Malvern College First World War Casualty

Lieutenant Geoffrey Brian Hobbs

Photo of Geoffrey Brian Hobbs
House and time at Malvern: No 2, 1910 - 1913.

Regiment: Northumberland Fus.
Died: 05 September 1915 aged 19 in United Kingdom. Accidentally killed flying near Dover.
Cemetery: St Margarets At Cliffe, Kent

Son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Hobbs, of Riding Mill, Northumberland, and Falcons, Gosforth, Newcastle-on-Tyne. b. 1896.
Upper V—Modern I. Minor Scholar.
In business.
Great War, 2nd Lieutenant Northumberland Fusiliers 1914; Lieutenant R.F.C.
9th Sqdn. Royal Flying Corps and Northumberland Fusiliers.
His brother, Lieut. H.E. Hobbs, also fell.

'After leaving School he went into business, but on the outbreak of war he volunteered for service and was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the 10th Northumberland Fusiliers in Sept. 1914, and was, later, promoted Lieutenant. On May 25th, 1915 (the very day on which his elder brother was killed in action in Flanders) he joined the Royal Flying Corps, and was granted his pilot's certificate on June 26th, and on Aug. 26th he passed his final examinations. He was killed on Sept. 7th at Martin Mill, near Dover, whilst he was engaged in practice flights. He had shown great skill in the management of machines of various types. The accident which caused his death was due to the machine getting out of control. He was buried with military honours at St. Margaret's Bay on Sept 9th. He had considerable ability, and his career at School, where he displayed much activity of mind and body, gave promise of success later on. His bright and cheery disposition gained for him many friends.' (Malvernian, Nov 1915).

Dover Express - Friday 10 September 1915:
The first military fatal flying accident at Dover occurred early Tuesday morning, when we regret to report that Lieut. Geoffrey Brian Hobbs, of the Royal Flying Corps, aged 19 years, met his death owing to his machine falling to the ground at Martin Mill from a great height.

His age was 19 years. He had flown for a total of from 45 to 50 hours, and had had experience of many sorts of machines. At about a quarter to six on Tuesday morning the deceased ascended in a Martinside biplane for a flight. This machine was new to him, but it was in good order and had been flown the evening before by two different pilots. His time for flying would be about half an hour. At the end of that time a telephone message arrived from the waterworks at Martin saying that the machine had fallen to the ground heavily. Witness ordered the break-down tender and a hospital orderly to go at once. Witness went with the tender, and in a field to the east of the waterworks he found the machine which had been used by the deceased smashed on the ground, with the engine in the ground and the back doubled up as if it had come down head first. The deceased was pinned beneath the machine. The machine was lifted, and the deceased was cut clear. He was dead. The deceased was removed on a stretcher and taken on the tender to the Duke of York's Hospital.

Raymond Champion said that he was the engineer in charge of the Martin Waterworks. A few minutes to six o'clock the previous morning he was in the yard, and he was watching a flying machine. It was flying very high —at least 3,000 feet — and was going straight along, when it suddenly shot round two or three times, and then turned over several times and fell to the ground. Witness heard the machine strike the ground, and he sent the message to the last witness, and then went to the place where the machine had fallen.

Another officer of the Royal Flying Corps said that he gave the deceased instructions to fly on Tuesday morning and what he was to do. The machine was in good order, and had only been in use four and a half hours. It was sent out the night before for the purpose of seeing if it was all right, and it was reported by the instructor that all was right.

Lieut. Hugh Roker Evans, R.A.M.C., stationed at the Duke of York's School, said that the body was brought to the Hospital a little before seven o'clock on Tuesday morning. He examined the body, and found that death had quite recently taken place. There was a very extensive fracture of the vault of the skull, exposing the brain. The left leg was broken — both bones. Death was caused by the fracture of the skull. The fall would be quite consistent with the injuries.
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