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Thread: 100 Years Ago Today

  1. #3151


    Oh dear Chris and Neil. What can I say - good luck gentlemen. I guess you are used to it by now, but I hope the latest down time hasn't caused you too much pain. Thanks in advance for your dedication

  2. #3152


    You can....and we are. (Cheers Mike)

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeemagnus View Post
    Oh dear Chris and Neil. What can I say - good luck gentlemen. I guess you are used to it by now, but I hope the latest down time hasn't caused you too much pain. Thanks in advance for your dedication
    See you on the Dark Side......

  3. #3153


    Well done Squadron Leaders.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  4. #3154


    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel View Post
    The Attachment Fairy strikes again!
    Now resolved

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  5. #3155


    Well that's dealt with a good pile already. Amazing work

  6. #3156


    Quote Originally Posted by Skafloc View Post
    March 27, 1918

    Alan Arnett McLeod, VC (20 April 1899 – 6 November 1918) was the son of a doctor. He enrolled in The 34th Fort Garry Horse in 1913 at age 14. WW1 broke out in 1914, McLeod was sent home as under age. He then tried several times to enlist in the army in Winnipeg, and in the cadet wing of the RFC in Toronto. As he turned 18 he successfully enrolled in the RFC. He trained as a pilot at Long Branch near Toronto, and soloed after only 3 hours flight time. He graduated with 50 hours of flying experience. On 20 August 1917 he was shipped overseas to France.

    McLeod was originally posted to No. 82 Sqn RFC flying scouts, but when his commanding officer found he was 18 he had McLeod posted to No. 51 Sqn RFC on Home Defence duties flying at night. McLeod was then posted to No.2 Sqn RFC, a Corps Squadron working near Hesdigneul in northern France, flying his first operation in December 1917. With Lieutenant Comber as his gunner, he claimed a Fokker Dr.I destroyed in January and on 14 January flamed an observation balloon near Beauvin. He was mentioned in dispatches for this exploit.

    McLeod was an 18-year-old second lieutenant in No. 2 Squadron when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

    On 27 March 1918 over Albert, France, McLeod, with his observer Lieutenant Arthur Hammond, in an Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 destroyed an enemy triplane and were immediately attacked by eight more, three of which they brought down, but the petrol tank of the bomber was hit. He was assailed at a height of 5,000 feet by enemy triplanes which dived at him from all directions, firing from their front guns. By skilful maneuvering he enabled his observer to fire bursts at each machine in turn, shooting three of them down out of control. By this time Second Lieutenant McLeod has received five wounds, and while continuing the engagement a bullet penetrated his petrol tank and set the machine afire. He then climbed out on to the left bottom plane, controlling his machine from the side of the fuselage, and by side slipping steeply kept the flames to one side, thus enabling the observer to continue firing until the ground was reached. The observer was wounded six times when the machine crashed in “No Man’s Land” and Second Lieutenant McLeod, notwithstanding his own wounds, dragged him away from the burning wreckage at great personal risk from heavy machine gun fire from the enemy’s lines. This very gallant pilot was again wounded by a bomb while engaged in the act of rescue, but he persevered until he has placed Lieutenant Hammond in comparative safety, before collapsing from exhaustion.

    Leutnant Hans Kirschstein of Jasta 6, an experienced ace was credited with the victory. McLeod was wounded three times in the side and Hammond was wounded six times. Hammond lost a leg but was awarded a Bar to his Military Cross.

    McLeod was recommended for a DSO but received the Victoria Cross. He returned to Canada (Stonewall, Manitoba) to recuperate but died from the Spanish Influenza epidemic shortly thereafter. He was only 5 months away from celebrating his 20th birthday.
    A model of McLeod's A.W. FK8 (built for the Anniversary) can be seen in the Planes of the Dutch Wing folder.

  7. #3157

  8. #3158


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    Firstly may I extend a huge thanks to Neil for the previous stint, a lot to cover in somewhat trying circumstances, and already a sterling effort to back fill the dates we were unfortunately off line. For my part 22nd March has been added and I will try and complete a couple more back issues throughout the day. The baton passes back to me as Neil and SImon prepare for their trip to Pegasus Bridge - lucky devils...

    April 9th 1918

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    Second Lieutenant Joseph Henry Collin (King’s Own Lancaster Regiment) is killed one day short of this 25th birthday. At Givenchy, France, after offering a gallant resistance against heavy odds in the Keep held by his platoon, Second Lieutenant Collin, with only five of his men remaining, slowly withdraws, contesting every inch of ground. Single-handed, he then attacks a machine-gun and after firing his revolver into the enemy, he seizes a Mills grenade and throws it into the hostile gun team, putting the gun out of action, killing four of the team and wounding two others. He then takes a Lewis gun and engages a second hostile machine-gun, keeping the enemy at bay until he is mortally wounded. Lieutenant Collin will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his actions on this day.

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    At Givenchy, France, Second Lieutenant John Schofield (Lancashire Fusiliers) leads a party of nine men against a strong-point and is attacked by about 100 of the enemy, but his skillful use of men and weapons results in the taking of 20 prisoners. Having made his party up to ten he then proceeds towards the front line, where he meets large numbers of the enemy, on whom his party opens fire. He climbs on the parapet under point-blank machine-gun fire and by his fearless demeanor forces the enemy to surrender. As a result 123 of them, including several officers, are captured. He himself is killed a few minutes later. For his actions he will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross

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    Richard George Masters was 41 years old, and a Private in the Royal Army Service Corps,[2] British Army, attd. 141st Field Ambulance during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    On 9 April 1918 near Bethune, France, owing to an enemy attack, communications were cut off and the wounded could not be evacuated. The road was reported impassable but Private Masters volunteered to try to get through and after great difficulty succeeded, although he had to clear the road of all sorts of debris. He made journey after journey throughout the afternoon over a road which was being shelled and swept by machine-gun fire and once he was bombed by an aeroplane. The greater number of wounded (approximately 200 men) were evacuated by him as his was the only car which got through.[3][4]

    After his death in 1963 at the age of 86, he was buried at St Cuthbert's parish church in Churchtown, Southport.

    The Territorial Army and Volunteer Reserve (TAVR) Centre 30 Pelham Drive, Bootle, Liverpool is named after Private Masters, VC.[5] It was built to house what is now 238 SQN 156 TPT RLC(V) - 238 Squadron of 156 Transport Regiment Royal Logistics Corps (Volunteers). The RLC, formerly the Royal Corps of Transport/RCT, includes the Field Ambulance units which trace their history back through the Royal Army Service Corps, the Army Service Corps and beyond. A troop of 96 Sqn RLC based at ATR Pirbright is also named after him.

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    The Coldstream Guards are in the front line at Boiry St Martin when a German artillery shell lands in the trenches killing Lieutenant Horatio Spencer Walpole at age 36. His brother the heir presumptive to the Baronies of Walpole was killed in September 1915.

    All the Camels of 208th Squadron are burned at La Gorgue aerodrome to avoid capture by the advancing enemy when they are caught in a fog bank before the area is evacuated.

    Western Front

    Flanders – LUDENDORFF’S SECOND BLOW, BATTLE OF THE LYS BEGINS (until April 29) (German Georgette offensive against BEF First and Second Armies on river Lys). Ludendorff aims to drive back British and Belgians west of Dunkirk and open road to Calais. After 4 1/2 hour hurricane shelling 14 German Sixth Army divisions attack from 0845 hours on 10-mile front; 4 divisors overwhelm Portuguese 2nd Division (6,000 PoWs) and drive a 3 1/2-mile deep wedge, steadily widened, into BEF front although 55th Division holds southern wing taking 750 PoWs and 100 MGs. British and Portuguese pushed back to river Lys at Estaires (fighting until April 11), losing one footbridge. German gas bombardment of Lys (until April 27) sector: 1 million rounds (2,000t) mustard gas, phosgene and diphenylchlorarsine; 8,424 gassed (30 deaths).
    Somme*: French lose and regain Hangard.

    The Battle of the Lys (7–29 April 1918), also known as the Lys Offensive, the Fourth Battle of Ypres, the Fourth Battle of Flanders and Operation Georgette (Portuguese: Batalha de La Lys and French: 3ème Bataille des Flandres), was part of the 1918 German offensive in Flanders during World War I, also known as the Spring Offensive. It was originally planned by General Ludendorff as Operation George but was reduced to Operation Georgette, with the objective of capturing Ypres, forcing the British forces back to the channel ports and out of the war. In planning, execution and effects, Georgette was similar to (although smaller than) Operation Michael, earlier in the Spring Offensive.

    On this day in 1918, German troops launch “Operation Georgette” the second phase of their final, last-ditch spring offensive, against Allied positions in Armentieres, France, on the River Lys.

    On March 21, 1918, the Germans under Erich Ludendorff, chief of the general staff, launched their first major offensive on the Western Front in more than a year, attacking the Allies in the Somme River region of France and training their huge guns on Paris. The Allies managed to halt Ludendorff’s exhausted armies by the end of March, however, thanks in part to a fresh influx of several thousand American soldiers. By the time Ludendorff shut down attacks on April 5, the Germans had gained nearly 40 miles of territory.

    Ludendorff’s focus now switched to the Flanders region of northern France, aiming to push the British troops back against their ports along the English Channel, forcing them into a corner. Thus on April 9, after a four-and-a-half hour long bombardment of British forces in Armentieres, 14 German divisions attacked along a 10-mile front to begin the Battle of the Lys. As at the Somme, the ferocious German advance quickly drove the British back, punching a hole 3.5 miles wide through the British line. They also made quick and bloody work of a Portuguese division taking part in the battle, sending four divisions against the single Portuguese unit and taking some 6,000 prisoners. To make matters worse, the Germans unleashed 2,000 tons of poisonous gas–including mustard and phosgene gas–against the British at the Lys, incapacitating 8,000 (of whom many were blinded) and killing 30.

    Despite the initial success of Operation Georgette, the British defensive positions in Armentieres were better prepared and more tenacious than those at the Somme, and the Germans managed to advance only 12 kilometers by the time Ludendorff closed down the operation on April 29. By this time, morale on both sides of the line was at a low point, due to heavy losses, but neither was ready to give in. The Germans looked to the next stage of their offensive, against the French at the Aisne River, as the Allies readied their defenses, each side believing that the outcome of the First World War hung in the balance.

