Herbert Cecil Cutler

City of Worcester Museum and Art Gallery

Details on cross:
Cross formed from aeroplane propeller:
Small GRU tag:
“GRU 3”

Text on propeller hub:

Text type: Small GRU tag. Main text neatly cut into the surface of the propeller hub, filled in with white paint.

ENote mistake and correction on carving of ‘L’

Cross dimensions
Shaft Height: Approximately 1200 mm.
Cross beam width: Approximately 950 mm.
Width of wood: variable, not able to measure.
Thickness or depth: variable, not able to measure.

Other information
Mounting: Mounted in a glazed museum display case, with other items.
Detailing: Three of the four propeller blades cut short to form a cross.
Evidence of use in field: Weathered, loss of varnish, delaminated. Staining and rotting of base.
Surface insertion depth: Unknown. Considering the size, the base below earth must have been considerably longer to support the propeller and is presumed to have rotted or broken off.
Finish : Minor traces of the original varnish remain.
Condition : Weathered surface. Some splitting. Severe delamination and separation of joints of wood blade components.

Other information, notes and observations:

Museum display case exhibit description:
Grave marker of Lieutenant Herbert Cutler, 2/1st QOWH
Herbert Cutler had joined No. 24 Squadron Royal Flying Corps, on attachment. On 10th May 1917 he was shot down and killed in France. This propeller, not from his own aeroplane, was used to mark his grave. Note the 303 cartridges pushed into teh mounting holes. Colin Parsons believes the prop is from a DH2.

Medal Index Card gives arrival date in France 21/3/1917

From CWGC:
Date of Death 10/05/1917, Age 26.
Royal Flying Corps and 2nd/1st Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars (Worcester Yeomanry).
Buried at Templeux-Le-Guerard British Cemetery, plot II., row E, grave 22. (c. 1930). Original place of burial St Emilie British Cemetery, plot 2 row B, grave 4.
Personal inscription on headstone: OH TRUE BRAVE HEART. GOD BLESS THEE.
Son of Alfred Charles Cutler, of “The Cedars,” Bromsgrove, Worcs., and the late Clara Ellen Cutler.

No details found in the Royal Flying Corps Communiqués for 1917.

Also commemorated on the WW1 memorial panel inside St John’s Church, Bromsgrove (where, incidentally, is also commemorated Captain Noel Chavasse VC & Bar, MC)

LtHCCutlerFrom The Bromsgrove Messenger, May 19th 1917:
On Monday afternoon Mr. A. C. Cutler, of The Cedars, Bromsgrove, received the sad news of the death of his only son. The telegram, which was from the Colonel in charge of the Territorial Forces Records, read as follows:- “Regret to inform you Lieut. H. C. Cutler, Worcestershire Yeomanry, attached to the Royal Flying Corps, was killed in action 10th May. The Secretary of State for War expresses his sympathy.” The information came as a great shock to Mr. and Mrs. Cutler, who only on the previous day had received letters from Lieut. Cutler stating that he had part of his flying machine shot away, and that he had a narrow escape. The letters were dated the 10th inst. the date on which he appears to have been killed.

Lieut. Herbert Cecil Cutler, was 26 years of age and was the only child of Mr. A. C. Cutler. He was educated at Messrs. Charters and Field, West House, Edgbaston, and at Bromsgrove School (Mr. Hendy’d House). Immediately after leaving school he was articled until he came of age to Messrs. Taylor and Challen, the well known Birmingham engineering firm. He remained with the firm until the outbreak of war, when he promptly volunteered and with a number of friends entered the Worcestershire Yeomanry. He was quickly appointed second-lieutenant, and was an exceedingly popular officer among both his brother officers and the men of the Regiment. He was most successful in all his examinations, gaining first certificates in all. Later he decided to transfer to the Royal Flying Corps, and went through a course of instruction and training at Oxford, and was gazetted to the flying branch of the services about ten weeks ago. He quickly gained his wings as a pilot and left home for foreign service on March 21st of this year.

1911 census:
Living with parents at The Oakalls, near Bromsgrove. Age 20, Occupation Mechanical Engineering student. Born Edgbaston, Birmingham.

CWGC. Ancestry. The Bromsgrove Messenger. Worcester City Museum and Art Gallery. Copyright of photographs is retained by Worcester City Museum, taken by arrangement. (an excellent museum for The Worcestershire Regiment)

Survey and photographs courtesy of Geoff Sullivan
Date of survey: 27th August 2016

Image of Cutler © Martin Stephens