Second Lieutenant Vernon Radcliffe Stewart, aged 23, was accidentally killed on 5th December 1917 whilst serving as a flying instructor at Castle Bromwich. He was born on 19th March 1894 in Holmesfield, Derbyshire but, by 1901, the family had moved to Haslingden, 19 miles north of Manchester. He was educated at Newchurch Grammar School, Haslingden Secondary School, Gigglewick School, and Manchester University before going on to study medicine at St Mary’s Hospital, London.
With the outbreak of war, he joined the Armed Forces, receiving a commission in the Army Service Corps in October 1914. He went to the Dardanelles in March 1915 and played a prominent role in saving the torpedoed ship, Southland. He was later invalided to Malta, suffering from dysentery.
In June 1916, he joined the Royal Flying Corps, and went to France in September 1916. He was invalided the following month but was subsequently passed fit for home service and became an instructor at Castle Bromwich.
His funeral, with full military honours, took place at Haslingden Cemetery, and was attended by 120 wounded soldiers from two local hospitals.
Second Lieutenant Stewart is commemorated on the Haslingden Borough War Memorial
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