Remembered Today:

Ian Riley

Picture WL Wyllie Aerial Combat over Ypres A/C Identification

15 posts in this topic

ID: 1   Posted (edited)

The attached picture (William Lionel Wyllie from, I understand, maps and pictures provided by his son, Harold Wyllie, also an artist and an officer in the RFC) shows aerial combat over Ypres circa 1915. There are other similar pictures by WL Wyllie, a very distinguished marine artist if not the leader of his day, who had in any case an incredible grasp of perspective to transfer his view point up a few thousand feet or so. The detail and accuracy is astonishing. In my own copy I can make out (on an 'original' print here)  the bridge at Hill 60 (all of about 2 mm across) and the bend in Cambridge Road just as you come  north off the Menin Road between Birrs X and Hooge Crater (which is all of about 10 metres of road). The question is: Can someone identify the machines depicted, please, as the RFC is out of my comfort zone?This image is from the website of the Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand to whom I was speaking today. AerialCombatOverYpres1915WyllieAucklandNewZealand01.jpg.0553514316ee00b38fb06e4aae839c5e.jpg

Edited by Ian Riley

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Ian,

 

I too find Wyllie's paintings and drawings superb.  He finished up commanding 102 Squadron, with FE2b night bombers, which also added interest about him to me.

 

At the time of this painting - 1915 - he was probably with 6 Squadron.  I would say that on our left is probably a BE2c, with an early oleo undercarriage, and on the right it looks like a Henry Farman F.20. 

 

Hope that helps.

 

It's lovely to see another image of his.  Thanks for posting.

 

Regards,

 

Trevor

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ID: 3   Posted (edited)

I think the machine on the right is probably a Caudron G3, the inverted 'V' undercarriage struts seem to right for this type.  No idea what the two enemy machines are though.

 

Astonishing detail for a painting in which the aircraft are presumably meant to be the main focus of attention. 

 

Many thanks Ian.

Edited by pete-c

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I'm sure you're right Pete.  I notice the Caudron has a French cockade, so I suspect we're looking at a bit of psychology here too - the Allies combining to drive the Germans from the sky...

 

There's something new to see every time you look at that painting.  It's great.

 

Trevor

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4 hours ago, pete-c said:

I think the machine on the right is probably a Caudron G3, the inverted 'V' undercarriage struts seem to right for this type. 

Many thanks Ian.

 

Yes, its a G3 . Pic below is the RAF Hendon Museum's one I saw last month. Its a scarily flimsy looking thing but apparently quite stable. My great uncle learned to fly in one of these at Vendome and I have just discovered that the great, great uncle of a guy who works for me was killed there at the same time. (name of William Ferrier) 

IMG_0618.JPG

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ID: 6   Posted (edited)

Hello Ian and Trevor

I have what I'm sure is a print, signed by H W Wyllie. It was presented to 39 Squadron in WW1. If I can get a decent picture of it - it's hanging in the downstairs loo at the moment - and I can figure how to download it,  I'll post it tomorrow.

 

.

Edited by alex revell
sense!

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ID: 7   Posted (edited)

Hello all. Thanks very much for responses so far. Just come in and having to go out again  but we appear to be reaching a consensus. There are actually two other aircraft in the picture (one just above the BE2c, partially in cloud) and one between and behind the two machines in the foreground (fore-air?) above Zillebeke Lake with German crosses on the wings - in this image I think they will be too faint to identify. I am planning to use the picture to illustrate a smallish (unpaid) piece for the North West England and Isle of Man Reserve Forces (free) magazine in a series on NW Territorials (and  other reserve forces) in the Great War, the angle being NW Territorials who transferred to the RFC.

