ID number REL32614
Title Next of Kin plaque : Second Lieutenant R L Cummings, No. 5 Training Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Collection Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Maker Royal Arsenal Woolwich
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London, Greenwich, Woolwich
Date made 1920s
Physical description Bronze
On display Anzac Hall: Over the Front: AFC Training Case 13 (D-SC3)

Description

Next of kin plaque showing Britannia and a lion together with the words 'HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR'. The name of the dead man 'ROY LYTTON CUMMINGS' is in relief within a raised rectangle.


Summary

Plaque commemorating the death of Flying Instructor Second Lieutenant Roy Lytton Cummings, Australian Flying Corps, 5 Squadron AFC, who was killed in a training accident on 28 August 1918, aged 24. A native of Franklin, Tasmania, Cummings enlisted on 19 November 1914 and after training was posted to the 3rd Field Ambulance. He embarked for overseas service aboard HMAT A70 (Ballarat) on 9 September 1915 and saw a short period of service in the last month of the Gallipoli campaign. In January 1916, he successfully applied to be remustered as a Driver and saw service in France with No 4 Ammunition Sub Park at Rouen until July 1917, when he applied for a transfer to the Flying Corps and was accepted on 29 September 1917. Assigned to No 5 (Training) Squadron, Australian Flying Corps (based at Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire), in early 1918, Cummings quickly displayed an impressive flair for flying. Major Brown, commanding 5 Squadron AFC, wrote to Cummings’ father ‘he came to me as a pupil and did so well I had him made an instructor’. By May 1918, Cummings had passed his instructor’s course and was actively instructing at Minchinhampton. He wrote to his mother just eight days before his death that ‘it is certainly a great chance instructing over here as there are bound to be some pretty good jobs going after the war. Tomorrow is our fortnightly holiday and Alan Payne and I have arranged to fly down to Exeter, which ought to be a good trip.’ The same Alan Payne described the crash at 7:25 on the morning of 28 August to Roy’s father: ‘Roy and his pupil Lieutenant Scott were having a fly before breakfast around the aerodrome when a pupil from another Squadron flying by himself (Ernest Jefferys of No 6 (Training) Squadron, AFC, who had been ordered to practise turns), suddenly turned his machine upwards and crashed into Roy and Scott. The two machines were about 700 feet up when they collided and were partially locked together when they fell.’ All three men were killed instantly. Cummings was co-piloting an Avro 504K (serial 9282) when the accident occurred and like Scott and Jefferys, died of a fractured skull. All three airmen are buried at Leighterton cemetery.