100 Years Ago: Belleville Aviator Harold Mackenzie Reid Dies in Collision, Ritchie Company Flag at Half-Mast

The Intelligencer February 25, 1918 (page 1)

Reid, Harold M.“ ‘Young Belleville Aviator Was Killed in England. ‘Deeply regret inform you Flight Sub-Lieut. Harold Mackenzie Reid killed in aeroplane collision at East Church, Sussex. Letter following. Admiralty.’

The above cablegram from the British Admiralty arrived in the city Sunday morning and thus brought the sad intelligence that another of Belleville’s fine young men had been called upon to make the supreme sacrifice, and another home saddened. The news cast a gloom over the city yesterday when it became generally known, for Harold was one of Belleville’s most popular young men, and his untimely death came as a distinct shock to all who knew him.

Lieut. Reid joined the Royal Naval Air Service in December, 1916, and received his preliminary training in France. He had seen six months active flying and fighting on the western front, and only a few weeks ago he was moved to England for nerve rest and instruction on new types of machines. …

Harold was 20 years l month of age and received his education in the Belleville Public and High Schools. Just previous to enlisting he entered the men’s department of The Ritchie Co. store and was exceedingly popular with all his fellow employees, who all feel very keenly his sudden death.

He was a faithful member of Bridge Street church and Sunday School and at the Sunday School service yesterday afternoon Mr. F. S. Deacon paid a splendid tribute to the life and qualities of his former pupil.

By fateful coincidence Lieutenant Reid was killed on his grandmother’s ninety-second birthday—he was a grandnephew of the late Sir Mackenzie Bowell. He leaves to mourn his demise, his mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. C. M. Reid, a sister Helen, at home, and two brothers: Douglas, who has just finished his training as an aviator at Fort Worth, Texas, and Gordon, of Syracuse. Mr. Reid has cabled the Admiralty to have the body shipped home.”

[Note: Flight Sub Lieutenant Harold MacKenzie Reid died on February 23, 1918. He is commemorated on Page 592 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer February 25, 1918 (page 5)

“Token of Respect. The flag above the Ritchie Company store on Front street is floating at half-mast out of respect to the late Flight Lieut. H. Reid, who was killed in England.”