Letter of condolence from Douglas's senior officer to his father
R. N. Air Station
23 December 1916
Dear Mr Hume
We were all deeply affected by your son’s death & felt for you very much when you came to visit Westgate, it must have been a very trying day for you.
He was a fine boy in every sense of the word. He was a good officer & a nicer companion in a mess one couldn’t have. I was astonished when he told me his age. He gave one the impression of being much older. He was I think without exception the best boy in the mess both from the point of capability as an officer & as a man, everyone here would tell you the same.
As to his health, he never complained to me of feeling ill & he played football & was in every skylark in the mess. He was at the Queens at a dance the night before his end, & he was full of life then & I saw him & was talking to him a few minutes before he went up & he was quite fit & full of spirits. His skin was sallow I presume as a result of the time he spent in Mesopotamia but as far as I know he was alright in himself.
I had no opportunity of seeing him after the accident as he was taken to Sheerness, but from what Douglas tells me I think that death must have been instantaneous. They would both be unconscious if not before reaching the water, immediately the machine hit the water. The cut on his trousers would occur when the machine crashed into the water. I really don’t think he had any of the horror of seeing death approaching. As in all these cases of aeroplane accidents the pilot is so busy trying to right the machine that he has no time to think of anything else. This one hears from people who have had accidents of the same nature, but who have come out of it alive.
I don’t think there is any other point I can give you information on but I am glad to have this opportunity of telling you how much we all thought of your boy.
I am yours very sincerely
J. P. Berry