Bertram Denison Kilner (Ha. 1909-10)


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Flight Commander, Royal Navy
Born: May 5th 1895
Died: September 25th 1917

Age at Death: 22

Killed in action from Harwich, September 25th 1917
Son of W.A. Kilner of Brighton.
Grave reference Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.

A donation to the memorial statue has been made in honour of this soldier by the Tiplady Family.

Flight Sub-Lieutenant Bertram Denison Kilner
Bertram Denison Kilner was born on May 5th 1895 in Fulham, London. He was the youngest son and third child of William Kilner, a grain merchant, and his wife Frances (nee Harington-Clyde). The faily subsequently moved to Brighton where after a brief period at the school Kilner completed his education as a boarder at Eastbourne College. Aged 19 Kilner commissioned into the RNAS on December 3rd 1914 and subsequently trained on both standard Biplanes such as the Sopwith Pup and seaplanes launched from one of the Navy’s earliest aircraft carriers, HMS Vindex. Reports from his superiors in the RNAS indicate that he was very highly thought of- he was described as carrying ‘out all his duties in a very efficient manner…Very capable officer’. He served as a night-flying pilot at the RNAS base in Dunkirk, at Gallipoli in support of the fleet lying offshore, where he crashed and was invalided home.

In 1917 Kilner’s primary operational responsibility was to intercept the Zeppelins that the German Navy used for maritime reconnaissance. On the 25th September 1917 at 5.30 am Kilner took off in a seaplane from HMS Vindex to intercept a Zeppelin which was reported to be flying off Southern Denmark but he never returned. His record simply states that death occurred during ‘seaplane operations in the North Sea’.

He is commemorated on the RNAS Memorial in Chatham, Kent.

Source: LEST WE FORGET PROJECT, Brighton College 2014/15

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