^ Home
< Back
? Search
Print this page




Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

Directory Listings





Parish Records




War Memorials

A TRAGIC TALE OF TWO BROTHERS -       Part 1 - Benjamin

By Isaac Tozar

Please send any responses or queries to




In September 1939, Great Britain was once again plunged into yet another World War. Countless men and woman, from all of life, from the length and breadth of the nation volunteered to take up arms against the oppressive Nazi forces and Axis powers. Two such volunteers were Benjamin and Jasper Baring-Gould. The Grandsons of the Anglican Priest the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, of St Peters Church, in the parish of Lewtrenchard.

Both men had volunteered early on to server King and Country, in late 1939. Benjamin enlisted into the ranks of the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a pilot, while Jasper enlisted into the ranks of the British Army; becoming a trooper within the 42nd Royal Tank Regiment. But by the end of 1941, both men would succumb to the rigors of war, and be listed as Killed in Action. This is the tragic tale of the two brothers….


             Pilot Officer B.G.Baring-Gould

Pilot Officer Benjamin

Gordon Baring-Gould, late of the Royal Air force volunteer reserve


 Benjamin Baring-Gould was born in Sarawal, Borneo while  his father was in the employment of the Sarawak Government. Upon his father's retirement in 1923, Benjamin and his family returned to Britain. The family moved to Weymouth, Dorset. In 1929, Benjamin's father Julian ( the son of the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould of Lew Trenchard) passed away. In 1929, at the outbreak of war in Europe, Benjamin enlisted in the ranks of the RAF and became a pilot.


After initial training, Pilot Officer Baring-Gould was selected to become an instructor. His role was to train pilots, who would later go on to fight in the Battle of Britain, and other theatres of conflict around the world.


On the 7th February 1941, PIlot Officer Baring-Gould and his pupil took off from RAF Worcester, in a Tiger Moth light aircraft; on a duel instrument lesson. While flying on a course which followed the River Severn, Pilot Officer Baring-Gould retook control of the aircraft while close to the City. After a brief time, the plane lost power and struck a set of high tension cables, and went into a violent spin in mid-air. Within seconds the plane lost altitude, and began to cartwheel down the River Severn. After 500 metres, the plane finally came to a stop, when it crashed into the Diglis Weir, and began to sink.

Diglis Weir Worcester

  Diglis Weir on the Severn

at Worcester. The Cathedral can be seen in the distance and very faintly to the left and right are the pylons carrying the cable across the river as described above.         Courtesy of Worcester Museum

Pilot Officer Baring-Gould’s pupil was able to escape, but Benjamin remained stuck in the cockpit. As the remains of the aircraft began to sink deeper, the pupil and a local man tried in vain to save Benjamin, but to no avail. Some hours passed before the RAF was able to dispatch a recovery team to the area. When the salvage unit pulled the cockpit section from the river, the body of Benjamin Baring-Gould was discovered, still strapped into his seat. After an initial RAF enquiry, the cause of the crash was classed as mechanical failure. Pilot Officer Benjamin Baring-Gould was laid to rest in the military plot of Astwood Cemetery, Worcester, with full military honours in late February 1941.


The text on this page is the copyright property of Isaac Tozar



^ Home
< Back
? Search
Print this page