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    Battle of Estaires (9–11 April)
    The German bombardment opened on the evening of 7 April, against the southern part of the Allied line between Armentières and Festubert. The barrage continued until dawn on 9 April. The Sixth Army then attacked with eight divisions. The German assault struck the Portuguese Second Division, which held a front of about 11 kilometres (6.8 mi). The Portuguese division was overrun and withdrew towards Estaires after hours of heavy fighting.[a] The British 55th Division, to the south of the Portuguese in a more defensible position, pulled back its northern brigade and held its ground for the rest of the battle, despite attacks from two German reserve divisions. The British 40th Division (to the north of the Portuguese) collapsed under the German attack and fell back to the north.[8]

    Horne committed his reserves (First King Edward's Horse and the 11th Cyclist Battalion) to stem the German breakthrough but they too were defeated.[9] The Germans broke through 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) of front and advanced up to 8 kilometres (5.0 mi), the most advanced probe reaching Estaires on the Lys. There they were finally halted by British reserve divisions.[10] On 10 April, the Sixth Army tried to push west from Estaires but was contained for a day; pushing north against the flank of the Second Army, it took Armentières.

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    The Air War

    General Headquarters, April 10th.

    “During the morning of the 9th inst. the whole front was covered in mist, which prevented any of our aeroplanes leaving the ground. Later in the day, when there was a slight improvement in the weather, our machines reconnoitred the new battle front between La Bassée and Armentières, and bombed and engaged with machine-gun fire the enemy's attacking troops. Hostile low-flying machines were also active on this sector. Four of these machines were brought down by our aeroplanes and one was shot down by our infantry. Two of our aeroplanes are missing."

    RAF Communiqué number 2:

    Very little flying was possible owing to thick mist and drizzling rain.

    Early in the morning the enemy launched an attack between Blois Grenier and the La Bassée Canal. Machines of the 1st Brigade reconnoitred the front and attacked the enemy’s troops with bombs and machine guns in spite of the unfavourable weather conditions.

    A quarter of a ton of bombs were dropped as follows:-

    1st Brigade: No 4 Squadron, 4 25-lb. bombs.

    5th Brigade: 15th Wing, 16 25-lb bombs. No 65 Squadron, 10 25-lb bombs.

    Enemy aircraft:

    Enemy aircraft activity was nil, except on front of the 1st Brigade where enemy low flying were active. In addition to the brought, down in combat, one was brought down in our lines by infantry.

    Lieut L P Coombes, 210 Sqn, Albatros Scout in flames north La Bassée at 15:45/15:45 - Lieut Coombes, No 210 Squadron, fired 150 rounds at 30 yards range into an E.A. scout. The back petrol tank of the E.A. burst into flames whereupon the enemy machine dived steeply in flames and crashed and continued to burn on the ground

    Capt R A Little, Lieut J A Glen and Lieut A B Ellwood, 203 Sqn, Albatros C crashed Givenchy at 16:10/16:10 - Capt R A Little, Lieut J A Glen and Lieut A B Ellwood, No 203 Squadron, attacked an enemy E.A. two-seater doing contact patrol; the E.A. went down in a steep dive and crashed to the ground close to Givenchy. Uffz Drexler & Ltn Kalfeken, FAA 205, Pow

    Capt H T Mellings, 210 Sqn, Albatros C crashed La Bassée at 17:15/17:15 - Lieut Mellings, No 210 Squadron, attacked an E.A. two-seater which fired at him from about 150 yards and shot through his windscreen. He fired 100 rounds into the E.A., the observer of which immediately disappeared into the cockpit as though hit. The enemy pilot was also hit and the machine fell vertically into La Bassée and was seen to crash

    Lieut C O Rusden, 40 Sqn, two-seater crashed Rouge Croix at 17:30/17:30 - Lieut C O Rusden, No 40 Squadron, was fired upon from beneath; he turned and observed an E.A. two-seater flying below him at very low altitude, dived and fired about 50 rounds into it. The E.A. dived straight to earth and crashed near Rouge Croix


    2nd-Lieut H W McKeague (Wia), 1 Sqn RAF, SE5a C6416 - ground fire
    2nd-Lieut J L Parren (Wia) & Lieut H G Burgess (Wia), 4 Sqn RAF, RE8 - gassed when visiting battery
    2nd-Lieut R H Harmer (Wia) & Lieut N Peters (Wia), 20 Sqn, Bristol F.2B B1221 - crashed into sandhills near Wimereux after combat and losing way in thick fog during bombing and low flying
    Lieut W Beart (Wia) & Lieut G W Gotch (Ok), 42 Sqn RAF, RE8 A4212 - force landed in front of La Fosse after pilot wounded on artillery patrol and struck telegraph post on take-off; ground fire
    Lieut R E Bion (Kia), 40 Sqn RAF, SE5a D3554 – took off 17:00/17:00 then missing from bombing patrol
    Capt R A Archer (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut D G Smith (Ok), 42 Sqn, RE8 A3658 – took off 14:45/14:45 then damaged by machine-gun fire from ground on artillery patrol and returned 17:00/17:00
    Lieut J H Weingarth (Ok), 4 Sqn AFC, Camel B7395 – took off 16:40/16:40 then shot through and hit ridge and overturned on landing from bombing patrol 17:35/17:35
    Lieut G A Mercer (Pow), 1 Sqn RAF, SE5a A8933 – took off 17:30/17:30 and last seen over Lys, south-west of Armentières 18:30/18:30 on special mission

    A much quieter day than of late with only a handful of reported victories - including...

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    A total of 8 British Airmen were lost on this day

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    Captain Tunstill's Men: The weather remained cold and wet, with showers of rain, sleet and snow.

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    Last edited by Hedeby; 04-10-2018 at 11:15.

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  9. #3159


    OK so I've now posted all the missing Snipers Times before I head off to France on our jolly.

    Chris has 4 reports to publish from end of March then we are all up to date.

    Have fun reading our extravaganza's.

    See you on the Dark Side......

  10. #3160


    22nd and 23rd up along with today's so nearly there now

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  11. #3161


    I see I have a bit of back reading to catch up with then Squadron Leader!
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  12. #3162

    Default Thank You

    A big,big thank you to the editorial staff of th Snipers Times for their Herculean efforts to overcome these trying times. HooraH! Hoorah Hoorah!
    Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. Winston S. Churchill

  13. #3163


    I agree with Reg - here's to you guys

  14. #3164


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    10th April 1918

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    Major Eric Stuart Dougall VC MC (13 April 1886 – 14 April 1918) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

    Dougall was born in Tunbridge Wells on 13 April 1886 to Andrew and Emily Elizabeth Dougall.[1] He was educated at Tonbridge School, where he won the Cras, the school's cross country race. When he won his VC he was 31 years old, and an Acting Captain in the Special Reserve, Royal Field Artillery, attached to A Bty., 88th Brigade. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his deeds on 10 April 1918 at Messines, Belgium.

    For most conspicuous bravery and skilful leadership in the field when in command of his battery. Capt. Dougall maintained his guns in action from early morning throughout a heavy concentration of gas and high-explosive shell. Finding that he could not clear the crest owing to the withdrawal of our line, Captain Dougall ran his guns on to the top of the ridge to fire over open sights. By this time our infantry had been pressed back in line with the guns. Captain Dougall at once assumed command of the situation, rallied and organised the infantry, supplied them with Lewis guns, and armed as many gunners as he could spare with rifles. With these he formed a line in front of his battery which during this period was harassing the advancing enemy with a rapid rate of fire. Although exposed to both rifle and machine gun fire this officer fearlessly walked about as though on parade, calmly giving orders and encouraging everybody. He inspired the infantry with his assurance that "So long as you stick to your trenches I will keep my guns here". This line was maintained throughout the day, thereby delaying the enemy's advance for over twelve hours. In the evening, having expended all ammunition, the battery received orders to withdraw. This was done by man-handling the guns over a distance of about 800 yards of shell-cratered country, an almost impossible feat considering the ground and the intense machine gun fire. Owing to Captain Dougall's personality and skilful leadership throughout this trying day there is no doubt that a serious breach in our line was averted. This gallant officer was killed four days later whilst directing the fire of his battery.

    — The London Gazette, 31 May 1918[2][3]
    He was killed in action at Kemmel, Belgium on 14 April 1918.[1] His VC is owned by Pembroke College, Cambridge.

    Karanbahadur Rana VC (21 December 1898 – 25 July 1973) was a Nepalese Gurkha recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

    On 9 April 1917, the British XXI Corps was on the coastal sector of Palestine just north of Jaffa with the 75th Division on the right of the corps. The British planned an operation which in several stages would capture Tulkarm. The 75th Division launched a preliminary attack at 0510 hours on 9 April and met fierce resistance. On 10 April, in the fighting at El Kefr, Palestine, Rifleman Karanbahadur Rana, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles, 75th Division, was awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery. The citation published on 21 June 1918 stated:

    For most conspicuous bravery, resource in action under adverse conditions, and utter contempt for danger.
    During an attack, he, with a few other men, succeeded under intense fire, in creeping forward with a Lewis gun in order to engage an enemy machine gun which had caused severe casualties to officers and other ranks who had attempted to put it out of action. No. 1 of the Lewis gun opened fire, and was shot immediately. Without a moment's hesitation Rifleman Karanbahadur pushed the dead man off the gun, and in spite of bombs thrown at him and heavy fire from both flanks, he opened fire and knocked out the enemy machine-gun crew; then, switching his fire on to the enemy bombers and riflemen in front of him, he silenced their fire. He kept his gun in action and showed the greatest coolness in removing defects which on two occasions prevented the gun from firing. During the remainder of the day he did magnificent work, and when a withdrawal was ordered he assisted with covering fire until the enemy were close on him. He displayed throughout a very high standard of valour and devotion to duty.:

    The unit, date and place of VC actions were not gazetted from 1916 until 11 November 1918. These details were gazetted on 31 March 1919 when Karanbahadur Rana was listed with the '2/3rd Q.A.O. Gurkha Rif.’, the date ‘10.4.18’ and place ‘El Kefr’. The gazette incorrectly stated El Kefr was in Egypt. It is in Palestine.In silencing the enemy machine-gun, Karanbahadur Rana, enabled his company commander, Lieutenant Frederick Barter, who had been lying within 30 yards of the machine gun for five and a half hours to withdraw. As a company sergeant-major with The Royal Welch Fusiliers, Lieutenant Barter had been awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery at Festubert, France, on 16 May 1915.

    At the end of two days of attacks, the offensive was called off.

