Little is known of Major Egerton at this time. The ORB records show him as assuming command of 59th Sqn on 14/08/1916, from Lt. A.C. Horsbrugh. He was killed in a flying accident on 25/12/1917. Command was then passed to Major C.J. Mackay until the end of hostilities.
Major, 59th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps and Royal Irish Fusiliers. Killed in action (crashed) while flying. Son of Sir Reginald Egerton, C.B. and the late Lady Egerton, of 18 Egerton Terrace, London. Awarded the Military Cross. Age 25.
Third son of Sir Reginald Arthur Egerton, C.B., and Lady Egerton, of 29, Brompton Square, S.W., born in 1892. Awarded the Military Cross "for gallantry, ability, and useful reconnaissance work on many occasions at great personal risk." He was shortly afterwards invalided home, and, being pronounced by a medical board as unfit for trench work for a time, he devoted the interval to learning to fly, and speedily obtained his " wings,"and was appointed a flying officer in the R.F.C. He was gazetted a flight commander on March 3rd, 1916, with therank of captain, and on November 23rd of the same year a squadron commander with the rank of major. At the timeof his death he was in command of a squadron.
source - www.findagrave.com
The Egerton War Memorial - Chester Cathedral (www.militaryimages.net)
This account reports his death on the 23/12/1917:
There were many cases of aircrew being killed in flying accidents despite being experienced airmen. Two days before Christmas Day, Sunday 23/12/17, Major Robert Egerton (Royal Irish Fusiliers) and his observer 2Lt.Reginald Benade Glendower Ottley (North Staffs Regiment) from 59 Sqn RFC, 22 were KWF. They were on a photographic patrol when they entered a dive from 3000ft to 1000ft when the top wing extensions of their RE8 serial number B5095, folded back followed by the bottom wing extensions. The aircraft hit the ground and both pilot and observer were killed in the crash. Major Egerton had taken command of the squadron in August 1916 shortly after it was formed and led it to France. The RE8 was prone to failure of the wing extensions and the contributing factor was given as frost damage to the main spars. The aircraft had less than 20 hour’s flight time.
Major Robert Egerton who was born on 26/08/1892 was the son of Sir Reginald Egerton, C.B. and the late Lady Egerton of 18, Egerton Terrace, London. He was 25 years old. . He took his ‘Ticket’ number 1385 at the Military School Ruislip, on the 02/07/1915 while flying a Maurice Farman Biplane. Robert Egerton had originally joined the army in 1913 and after training at Sandhusrt he served in India until his regiment was transferred to France in November 1914. While serving in France he was twice mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the M.C. “for gallantry, ability, and useful reconnaissance work on many occasions at great personal risk.
By the gallant leading of his platoon at St.Eloi he prevented the advancing enemy from taking an important position, and later rendered very material assistance in the reconnaissance prior to our counter-attack”.
It was when he was invalided home, pronounced unfit for trench work for a while that he learned to fly and transferred to the R.F.C. He initially served with 9 Sqn. flying BE2’s and was involved in combat with German aircraft. He and his observer, 2Lt.Scaife, are mentioned in Communiqué number 29, the 5th of February 1916 for shooting down an Albatros in flames. He was promoted to Captain and then Major and squadron commander and led 59 Sqn to France.
2Lt.R.B.G.Ottley was the last surviving son of Mr. & Mrs Ottley of 5 Cambridge Court, Twickenham, Middlesex. He was 21 years old. Their other two sons had already lost their lives in the war! Pilot and observer now lie side by side in graves II.C.3 and II.C.4. source - (http://www.achiet-le-grand.org/Achiet for Publication.pdf)
If you have any information about Major Egerton, please contact me, thank you.