Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
stevebecker

23 Sqn RFC and Kingsford-Smith

Recommended Posts

stevebecker   
stevebecker

Mates,

I was after any details on the shooting down of Charles Kingsford-Smith 14 Aug 1917?

The sources I seen only give he was brought down and wounded, not how that happen or what aircraft he was in?

He was awarded a MC soon after so did that have any reason to do with that action?

The book "Jasta War" gives a large number shot down that day, so were any his?

Any ideas

S.B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Errol Martyn   
Errol Martyn

Steve,

Not an answer to your question but just a minor correction - ther's no hyphen in Kingsford Smith's name, though I believe that his son adopted one for his name.

Errol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
topgun1918   
topgun1918

His Military Cross was Gazetted on 26 September 1917 and the citation, appearing in the Gazette of 9 January 1918, reads:

2nd Lt. Charles Kingsford Smith, R.F.C., Spec. Res.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He has himself brought down four machines during his first month at the front, and has done most valuable work in attacking ground targets and hostile balloons. Of the latter he forced at least nine to be hauled down by his persistent attacks, during which he was repeatedly attacked himself by large hostile formations, and his efforts undoubtedly stopped all hostile balloon observation during a critical period. His efforts and fine offensive spirit and disregard of danger have set a very fine example.

His wounding on 14 August 1917 is often attributed to Oblt Wilhelm Reinhard of Jasta 11, but I believe that Reinhardt actually shot down a machine from Spa 73.

Graeme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dolphin   
Dolphin

Steve

Lt C K Smith was flying a SPAD VII on the day in question, but the identity of the aeroplane concerned seems to be lost in the mists of time.

Cheers

Gareth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nils d   
nils d

His Military Cross was Gazetted on 26 September 1917 and the citation, appearing in the Gazette of 9 January 1918, reads:

2nd Lt. Charles Kingsford Smith, R.F.C., Spec. Res.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He has himself brought down four machines during his first month at the front, and has done most valuable work in attacking ground targets and hostile balloons. Of the latter he forced at least nine to be hauled down by his persistent attacks, during which he was repeatedly attacked himself by large hostile formations, and his efforts undoubtedly stopped all hostile balloon observation during a critical period. His efforts and fine offensive spirit and disregard of danger have set a very fine example.

His wounding on 14 August 1917 is often attributed to Oblt Wilhelm Reinhard of Jasta 11, but I believe that Reinhardt actually shot down a machine from Spa 73.

Graeme

Anyone care to outline his claims list , as lve tried using Comic Cuts and it gets VERY complicated.

Hes an ace in some sources . Nils

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
topgun1918   
topgun1918

Weeeell.....

The Communiqués are not particularly helpful; number 97 shows 2nd Lt R M Smith with an out of control claim (this was on 13 July 1917 but is listed under 14 July in the Communiqué), numbers 100 and 101 show 2nd Lt C K Smith with claims on 10 and 14 August (the latter showing him as C R Smith), number 107 has 2nd Lt R M Smith with another claim on 25 September and number 109 shows “2nd Lt Smith” [clearly not Kingsford Smith] with another claim on 8 October.

2nd Lt R M Smith was himself shot down and taken prisoner on 31 October 1917 - possibly by Ltn Harry von Bulow-Bothkamp of Jasta 36 as his 2nd victory.

It looks like, at best, Kingsford Smith had two victories and suggestions that he was an ace is through confusion with the other Smith flying with No 23 Sqn at the time.

Graeme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stevebecker   
stevebecker

Mates,

Thank you, it appear to be another mystery.

Graeme,

You mean the Spad flown by the Yank, Chadwick who was killed that day, they say it was the only Spad lost but clearly it was not?

The book gives an area of Boesinghe for Chadwick, where was 23 Sqn RFC operating at that time?

A Spad from 23 Sqn RFC was brought down the day before (13 Aug 1917) flown by Lt Tinney near Langemarck or Frezenberg, so was KS near there when attacked, only to be shot down over our lines to the west?

Cheers

S.B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nieuport11   
nieuport11

The weekly report for w/e 18.8.17 for 23Sq shows B3491 missing on the 12th, B1698 missing on the 13th and B3539 wrecked on the 17th. The only u/s aircraft was B3560 which was being rebuilt.