    Arthur Poulter VC (16 December 1893 – 29 August 1956) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

    Poulter was 24 years old, and a private in the 1/4th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    On 10 April 1918 at Erquinghem-Lys, France, Private Poulter, who was acting as a stretcher-bearer, on 10 occasions carried badly wounded men on his back through particularly heavy artillery and machine-gun fire. Two of the wounded were hit a second time whilst on his back. Again, after a withdrawal over the river had been ordered, Private Poulter returned in full view of the enemy and carried back another man who had been left behind wounded. He bandaged 40 men under fire and was seriously wounded when attempting another rescue in the face of the enemy.

    Before the war he was employed at the Timothy Taylor Brewery, Keighley, West Yorkshire.[2]
    The Town of Erquinghem-Lys, France has erected a memorial to Pte Poulter, next to the railway line. In 2005 the keys to the town were presented to the Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding)

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    Lieutenant Colonel Egerton Fairclough (commanding 1st/4th South Lancashire Regiment) is killed near Givenchy at age 33. He was educated at Aston Hall and Harrow, was the Secretary and Director of Chas. Moore and Co., Ltd., Chemical Manufacturers, Lymm, Cheshire. Lieutenant-Colonel Fairclough had been a member of the South Lancashire Regiment Territorial Force since 1905, being promoted Captain in 1912. He was mobilized with his Regiment on the outbreak of the War and went to France with the in February 1915. He was severely wounded in the jaw at the Battle of Hooge in June 1915, rejoining his Regiment in April 1916, and was again wounded and shell-shocked in the Battle of the Somme in August 1916. He rejoined his Regiment in France as Second-in-Command in July 1917 and given full command three months later.

    Lieutenant Arthur Meredydd Jones MC (Machine Gun Corps, formerly Durham Light Infantry) is killed in action at age 24. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Henry and Lady Jones and was educated at Glasgow High School, Glasgow Academy and Glasgow University.

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    The Battle of The Lys cont.

    The Portuguese

    The first blow fell at Neuve Chapelle on 9 April 1918 against the 2nd Portuguese Division. Alongside and in support, the British Divisions in the sector had all been involved in Operation Michael on the Somme and had been sent north to rest and take on new recruits. Thus many Battalions were tired, under strength and with a high percentage of untried raw recruits. At 04:15 hours the German bombardment began. The fire plan was orchestrated by the same Colonel Bruchmüller who had helped make such terrifying punctures in the British lines on the Somme. At 08:00 hours he added trench mortars to his ensemble and 45 minutes later, four German Divisions made up of well trained and rested assault troops threw themselves at the Portuguese lines.

    The Portuguese had already started to retire in the face of the bombardment and apart from a few isolated positions gave the Germans no opposition at all. Within the hour the front line was taken along with 6 000 prisoners. Struggling to keep pace with the hole that had formed in their line the British were also soon on the retreat. The following day (10th April) with the advance of the German 6th Army continuing, the British were forced to give up Armentières and Bailleul would fall on the 15th despite a stout defence. Realising that resistance was weakening Ludendorff decided that the time was ripe to increase the scope of Operation Georgette and to commit his reserves. The British looked as though they could be broken. With the situation turning desperate, General Haig issued his Order of the Day to the British Army.

    There is no other course open to us but to fight it out ! Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight on to the end.

    Haig's requests to Foch for full scale assistance fell on deaf ears. The new Commander in Chief was by no means convinced that the attack in Flanders was the German's last effort and he was determined to be prepared with sufficient reserves for the next blow. He did however make two Divisions available to General Plumer's 2nd Army and moved General Maistre's Army up into the Authie Valley around Doullens to rebuff any breakthrough should the British give way. In fact although the British were forced to alter their line they were making the German advance pay dearly for every metre of territory gained. Haig remained terribly concerned that all his reserves were being committed and again asked Foch to have the French take on part of his line. Foch remained firm to his convictions that this battle on the Lys was nothing more than a huge diversion in preparation for something more solid elsewhere.

    The Australians at Merris

    The Australians of their 1st Division had begun to move south on 8 April in order to support the situation on the Somme, but with the opening of the Battle of the Lys found themselves in the thick of the fighting near Merris and Méteren. The town of Hazebrouck behind them was an extremely important supply route in this region. If it fell the British lines of communication would be seriously disrupted. On the morning of 14 April 1918 the Germans launched an attack against the Mont de Merris which was held and commanded by Lieutenant Christopher Champion of the 3rd Bn AIF. The Germans advanced in waves so dense that the Australians said that they could hardly miss their targets. A farm just in front of the Australians called Gutzer Farm was taken by the Germans and this allowed them to fire from the flanks against Champion's men. At 10:30 hours having beaten off the German attack Champion decided to try and push them out of Gutzer Farm, ordering Lt Prescott forward with his platoon. Prescott managed to drive the Germans out of the farm but realised that he couldn't hold the position due to the machine gun fire from all sides. Having lost a number of men including Corporal Ernie Corby by sniper fire he retired. Throughout the afternoon the Germans tried to press Champion and his men but each time they let the enemy get close and then riddled their waves with bullets, driving them off each time. A lull developed until 19:00 hours when a final effort by the Germans was also beaten off. Sadly after his determined stand throughout the day, Champion was hit in the head by a bullet and fell. Neither Lt Champion or Cpl Corby were found on the battlefield for burial, until 85 years later in 2003 when a farmer found the remains of four Australian soldiers.

    General Headquarters, April 11th.

    "The weather on the 10th inst. was most unfavourable for flying, but as soon as it was possible to leave the ground our aeroplanes went out on reconnaissance of the battle front. Useful information was brought back as to the enemy's troops, which were attacked with bombs and machine-gun fire on every suitable occasion. Owing to the mist our pilots were compelled to fly at an average height of 200 ft. in order to obtain any information, and experienced very heavy fire from the ground. The enemy's low-flying machines were also active on the front. Three hostile machines were brought down in our lines by our infantry and four others brought down by our aeroplanes. One German machine was driven down out of control. Seven of our machines are missing."

    RAF Communiqué number 2:

    The weather again, bad, but in spite of the mist machines of the 1st Brigade carried out several low-flying reconnaissances and 12 contact patrols, dropped many bombs and fired several thousand rounds at the enemy's attacking troops. A number of machines of the 2nd Brigade were also employed in low flying.

    Thirteen reconnaissances were carried out.

    The weather was very unfavourable for work in co-operation with the artillery; one hostile battery was neutralized.

    Nine and a half tons of bombs were dropped during the day as follows:-

    1st Brigade: 4th Squadron A.F.C., 75 25-lb bombs. No 210 Squadron, 76 25-lb bombs. No 203 Squadron, 104 35-lb bombs. No 4 Squadron, 6 25-lb bombs. No 18 Squadron, 11 112-lb, and 36 25-lb bombs. No 19 Squadron, 28 25-lb bombs. No 40 Squadron, 107 25-lb bombs.

    2nd Brigade: 94 25-lb bombs.
    3rd Brigade: 81 25-lb. bombs.
    5th Brigade: 15th Wing, 80 25-lb bombs. 22nd Wing, 36 25-lb bombs. No 205 Squadron, 72 25-lb bombs on La Motte Aerodrome.

    Enemy Aircraft:

    Low-flying E.A. were active on the battle front, but otherwise their activity was nil. Two enemy machines were brought down in our lines by infantry in addition to those accounted for in combat.

    Lieut H L Taylor & Lieut W I E Lane, 52 Sqn, Fokker DrI out of control and Fokker DrI in flames [by Lane] Bois de Gentelles - Lieut H L Taylor & Lieut W I E Lane, No 52 Squadron, were attacked by nine E.A. triplanes, one of which they shot down out of control, and although wounded, Lieut Lane continued to fire and succeeded in shooting down a second triplane in flames. This E.A. fell in our lines near the Bois de Gentelles; Ltn d R Walter Göttsch, Jasta 19, Kia, G.163

    Capt J Gilmour, 65 Sqn, Albatros Scout crashed east of Morcourt at 09:30/09:30 - Capt J Gilmour, No 65 Squadron, fired 50 rounds into an E.A. scout which went down vertically and was seen by another pilot of the patrol to crash about 1,000 yards east of Morcourt

    Lieut A H Cobby, 4 AFC, Albatros Scout crashed south-east of Estaires at 09:40/09:40 - Lieut A H Cobby, 4th Squadron A.F.C., observed an E.A. scout flying at a height of 200 feet just east of Estaires, so dived on it from 1,000 feet firing all the way and the E.A. was lost to sight in the mist. Another pilot of this squadron saw this E.A. crashed on the ground between Estaires and La Gorgue

    Capt J H Tudhope, 40 Sqn, Albatros Scout out of control Neuve Chapelle at 10:05/10:05 - Capt J H Tudhope, No 40 Squadron, while firing on troops between Neuve Chapelle and Richebourg St Vaast observed five Albatros Scouts. He climbed west into clouds then turned and dived at the nearest E.A., firing a long burst at 100 yards’ range. The E.A. stalled and fell slowly in circles out of control, finally falling through the clouds, followed by the other four E.A.

    Maj A D Carter, 19 Sqn, two-seater crashed Neuve Chapelle at 10:15/10:15 - Maj A D Carter, No 19 Squadron, fired several bursts at close range into an E.A. two-seater from under its tail; the E.A. dived steeply from 800 feet and crashed into the ground

    Capt R A Grosvenor, 84 Sqn, Pfalz Scout out of control east of Albert at 11:00/11:00 - Shot down one E.A. scout out of control.

