Lieutenant Raymond Tenney Balch, 74 Training Squadron, Royal Air Force, died in a flying accident at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield on 25th May 1918.
Raymond Tenney Balch was born on 8th December 1894 at Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA. According to the Aviation Safety Network, he entered Phillips Academy in 1912, but left before completing his course. After working as a Broker’s Clerk with Blake Brothers of Boston and New York, he enlisted in the Massachusetts Naval Cadet School, graduating with the rank of Ensign on 24th March 1917.
Medical reasons prevented his joining the 9th Deck Division on active service so, disappointed and determined to serve, he instead joined the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto. After training in Bayside and Fort Worth, Texas, he was commissioned Second Lieutenant on 26th November 1917. Going overseas in December 1917, he was licensed First-class Pilot in February 1918, and commissioned Lieutenant on 1st April 1918.
On 25th May 1918, just two days before he was due to cross the Channel for combat duty, his aircraft broke up whilst coming out of a dive over Sutton Park. Raymond Balch, the only occupant of the plane, was thrown to the ground and killed. He was 23 years old.
He was buried at Castle Bromwich churchyard. All of the men of the 9th Deck, with whom he would have served, had he passed the medical test, survived the war and returned home safely.
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