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Shot Down RFC Crews - Who might they be ?


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#1 Black Dudley

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 08:21 PM

Gentlemen,
I've a couple of "Feldpost Cards" and a Press Photo with caption, showing shot down RFC crews. The Feldpost cards have a date on the photo, which seems certain to be, when the crews came down. The top photo has the script "On 11.2.18 captured English flyers" the two men seem in good physical shape. The second "Feldpost Card" shows also a two-man crew sitting in a open car dated 9.3.16 according to the short text " wounded English flyers". The bottom picture is a press photograph with a head-bandaged flyer, caption reads " fights around Soissons - away transport of a wounded English flying observer " I was wondering if there was any chance of naming the aircrews, after all the date of their capture are on the cards. However it maybe a little more problematic with the press photo as it has no date. Any information would be appreciated.
Regards

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#2 Starlight

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 10:33 PM

I have a 'probable' for the 9th March 1916 photograph as there is only one entry of a two-seater in Trevor Henshaw's "The Sky Their Battlefield" where both the pilot and observer were taken POW. Lt L R Heywood (pilot) and 2Lt D B Gayford of 20 squadron were on an escorting reconnaisance patrol on the morning of the 9th March 1916 in their FE2b no: 6356 when they engaged with a Fokker near Annapes. With steam reported to be seen coming from the aircraft, Lt Heywood carried out a forced landing near Ligny. Both men were taken prisoner by the Germans, with Heywood making it to Holland on 07/10/18 and Gayford to Switzerland on 24/4/18.

Steve

#3 Trevor Henshaw

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 10:59 PM

Great photos. Thanks for posting. Steve is definitely correct about the middle image. I'm wondering if the top image is the captured night bombing crew of 9 Feb 1918??

B439 FE2b 100Sqn
**NB COURCELLES engine failed ftl EoL MIA (2Lt OB Swart POW/2Lt A Fielding-Clarke POW) left 5-51pm

Best Regards,

Trevor

#4 Black Dudley

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 06:19 PM

Steve, Trevor,
Thanks for your posts and the information. I find, knowing the peoples names brings something extra to the pictures. Looking through my collection, I find, I have two other "Feldpost Cards" English flyer shot down 22.8.1915 and a shot down English plane Sainghin 9.3.16 - if you have any information on these two I'd be most grateful. They are the last two I have.
Best Wishes
Alec

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#5 Trevor Henshaw

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 10:39 PM

Hello Alec,

The upper image is
22 August 1915
2034 BE2c 2Sqn
**Phot HESDIGNEUL dhAA near LA BASSÉE EoL MIA (2Lt CR Gallie KIA/2Lt WM Wallace KIA) 'fell like a stone' over SAINGHIN Δ

and the lower is
9 March 1916
6356 FE2b 20Sqn
**EscRec combat with Fokker near ANNAPES 9-45am steam seen coming from FE2b ftl near LIGNY MIA (Lt LR Heywood POW/2Lt DB Gayford WIA POW) slight WIA, aircraft captured, pilot to Holland 7.10.18, observer to Switzerland 24.4.18 Δ

I hope this helps. I agree it is good to put names and images together.
Regards,
Trevor

#6 Black Dudley

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 09:36 PM

Hello Trevor,
Many thanks for the additional information, from what you write, as luck would have it - the second and fifth photos seem to belong together.
Best Wishes
Alec

#7 Black Dudley

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 11:06 PM

Gentlemen,
I've this, what I find striking German Feldpost card, of a British Flying Squadron flying over the river Don in the Sainghin area of France on the Western Front being shot-up. The caption reads - "Shooting of a English Flying Squadron over the Don on 2.12.1915. Would any member know which squadron was actually being shot at. Any information would be appreciated.
Regards

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#8 munster

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 05:06 PM

What are the aircraft they look to be monoplanes and a lot of em.What were the rfc using at this time.john

#9 Starlight

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 10:52 PM

Though the numbers of aircraft depicted in the picture are about correct for the bombing mission to Don on the 2nd December 1915, IMHO I would suggest that the post card it is just that - a depiction. From the Royal Flying Corps Communiques for that day, 12 aircraft of the 1st Wing (from what I can glean these would have been BE2cs) were accompanied by 7 escort aircraft in the bombing attack on Don railway station.All of the aircraft flew together and not one was shot down during the course of the day, even though contact was made with enemy arcraft. Bristol Scouts Type C and Morane Type N aircraft get mentioned as being escort aircraft, but I don't know the mix and whether or not other types of aircraft were involved. However, even if all of the escort aircraft were Morane's, that would only account for a maximum of 7 monoplanes in the sky at the same time. Communique No: 23 mentions that the aircraft came from 2 and 3 squadron but once again there could have been other squadrons involved. The attack on Don would have been a recordable event as it was unusual at this stage in the war for so many aircraft to be involved in a single mission.
Steve