    2nd-Lieut J J Dawe, 24 Sqn, Albatros Scout out of control north-east of Moreuil at 11:45/11:45 -

    Capt A W Carter, 210 Sqn, LVG C captured Neuf Berquin at 12:45/12:45 - Capt A W Carter, No 210 Squadron, while flying at 200 feet, observed an E.A. two-seater slightly above him. He manoeuvred for position and got within 100 yards of the E.A. which dived steeply and hit the ground near Neuf Berquin before he could flatten out. The E.A. was seen to burst into flames on the ground


    Lieut D M Bissett (Wia), 1 Sqn, SE5a A8908 – ground fire
    2nd-Lieut F P Magoun (Wia), 1 Sqn, SE5a C9621 – ground fire
    ? (Ok) & Lieut W A S McKerrell (Wia; dow), 4 Sqn, RE8 – combat?
    ? (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut C S White (Wia), 4 Sqn, RE8 - ground fire
    Capt A F Brooke (Wia) & Capt E C Powell (Wia), 18 Sqn, DH4 - ground fire
    Lieut H Carnegie (Ok), 40 Sqn, SE5a – shot up by ground fire
    Lieut C O Rusden (Pow), 40 Sqn, SE5a C5437 - force landed near Gorre and abandoned after engine failure over enemy side of lines on bombing patrol
    Lieut L P Rendell (Wia) & 106101 Cpl G Alston (Wia), 42 Sqn, RE8 - ground fire
    2nd-Lieut H L Taylor (Wia) & 2nd-Lieut W I E Lane (Wia), 52 Sqn, RE8 B6641 - forced to land close to enemy lines Bois de Gentelles by 9 Fokker Triplanes on situation duty; Ltn d R Walter Göttsch, Js19, 20th victory [Amiens, no time]
    ? (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut W L Kingswill (Wia), 59 Sqn, RE8 – combat?
    2nd-Lieut N McC Anderson (Wia) & Lieut M J Pottie (Wia), 42 Sqn, RE8 A4306 – took off 06:05/06:05 then damaged by rifle and machine-gun fire on contact patrol
    Lieut F S Woolhouse (Kia), 4 Sqn AFC, Camel B5649 – took off 08:35/08:35 the hit by machine-gun fire from ground while attacking transport, zoomed up nose-dived and crashed
    Lieut H K Love (Pow), 4 Sqn AFC, Camel B9302 – took off 08:35/08:35 and seen attacking transport, engine failure, machine went down hit a fence and overturned east of Laventie
    Capt W D Patrick (Pow), 1 Sqn, SE5a B8371 – took off 09:40/09:40 and last seen near Messines on low flying patrol Armentières
    2nd-Lieut G A Lamburn (Ok), 46 Sqn, Camel C1661 – took off 09:20/09:20 then shot through during low work 3rd Army front and returned aerodrome 10:05/10:05 [or 10:47/10:47?]

    2nd-Lieut J E Phillips (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut H W White (Ok), 35 Sqn, AW FK8 C8528 – took off 08:30/08:30 then force landed 10:55/10:55 after being hit by EA on patrol Villers Bretonneux; Ltn d R Josef Veltjens, Js15, 11th victory [Rouvrel at 09:30/09:30] ?

    2nd-Lieut A MacGregor (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut J H Shooter (Kia), 35 Sqn, AW FK8 D5011 - shot down by EA 10:55/10:55 near the French lines on patrol
    2nd-Lieut A R Holthouse (Kia) & 2nd-Lieut D G Smith (Kia), 42 Sqn, RE8 B5099 – took off 11:50/11:50 then missing on artillery patrol Lestrem - Givenchy front
    2nd-Lieut L Balderson (Ok) & Lieut G Bullen (Ok), 18 Sqn, DH4 A7989 – took off 12:00/12:00 then hit by machine-gun fire from ground during bombing, crashed in forced landing 12:45/12:45
    2nd-Lieut M C Sonnenberg (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut D Wills (Ok), 35 Sqn, AW FK8 C8520 – took off 13:55/13:55 then shot through on patrol Amiens district
    2nd-Lieut G G MacPhee (Pow), 23 Sqn, Spad 13 B6860 - last seen 15:02/15:02 east of Villers Bretonneux at 12,000 feet on offensive patrol and bombing
    2nd-Lieut F J Hopgood (Pow), 23 Sqn, Spad 13 B6864 – took off 17:20/17:20 then missing on offensive patrol and bombing; anti-aircraft fire

    The German Ace Leutnant Walter Gottsch (Jasta 19) was shot down and killed on this day

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    Volunteering for service on 1 July 1915, Göttsch transferred to the German Air Force in 1916. After serving with FA 33 at Flanders, he was trained on single-seat fighters and posted to Jasta 8 on 10 September 1916. Scoring his fourth victory on the afternoon of 7 January 1917, Göttsch shot down an F.E.2d flown by Thomas Mottershead of 20 Squadron. Despite terrible burns that later proved fatal, Mottershead succeeded in landing his aircraft within his own lines and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. Göttsch was credited with two more F.E.2d's on 1 February 1917 but two days later he was shot down over Wervicq while attacking another F.E.2d. Recovering from his wounds, he returned to duty in April 1917, scoring six more victories before he was shot down for a second time by an F.E.2d on 29 June 1917. Göttsch's score continued to climb but on 25 September 1917 he was wounded and shot down for the third time by a Bristol Fighter. He was wounded in action on 30 November 1917 and upon returning to duty in January 1918, he assumed command of Jasta 19 on 14 February 1918. Flying a Fokker DR.I with a white swastika on its fuselage, he scored three more victories before he was killed in action. Downing an R.E.8 near Amiens, Göttsch was shot down by an accurate burst of fire from the British observer's Lewis gun.

    The following claims were made on this day

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    15 British airmen were lost on this day

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    Eastern Front
    Baltic States: Estonian Riga assembly refuses union with Germany but Kaiser consents on April 21.
    Southern Russia*: Germans take Kherson and Belgorod, northeast of Kharkov. Don Cossack Rising under Esaul Fetisov.

    Sea War
    Eastern Atlantic: U-boat shells Monrovia, Liberia destroying radio station (4 killed) and armed steamer.
    Adriatic: 8 Franco*-Italian destroyers, escorting 3 Italian battleships, move from Brindisi to Taranto, lose 2 of their number in night collisions.

    Capt. Tunstill's Men: Support trenches to the right Brigade near Malga Fassa on the forward slopes of Mount Kaberlaba.

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    The weather remained cold and wet, with showers of rain, sleet and snow. Overnight 10th/11th there was a heavy fall of snow.

    Pte. James Henry Lomax (see 18th December 1917) was awarded seven days’ Field Punishment no.2; the nature of his offence is unknown.

    Cpl. Joseph Haywood (see 3rd April) was discharged from 71st Field Ambulance, following treatment for bronchitis; however, it would be a further ten days before he actually re-joined the Battalion.

    Pte. Matthew Henry Jubb (see 8th February), serving with 1st/4th DWR, was reported wounded and missing in action. Reports received in June 1919 from Cpl. Collins, who had been with Jubb, and had been a prisoner of war in Germany, would establish that, “Pte. Jubb was badly wounded above the right knee and was picked up by two German Red Cross men who carried them (ie Jubb and Collins) to an old farm building where Jubb died after being there aboiut six hours. The place was just outside Erquingham, near Armentieres”. Jubb would be buried by the Germans at a military cemetery at Fleurbaix, but after the war his remains would be exhumed and re-interred at Rue David Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix.

    The Directorate of the Army Medical Services wrote to the Medical Directorate of the British Army in France regarding Pte. Joseph Leonard Holmes (see 18th March), who had recently been posted back to France to join 2DWR. The letter stated that, “I am directed to inform you that, in view of this man’s past medical history, and the fact that he had been an inmate of an asylum, it is considered that he is unfit for military service. I am therefore to request that he may be returned to this country at the first available opportunity, with a view to his discharge from the service.”

    After ten days’ treatment at 2nd General Hospital, Le Havre, 2Lt. William Jones MM (see 28th March), was discharged to duty with 2nd Battalion, Border Regiment.

    Capt. Gilbert Tunstill (see 11th March) appeared before a further Army Medical Board assembled at Tynemouth. The Board found simply that, “he has now recovered and is able to march”. He was declared fit for general service and instructed to re-join 3DWR at North Shields.

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    Last edited by Hedeby; 04-10-2018 at 13:18.

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  15. #3165


    Sitting at terminal 3, Heathrow waiting for Simon and catching up with the 'Times'.

    Great read Chris. (10th).
    See you on the Dark Side......

  16. #3166


    Have a great time Neil Agreed. Great read Chris.

  17. #3167


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    11th April 1918

    I picked a fine time to take up running, lol - right on with the show.

    Major William Worsley Ashcroft (Machine Gun Corps) is killed at age 39. He is the father of the actress Dame Peggy Ashcroft. She won a 1984 Academy Award as best supporting actress for the film; the New York Film Critics Circle voted her best actress. She played a saintly, enigmatic Englishwoman in David Lean’s film of E. M. Forster’s novel “A Passage to India” and then was cast as a doubting former missionary in a television mini-series, “The Jewel in the Crown” based on Paul Scott’s “Raj Quartet.” The two performances brought her Britain’s top film and television awards. She had previously won a string of awards as the finest actress on the British stage, and she won a special Laurence Olivier Award, London’s major theatrical prize, for lifetime achievement in the theater.

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    The Battle of the Lys - the story of the Accrington Pals

    Just four days after the German Michael offensive on the Somme had been brought to a halt, a second offensive - Georgette - was launched to the north. At 4.15am on 9th April, an intense bombardment of high-explosive and gas shells burst over British and Portugese positions on a 10-mile (16km) front south of Armentieres. At 8.45am, upwards of 8 German divisions swept forward through thick fog and smoke. By nightfall, the line had been advanced by as much as 4½ miles (7km) where the Germans had established a bridgehead north of the River Lys at Bac St. Maur.

    The following morning, the offensive front was extended north as far the Ypres-Comines canal. As German troops south of Armentieres continued to push north and west, British divisions still weakened from the Somme offensive were sucked into the battle.

    After the fierce engagement in front of Ayette on 27th March, the 11th Bn. East Lancashire Regt. (Accrington Pals) was reorganising and training at Bailleul-aux-Cornailles when on 10th April it received orders to embus. At 5am on the following day - the day on which Haig issued his famous "backs to the wall" order - the battalion debussed near the village of Vieux Berquin, alongside its sister battalions from 92nd and 93rd Brigades (31st Division). At 11.15am, 92nd Brigade was pushed forward to dig-in on a line behind the village of Doulieu. The East Lancashires were kept in reserve, 1,000 yards (900m) behind the forward positions held by the 10th and 11th East Yorkshires (Hull Commercials and Hull Tradesmen). 93rd Brigade, which had first been ordered to move into a position to support 92nd Brigade, was at 2pm given orders to make a counter-attack on the left of the 11th East Yorkshires. The attack, made by 13th York and Lancasters (1st Barnsley Pals) and 18th Durham Light Infantry (Durham Pals) in failing light at 7pm and without artillery preparation, caught the enemy completely by surprise and succeeded in re-taking la Becque and la Rose Farm.

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    Overnight, the 11th East Yorkshires moved forward to relieve units of 40th Division and to re-establish contact with 93rd Brigade at Farm du Bois. The front was already under threat. Reports of large numbers of enemy troops moving through Neuf Berquin on the evening of the 11th had seen the East Lancashires ordered forward to form a defensive flank facing south; the battalion held the position until relieved by 29th Division during the night.

