Eric Hinckes Bird was a member of Rigaud’s House from 1907-1912. After leaving school he went to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. He obtained a commission just after the outbreak of the war and initially served as a Lieutenant in the City of London Regiment of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. He was invalided home after six months on the western front in which his Regiment was involved in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, the Battle of Aubers and the action of Bois Grenier. He recovered and returned to active service and subsequently became attached to the Royal Flying Corps as an Observer. He was sent out to France in June 1916.
His aircraft, an FE2b fighter, was returning from a successful bombing raid on Henin Leitard early in the morning of 26th June. As the aircraft returned home it was attacked by German Fokkers and, along with other allied aircraft, became embroiled in a frenzied fight.
Bird’s pilot, 2nd Lieutenant Riley made a forced landing near Mazingarbe but the aircraft ran into hidden barbed wire defences, turned over and was wrecked. Riley was thrown on to his head and suffered a severe concussion but he later recovered. Bird was less fortunate receiving a blow to the back, breaking and wrist and dislocating a shoulder and died of his wounds the following day.
German solider Lt. Max Ritter von Mulzer claimed to have caused the aircraft to crash.