RICS and the end of the First World War
By coincidence, the presidential address for 1918 to celebrate 50 years of the Surveyors’ Institution was given on the day the First World War ended, 11 November 1918.
Pilot-Officer Andrew MacDonald Paterson was the first member of RICS - then the Surveyors’ Institution - to be listed as killed on active service in the Second World War. Under the heading “Pro Patria” in the January 1940 copy of the Transactions, he is named as having been in the RAF - and died on 7 October 1939, aged 28.
Paterson was part of the 500 Squadron on his death, which by 1939 was part of the RAF Coastal Command - deployed on patrols and convoy escort operations off the coast of Essex and East Anglia. Before the war, this squadron was part of the Auxiliary Air Force, so he may have already been serving as a reservist at this point. At the time, he would have been based at RAF Detling, in Kent.
According to Robin J Brooks in his book “Kent’s Own : The History of 500 (County Kent) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force”, Paterson was returning from patrol having escorted a convoy through the English Channel when his plane developed engine failure; the order was given to abandon the aircraft. The flying officer managed to gain some height and one crewman bailed out to safety - however the rest of the crew, including Paterson, did not have the opportunity to jump. He subsequently died alongside Flying Officer Maby, and Corporal J.F. Drew. They were the first fatalities of the war for the squadron.
He is buried in St. Martin of Tours Churchyard, Detling, Maidstone, Kent.
In the last membership list before the war, Paterson was listed as a Professional Associate working for Farebrother, Ellis and Co of 19 Fleet Street, London - who are now based in Swiss Cottage, in North West London. He qualified in 1934 - before which he was listed at 61 Beresford Road, Birkenhead, which is believed to have been his home address.
He appeared in the 1911 census, aged 5 months old - alongside his parents, Henry and Amy Paterson, and their eight children, ranging from Thomas, aged 20, to the baby Andrew. His father is listed as an estate agent and his eldest brother Thomas as a student of surveying, and they too resided in Birkenhead.
There is no record of Henry Sanderson Paterson in the RICS lists; however Andrew’s brother, Thomas Simpson Paterson, qualified in 1912 and was working at the family firm of Paterson and Thomas in Liverpool. Sadly, Thomas died on 10 November 1916 at the Battle of the Somme. Soon after Andrew's death, his father passed on 1 November 1939 aged 77, less than a month after his son.
RICS are privileged and proud to be associated with an individual of such great courage and strength, as Andrew MacDonald Paterson was. Having fought valiantly to serve his country in the Second World War, he embodied the spirit of the 500 Squadron in battle. His exploits, as well as his close ties with the membership body, will not be forgotten.
RICS will be holding an afternoon of words and music at 2pm on Monday 11 November to mark Remembrance Day to which all members are welcome. Please sign up to attend:https://www.rics.org/uk/events/networking/service-of-remembrance/
Head of Reference Services
Cathy is the Head of Reference Services at the RICS which encompasses the library service and London Bookshop. The library acts as the archive as well as delivering online resources to members to enable then to access information 24/7 wherever they are in the world.