    At daybreak on the 12th, 29th Division held the ground between 92nd Brigade and the Neuf Berquin - Vieux Berquin road. To the west of the road, the line was held by the newly-arrived 4th Guards Brigade of 31st Division.

    At about 7.30am, enemy shelling began along the entire front held by the two divisions. By around 9am, a gap had opened up between 92nd Brigade and 29th Division as casualties rapidly mounted from an enemy field gun firing at a range of less than 1,000 yards (900m). At the same time, the right battalion of 93rd Brigade began to retire as enemy troops pressed forward, closely supported by mobile trench mortars and light artillery. With both flanks in danger of being turned, the two forward battalions of 92nd Brigade were forced to start withdrawing to the north-west at 10am.

    The withdrawal under heavy shelling and machine gun fire was made all the more difficult by the waterways and hedges that divided the landscape; several men drowned in attempting to cross the deep and broad ditches. After allowing the 10th East Yorkshires to pass through their lines, the East Lancashires moved to cover the withdrawal of the brigade by extending their own front to the left. Lt. Harold Wilton was later awarded the Military Cross for leading his company to the battalion's left flank under point blank artillery fire and a hail of bullets from rifles and machine guns. The fire from Wilton's company was so effective that the enemy was forced to consolidate. At 11.30am, the battalion received orders to withdraw to a line on the right flank of the 10th East Yorkshires running west from Haute Maison.

    By noon on the 12th, the situation had deteriorated still further as a result of confusion over where 92nd Brigade should make a stand; the 11th East Yorkshires - expected to extend the brigade line to the left along the Rau du Leet - continued to fall back as far as Merris where they eventually joined a composite battalion formed from brigade details. The yawning gap left between 92nd and 93rd Brigades made the line of the Rau du Leet completely untenable. As 93rd Brigade pulled back to the railway line east of Outtersteene, the 10th East Yorkshires swung around their left to face east. Orders received by the composite battalion of 92nd Brigade at 1.15pm to fill in the line along the railway between the left flank of the 10th East Yorkshires and 93rd Brigade were soon countermanded as it became clear that the enemy were already across the railway and in possession of Outtersteene. As machine gun fire swept over their exposed position along the railway line, the remnants of 93rd Brigade were now in danger of being enveloped from the right and were compelled to withdraw northwards. With the 10th East Yorkshires also in danger of being outflanked, 92nd Brigade was forced to withdraw at around 3.30pm. The East Lancashires - having earlier swung around their right so as to make contact with 29th Division - were now ordered back to form a line extending north-west from Labis Farm as far as the railway. For a time, "W" Company (Capt. John Duff) and "Z" Company (Capt. Spencer Fleischer) were left isolated as the runner carrying the orders to withdraw failed to reach them; fortunately a second runner, Pte. Charles Nutt, evaded the forward patrols of the enemy and succeeded in reaching the two companies before it was too late. Under exceptionally heavy fire, both officers successfully led their companies back to safety. Capt. Duff - wounded in the arm - was later evacuated due to loss of blood. The brigade front was extended north of the railway by the 10th East Yorkshires and by the composite battalion, which by now was dug in west of Merris.

    By 7pm the new line had been established, with forward posts held on the east edge of Celery Copse (Bois de Merris) by the East Lancashires and to the east of Merris by a company of a composite battalion formed from 93rd Brigade. The exhausted battalions took advantage of a relatively quiet night to strengthen their positions. As dawn broke on 13th April, the weakly-held British lines were just 5 miles (8km) east of the strategically-important railway centre of Hazebrouck. It was vital that the battle-weary 29th and 31st Divisions should hold on throughout the day until fresh troops of the 1st Australian Division were dug in.

    At 8.30am the enemy attacked in force along the whole front of 92nd Brigade. On the edge of Celery Copse, the Lewis gun team commanded by Sgt. Walter Beckett of the 11th East Lancashires fired at the enemy until practically surrounded. Beckett stayed with his gun to cover the withdrawal of his men before retiring himself. Although the forward posts in front of Merris and Celery Copse had been driven back by around 10am, the enemy were held up by artillery fire and made no further progress. At 11.30am a fresh attack against the front of the East Lancashires came to nothing as the enemy were caught in enfilade fire from Lewis guns sited at Labis Farm. At one point, 2/Lt. Ernest Kay took three Lewis gun teams forward 150 yards (140m) into the open to where he could direct enfilade fire into enemy troops gathering in a hollow.To the right of 92nd Brigade, a critical situation was fast developing. The 12th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, defending the approach to Vieux Berquin along the road, had been blown out of their position at la Couronne. Further to the right, the 4th Guards Brigade was now having to defend against both frontal and flank attacks. Desperate to exploit the situation at la Couronne, the enemy launched a fresh attack at 2.35pm against the the two right companies of the East Lancashires and the left of 29th Division. As the East Lancashires held firm and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy, their commanding officer, Lt.-Col. Arthur Rickman, was alarmed to see on his right up to 1,000 men from the 12th K.O.Y.L.I. and 29th Division streaming north out of Vieux Berquin. Rickman promptly sent Major Lewis Lewis and Capt. Francis Macalpine to recover the situation. In the face of heavy machine gun fire coming up the road from Vieux Berquin, the two officers collected around 400 stragglers, formed them in a position commanding the exits to the village and saw them issued with ammunition.

    Throughout the day the 1st Australian Division had been digging in behind Vieux Berquin. By 5pm, the left flank of 4th Guards Brigade had been broken, and the remnants of the brigade were ordered to fall back through the Australians. It was in the bitter fighting on the Guards' left flank that Capt. Thomas Pryce of the 4th Bn. Grenadier Guards lost his life; his Victoria Cross citation records that "with some forty men he had held back at least one enemy battalion for over ten hours. His company undoubtedly stopped the advance through the British line, and thus had great influence on the battle." With the enemy in possession of Vieux Berquin, the East Lancashires were again in danger of being outflanked. Conforming to orders, the battalion remained in position until after dusk, covering the withdrawal of units from 29th Division before swinging around their right to face south-east.

    The stubborn fight put up by 29th and 31st Divisions over 11th-13th April had bought enough time for the 1st Australian Division to form a new line running from Strazeele through le Paradis to la Rue de Bois. At 4am on the 14th, 92nd Brigade withdrew through the Australian line.

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    The 84 men of the 11th East Lancashires reported as missing include those taken prisoner-of-war as the battalion fell back on 12th April; amongst them was Pte. Alfred Edward Roberts.

    At least 16 gallantry awards were later made to men of the 11th East Lancashires: Lt.-Col. Arthur Rickman (Bar to D.S.O.), Maj. Lewis Lewis (D.S.O.), Capts. John Duff, Spencer Fleischer and Francis Macalpine (all M.C.), Lt. Harold Wilton (M.C.), 2/Lt. Ernest Kay (M.C.), C.S.M. Cornelius Lacey (D.C.M., posthumous), Sgt. Thomas Blackley (D.C.M.), A/Sgt. Walter Beckett (D.C.M. and M.M.), Cpl. John Birtwistle (M.M.), L/Cpl. William Stuart (M.M.), and Ptes. James McLoughlin, Harry Mills and Charles Nutt (all M.M.).

    On 14th April, the Australians repulsed enemy attacks through Merris and Vieux Berquin. Three days later, a sharp attack between Merris and Meteren came to nothing. The line was to remain substantially unchanged until the tide turned on 28th June; at La Becque the 11th East Lancashires would again be involved.

    The War in the Air

    General Headquarters, April 11th.

    "At midday on the 11th inst. a raid was carried out by us against Luxemburg railway station. Over a ton of bombs were dropped, and several bursts were seen on the railway and around the station. The enemy's anti-aircraft gun fire was considerable. All our machines returned."

    General Headquarters, April 12th.

    “The mist which has prevailed during the last few days continued till late in the afternoon of the 11th inst., when the weather gradually began to clear. While the mist lasted aerial activity was confined to the battle front north of the La Bassée Canal, where our aeroplanes reconnoitred the line at a very low height and dropped bombs and fired their machine-guns at the enemy troops in the open. When the mist cleared there was great activity in the air along the whole front. Several long-distance reconnaissances were carried out; many photographs were taken, and much fighting took place. Twenty-one hostile machines were brought down and 14 others were driven down out of control. Four of our machines are missing. Two of our aeroplanes reported yesterday as missing have since returned. During the night over eight tons of bombs were dropped on Bapaume, on villages south of the Somme, and on military objectives at Ostend and Zeebrugge. One of our machines has not returned.”

    RAF Communiqué number 2:

    Low clouds and mist prevailed until 3 p.m., when the weather conditions improved.

    Fifteen reconnaissances and 18 contact patrols were carried out.

    Two hostile batteries were neutralized and two zone calls asent down.

    Five tons of bombs were dropped as follows:-

    1st Brigade: 1st Wing, 31 25-lb bombs. No 203 Squadron, 34 25-lb bombs. No 16 Squadron, 8 112-lb and 28 25-lb bombs. No 40 Squadron, 35 25-lb bombs. 4th Squadron A.F.C., 36 25-lb bombs.
    2nd Brigade: 121 25-lb bombs.
    3rd Brigade: 6 25-lb bombs.
    5th Brigade: 15th Wing, 36 25-lb bombs. 22nd Wing, 95 25-lb bombs.
    8th Brigade: During the day, 11 machines of No 55 Squadron bombed the railway station at Luxembourg, dropping 22 112-lb bombs. Several bursts were seen on the railway and round the station. Ten photographs were taken. All machines returned. A successful long distance reconnaissance was carried out by a machine of the same squadron.

    Enemy Aircraft:

    Enemy aircraft, were active only on the battle front, but later in the afternoon when the weather cleared their activity increased on other parts of the front, particularly to the south of La Bassée.

    Enemy machines were driven down out of control by the following: Capt W M Alexander, No 210 Squadron; 2nd-Lieut R N Chandler, No 73 Squadron; Capt J McDonald, No 24 Squadron; Lieut L de S Duke, No 84 Squadron; Lieut J V Sorsoleil, No 84 Squadron; Capt E H Tatton, No 84 Squadron; 2nd-Lieut G Pilditch, No 73 Squadron; Capt W H Hubbard, No 73 Squadron; Lieut E H Peverell, No 70 Squadron; Lieut Siddall, No 209 Squadron; Lieut Edwards and Lieut Redgate, No 209 Squadron (one).

