WW1 Flight-Lieutenant William Archibald Buchanan

Flight-Lieutenant William Archibald Buchanan

William (known as Billy) was born in Auckland 22 June 1894, son of Archibald Buchanan, barrister and solicitor (1860-1940), and Edith Mary Buchanan of 27 Victoria Avenue, Remuera, Auckland.

He attended King’s College from 1908-1912 and then completed his studies at Clifton College, Bristol, England, and with the intention of entering the Indian Army, qualified for admission to Sandhurst. While at the college war was declared, and he was given a commission in the First Battalion of the Connaught Rangers. With his regiment, Lieutenant Buchanan saw a great deal of service at Neuve Chapelle, including the second battle of Ypres in 1915, when the regiment suffered very heavy casualties. On April 25, 1915, William was invalided to England with a severe wound in the leg – the Medical Board declared him to be unfit for foreign service. [1] [2]

After his recovery he joined the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) on 11 November 1915 at Birmingham. He obtained his Royal Aero Club certificate on 14 January 1916 and pilot’s badge with 1 Reserve Squadron on 2 May 1916. On the 2 June 1916, he was training with 24 Reserve Squadron of the Royal Flying Corp (Netheravon, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire) in a Morane-Saulnier Type L monoplane when an accident occurred. The plane started up in one of the hangars, taxied out and proceeded to take off, but on lifting off, banked steeply to the left and side-slipped into the ground. Almost immediately the overturned monoplane burst into flames. The trapped observer, Capt. L Prickett, Royal Garrison Artillery, Attached RFC, died before he could be extricated from the wreckage. The injured pilot, William Buchanan, died at the Tidworth Military Hospital on the 7th June 1916. [3] He was 2 weeks short of his 22nd birthday.

William (Billy) Buchanan is buried at Tidworth Military Cemetery – E.6, North Tidworth, Wilts., England, 10 miles west of Andover and 15 Miles northeast of Salisbury.  He is commemorated on the Memorial Cross at St Aidan’s Church in Remuera.