[From The Barrovian #121]


From The Isle of Man Times.

Captain Elgie Jefferson
[From #123]

It is with great regret that we have to announce that one of Manxland's most prominent sons, Captain Elgie Jefferson, R.A.F., son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Jefferson, of Ballahot, Malew, is missing, and that grave fears are entertained as to his safety, after a flight from England to Paris. Captain Jefferson was in charge of an aeroplane conveying mails and despatches to the British Ministers in France. He was accompanied by a passenger of some considerable im portance, and both were wearing life-saving jackets, while Captain Jefferson also had despatches of the utmost secrecy. The machine has been picked up eight miles from the French coast, but there was no sign of either Captain Jefferson or his passenger, or of the confidential despatches. The mailsordinary mails for the Paris Peace Conference-were recovered intact.

There have been few, if any, more brilliant soldiers serving His Majesty in this great war than Capt. Elgie Jefferson. In August, 1914, he had just left King William's College. He immediately enlisted in the King's Liverpools, and a few weeks later was granted a commission. He went overseas in the autumn of 1914, thus winning the much coveted Mons Star. In February, 1915, he was made a full Lieutenant and transferred to the Regular Army. Some time later he was made Captain, and later again, given the temporary rank of Major. After serving in France until 1917, he transferred to the R.A.F. whilst in France, and took part in many combats in the air on the Western front..

After three months acting as observer, he was transferred to a flying school, and in a short time won his wings, and became a full pilot. He returned to France and again took part in the operations on the Western front. At one time he was attached to the French Army, and received as reward the much coveted Croix de Guerre. He was also mentioned in despatches. He was shot down, but, fortunately, he was able to land on our side of the lines.

After recovering from his wounds, he was stationed at an important aerodrome in South Wales, and later on at the Air Training School at Oxford. He was also attached for some time to the Grenadier Guards, and was stationed in London. He was then attached to the Air Ministry at their headquarters in London, and subsequently became what is known as a "ferry pilot," making journeys from London to Paris in connection with the Peace Conference. He has made many journeys between the two Capitals, taking over Ministers of importance, including, amongst others, Mr Bonar Law. Only a few weeks ago, he created a world's record in completing the distance in 75 minutes, an average speed of 183 miles an hour, the fastest, we believe, ever reached by a British aeroplane. He has also taken machines to Belgium and Germany, and on one occasion he took a new machine, called the "Castletown," and delivered it safely to the British headquarters in Cologne.

On the 11th January last, he succeeded in being the first Manxman to land in the Isle of Man from England. He was taking a Bristol machine to Scotland, and after alighting in Cheshire, he crossed to the Island, spending the week-end at his home, flying next day to Ayr, in Scotland, and then on to Montrose. On arriving at the Island, after giving an exhibition of flying over Douglas and Castletown, he received a telegram of congratulation from His Excellency the Lieut.Governor.

Captain Jefferson was a most capable pilot, absolutely fearless, and was looked upon as being perfectly safe; otherwise he would not have been entrusted with the task of taking His Majesty's Ministers to and from Paris.

He was only 23 years old, and last year he was married to a Welsh lady, whose home is at Neston, Cheshire. Captain Jefferson was looked upon by those who knew him as a man of great promise. He was exceedingly popular and made friends wherever he went. He was devoid of anything in the form of "side," and was altogether a Manxman we can ill afford to lose.

From a later edition: -

All hope has now been abandoned with regard to Captain Jefferson's safety. Had he been picked up by a passing vessel, ere this the news of his rescue would have been received. It has now become, therefore, unfortunately, necessary to add the name of this gallant soldier to the list of those splendid Manx boys who have laid down their lives in the country's cause.


From The Isle of Man Times.

Flight-Lieut. R. C. Cain
[From #123]

The sad intelligence was received to the effect that Flight-Lieut. R. C. Cain, D.F.C., R.A.F., was killed on July 18th, at Hendon, whilst testing a machine. He had just gone up in a new DH10 when, in making a turn, it suddenly nose-dived to the ground, the wreckage immediately catching fire.

Lieut. Richard Claude Cain was the eldest son of Mr Richard Cain, of Castletown and Sulby. He was educated at King William's College, from which institution he gained a History Exhibition to St. Catherine's College, Cambridge. In the spring of 1914 he emigrated to Canada, and obtained an important appointment in the Government Land Office at Calgary, Alberta. On the outbreak of war he enlisted in the Royal Horse Artillery of the Canadian Army, and came to England with the 1st Division Canadian Contingent. After being commissioned in the Horse Artillery he transferred to the Royal Air Force and became attached to the Italian Expeditionary Force, where he was promoted to Captain, and won the Distinguished Flying Cross. He ran clear of accidents all through the war until three days before the signing of the Armistice, when he was shot in the foot by an enemy machine from behind. On leaving hospital he was sent to Hendon, and, as is the custom for men returning from abroad, he was reduced to 1st Lieutenant. He was engaged in testing new aeroplanes, and it was in this capacity he was flying when the sad occurrence happened.

The interment took place on Wednesday, at Malew Churchyard, and an exceptionally large concourse of his fellow townsfolk assembled to honour the memory of a brave soldier and a likeable lad. The Rev. E. H. L. Locke, Chaplain of St. Mary's, Castletown, met the coffin on its arrival at the station, and accompanied the cortege through the town to the churchyard, and its committal rites were performed by the Rev. Canon Spicer. The choir of Malew Parish Church led portions of the burial service which are of a musical character. The O.T.C. of King William's College (here Lieut. Cain was formerly a pupil) provided a firing party, and the "Last Post" was sounded over the grave.


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2009