John Wilton Sheridan
Location: St Andrew’s Church Rochford Essex, S 4 1NW
An interesting propeller cross, native made rather than returned.
Details on Cross
IN MEMORY OF
LT JOHN WILTON SHERIDAN
CAMERON HIGHLANDERS & ROYAL AIR FORCE
KILLED 27th SEPT. 1918
Text type (e.g. hand-written, GRU tags, carved): CARVED
Cross dimensions (millimetres please)
Shaft Height: 1350 mm
Cross beam width: 740 mm (across)
Width of wood:
Thickness or depth: Base- 485 mm (left to right) and 255 mm (back to front)
Square plate (if supported)- Oblong shape?
Mounting to wall: NO- Free standing
Evidence of use in field (earth marking, cracking, staining, shrinkage): No Evidence
Surface insertion depth (into ground if apparent): n/a
Finish (varnish, paint, oiled, unfinished etc): varnished/ oiled
Condition (cracked, paint peeling, woodwork, damage etc): minor cracking- but overall in good condition. Mounted in quite a shaded part of the church- not much light/UV
Biographical notes, information, notes and observations:
Crucifix carved from a wooden (four bladed) plane propeller. Unable to identify what type of aircraft, but have ruled out Sopwith Pup (which 61 Squadron RAF used at Rochford aerodrome until 1918). Propeller could be RE8 or SE5, but unable to positively identify. Wood is dark, and could be mahogany, oak or cherry but hard to tell.
There’s very little information on Sheridan, but there is reference to his death being due to a mid-air collision.
Regarding the pilot who is memorialised inside the church, there is the following website. Under PEOPLE section/tab under S there are some entries to Sheridan, JW (refer rows 8514- 8528). The cause of his death is (according to this website) recorded as a collision with another pilot when flying in formation doing a half-roll manoeuvre, with 2nd Lieutenant Sanders (Reginald Frank). Both pilots were stationed at Rochford Aerodrome (home to 61 Squadron RAF). Sanders’ entry is contained in row 1111. Sheridan had served overseas with 54 Squadron prior to his Rochford posting. According to the information both pilots were flying Sopwith Camels (F1395 & F1315).
SHERIDAN, JOHN WILTON
Date of Death: 27/09/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force, 54th Sqdn. and Cameron Highlanders
ROCHFORD (ST. ANDREW) CHURCHYARD
Additional Information: Son of Dr. and Mrs. J. W. Sheridan. of Craigievar, Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, Born at Stowmarket, Suffolk.
Photographs and Survey courtesy of Jim Smyth
Date of survey:26/01/17