FROM THE FILES: Saskatchewan's first fatal aviation accident

Source: The Leader, Regina, Sask., August 26, 1919


Charles E. Allison, mechanic for the Western Flyers Ltd., was killed about 4.30 o'clock yesterday afternoon and Captain Lane, one of the pilots of the company, was seriously injured when their plane, a new Curtiss, crashed to the ground about two-and-a-half miles south on Albert street. This is the first airplane accident in the province wherein a life toll was taken.

Dr. Mitchell, coroner, was notified within two minutes of the accident and after viewing the body of Mr. Allison, order it removed to the morgue. The ambulance took Captain Lane to the general hospital where Dr. Alport dressed the superficial wounds and set the right femur, which has a compound fracture. Late last evening, Captain Lane was resting easily and the doctors who attended him stated that he would recover or at least he had splendid chances. His injuries consist of a compound fracture of the right thigh, bruises about the head, several teeth knocked out and bruises on the chest.


No authentic information could be obtained as to the cause of the accident, but onlookers, half a mile distant, and a lady of the south country who passed by just about one minutes before the crash, stated that the plane was in a steep turn when it turned into a spin and, being about 200 feet from the ground, crashed before it could be got under control.

The plane apparently landed at an angle of about 50 degrees, nose first. Allison, who was in the front seat, was thrown against the engine and was killed instantly, suffering a bad fracture of the skull and several body wounds. Captain Lane, in the hind seat, was thrown against Allison and partly into the rigging of the plane.

Within a few minutes, the news of the accident was spread broadcast in the city and hundreds of autos hurried to the scene to view the wreckage.

Superintendent Mahony of the provincial police force, hurried with his men to the scene of the accident and placed Constable Chard in charge of the wrecked plane.

On learning later that an inquest would not be necessary, the machine was turned over to its owners, the Western Flyers Ltd., and later men from the Aerial Service Co. Ltd. dismantled it.


The plane is a complete wreck, save the engine. In order to get the victims of the accident out of the wreckage, an axe had to be used to break two of the wings apart of the fuselage.

Captain Lane, the injured pilot, is from Warman, Sask., and served in the Royal air Force. In May of this year, he demobilized. Recently, he joined with Lieut. Bundy, another Canadian aviator, and formed a company, the Western Flyers Ltd., Captain Lane had been invalided out of the service and was in the paymaster's department at the depot battalion offices since 1918. His relatives were informed of his condition last evening by telephone.

Men from the Aerial Service Co. Ltd. were practically the first on the scene and took Captain Lane from the wreck. He was conscious at the time and asked Messrs. Clark and Groome not to hurt his leg, telling them it was broken.


Charles E. Allison, the victim of the accident, was a young man 29 years of age and leaves a widow and two young girls, one four years of age and the other seven months. He came to the city about ten months ago and for a long time was employed with the Saskatchewan Motor Company. Afterwards, he worked in the Gray Dort agency and, as of late, he worked in the Gray been with the Western Motors Ltd.

About three weeks ago, he severed his connection with this firm to accept the position of mechanician with the Western Flyers Ltd.

He came to Regina from Calgary, where his relatives live at the present time.

He was very popular with the automobile men of the city and had a wide connection in the district having been a successful salesman of motor cars in Regina and district.

No arrangements have been made for the funeral, but these will be made immediately on receiving instructions from the relatives in Calgary.