This is one of the articles from Issue 87, Autumn 2014.
The Foreign Secretary. Philip Hammond, spoke the words of remembrance and was the first to lay a wreath at the service of commemoration at Send Parish Church on 12th August. The Mayor of Guildford and other invited representatives also laid wreaths on the family grave of R.R.Skene who died exactly 100 years ago. He had been born in Hammersmith on 6th August 1891 and died at Netheravon in Wiltshire aged 23 as a Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps. Together with Air Mechanic Raymond Barlow they had been heading for Dover ready to go to France as part of 3 Squadron RFC, but crashed shortly after take off and both died before medical aid could be obtained. They were the first RFC personnel killed on wartime flying duty and among the very first casualties of the British Expeditionary Force in 1914.
The service was conducted by Rev’d Tony Shutt and the acting Bishop Commissary of Guildford. Mr. Shutt read a communication from the great-grandnephew of Mr. Skene in Vienna expressing his appreciation of the service and that people should remember the airmen of the first World War.
Members of the Surrey Chapter of the Harley Davidson Club had ridden from Netheravon after a service there and after this service they were riding on to Dover, Glisy in France and eventually to Arras as part of the official Western Front Association commemoration. At all of these stops they were laying wreaths to commemorate the two airmen and all other casualties of the Great War, and carrying a special wreath dedicated to the despatch riders of the Corps of Royal Engineers to be laid in Arras.
We will remember them.