LIEUTENANT RICHARD STONE
ROYAL AIR FORCE
9TH AUGUST 1918 AGE 19
BURIED: HEATH CEMETERY, HARBONNIERES, FRANCE
This inscription had me worried for a moment but no it says 'shot down at dawn' not shot at dawn.
Richard Stone was a pilot with 203 Squadron who at midnight on 8 August 1918 was attached to 201 Squadron in a ground attack role. The next morning he took off in Sopwith Camel D6250 in support of the British troops attacking near Rosieres. Driven off once by German fighters he returned to the area where he was attacked again. This time his plane was hit and crashed. Stone was killed.
As was the custom with pilots, the cut down propeller of his plane formed the cross over his original grave. It now hangs in the church of St Nicholas, Piddington, Oxfordshire. There is another survival from this crash. In May 1919, Stone’s body was exhumed by the Australian Graves Detachment and reburied in Heath Cemetery. One of the Australians removed Stone’s and when he was passing through London he returned it to Stone’s father, John Morris Stone, a Lincolns Inn barrister. The ring is still worn by a member of the Stone family.
The last line of Stone’s inscription comes from the Book of Revelation 2:10. This quotes Jesus as having promised, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life”, a special reward for those who have met death in their efforts to fulfil God’s will. To the British, of course, God’s will was that they should defeat the Germans.
More details on Richard Stone can be found here on the Piddington Village website.