Stephen Dorr Jr. Is Killed

In Toronto Airplane Collision

Stephen Higginson Dorr Jr., 24, was killed in an airplane collision in Toronto on Aug. 17, 1917. The eldest son of Stephen H. Dorr of Satterthwaite Avenue, he had lived in Nutley all his life.

He joined the Officers’ Reserve Corps at Fort Myer several months ago and was one of ten men selected to go to Toronto for training in aviation with the Royal Flying Corps there.

According to the Toronto Globe, Aug. 18, S. H. Dorr, an American cadet training with the Royal Flying Corps., was killed yesterday in an accident at Armour’s Heights.

It was Dorr’s first solo flight, and also the first solo flight of another cadet, an American, G. Squires.

In some manner the planes collided in the air, Dorr’s falling to the ground, and bursting into flames as soon as it struck the earth.

Bystanders extricated him from the machine, but not until he had been severely burned. He died a few minutes later.

The other aviator made his landing without mishap, but naturally his nerves were rather shaken.

The Globe report cited the rarity of mishaps.

The fact that a fatal accident to an R.F.C. man is necessarily rather spectacular is rather inclined to cause people to think that such mishaps occur very often.

As a matter of fact, since the Flying Corps opened operations here (in Toronto) last February, deaths from accidents in the air have been under one percent, say Flying Corps officials.

In that time, over 1,200 cadets have been flying, and at the present time each squadron flies forty to fifty hours daily.

Royal Flying Corps officials here claim that the record of carefulness in the training camps in Canada compares more than favorably with that of England and France.

Unfortunately, a mistake in the air is liable to be costly, but the R.F.C. officers claim that a man cannot learn to fly without flying. They point out that the machines and engines are fully inspected before and after every flight by a rigger personally responsible for every machine that goes up.

Dorr was a graduate of the Princeton Training School.

Funeral services for Dorr, the first Nutley son to meet death as a result of the war, were held Monday afternoon at Grace Church.

The auditorium was filled with mourners and military honors were paid to the young aviator at both the church and cemetery.

Rev. Douglas Matthews conducted the services.

The casket was covered with an American flag and was accompanied by Captain John Witney, commander of Squadron A, New York.

Witney had served alongside Dorr with the squadron in Mexico.

The pallbearers were Joseph O’Neil, brother of Mr. Dorr’s fiancée, Miss Elizabeth O’Neil, Louis O. Ray, Harry S. Bluhm, Julian De Picaza, Welling Nichols, Pearce P. Williams, and Hammatt Norton of Nutley, and Bernard Deslivia of Washington, D.C.

At Rosedale Cemetery, Orange, the guard of honor saluted the flag-draped coffin while the bugler sounded taps.

Stephen Dorr, Nutley, WWI, flying accident, Toronto

Florida airfield named
after Nutley WWI Flyer

According to Florida Aviation and Southwest Florida - 1910 to 1996:

Near Arcadia, Carlstrom Field and Dorr Field were principal aviation training stations for the Army. At Dorr Field fourteen hangars were constructed and training was done in Curtiss JN-4D (Jenny) airplanes as well as some rotary engine craft produced by the Glenn Martin company.

Army airfields were named after military aviation heroes of the day, and Carlstrom Field was named after First Lieutenant Victor Carlstrom who had made many altitude and distance records and died in a training flight.

Dorr Field ... was reopened in 1942 by John Riddle and operated as a civilian contract school for training Army aviators. At it's peak it had 700 cadets in training using Steerman training planes. Riddle also operated schools at Clewiston.

In 1944 the Embry-Riddle interests were sold to John McKay. After the war, the field was converted to a minimum security prison.


The Nutley Sun, August 1917, Aug. 25, 1917

The Toronto Globe, August 18, 1917

Brian Lindner

American Legion Post 70 photo

Early Aviators

Robert F. Dorr (no relation), author of Air Combat: An Oral History of Fighter Pilots

READ MORE: Belleville and Nutley in the Civil War a Brief History

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