#10 Black Dudley

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 01:21 PM

John, Steve,
Thanks for the posts. Looking a second time at the card, the photo has a gloss photo finish, but doesn't look like a natural picture, odd looking composition. I'm inclined to go along with Steve's suggestion that its probably a depiction. Counted 21 monoplanes on the card picture. Thinking over John's point about them all being monoplanes - at first I thought the picture must have been taken almost directly beneath the planes and the planes were high in the sky, coupled with at that time primitive long distance photography, but after reading Steve's first class research on the actual details of the raid, we know that can't be so. Even if the photo is only a composite depiction, at least we know due to Steve post, the raid did take place at the date and place indicated on the card.
I did, however turn up this "Feldpost Card" of a British Bi-plane "Punjab 29 Rawalpindi" captured on the Somme, I wonder do members have any further information. A thought crossed my mind, having seen pictures of Indian ground troops, were there Indian pilots as well.
Regards

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#11 Andrew Upton

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:27 PM

I did, however turn up this "Feldpost Card" of a British Bi-plane "Punjab 29 Rawalpindi" captured on the Somme, I wonder do members have any further information. A thought crossed my mind, having seen pictures of Indian ground troops, were there Indian pilots as well.


At least one other picture of the same exists:

http://translate.goo...=707&prmd=imvns

#12 Black Dudley

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:59 PM

Andrew,
Thanks for the link, it is indeed the the same aircraft, photo is taken from the other side.
Regards

#13 Simon_Fielding

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:07 PM

Thomas Weber claims the soldiers in the middle unit are 16 RIR - Hitler's unit as here: http://1914-1918.inv...&#entry1712025. I'm dubious about his attribution after reading this thread....

Gentlemen,
I've a couple of "Feldpost Cards" and a Press Photo with caption, showing shot down RFC crews. The Feldpost cards have a date on the photo, which seems certain to be, when the crews came down. The top photo has the script "On 11.2.18 captured English flyers" the two men seem in good physical shape. The second "Feldpost Card" shows also a two-man crew sitting in a open car dated 9.3.16 according to the short text " wounded English flyers". The bottom picture is a press photograph with a head-bandaged flyer, caption reads " fights around Soissons - away transport of a wounded English flying observer " I was wondering if there was any chance of naming the aircrews, after all the date of their capture are on the cards. However it maybe a little more problematic with the press photo as it has no date. Any information would be appreciated.
Regards



#14 Black Dudley

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 06:23 PM

Resurrecting the thread, bought this postcard - shot down (to my eyes Sopwith Camel) enemy aircraft near Passchendaele. On the reverse written in pencil - before Ypres 3.2.16 - shot down on 21.1.16. I'm wondering, if any member might know who the flier may have been, looking at the aircraft (relatively undamaged ) it appears to have overturned on landing. Any info appreciated.

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#15 MartinBennitt

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 08:43 PM

Not a Sopwith Camel. Looks like another Be2 type to me.

 

Cheers Martin B



#16 topgun1918

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 08:53 PM

Definitely not a Camel - none were in service in 1916.  As far as I can see, there were no RFC losses on 21 January 1916; however, the last two digits of the serial number on the fin makes me believe that this was BE2c 2105 of No 15 Squadron, lost on 18 January 1916 when acting as escort to a reconnaissance of Courtrai (south-east of Passchendaele).  The crew, Capt V H N Wadham and Sgt Piper, were both killed (although some sources suggest Piper was taken prisoner).

 

Graeme



#17 Black Dudley

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 08:36 AM

Thanks Martin, Graeme, for the up to date information, puts flesh onto a bald postcard. Don't think I've been able to winkle out so much information myself, especially with the slight discrepancy in dates, glad I placed it here with the real experts, much appreciated gentlemen.



#18 Trelawney

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 11:20 PM

Definitely not a Camel - none were in service in 1916.  As far as I can see, there were no RFC losses on 21 January 1916; however, the last two digits of the serial number on the fin makes me believe that this was BE2c 2105 of No 15 Squadron, lost on 18 January 1916 when acting as escort to a reconnaissance of Courtrai (south-east of Passchendaele).  The crew, Capt V H N Wadham and Sgt Piper, were both killed (although some sources suggest Piper was taken prisoner).

 

Graeme

Further confusing the details, CWGC lists 17.1.1916 as the date of Capt. Vivian Hugh Nicolas Wadham's death; his age was 24 and he was from Thamesfield,

Middlesex. CWGC has no Piper losses recorded for 17, 18 or 21.1.1916, so this supports the claim that Sgt. Piper was taken prisoner.

