Reported in the News Letter on July 4, 1938: Two men killed in mail plane tragedy

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Two men were killed last night when a Railway Air Services twin-engined passenger and mail aeroplane, “Star of Scotia”, crashed in a field beside the Holywood Road, Belfast, directly opposite the entrance to the Craigavon Hospital.

The victims were Captain A C Larmuth, of Croydon, and Engineer Reginald Vaughan, of Renfrew.

The machine left Renfrew at 6pm and at about 6.45 as it was preparing to land on the Belfast Harbour Airport the engine stopped and the aeroplane nose-dived into the field.

The aeroplane immediately burst into flames and the pilot’s body was dragged out by a motorist who had dashed across the field. The charred body of Vaughan was removed from the wreckage some time afterwards.

Last night the following statement was issued: “Railway Air Services Ltd regret to announce that one of their aeroplanes when landing at Belfast on Sunday evening, crashed close to the airport. There were no passengers in the aeroplane, but unfortunately the pilot, Capt Larmuth, and Engineer Vaughan, were killed.”

The cause of the accident is unknown. According to eyewitnesses the engine stopped when the machine was at a low altitude. The aeroplane went into a spin, then fell like a stone nose-first to the ground.

The aeroplane struck the ground with great force, and a moment or two later burst into flames. A passing motorist, Mr Lewis Dunn, of Holywood, was among those who saw the crash. He dashed across the field, and at considerable personal risk dragged the body of the pilot from the blazing wreckage. Two hours after the crash, all that was combustible in the machine had been consumed by the flames, leaving only a little mass of twisted metal framework.