Southampton Old Cemetery
Eric Rowland Moon
Southampton Old Cemetery is closed for new burials. It is not a sombre place, and is a sanctuary to wildlife. It is the burial place of many important an interesting people from the area including Squadron Leader Eric Rowland Moon who died during a routine training flight in a Flying Boat at Felixstowe, on 29th April 1920.
He was amongst the early 'pioneers of the sky', the family business 'Moonbeams Ltd' developed the Moonbeam Monoplane No1 in 1910 and the Moonbeam Monoplane No2. They were flown locally, including from fields at Eastleigh, now the site of Southampton Airport.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (RAF) in 1917, and Bar (a second DSO) in 1918 for "displaying the greatest gallantry in attempting to save the life of a colleague" when, following engine trouble, their plane landed in the sea.
He was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.
This picture shows the propeller of the plane in which Squadron Leader E. R. Moon met his death (previously and erroneously reported in 1917). It has been placed alongside his tomb. Sadly it is beginning to decay, something which the Friends of the Cemetery are hoping to be able to deal with before it's too late, but first there needs to be a change in the law which currently only permits those holding Burial Rights, or their descendants, to give consent for work to be carried out.
The hand-engraved, and slightly corroded, copper plate on the propeller says
"IN AFFECTIONATE MEMORY OF SQUADRON LEADER E. R. MOON, D.S.O. R.A.F
KILLED 19th APRIL, 1920 IN THE SERVICE OF HIS COUNTRY,
ERECTED BY HIS COLLEAGUES OF 230 SQUADRON, FELIXSTOWE"
Further information about E R Moon is here E. R. Moon
and also on the Commonwealth War Graves Commissionmy vfxy