 

Trelawney



#19 topgun1918

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 09:49 AM

My apologies - when typing my original post I put in the date that 2105 was struck off charge (18 January) rather than the date the plane was shot down, 17 January 1916.

 

Having cleared up that discrepancy, perhaps I can confuse matters a little further - according to one of the casualty files at TNA, the crew of 2105 on 17 January 1916 was Lt C M Wilson (WIA and POW) and 2nd Lt W A Brooking (KIA) "shot down at Tourcoin [sic] on escort to army recce"; however, most sources agree that Wilson and Brooking were actually in BE2c 4107 when they were lost on 19 January. 

 

4107 was in action on 17 January and fought a Fokker between in the vicinity of Houthulst, the crew being recorded as Lt C B Wilson and 2AM Lathean (Latham?).

 

If it possible to become even more confused, the information against 4107 in the casualty book is "Escort to recce.  Capt V H N Wadham missing/Sgt Piper missing [officially reported as killed]"; this is dated 19 January 1916 and is clearly the source of the notion that Piper had been killed.

 

In summary, 2105 was shot down on 17 January 1916 with Wadham being killed and Piper taken prisoner.

 

Phew!  Time for a cuppa.

 

Graeme



#20 Trelawney

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 12:36 PM

Graeme

 

The confusion you conveyed is admirably comprehensive, as befits the  unevenness of the records we all consult.  Perhaps it is a better outcome

that the Prussian records were destroyed in the bombing of Potsdam in 1945.  After all, had the German records survived we would be faced with the

unenviable task of weighing their inaccuracies against the abundant lapses in the surviving British records.  To prolong the confusion, perhaps

"2AM Lathean" is "J.A. Lathaen," who has a service record in the AIR 76 file and was listed in the RAF Muster Roll of April, 1918 as #681 J.A. Lathaen.

There are no "Lathean" listings in the Muster Roll or AIR 76, but a James Alexander Lathaen was born in 1895, in Scotland, was living in Lancashire

in 1911, and died at Somerset in 1966.  Could Latham/Lathean be Lathaen, perhaps?  The possibilities for confusion show a definite promise.

Lathaen was a pre-war RFC man with an enlistment date of April, 1913. Walter Arthur Brooking was 19 when he was KIA; from India, the son of

Brig. Gen. H.T. Brooking. Yet the listings for "C.M. Wilson" and "C.B. Wilson" show a clear potential for confusion, as AIR 76 files exist

for Charles M. Wilson and Charles Bernard Wilson. 

 

Trelawney



#21 WW1ACE

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 09:34 PM

The above photo is indeed the BE2c from 15 Sqd in which Vivian Wadham was killed. ( shot through the neck and died instantly ) Sgt Nigel Piper climbed over and sat on the dead Wadham's lap and took the aircraft down , turning it over to wreck it while jumping out .. he WAS taken prisoner and survived the war. He later served at RAF HALTON .. and from memory I think he gained an MBE.

#22 Cnock

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 07:25 AM

Hi,

 

indeed plane of Wadham, there exist several different  fotos of this crash on 17/1/1916

 

regards,

 

Cnock



#23 Trelawney

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 08:13 AM

The MIC for Sgt. Nigel V. Piper, service # 470, Royal Flying Corps, is at the National Archives, reference WO 372/16/15343.

The MIC lists him with the rank of Corporal, so he may have been a Temporary/Sergeant.  No service record is indexed for

him in AIR 79 at the National Archives.  Some more biography:  Nigel Vincent Piper was born in 1894 (birth registered in 3rd Quarter),

at Fowey, Cornwall, where his family was living as recorded by the 1901 and 1911 census returns.  He indeed survived the war,

and married Elizabeth M. Edwards, at Canterbury, Kent, in 1919 (late in the year).

 

Trelawney



#24 Errol Martyn

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 12:07 AM

New Zealand National Radio interviewed Nigel Piper in 1980 (he was a frequent visitor to New Zealand):

 

"Unedited interview with Nigel Piper for Spectrum documentary, 'Wind in the Wires'. Piper recalls memories of a World War One airman and talks about Colonel Cody's travelling show, the early military air corps, tales of flying, and Cody's fatal crash. His recollections include details of his Royal Flying Corp training, the use of planes in wartime including the early battles at Ypres, aerial photography, directing of artillery fire, and comradeship within the corps. He gives an account of being shot down, discusses espionage activities and being a prisoner of war in Germany. He describes and compares different aircraft."

 

See here for further details:

 

http://collections.s...e=1&view=detail

 

Errol