HENRY CLIFFORD STROUD
Henry Clifford Stroud followed in his father’s footsteps in terms of academic ability, although his passion was for engineering.
Place and date of birth
Based at Rochford Aerodrome
Connection to Southend
Henry Clifford Stroud was born on 25 July 1893. He followed in his father’s footsteps in terms of academic ability, although his passion was for engineering. He was educated at the Royal Grammar School, then gained his BSc in Engineering at Armstrong College in 1913, followed by a BA at King’s College Cambridge.
At University, Henry Clifford joined the Officer Training Corps, then the Territorial Force and in June 1912, at the age of 18, was gazetted a Second Lieutenant in the Northumbrian Royal Engineers then promoted to Lieutenant two years later.
When war broke out Henry immediately volunteered for service overseas and embarked for France with the Northumbrian Royal Engineers, First Field Company in January 1915. His career was short-lived as on 8th February he was severely injured in both legs and after treatment in Versailles, he found himself back at Armstrong College, now converted into the No1 Northern General Military Hospital, where he had a long slow recovery.
His injuries made a return to front line service impossible, so he was posted to Otley as an Instructor in Field Engineering and Bombing, becoming a Captain in June 1916. However, he was passed by the Medical Board to join the Royal Flying Corps, qualifying as a pilot on 22nd August 1916.
In September 1916 he was posted to 61st Squadron at Rochford Aerodrome, engaged in the defence of London from air raids, often under the cover of darkness. At around 11.30 on the night of 7 March 1918, Henry took off in a Se5a bi-plane to intercept a German plane. It was a moonless night, one of only two occasions when the Germans launched attacks on such nights during the war. At about the same time, Captain Alexander Bruce Kynoch of 37 Squadron took off from Stoke Maries to intercept the same raider.
With no means of communication and next to no light, the two aircraft collided in mid air over Dollyman’s farm in Essex at around midnight, killing both pilots. Henry Clifford was buried at St Andrew’s Church Rochford and a permanent memorial of the accident was placed at the spot where the two planes crashed. The memorial is still there and consists of an aeroplane propeller.