24 December 1914 : Flt Sub-Lieut Bernard Osbourne Ffield

Bernard Osbourne Ffield born in Weybridge, Surrey on 17 August 1894

Location of Weybridge, Surrey in the South East of England (cc OpenStreetMap)

Bernard was the son of John Bernard Ffield (an 'importer of foreign produce) and Emma Ivory Beatrice Ffield. He was the older brother of two sisters, Barbara and Antoinette, and two brothers: Cyril and Paul. At the 1901 Census the family were living in Chelsea. A decade later at the 1911 Census the family had moved to Edgbaston, Birmingham. 

The gym at Wimbledon College from the School Archive Website (c) Wimbledon College 2021

Bernard (Junior) was educated at Wimbledon College. An engineering student in 1911 he was still studying at the outbreak of war, he was gazetted as a Sub-Lieutenant in the RNAS on 9 September 1914.

Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate (c) Ancestry 2021

He received his brevet from the Royal Aero Club on 10 December 1914.

Two weeks later, age 21, while flying out of the RN Air Station at Hendon on Christmas Eve 1914, Bernard was coming in to land when his aircraft took a vertical dive to the ground from a height of about 200 feet. He died the same evening from a traumatic brain injury. 

Hendon Cemetery and Crematorium (c) Google Maps 2021

He is buried in Hendon Cemetery and Crematorium, Middlesex.

Flt Sub-Lieut Bernard Osbourne Ffield, Royal Naval Air Service

24 December 1914

Research by David O'Mara with additional material from Jonathan Vernon

Additional Sources: 1901, 1911 Census, 49 Squadron Association

IMAGE: Photograph in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, Certificate Royal Aero Club Aviators' Certificates. Both courtesy of Ancestry.