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Maxwell, John Earle

Lieut. Maxwell was the elder son of Mr. John A. M. Maxwell, solicitor of 52 Bishopsgate, and was born on June 24th 1892. He was educated at Haileybury, and left in 1911. After studying law for two years he came to Guy’s as a first year student in January 1913. In January, 1916, he was given a commission in the R.N.V.R. and was attached to the R.N.A.S. 

After serving at various air stations in England, he was ordered to the Eastern Mediterranean in November, 1916 as an Observer in the R.N.A.S. On March 30th of the present year he went up for a long-distance reconnaissance over enemy territory (Bulgaria), but failed to return. He was accordingly reported missing as from this date, though the authorities held out considerable hopes of his safety owing to the failure of the enemy to report such an unusual occurrence as the bringing down of a British aeroplane. But unhappily, after ten weeks of uncertainty, definite reports were received that the machine had been shot down on March 30th and that both Lieut. Maxwell and the pilot had been killed.

News of Lieut. Maxwell’s death was received with very general regret at Guy’s, as he was a contemporary of the majority of men now on the wards. He was for some time secretary of the Physiological Society and took a very active part in the discussions at the meetings. He was always thoroughly at home in any debate or argument and was a very clear reasoner . His arguments were well thought out, and he seldom made a slip on a point of pure logic. He was an able and enthusiastic amateur astronomer, and more than once lectured on his subject at the Hampstead Scientific Society, besides reading papers at the British Astronomical Association. He was one of the youngest Fellows of the Royal Astronomical Society having been elected at the age of 22. He did a good deal of practical work with the telescope, and his talents as an observer stood him in good stead in his subsequent aerial work, especially in reconnaissance and bomb-dropping. In the latter he particularly distinguished himself and some time before his death he was made Armament and Intelligence Officer of his squadron. He had just those qualities which make for success in an airman – absolute fearlessness and great keenness on his work. We offer our most sincere sympathy to his parents in their bereavement. Guy’s Hospital Reports Vol.LXX, War Memorial No. and Guy’s Hospital Gazette 14 July, 1917

Biographical

Surname(s)Maxwell
First name(s)John Earle
Date of birth24 June 1892
Place of birthHendon Registration District
Family detailsSon of John Andrew Maxwell and Nellie Maxwell, of 14, Hollycroft Avenue, Hampstead, London. (In 1913 - 84 Dartmouth Road, Brondesbury N.W.
Previous educationHaileybury College
CollegeGuy's Hospital
Dates at college1913
Dept / courseLondon M.B.
Military unitRoyal Naval Air Service, "A" Sqdn. No. 2 Wing
War / conflictWorld War One (1914-1918)
Date of death30 March 1917
Age at death24
Rank at deathFlight Sub Lieutenant
Burial placeDedeagatch British Cemetery, Greece
Commemoration(s)Guy's Hospital Memorial
SourcesGuy's Hospital Medical School Records, King's College London Archives; Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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