From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Crash at Castlebar Aerodrome Recalled
By Brian Hoban
29, Nov 2011 - 14:21

In 1920 Castlebar Aerodrome was an RFC / RAF grass strip with wooden huts and canvas hangers, located parallel to the road and railway line in the area, where the "Baxter Factory" is now situated, on the old Breaffy Road. The Officers were billeted in nearby "Maryland House", next to Castlebar Railway Station, which was rented from the then owner.

There were at least five aircraft from the aerodrome lost (mainly to mechanical failure) at the strip or in the area, with at least three fatalities, and a member of the aerodrome guard tragically shot another member of the guard who jumped out in the dark as a prank


On Aug 28 1920 Major Harry Francis Chads M.C. the Border Regiment was killed in a flying accident at Castlebar.

The plane was piloted by Norman Herford Dimmock AFC. He was a pilot in the RFC and stayed with the RAF after the war. N.H. Dimmock AFC/RFC survived with two badly broken legs. His WW1 MIC gives an address of 27 West Hill Highgate, which ties in with the newspaper reports.

The resident squadron at Castlebar seems to have been from Joly 1920 to Jan 1921 - 2 Sqn RAF Detatched Flight from Baldonnel of Bristol F.2b Fighter's

The pilot told the enquiry that he was approaching too fast and thought that he needed to abort the landing and go round again. He put on speed, but hit a tripod at the perimeter fence, and this caused the plane to crash.

It is reported in local and national newspapers on September4th 1920 that Mr. Chads father was not happy with the newspaper report of his son's death.



Major Chads is buried in the Church of Ireland graveyard located next to the Traveler's Friend Hotel, near the hospital.

His gravestone in Castlebar Churchyard reads:

"In loving memory of
Major Harry Francis Chads M.C.
the Border Regiment
who was accidentally killed at Castlebar
on 28th August 1920
whilst flying on duty
Erected by the officers, non commissioned officers
and men of the 2nd Battalion"

Details on the reverse side of the stone are in reference one of his brothers that had killed in action in France.

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