Monday, 18 May 2015

Stewart, Vernon Radcliffe - Lieutenant

Lt Vernon R Stewart
Royal Flying Corps, 
Killed whilst instructing flying operations near Birmingham
5th December 1917,
Age 23

Buried at Holden Hall Cemetery

Newspaper Reports:


Lieut. Vernon Radcliffe Stewart, son of Dr. and Mrs. Stewart of Gart-na-Fuaran, was accidentally killed while flying on December 5th 1917.
He was 23 years of age, and had been educated at Haslingden Secondary and Gigglewick Schools.
He had captained the 1st Rugby 15 at the latter.  For two years he studied medicine at St. mary's Hospital, London.
On October 12th, 1914, he received his commission in the A.S.C., and joined the R.F.C. in September 1916.
Lieut. Stewart went to Gallipoli with the first landing party, was afterwards in Egypt, and then in France.  He was invalided from the latter in October, 1916.  Since then he has been in home service as a war instructor in flying at Castle Brunswick.
The funeral will take place at Haslingden Cemetery at 11.15 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday)



Crowds of people witnessed the funeral at Haslingden Cemetery on Saturday morning of Lieut. Vernon Radcliffe Stewart, Royal Flying Corps, elder surviving son of Dr. and Mrs. J. Barclay Stewart, of Gart-na-Fuaran, Well Bank, Haslingden. The deceased was killed while instructing flying operations in this country on December 5th.

The Mayor (Major D. Halstead) walked in the funeral procession, which also included Dr. Broomhead (late R.A.M.C), surgeon and superintendent of the Haslingden Ambulance Corps, George Broomhead, R.N.T.S., Mr. A Smethurst, J.P., Councillor J. Law, J.P., Mr. F. Wilkinson, Mr. Kilpatrick, Mr. T.H. Smirk, Mr. H.J. Hesford, Mr. Tupling, Mr. Waldron, Mr. J. Hines, Captain Norman Wilkinson, Lieut W.H. Baxter, and the following fellow officers of the deceased: - Lieut. Newton, Lieut, Neiah, and Second-Lieutenant Waddington.

The Rev. A.F. Hall walked with the firing party of 20 wounded soldiers, from the two local hospitals, and they volleyed at the grave under the direction of Sergeant Major Ronald, Border Regiment.  Jack Brady, a discharged soldier, bugled the general salute as the cortege started, and "The Last Post" at the burial.

The interment was in the family vault, which was lined with moss and chrysanthemums.  At the bottom the letter V was picked out in chrysanthemums, and at the head was an anchor of chrysanthemums.  The coffin was covered with the Union Jack and wreaths from the deceased's father, mother, brother and sister.  The hearse was driven by Private J. W. Nuttall, home on leave after three years service at the front.  Altogether, 120 wounded soldiers attended the funeral, and there were also nurses from the two hospitals.  The officiating ministers were the Rev. T. Ogden Taylor, the Rev. C. Newall, and Mr. Llewellyn R. Ellis M.A.


The broughams contained the principal mourners as follows:- Dr and Mrs. Stewart, Murray (Lieutenant R.A.N.S.) and Millicent (brother and sister), and Mrs. Hogg (cousin) 2) Mr. Stewart, Swansea (uncle), Mr. Oliver Ashworth (Rawtenstall), Mr. Rawlinson, Mrs. J.L. Whitaker and Miss Morton; (3) Mr. L.R Ellis, M.A. Revs. T. Ogden Taylor and C. Newall and Mr. Grant (Giggleswick School).

The floral embelms were:- 

Fusillage, the family,
Wreath, Mr. A. Stewart,
Cross, Mrs and Miss Morton,
Wreath, Mrs. and the Misses Whittaker,
Flowers, Miss Rose Whittaker,
Wreath, the Kilpatrick family,
Wreath Mr and Mrs. Oliver Ashworth
Wreath, Mr and Mrs. Smirk,
Wreath, Miss Woodcock,
Wreath Mr and mrs. Rawlinson and family
Wreath Dr and mrs. John Paton Stuart,
Wreath Mr. Fred Worswick
Wreath, Mr and Mrs. F. Fattersall,
Wreath, Soldiers, Comforts Committee.
Wreath, Captain Wilkinson.
Flowers Miss Bracewell,
Wreath Dr and Mrs. Coates.
Wreath Dr and Mrs. Broomhead.
Wreath, Dr. Peterson,
Wreath, Lieut. and Mrs. Watson
Sheaf of flowers, patients of Pike Law,
Wreath nursing staff of Pike Law,
Wreath, Patients of Pike Law Military Hospital.
Sheaf of flowers, Mrs. Ashworth, Burse Townsend, Miss Hay.
Flowers (Propellier and wings), Officers R.F.C. at Castle Bromwich.
The funeral arrangements at both ends were carried out by Mr. J.J. Hamer, and before the body was railed from Haslingden six men of the R.F.C. accompanied it part of the way.


A memorial service for the deceased was held at the Congregational Church on Sunday night, when the organist (Mr. R. H. Hallam) played "The Dead March", and the Rev, J.D. Smith of Bacup, referred to the life of the deceased.
He asked was there anyone they admired more than an upright Christian gentleman, and went on to say that that church had lost such a man in Lieut. Stewart.  Though he did not know the deceased personally, he did know that he was admired and respected by all he came in contact with.  That was because they recognized he was one who desired to make the world better for them than it was, and who desired to see righteousness established in the world.  They might not all be called upon to die for the Master but they were all called upon to live for him, and if as a result of the loss the church had sustained, one of them who called upon to serve the Master, then Lieut Stewart would not have given his life in vain.


The deceased officer was early on educated at Haslingden Secondary School, where he won a County Council Scholarship tenable there.  Later he won a scholarship given by the governors of Giggleswick School, and went there.  He was captin of the Rugby fifteen at Giggleswick.
Leaving Giggleswick he studied medicine at Owen's College, but shortly afterwards went to St. mary's Hospital, London. He passed with distinction the first part of his London M.B. degree in 1913.
Shortly after the outbreak of the war he obtained a commission in the A.S.C., and he was not long in passing from second-lieutenant to lieutenant.
He went to Gallipoli with the first landing party and was also in Egypt.  He got dystentry, and was invalided to Malta.
While serving in the East he played a prominent part in saving the torpedoed Southland. She was on her way to the Dardanelles, and Lieut Stewart was one of the may persons on board when she was hit.  He helped to launch the boats, and scrambled back to the vessel for his camera, and took some photos.  He then remembered that there was a lot of money on the boat and he burst open the door of the cabin where the money was with the result that over a ton of coin was recovered.  Lieut, Stewart, who was the only British soldier left, guarded the money with the help of two men.
In a letter home shortly after this he said, "Don't worry, I'll turn up trumps wherever I go.  One has only to do one's duty"
He was transferred to the R.F.C. in September 1916.
He was invalided from France in October, 1916 and since then had been an instructor in flying on home service.
Murray, Lieut, Stewart's younger brother is with the R.A.N.S., in which he has a commission.