Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Montrose Ghost, Part l

When a pilot’s name is smeared he returns to clear his name . . .

Desmond Arthur
On the morning of May 27, 1913, Lieutenant Desmond L. Arthur a black-haired fiery Irishman who was a pilot at Montrose airfield in Scotland took off for a routine training flight in his BE-2 biplane.

Tragically while flying over this airfield his right wing suddenly snapped off which sent his aircraft plummeting to the ground-as hundreds watched. The jerking of the out of control plane broke Arthurs seatbelt in half and the pilot tumbled out of the plane. Every bone in his body was crushed as he hit ground and died.

Plane after crash.

The initial inquiry into this crash determined that it was caused by work left uncompleted being done on this aircraft by the ground crews.

Lieutenant Desmond L. Arthur was then buried with military honors.

But in 1916, three years later a government investigation found that this crash was caused by pilot error instead. Many who had known Arthur did not believe this for the Lieutenant was an experienced pilot.

Right after this new conclusion was released strange activity started to occur on the Montrose base. Lieutenant Arthur’s ghost started to make appearances.

These sighting were so widespread and terrifying that men stationed at Montrose started to request transfers.

Several officers—including Major Cyril Foggin-- saw the ghost of who they felt was Arthur heading down the path that led to the door of the old mess hall on base. Each time as this figure neared this door and opened it they saw it then just vanish.

At first, none of these men talked about what they had seen afraid they would be reprimanded.

Ariel view of Montrose in 1917
Other officer’s were awakened to find a soldier in a flight gear sitting at the edge of their beds staring at them. One senior flight instructor challenged this apparition, “Who the bloody hell are you, and what the hell are you doing here?”

He received no reply as he watched the form slowly fade away.

Several men on guard duty where scared out of their wits when they challenged a pilot who appeared out of nowhere—that then flickered out of sight.

These men despite the consequences abandoned their posts and fled for their lives.

Soon word got out in the Royal Flying Corps around the world that Montrose was haunted.

After almost every officer on base had seen the apparition the ghost became known as the “Irish Apparition” or simply the “Montrose Ghost.”

A question began to be asked, “Why was Lieutenant Desmond Arthur’s ghost appearing now—3 years after his death?

Finally, C.G. Gray the editor of the flying magazine, The Aeroplane provided a plausible link as to why Arthur’s ghost was appearing. He didn’t like being blamed for a crash that was not his fault.

Yet anther government investigation was opened in 1917 and this time the Lieutenant’s name was cleared when it once again was determined that it was ground crew error and not pilot error that caused the crash.

Lieutenant Desmond L. Arthur’s good name and reputation were restored.

Some researchers at this point state that Desmond Arthur’s ghost now pleased with the outcome appeared one last time with a smile on its face and has not been seen since –but there is evidence this is not the case.

In Part ll of The Montrose Ghost, Lieutenant Arthur’s ghost continues to make appearances on this base for the next 46 years.

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