    Lieut O C Bridgeman, 80 Sqn, Albatros Scout in flames Bois du Riez -

    Capt J Gilmour, 65 Sqn, two-seater in flames north-east of Moreuil Wood at 13:35/13:35 - Capt J Gilmour, No 65 Squadron, attacked the leader of 8 or 10 two-seaters presumably bombing Amiens. After about 300 rounds had been fired into it the E.A. went down in flames north-east of Moreuil Wood

    Lieut A T Whealy, 203 Sqn, LVG C crashed south of Sailly-sur-la-Lys at 14:20/14:20 - Lieut A T Whealy, No 203 Squadron, dived on an E.A. two-seater and fired a burst of about 50 rounds from both guns at 100 yards range; the E.A. went into a vertical nose-dive and crashed close to the canal near Sailly-sur-Lys

    Capt R A Little, 203 Sqn, Albatros Scout in flames Neuve-Église at 14:30/14:30 - Capt R A Little, No 203 Squadron, observed three E.A. two-seaters which he attacked, assisted by other machines of his flight. They were then attacked by six E.A. scouts, one of which Capt Little engaged and the E.A. went down in a spin. Capt Little followed it down to 2,000 feet and saw it crash near Neuve Eglise

    Capt W M Alexander, 210 Sqn, Albatros C out of control east of Estaires at 15:15/15:15 -

    Lieut L H T Capel & Corpl E A Deighton, 20 Sqn, two-seater crashed south of Armentières at 15:15/15:15 - Lieut L H T Capel & Corpl E A Deighton, No 20 Squadron, after bombing troops, climbed to 4,000 feet and engaged an E.A. two-seater. After a burst of 25 rounds was fired into it, the E.A. went down out of control and was seen to crash

    Capt D J Bell, 3 Sqn, Albatros Scout out of control smoking Neuville at 15:45/15:45 -

    Lieut C S Bowen, 54 Sqn, Rumpler C crashed south of Erquinghem at 16:00/16:00 - Lieut C S Bowen, No 54 Squadron, dived on E.A. two-seater which was flying at a height of 2,000 feet. After a short engagement the E.A. went down in a spiral apparently out of control, hit a tree and crashed, bursting into flames as soon as it reached the ground; Vfw Johann Burghauser (Kia) & Fahnr Oskar Schlect (Kia), Schsta 24b [?]

    Lieut A W Franklyn, 3 Sqn, LVG C in flames Courcelles - Ervillers at 16:30/16:30 -

    Capt D J Bell, 2nd-Lieut G R Riley, 2nd-Lieut C E Mayer and Lieut L A Hamilton, 3 Sqn, LVG C in flames Courcelles - Ervillers at 16:30/16:30 - Capt D J Bell, No 3 Squadron, fired on an LVG two-seater at 60 yards’ range and the observer was seen to fall into the cockpit. Lieuts Mayer, Franklin and Hamilton also fired at the E.A. Capt Bell fired another burst of 50 rounds into it at close range and the E.A. was seen by the whole formation to go down in flames

    Capt J H Tudhope, 40 Sqn, Fokker DrI crashed north-east of Lens at 16:40/16:40 - Capt J H Tudhope, No 40 Squadron, dived on the rear machine of a formation of seven E.A. triplanes; he opened fire at very close range, getting in several good bursts from both guns. The E.A. stalled, commenced to spin and eventually crashed to earth near the Metallurgique Works

    Capt I D R McDonald, 24 Sqn, LVG C out of control Villers Bretonneux at 16:55/16:55 -
    Lieut C G Edwards and Lieut O W Redgate, 209 Sqn, Albatros Scout out of control Albert at 17:00/17:00 -
    Lieut J H Siddall, 209 Sqn, Albatros Scout out of control Albert at 17:00/17:00 -
    Capt A R Brown, 209 Sqn, Albatros Scout out of control Albert at 17:00/17:00 -

    Capt G H Lewis, 40 Sqn, Fokker DrI crashed north-east of Lens at 17:00/17:00 - Capt G H Lewis, No 40 Squadron, dived on one of seven E.A. triplanes but was forced to break off the combat owing to gun jams. He shortly afterwards found a solitary enemy triplane and dived on it, getting in long bursts from both guns whilst closing towards the E.A., which turned over and down in a slow spin out of control and is confirmed by “C” Battery A.A. to have crashed east of Lens

    Capt E H Tatton, 84 Sqn, Fokker DrI out of control east of Albert at 17:05/17:05 -
    Lieut L de S Duke, 84 Sqn, Pfalz Scout out of control east of Albert at 17:05/17:05 -
    Lieut J V Sorsoleil, 84 Sqn, Fokker DrI out of control east of Albert at 17:05/17:05 -

    Lieut J A Glen, 203 Sqn, Albatros C in flames & ? Laventie at 18:30/18:30 - Lieut J A Glen, No 203 Squadron, engaged an E.A. two-seater and after 300 rounds had been fired into it from close range the E.A. dived vertically and burst into flames. The E.A. was seen by the rest of the patrol to crash

    Capt L W Jarvis, 56 Sqn, Pfalz Scout crashed Bécourt at 18:30/18:30 - Capt L W Jarvis, No 56 Squadron, in a general engagement between a formation of 56 Sqn and 11 E.A. scouts, fired about 15 rounds into one of the E.A. A large volume of smoke immediately burst from the E.A. which went down and crashed. This was seen by several pilots of the patrol; Uffz Gottfried Stemmler, Jasta 76b, (Kia) [?]

    Lieut K W Junor, 56 Sqn, Albatros Scout crashed west of Aveluy at 18:30/18:30 - Lieut K W Junor, No 56 Squadron, fired a burst from each gun into an E.A. scout, which was observed to emit puffs of white smoke and water and to go down in a steep dive. This E.A. is confirmed to have crashed west of Aveluy Village; Uffz Gottfried Stemmler, Jasta 76b, (Kia) [?]

    2nd-Lieut R G Hart & 2nd-Lieut L F Handford, 15 Sqn, Scout in flames Millencourt at 18:35/18:35 and Scout out of control [by Handford] Millencourt at 18:35/18:35 - 2nd-Lieut R G Hart & 2nd-Lieut L F Handford, No 15 Squadron, whilst on contact patrol were attacked by four E.A. scouts and almost immediately the elevator and aileron controls of the RE8 were shot away. Twenty rounds were fired into the nearest E.A., both planes and the right-hand side of which broke off and the E.A. burst into flames, shortly before it crashed in our lines at Millencourt. 2nd-Lieut Handford was then wounded in the knee but engaged the E.A., firing off the remainder of the drum before losing consciousness. This enemy machine is confirmed by the 47th and 63rd Divisions to have fallen out of control in the enemy's lines. One E.A. followed down the RE8, which was almost out of control, until within 100 feet of the ground, and then left it; Ltn Richard Emmerich, Jasta 76b, Kia [?], G.167

    Maj R S Dallas, 40 Sqn, DFW C crashed La Bassée at 18:40/18:40 - Maj R S Dallas, No 40 Squadron, dived on an E.A. two-seater from behind, firing with both guns up to 30 yards range. The E.A. fell over on its left wing tip, dived to earth and was seen to crash

    Lieut T Durrant, 56 Sqn, Albatros Scout in flames NE Albert at 18:45/18:45 - Lieut T Durrant, No 56 Squadron, got onto the tail of an E.A. scout and opened fire at rather less than 100 yards range; the E.A. went down in steep dive and a burst of flame appeared and the E.A. was lost to view in a cloud. This E.A. was seen in flames and crashed by three other pilots of the patrol; Uffz Gottfried Stemmler, Jasta 76b, (Kia) [?]

    The British ace Leutenant Kelvin Crawford of 24 Squadron RAF was killed on this day.

    Nine days after he joined 24 Squadron on 17 October 1916, Kelvin Crawford scored his first victory. Scoring his second victory on 22 November, he and John Andrews shot down an Albatros D.II flown by Stefan Kirmaier, commander of Jasta 2. Before returning to the Home Establishment on 3 July 1917, Crawford achieved two more victories flying the D.H.2 and his last victory flying a D.H.5. He was posted to 60 Squadron in March 1918 but was killed in action the following month. The son of William and Elizabeth M. Crawford; 1901 residence, Wandsworth, London; birth registered in 2nd quarter 1895 at Wandsworth.

    The following claims were made on this day

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    Amongst those claiming their first kills were...

    Lieutenant Lloyd Andrews Hamilton DSC. DFC. USAF

    The son of the Rev. John A. and Jennie B. (Andrews) Hamilton, Lloyd Andrews Hamilton was a brilliant student and received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1916, magna cum laude, from Syracuse University. He was fatally wounded by ground fire after shooting down a balloon near Lagnicourt. Hamilton Field at Novato, California was named in honor of Lieutenant Hamilton in 1932.

    On 13 August 1918, Lt. Hamilton led his flight on a special mission against Varssenaere aerodrome. He dropped four bombs from 200 feet on some aeroplane hangars, making two direct hits and causing a large amount of damage. He then machine gunned the German officers' billets and made four circuits of the aerodrome, shooting up various targets. On the first circuit, he destroyed one EA on the ground which burst into flames when he shot it up. On the third circuit he repeated this performance, setting afire another Fokker biplane. His dash and skill very materially helped in the success of the operation. In addition this officer destroyed a Fokker biplane over Armentières on 7 August 1918. On 12 July he brought down two EA in flames and on two other occasions has driven down out of control enemy machines. He is an excellent patrol leader.

    The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Lloyd A. Hamilton, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action at Varssenaere, Belgium, August 13, 1918. Leading a low bombing attack on a German aerodrome, 30 miles behind the line, Lieutenant Hamilton destroyed the hangars on the north side of the aerodrome and then attacked a row of enemy machines, flying as low as 20 feet from the ground despite intense machine-gun fire, and setting fire to three of the German planes. He then turned and fired bursts through the windows of the chateau in which the German pilots were quartered, 26 of whom were afterwards reported killed.

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    Sergeant Ernest Deighton 20 Squadron RAF (Bristol Fighters)

    Ernest Arthur Deighton enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps on 15 March 1917 as a transport driver. As a Corporal mechanic, he became a Brisfit observer and scored fifteen victories with 20 Squadron in 1918.

