staff but they do not touch Non Commission casualties stones.

    The airman was in 1913 a serving Flying Corps Officer and he was a casualty in service ( K.w.F) so really his headstone could come under the War Office (nowadays MoD ) casualties . Will see who I can contact from the MOD

    p


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    Re: Does tragic airman's ghost still stalk barracks ? Lt Desmond Arthur , 2 Sqn RFC : Montrose

    The Non CWGC headstones in the Western Cemetery Arbroath are maintained by the MOD themselves ( Pre 4 August 1914 to 30 August 1921 and Post 31 December 1947 ) when the CWGC closed their cut off dates

    p

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    Re: Does tragic airman's ghost still stalk barracks ? Lt Desmond Arthur , 2 Sqn RFC : Montrose

    Tomorrow I intend to lay a poppy Cross at the Airman's Grave in Montrose being the anniversary of Lt Desmond L Arthur's death as it would seem he has no relatives over in Scotland ....

    p

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    Re: Does tragic airman's ghost still stalk barracks ? Lt Desmond Arthur , 2 Sqn RFC : Montrose

    Today I laid a Poppy Cross at the grave of Lieutenant Desmond L. Arthur, of 2 Sqn RFC who was killed whilst flying ( kwf ) at Lunan Bay near Montrose on 27 May 1913 .
    The headstone is that of a cross with a base recording the details :

    Desmond L Arthur

    Lieutenant

    Royal Flying Corps

    Killed at Montrose 27 May 1913

    There is a stone surround covering the lair area of the grave


    p




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    Re: Does tragic airman's ghost still stalk barracks ? Lt Desmond Arthur , 2 Sqn RFC : Montrose

    Well done Pat, a very kind gesture to the fallen, a real act of remembrance
    Al

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    Re: Does tragic airman's ghost still stalk barracks ? Lt Desmond Arthur , 2 Sqn RFC : Montrose

    Thank you Chalky for adding my pics to the item and thank you Al too for your kind comment. Just that I thought that someone should remember this Flying Hero of 1913 and one of the very early casualties of the Royal Flying Corps .

    He was the first casualty of the RFC at RFC Montrose pre the Great War of 1914 where there were a number of casualties . These WW1 flying casualties were sometimes buried in the same cemetery in Montrose or buried in the airman's home town if requested by the next of kin. These WW1 war graves are a short way from Lt Desmond L Arthur's grave ...


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