Richard Carson Morton's story

16 September 2014

By Pan Macmillan

My father, Carson Morton, an Irishman, served in the RAF in No. 8 Squadron and was stationed near Aden, Yemen. He saw action in Somaliland against the Italians.

In order to travel to the Kormaksar airbase for some much needed R&R, he and three other men were assigned to an old two-seater bi-plane. They formed two pairs, each pair with a pilot, and tossed a coin – a penny – to see who got to sit in the open air in the front and who had to crouch in the airless fuselage. My father and his friend lost, so they crawled into the fuselage.

Shortly after take-off, the plane hit an air pocket and nose-dived into the sand. The two men in the open-air seats were decapitated. My father and his friend were unhurt. While my father kept vigil over the bodies, his friend walked back to base for help.

My father lived a long life, raising three children, and eventually moved the family, with our mother, to the United States.

All on the flip of a coin.

Edge of Eternity