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John Alfred Clayton, Age 26

Second Lieutenant, 24716 - T1/1088, 72nd Training Squadron, Royal Air Force.

Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force Cap Badge.

John was the youngest son of Mrs Lucilla Clayton and her late husband John; they lived at Prospect House, Horsehay.

John had enlisted in August 1914 in the Army Service Corps (ASC) and had served in France for nearly two years, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant. In August 1917 he had transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (It became the RAF in April 1918) and was gazetted Second Lieutenant in the December of that year.

On April 21st 1918 whilst on a training flight, John was in a plane with Lieut W H Robinson an expert instructor and was flying at a height of 2000 ft when it collided with a plane flown by Lieut E J Howell, both planes crashing to the ground killing all three officers instantly.

An eye witness, a farm hand, said that he saw the planes meet and the wings dropped off and crashed into a field followed almost immediately by both planes. A verdict of 'Accidental death' was returned on all three officers by a jury.

A memorial service to the three officers was held in a northern town on the Tuesday with a regimental band playing both the 'Death March' and sounding the 'Last Post' at the service.

Clayton Family

John Clayton standing back left with the rest of his family outside Prospect House. John at the time of the picture was a Corporal in the ASC. It was the last time the family was pictured all together because apparently one of his sisters in the photo died not long afterwards.

The Funeral of 2nd Lieut Clayton took place in Dawley Churchyard on the following Wednesday evening, in "the presence of a numerous concourse of inhabitants of the local community, John being a well known and highly esteemed in the locality".

WWI Medal Rolls Index Card

WWI Medal Rolls Index Card

Clayton J A 24716 HS

John is buried in the family plot at the Holy Trinity Church Dawley Magna on the north side of the church.

Inscription added to head stone by: Mrs L. Clayton Prospect House, Horsehay, Shropshire.

God Himself
The Soul Will Keep
Giving His Beloved Sleep.