Downe, Second Lieutenant Cyril Lester MSM MID

No 5 Fighting School RAF

Cyril Downe came from Echuca, Victoria, and was a Carpenter aged 20 when he enlisted in the Light Horse at Broadmeadows on 30 September 1914. He departed from Melbourne on HMAT A3 Orvetio on 20 October 1914. While serving at Gallipoli he was wounded. He later served as a Staff Sergeant in the 1st Light Horse Brigade Headquarters and the Australian Army Postal Corps before transferring to the AFC in August 1918. In June 1917 he had been Mentioned in Despatches and a year later he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for valuable services rendered with the troops in Egypt. He graduated as a pilot, and was commissioned, in February 1919.

He died in an aircraft accident at Abassia, Egypt, on 3 March 1919 when he was flying as a passenger in Avro 504 D5505 flown by Lt C H Marchant RAF; the aircraft collided with E1759, another Avro 504, flown by Lt W F Heron RAF, and all three airmen were killed. Lt Heron was to act as a target aircraft during Lt Downe’s instruction in aerial combat, and the two aeroplanes came too close while simulating combat manoeuvres.

2Lt C L G Downe is buried in Grave Q 278 at Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.

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