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Royal Flying Corps - Silver Tobacco Box, Usher
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Royal Flying Corps - Silver Tobacco Box, Usher

Measurements: Width: 8.6cm (3.25in)

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Silver. Circular form, the hinged spring lid engraved with the Royal Flying Corps pilots wings  and inscribed ‘

Flight Lieutenant Robert Howell Craster Usher, M.C., A.F.C., (1896-1924) was He was commissioned into the 3rd Wiltshire Regiment on the outbreak of the Great War, and joined the R.F.C. in 1916. Posted to 27 Squadron, equipped Martinsyde G.100 Elephant fighter bombers at Treizennes, France, Usher flew sorties in support of the Somme offensive and, on 30 July 1916, he was wounded in action on a bombing run to Marcoing, and force landed at Moroeuil. On another occasion he engaged five enemy aircraft and despite injury continued the combat until his engine stopped. Promoted to Temporary Captain and awarded the Military Cross, Usher returned home but was involved in a flying accident at Radford Aerodrome in October 1917 when the engine of his BE2e biplane failed.

Awarded the Air Force Cross in 1918, he was granted a permanent commission in the Royal Air Force, and made is mark as rugby footballer, playing as a forward at London Scottish and Leicester Tigers. In 1920 he was selected to play for an Anglo-Scottish side against the Scotland XV on the Christmas Day International Trial match. In 1921 he was captain of the team at R.A.F. Netheravon which included the future senior Second World War commander Basil Embry. Usher also represented the R.A.F. against the Army and Royal Navy, and in 1924 captained the R.A.F. XV. Usher was posted to the Headquarters of the Superintendent of Reserves at R.A.F. Northolt in May 1923. On 5 June 1924, he undertook a test flight in a 41 Squadron de Havilland DH.42 'Dingo'. The aircraft suffered structural failure and broke up in mid-air near over Northolt and crashed killing him outright - his death being a noted loss to the R.A.F. and to rugby.

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