B3491 was last seen during combat nr Langemarck (2Lt CW Elliott)

B1698 was also last seen nr Langemarck going down in a spin (2Lt HG Tinney PoW)

B3539 was wrecked on the 16th when it stalled at 100ft avoiding telegraph poles after engine failure on takeoff for special mission (2Lt CF Le Poer Trench inj)

B3560 does not appear to have been damaged in an accident.

The casualty book and casualty cards do not show a serial for Smith's SPAD. A casualty report was only lodged when there was damage to the aircraft, and so it appears his machine was not badly damaged on the 14th.

The other aircraft on hand with 23Sq on the 14th were B3551, B3493, B1661, B3534, B3464, A262, B1530, B3510 (received 13.8 as replacement for B3491), B1695, B3550, B3488, B3490, B3556, B3571, B1581 and B3524 (received 14.8.17 as replacement for B1698) so he must have been flying one of those.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stevebecker   
stevebecker

Mate,

Interesting, his plane was not lost, so he must have made it back to base?

I could find no report on his wounding, so was it in air combat and not from say Flak/ground fire?

The only mention was he was wounded in the Left foot and lost some toes.

One report even gives this?

Famous Fokker Flights
Charles E. Kingsford-Smith and the "Southern Cross" : A man and his dream

by Leo Bakker
http://home-1.worldonline.nl also http://home-1.tiscali.nl

Charles Edward Kingsford-Smith was born on February 9, 1897 in Brisbane. Barely eighteen, he volunteered for the Royal Engineers, but when stationed in France he switched to the Royal Flying Corps, getting his license in March 1917.

He quickly turned out to be an excellent pilot, but not quite good enough to escape Von Richthofen in his Fokker Dr.I triplane. After recovering from the wounds he had sustained in the crash-landing that followed their confrontation, he served as an instructor for the remainder of the war.

while another said;

"He survived an attack by two German fighters. His plane was shot with over 150 bullets. Kingsford Smith managed to land his plane safely although he had been shot in the foot. Three of his toes were amputated".

Clearly this has become some sort of mixed up action (myth) that has little to do with what was happening that day, I still have found no idea of what happened?

Cheers

S.B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
frev   
frev

Steve

Fitzsimons’ book on Kingsford Smith details his wounding on the 14/8/1917 (pages 120-122)

Don’t know how accurate it is, but some of the info is noted to have come from “My Flying Life: An Authentic Biography Prepared under the Personal Supervision of and from the Diaries and Papers of the Late Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith” by A. Melrose, 1937.

In short – KS saw two Hun two-seaters below him, dropped down behind them, and was firing on them, when he realised he was also under attack from a third plane – bullets rained into him and he was hit in the left foot – he lost consciousness, and the German pilot left him in a death roll, spiralling towards the earth…

He regained consciousness, and somehow managed to bring the plane under control, and flattened out just a bare 100 feet above the ground – managing to make it back to Base & land safely, he again lost consciousness – and was lifted out of the cockpit by the Base medical staff & rushed to hospital where he later came to again, having lost a lot of blood, 2 toes & a chunk of his foot...

Meanwhile the mechanics set to work on his plane, astonished it had flown at all, and counted over 180 bullets in the fuselage, including many in the spot where his head would have been if he hadn’t lost consciousness & slumped forward….

Cheers, Frev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Errol Martyn   
Errol Martyn

For what it is worth his AIR76 file records:

23 Sqd 4.7.17

HE [Home Establishment] (invalided) 20.8.17

Errol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stevebecker   
stevebecker

Frev,

Thank you I try to down load his book to see what he wrote but couldn't do it?

180 bullet holes with no major damage to write off the aircraft?

His combat must have taken place some where in front of Ypres as the other combats appear to be to the East - North East of Ypres.

By the book "The Jasta War" a number of German Jasta's were in that area including No 1 Jasta . 11 Jasts and 27 Jatsa, while others like 8, 6, 36, and 28 have encounters around there?

So the Germans will never be confirmed.

I am surprised there was no claim for him, if is story is correct, perhaps the German misidentified the aircraft and he was one of the claims that day, or they seen he pull up so made no claim?

Cheers

S.B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Aussie Rob   
Aussie Rob

I never knew this part of "Smithy's" story. That's sensational!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×