Corporal Clifford Newton Ryder, of the Australian Flying Corps, died on 10th April 1917 and was buried at Castle Bromwich churchyard on 13th April 1917.
According to his service record on the Discovering Anzacs website, Clifford Newton Ryder was born in Double Bay, near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. He was an apprentice fitter and turner, and was 24 years old and 5ft 4in tall when he enlisted in the Austrialian Forces in October 1916. He set sail for England from Melbourne on 17th January 1917, suffering influenza en route and spending three days in hospital.
He disembarked in Plymouth on 27th March 1917 and, after a few days at the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) Depot Perham Downs, was transferred to 71 Squadron AFC at Castle Bromwich aerodrome on 2nd April 1917.
He met his death just over one week later whilst flying as observer with 20-year-old Lieutenant John Alexander Williamson. The aeroplane was flying very fast and high over Leicestershire, when the fatal accident occured. The plane crashed to the ground, killing the pilot, who was strapped into his seat, and Corporal Ryder, who fell out of the aeroplane.
He was taken to Ellesthorpe Hospital, Rugby, where he was pronounced dead. He was buried with military honours at Castle Bromwich Churchyard.
A court of enquiry in Birmingham determined that the Sopwith aircraft had been previously examined and passed satisfactory. The court concluded that the accident occurred as a result of an error of judgement on the part of the pilot.
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Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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