We regret to announce the death, by accident, of Second-Lieutenant James Thornton of the Royal Flying Corps, elder son of Mr and Mrs James Thornton, Hermand, West Calder.
Lieut Thornton had passed his examination for pilot in England on Monday and Tuesday of last week, and on Thursday he ascended alone in a battle aeroplane. Shortly after he set out engine trouble developed. This is a not uncommon occurrence which aviators have to face, as the engine often 'takes up' after a short time. In Lieut Thornton's case, however, the engine trouble got worse, with the result that the aeroplane dropped like a stone to the ground from a considerable height, and the bright young aviator lost his life.
The sad news reached West Calder by telegram on Thursday evening and cast quite a gloom over the village. Mr Thornton at once set out for the scene of the sad accident to his son. An inquest was held before the Coroner, and the verdict was one of accidental death.
Midlothian Advertiser, November 17, 1916.