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    Lieutenant Cedric George Edwards DFC 209 Squadron RAF

    The son of John Frederick and Elizabeth Ann Edwards, Cedric George Edwards was killed in action when his Sopwith Camel (B6371) was hit by anti-aircraft fire.

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    The following British airmen were lost on this day

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    Middle East
    Palestine: 4,000 Turks (48th Division) with c.40 guns fail to retake Ghoraniyeh Jordan bridge* heads vs 4,500 Anzacs and Camel Brigade with 33 guns, lose over 472 casualties for 100 defenders.
    Hejaz Railway: Arab regulars storm stations north and south of Maan and hill to southwest until April 13, take but fail to hold Maan Station on April 16; 327 PoWs and 3 MGs taken.

    Sea War
    Mediterranean: Marseilles-bound British transport Kingstonian (9 lives lost) sunk by U-boat.
    North Sea: Dover Patrol shells Ostend and its aircraft bomb Zeebrugge. Dover Barrage claims coastal submarine UB-33 and UB-55 (April 22).
    Baltic: German dreadnoughts Westfalen and Posen arrive off Helsinki from Reval, but sister ship Rheinland crippled by rocks off Lagskar (600t including all guns removed before refloated for return to Kiel but not repaired).

    Air War

    Western Front: US I Corps Observation Squadron flies first mission over German lines. 94th Aero Pursuit Squadrons first successful patrol destroys 2 German aircraft on April 14, pilots PoWs.

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    On 30 September 1917, two officers and 150 enlisted men left Texas for France and were sent to seven different aircraft factories for maintenance and repair training. In April 1918, the 94th was reunited and stationed at the Gengault Aerodrome near Toul, France, where it began operations as the first American squadron at the front. It was placed under the command of Major Raoul Lufbery, an ace pilot and veteran of the Lafayette Escadrille.

    As the first American squadron in operation, its aviators were allowed to create their squadron insignia. They used the opportunity to commemorate the United States' entry into World War I by taking the phrase of tossing one's "hat in the ring" (a boxing phrase to signify one's willingness to become a challenger) and symbolizing it with the literal image of Uncle Sam's red, white and blue top hat going through a ring.

    On 14 April, Lt. Douglas Campbell and Lt. Alan Winslow downed two German aircraft. These were the first victories ever scored by an American unit. No 94th pilot achieved more aerial victories than 1st Lt. Edward V. "Eddie" Rickenbacker, who was named America's "Ace of Aces" during the war. In his Nieuport 28 and later his SPAD S.XIII, Rickenbacker was credited with 26 of the squadron's 70 kills during World War I. By the end of hostilities, the 94th had won battle honors for participation in 11 major engagements and was awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm. The squadron was assigned to the 1st Pursuit Group based at Toul (5 May 1918), and subsequently at Touquin (28 June 1918), Saints (9 July 1918) and Rembercourt (1 September 1918). Rickenbacker took command of the squadron on 25 September, at the start of the Meuse Argonne Offensive, and retained it through the end of the war. Another flying ace of this squadron was Harvey Weir Cook. The 103d Aero Squadron constructed facilities, December 1917 – 1 February 1918; with flight echelon originally composed of former members of the Lafayette Escadrille, participated in combat as a pursuit unit with the French Fourth Army, French Sixth Army, Detachment of the Armies of the North (French), French Eighth Army, and the American First Army, 18 February – 10 November 1918. On 8 April 1924, the 103d was consolidated by the Air Service with the 94th Pursuit Squadron.

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    Spad XIII in 94th Pursuit Squadron Markings

    France: Single Gotha bomber drops 1,543 lb bomb on Paris (99 casualties).
    Occupied Belgium: Only 4 of 7 Handley Pages bomb near Zeebrugge area (2 lost).

    Captain Tunstill's Men:

    During the day the Battalion relieved 9Yorks in the left sub-sector of the right Brigade, between San Sisto and Poslen, with the relief complete by 6pm. Two Companies went into the front line, with one Company in support and one in reserve. Pte. Harold Charnock (see 3rd April) recalled that, “we were in dug-outs and huts. HQ and support were in a large wood with a good view of the Piave Front Line”. An outpost line of seven advanced posts had recently been established some 500 yards in advance of the Divisional front line. Each of these posts was manned by three snipers during the day but by one officer and 20 other ranks overnight. 10DWR now took on responsibility for four of these advanced posts in the region of the Guardinlati Spur.

    According to the Brigade War Diary, “our artillery again greatly increased its activity and hostile batteries began to reply. Owing to the width of no man’s land there was great scope for patrol activity. Full advantage was taken of this and our patrols were out nightly”.

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  18. #3168


    Two huge editions.
    Thanks Chris.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  19. #3169


    That was another bumper edition - thanks. Running! Did you say you'd taken up running? Good luck with that then

  20. #3170


    Quote Originally Posted by mikeemagnus View Post
    That was another bumper edition - thanks. Running! Did you say you'd taken up running? Good luck with that then
    Got an excercise bike as well - ned to shift some timber and get fit again in time for my retirement - lots of mountains to climb

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  21. #3171


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    12th April 1918

    Air War
    Britain: Last Zeppelin raid to cross coast and cause damage or casualties. 5 Navy airships scatter 33,340lb-worth bombs across Western Midlands and Northern England (night April 12-13, 27 casualties). L-61 (Ehrlich) bombs Wigan (claims attack on Sheffield). 27 defence sorties (5 sightings) cost 3 aircraft.

    This raid on the night of 12/13 April 1918 proved to be the last time Zeppelins appeared over Britain. Five new Zeppelins of the ‘v-class — L.60 to L.64 — took part. Thick cloud and rain over the North Sea hampered the mission targeting the industrial Midlands, and a layer of cloud over England meant the raiders struggled with navigation from the great heights they flew at. For the first time the home defence aircraft took to the air as the RAF.

    Three airships penetrated only a short distance inland with L.60 claiming an attack on Leeds. In fact, L.60, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Hans Kurt Flemming, came inland over Lincolnshire just to the south of the River Humber and passed Grimsby without seeing it. A number of AA guns engaged, firing at the sound of her engines. Her first bombs dropped at East Halton, near Killingholme, at about 9.26pm: four 100kg HE, eight 50kg HE and one incendiary. Three of the 100kg bombs and the incendiary failed to detonate. There were no injuries although the bombs killed two sheep and damaged a railway signal box. From there L.60 headed west, dropping two HE bombs at Thornton Abbey, followed by 19 more bombs, a mixture of HE and incendiary bombs, that fell in fields around the villages of Thornton Curtis, Burnham, Saxby All Saints and Horkstow, breaking a few windows and bringing down some telegraph wires. Heading north now, at 10.08pm L.60 crossed the Humber west of Hull, passing around that city and heading back towards the sea, attracting more AA gunfire as she went. She left the coast near Tunstall at 10.35pm.

    Kapitänleutnant Michael von Freudenreich, commanding L.63, came inland south of Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast at about 10.05pm. From Wrangle, L.63 headed west, passing south of Coningsby at 10.25pm. Four minutes later the AA gun at Brauncewell, just east of the airfield at Cranwell where flares were burning, opened fire. L.63 released a 100kg HE bomb which exploded harmlessly in a field at Blankney Park. Now heading north, von Freudenreich dropped 18 bombs (2 x 300kg, 15 x 50kg and one incendiary) at 10.35pm, a mile east of Metheringham. These bombs, amounting to over a ton in weight, merely smashed a few windows. L.63 then turned to the south and disappeared to trackers for 30 minutes until she appeared again near Spalding heading east. At 11.10pm she dropped an incendiary at Fleet and five more at Little Sutton, none of which caused any damage, before heading north out over The Wash. She travelled up and down the coast for a while before she finally went out to sea at 1.10am from near Cromer. Von Freudenreich believed he had made an attack on Grimsby.

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    Hauptmann Kuno Manger, commanding L.62, actually reached the target area of the industrial Midlands. But even so, his raid proved largely ineffective. Coming inland over the Norfolk coast at Overstrand at about 9.30pm, Manger followed a south-west course, reaching Downham Market at 10.15pm. Perhaps attracted by a searchlight, Manger now steered north-west and dropped two 100kg bombs. The bombs fell about half a mile west of Middle Drove Station on Tilney All Saints Fen, and about a mile from the searchlight. The only damage was a few broken windows in nearby cottages. Continuing on a north-west course, L.62 approached No.51 Squadron’s airfield at Tydd St. Mary at about 18,000 feet and dropped three 100kg bombs. They fell in a field about a 1,000 yards east of the target. After dropping the bombs at Tydd St Mary, Manger turned on to a south-west course and, once west of Peterborough, he dropped a 50kg bomb aimed at a searchlight. It exploded in a field about a mile east of Nassington, smashing a shop window.

    Continuing on his course, Manger approached Coventry from the north-east at 11.42pm, at which time guns defending the city at Radford and Wyken opened fire. Passing around the south-east side of Coventry, at 11.45pm Manger offloaded four HE and nine incendiary bombs. At Whitley Abbey Park a 300kg bomb fell in a field and smashed a few windows, the rest exploded at Baginton: two HE and the nine incendiaries landed around the sewage works and in neighbouring fields, killing a bullock, a heifer and a lamb, and one HE detonated in Baginton Lane without causing damage. Passing north of Kenilworth, L.62 now approached Solihull on the south-west side of Birmingham. At around 11.53pm two bombs fell in fields at Packwood, one on Windmill Farm and the other at Fetherston House. The second bomb smashed windows in a school half a mile away. Two more HE bombs fell in fields north of Hockley Heath on Box Tree Farm, smashing windows in a cottage nearby. These were followed by two HE bombs at Monkspath, one at Mount Cottage Farm, the other about half a mile to the west, at Mount Lane. The bombs smashed a few windows. L.62 was now heading directly towards Birmingham, but at 11.57pm three AA guns opened fire, two of them with incendiary shells. This seems to have caused Manger concern because he immediately released two 300kg bombs and then turned away from the city. One fell in Shirley where it smashed the plate glass windows of six shops and windows in 24 homes. The second fell on Gospel Farm at Hall Green. The blast damaged roofs on building at the farm, smashed the glass in the French windows at Broom Hall, broke windows in homes near the church and caused slight damage to buildings at the golf club. Manger now turned back towards the coast. L.62 came under fire from the AA guns at Coventry again and aeroplanes attempted to close with her but failed. Other guns fired at the sound of her engines as she continued her journey. She finally went out to sea at Gorleston on the Norfolk coast at 3.34am.

    More tomorow...