 

Ian

Edited by Ian Riley

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People may be interested to see the frontispiece of In The Ypres Salient The Story Of A Fortnight's Canadian Fighting June 2nd-16th 1916 by Beckles Willson (I hope that I have his name the right way round)

wyllieSalientDiagramWillsonBeckles.jpg

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1 hour ago, Ian Riley said:

People may be interested to see the frontispiece of In The Ypres Salient The Story Of A Fortnight's Canadian Fighting June 2nd-16th 1916 by Beckles Willson (I hope that I have his name the right way round)

wyllieSalientDiagramWillsonBeckles.jpg

 

Very interested indeed Ian.  Presumably this 'sketch' was the basis for the painting?  It would certainly explain the depth of detail.

 

 

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ID: 10   Posted (edited)

Pete,

 

I never saw it that way round. I would presume that the sketch has been taken from the painting to be used at the front of the book. In fact, now I have found the book, the outline sketch is described as a'key' to the original illustration which is also shown but in monochrome and fairly small size. The detail on the sketch is nothing at all compared with the detail on the actual picture. The actual coloured image is probably 55 cm by 50 cm (by eye across the study). William Wyllie had an eye for detail!

 

Ian

Edited by Ian Riley

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14 hours ago, Ian Riley said:

Pete,

 William Wyllie had an eye for detail!

 

Ian

 

He certainly did!  If Alex can show us an image of the print in his downstairs 'cludgie', it will be interesting to see if there is any similarity.

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l would say the retreating German is a DFW ?

So is that British Archie shelling the Allied planes?

Wouldn't be the first time......

 

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ID: 13   Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, nils d said:

l would say the retreating German is a DFW ?

So is that British Archie shelling the Allied planes?

Wouldn't be the first time......

 

I did wonder that German AA was reaching out to two aircraft over the back-end of Ypres even after Second Ypres. . What was the typical horizontal range, anyone, for aircraft at normal patrolling height?

Edited by Ian Riley
Grammar

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ID: 14   Posted (edited)

German or British Anti-Aircraft fire?

 

A few calculations on the back of a convenient envelope on horizontal ranges of early British anti-aicraft guns using A level Maths ignoring air resistance and  using data from Wiki
 

Allowing for air resistance is another matter but the excellent 'Ballistics' site (nigelef) suggests that the reduction of range can be by a factor of 3 or 4 for a shell as a result of air resistance (and 'stuff'). (I did a calculation on the given maximum heights against the theoretical maximum without air resistance and this suggests reduction by around a third which seems to agree - the reduction factor for a rifle bullet is around 20 according to Nigel). All depends on air pressure, rotation of the Earth (for long ranges) and lots of other factors. I am sticking my neck out here and hope that I am not wildly abusing the figures. I await the arrival of an IG Gunnery or Master Gunner or a PhD in viscous drag.. 

I think that the approximate results below would suggest that for a target over the west side of Ypres the flak shown on the picture  (presumably artistic licence) would have to come from British (or Allied) AA batteries/guns (also emplaced by artistic licence)

 

QF 13 pounder 9 cwt  Muzzle velocity 1990 feet per sec

 

  • Elevation 25° taking 10.1 secs to reach 5000 ft would give a horizontal range of 3.5 miles (no air resistance)
    With air resistance 'fudge factor' of 3 gives horizontal range of 1.2 miles
     
  • Elevation 40° taking 15.5 secs to reach 10,000 feet would give a horizontal range of 4.4 miles (no air resistance)
    With air resistance 'fudge factor' of 3 gives horizontal range of around 1.5 miles

QF 3 inch 20 cwt 1914  Muzzle velocity 2500 feet per second
 

  • Elevation 25° taking 9.1 secs to reach 5000 ft would give a horiz range of 3.9 miles (no air resistance)
    With air resistance 'fudge factor' of 3 gives horizontal range of around 1.3 miles
     
  • Elevation 40° taking 12.6 secs to reach 10,000 feet would give a horizontal range of 4.6 miles (no air resistance)
    With air resistance 'fudge factor' of 3 gives horizontal range of around 1.5 miles

Ian

Edited by Ian Riley

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On 21/04/2017 at 15:11, nils d said:

l would say the retreating German is a DFW ?

So is that British Archie shelling the Allied planes?

Wouldn't be the first time......

 

Nils, thanks for that

 

Ian

 

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