Lieutenant Robert Bishop Slade



Robert Slade was born at Thorpe Farm, Aston Upthorpe on the 30th June 1892 to Leonard Gillott Slade and his wife Maria. They had six children and Robert was their eldest. The Slade Family had a very long record ofliving in Aston Upthorpe. They first acquired land at Thorpe Farm in 1521.By 1728 the family had sold the land and farm but remained as tenant farmers and lived at Thorpe Farm until 1919. Robert was afforded a good education at Shoreham College in Sussex and Abingdon Grammar School.After school he worked with his father on the farm. In February 1911 he boarded the SS Megantic from Liverpool and emigrated to Nova Scotia,Canada where he settled in Saskatchewan as a farmer.

In October 1914 Robert enlisted with the 28th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force where he trained in Winnipeg and Folkestone. On the 17th September 1915 he landed in France with his battalion.and fought in the Battle of Loos, at St Elioi, at Sanctuary Wood nearYpres and by August 1916 he had moved to the Somme in France. In January 1917 he left the Canadian Corps and transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and trained as a pilot where he joined the 20th Squadron,11thWing of the Royal Flying Corps and was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant.

27th July 1917: He had been flying in a formation of eight F.E.2d’s of No.20 Squadron over Belgium. His plane was shot down by enemy aircraft over Dadizeele, three miles north of Menin. He skillfully managed to land at Abeele Aerodrome where he sustained serious burns and crushed legs.He spent seventeen weeks at the 1st London Hospital recovering. This incident prevented Robert from taking part in any further ‘active service’during the war. In 1918 he was promoted to Lieutenant and became a flying instructor at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire.

23rd July 1918: He was flying a DH-9 (serial number C1321–9 TDS) with his Chief Mechanic Flying Sergeant Frank Allsop (11172) in Shropshire during an aerial gun practice when a mechanical failure occurred. The accident may have happened as Robert attempted to bring the plane out of a steep dive too quickly, thus subjecting it to a great strain.The DH-9 broke up in the air.

Both Robert and Frank died as a result of this tragic incident, just over three months before the end of the war in November 1918.

Robert died on the 23rd July 1918 and is Buried with Honour at All Saints Church in Aston Upthorpe. 

He is remembered on our village war memorial,on the plaque in the United Reformed Church and the Muster Roll and the plaque in St Michael’s Church, Aston Tirrold. He has his own memorial plaque in All Saints Church,where other members of his family are remembered. He is also remembered in Canada on the Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial and on the Regina War Memorial. He is remembered at Abingdon School and also remembered on Combrook village War Memorial in Warwickshire and also on the Roll of Honour in Combrook Church.