    Western Front
    Flanders: German offensive slackens 6 miles from Hazebrouck (until April 16) although Merville falls. British 5th Division arrives from Italy and 1st Australian Division comes up.
    Battle of Hazebrouck (until April 15): 4 British division defend Nieppe Forest (*until April 15), BEF First Army defends Hinges Ridge north of Bethune. Kaiser arrives at Armentieres, anticipating victory.
    Argonne: *Franco-Americans repulse attacks in Apremont Forest.

    Mozambique: Action at Medo; Kartucol and Rosecol (over 155 casualties) join after former’s flanking move ambushed in swamp by Captain Kohl’s 800 Germans, 12 MGs and 1 gun; 7 hours fighting before Kohl retreats from Chirimba Hill. Rosecol resumes advance on Mwalia on April 15, skirmishes (28 casualties) with German rearguard on April 17.

    Sea War
    Adriatic: Austrian raid on Otranto Barrage (until April 13).
    North Sea: Grand Fleet base moved from Scapa Flow to Rosyth for duration of war.

    An explosion takes place in the engine-room of H.M. Motor Launch 356, and the forward tanks burst into flame. The officer and some of the crew are blown overboard by the explosion and the remainder are quickly driven aft by the flames, and are taken off in a skiff. By this time the flames are issuing from the cabin hatch aft, and there is petrol burning on the surface of the water. It is then realized by the crews of adjacent vessels that the aft petrol tanks and the depth charge are being attacked by the fire, and might explode at any moment. At the moment when others are running away, Lieutenant Commander Keith Robin Hoare DSO DSC RNVR and Sub-Lieutenant Arthur Gerald Bagot DSC RNVR jump into their dinghy, row to the wreck, get on board, and remove the depth charge, thereby preventing an explosion which might have caused serious loss of life among the crowd of English and French sailors on the quay.

    General Headquarters, April 12th.

    “On the 12th inst. the Sablon railway station at Metz was successfully bombed. Twenty-two heavy bombs were dropped, all of which burst on the railway and the sidings. All our machines returned."

    General Headquarters, April 13th.

    “On the 12th inst. atmospheric conditions were favourable for flying, and a great concentration of our aeroplanes was effected by us on the battle-front. Large numbers of low-flying machines were employed in bombing and sweeping with machine-gun fire roads packed with the enemy's troops. Thirty-six tons of bombs were dropped and over 110,000 rounds of ammunition were fired by us. While these attacks on ground targets were in progress, other formations, flying at a greater height, engaged the enemy's aeroplanes, which were extremely active in this sector. Other machines reconnoitred the battle area, bringing back information as to the positions of our own and the enemy's troops. On the remainder of the British front the usual work in co-operation with our artillery was carried out, and a very large number of photographs were taken. In air fighting, 40 German machines were brought down by our aeroplanes and 20 other hostile aeroplanes were driven down out of control. In addition, two of the enemy's machines were shot down by anti-aircraft gun-fire. Three hostile observation balloons were also destroyed. Twelve of our aeroplanes are missing.

    “After dark, the incessant bombing carried out by us during the previous 12 hours was continued until dawn. Over 22 tons of bombs were dropped on different targets, including the Don and Douai railway stations, two important railway junctions between Mezieres and Reims, and roads leading up to the battlefront in the neighbourhood of Estaires."

    RAF Communiqué number 2:

    The weather was fine all day and the visibility exceptionally good.

    A record number of hours flying was done, a record number of photographs taken, and a record number of bombs dropped for any 24 hours since the war started.

    Thirty-seven reconnaissances were carried out and 22 contact patrols; the majority of these were carried out by machines of the 1st and 2nd Brigades.

    Thirty-seven hostile batteries were successfully engaged for destruction with aeroplane observation and 36 neutralized. Two gun-pits were destroyed, 10 damaged, five explosions and eight fires caused. Eighty-nine zone calls were sent down.

    On the 12th instant, 49 targets, of which 18 were hostile batteries, were registered by balloons; of this total, balloons of the 1st Brigade registered 34 and also carried out a great deal of general observation, reporting movements of the enemy’s troops and transport. Forty-eight active hostile batteries were located.

    A total of 45 tons of bombs were dropped as follows:-

    Night 11th/12th – 1st Brigade: No 101 Squadron, 2 112-lb and 184 25-lb bombs on Bray, La Motte, Harbonnières, Puisieux, Morcourt and Proyart. No 102 Squadron, 155 25-lb bombs on Bapaume.

    7th Brigade: 28 112-lb bombs on batteries at Ostend, and 4 250-lb and 20 112-lb bombs on Zeebrugge.

    1st Brigade: No 2 Squadron, 96 25-lb bombs on targets in the battle area.

    Day 12th – 1st Brigade: 1st Wing, 2 112-lb and 99 25-lb bombs. No 18 Squadron, 50 112-lb and 139 25-lb bombs. No 203 Squadron, 220 25-lb bombs. No 210 Squadron, 92 25-lb bombs. 4th Squadron A.F.C., 102 25-lb bombs.

    All these bombs were dropped on [the] enemy’s troops and transport in the battle area.

    2nd Brigade: 157 112-lb and 279 25-lb bombs on troops and transport in the battle area.
    3rd Brigade: No 57 Squadron, 48 25-lb bombs Sapignies, 60 25-lb bombs on Beugnâtre, 40 112-lb bombs on Bapaume. 35 25-lb bombs were dropped on various targets.

    5th Brigade: No 206 Squadron, 53 25-lb bombs on Rosières Aerodrome; one hangar was set on fire. Two 112-lb and 60 25-lb bombs were also dropped by this squadron on La Motte Aerodrome, two hits being obtained on the hangars. 15th Wing, 167 25-lb bombs. 22nd Wing, 4 112-lb and 371 25-lb bombs.

    9th Brigade: No 25 Squadron, 14 112-lb and 34 25-lb bombs on Hellemes and Haubourdin Railway Station. No 27 Squadron, 53 112-lb and 71 25-lb bombs on Don, Lille and Hellemmes Railway Stations.
    8th Brigade: No 55 Squadron, 22 112-lb bombs on the Sablon Station at Metz, several direct hits being obtained on the railway. All machines returned. Two successful photographic reconnaissances were also carried out by machines of this squadron.

    Enemy Aircraft:

    Enemy were active on the whole front, particularly north of [the] La Bassée Canal and in the neighbourhood of Hangard. Forty-nine hostile machines were brought down and 25 driven down out of control. Two hostile machines were brought down by A.A. and six balloons were destroyed by our aeroplanes.

    During the whole of the day, pilots of the 1st and 2nd Brigades were employed bombing and machine-gunning, from a low height, the enemy’s attacking troops between Wytschaete and [the] La Bassée Canal. Pilots flew from anything between 2,00 and 50 feet. At the same time, machines of the 9th Brigade flew at a height to fight hostile machines. Machines of the 1st Brigade dropped about 800 bombs and fired 61,000 rounds, while those of the 2nd Brigade dropped 500 bombs and fired 15,000 rounds. Very low reconnaissances were also carried out by machines of these Brigades, much useful information being brought in as to the position of our own and the enemy’s troops. Especially useful reports as to the location in which hostile troops were massing were brought in, enabling our guns to engage them and our low-flying machines to go out and attack them with their machine-guns and drop bombs on them.

    Enemy aircraft were driven down out of control by the following:- 2nd-Lieut C W Usher, No 40 Squadron; 2nd-Lieut J W Wallwork, No 40 Squadron; Capt J L Middleton, No 40 Squadron; Capt G H Lewis, No 40 Squadron; Lieut G G Bailey, No 43 Squadron; Capts G F Hughes and H Claye, No 62 Squadron; Capt I D R McDonald, No 24 Squadron; Lieut J H Forman, No 201 Squadron; Capt A G Clark, 2nd Squadron A.F.C.; 2nd-Lieuts G W Hemsworth and A J Todd, No 62 Squadron; Lieut D A Savage and 2nd-Lieut L M Thompson, No 62 Squadron; 2nd-Lieut W A Tyrrell, No 32 Squadron; 2nd-Lient C H Arnison and Lieut S Parry, No 62 Squadron; Capt A R Brown, No 209 Squadron; Capt E H Tatton, No 84 Squadron; Lieut G O Johnson, No 84 Squadron; Lieut W E Lunnon, No 84 Squadron; Capt I P R Napier, No 40 Squadron (two); 2nd-Lieut I F Hind, No 40 Squadron; Capt D J Bell, No. 3 Squadron.

    Patrol of 209 Sqn, Camel B7200, Camel B6311, Camel D3328 and Camel B3858, Albatros crashed? – [pilots not identified although Capt A R Brown has been suggested as pilot of B7200; B3858 usually flown by Capt R M Foster; D3328 previously flown by Lieut A P Squire]

    2nd-Lieut G W Hemsworth & 2nd-Lieut A J Todd, 62 Sqn, out of control -
    Capt I P R Napier, 40 Sqn, Albatros Scout out of control south of Estaires at 06:50/06:50 -
    Capt I P R Napier and 2nd-Lieut I F Hind, 40 Sqn, Albatros Scout out of control south of Estaires at 06:50/06:50 -
    Capt E Mannock, 74 Sqn, Albatros Scout crashed east of Merville at 08:25/08:25 – an offensive patrol of No 74 Squadron engaged a hostile formation at about 12,000 feet. Capt Mannock fired a long burst from both guns into one E.A. which went down and crashed
    Lieut H E Dolan, 74 Sqn, Albatros Scout crashed east of Merville at 08:25/08:25 - Lieut H E Dolan, No 74 Squadron, fired two bursts from above into an Albatros Scout which turned over slowly, went down out of control and crashed

    Lieut J R Moore, 54 Sqn, Rumpler C crashed south of Armentières at 08:25/08:25 – a patrol of No 54 Squadron engaged several E.A. Lieut J R Moore caused a Rumpler two-seater to dive into the ground one mile south of Armentières; Ltn Walter Henning (Kia) & Ltn Alfred Ludwig (Kia), FA 256 [?]

    Capt A R Brown and Lieut F J W Mellersh, 209 Sqn, Fokker DrI in flames Warfusée - Abancourt at 08:30/08:30 - Capt A R Brown, No 209 Squadron, brought down an enemy triplane after firing 100 rounds into it at close range

    Capt D M McGoun & 2nd-Lieut F N Harrison, 22 Sqn, two-seater crashed Laventie at 09:00/09:00 - Capt D M McGoun & 2nd-Lieut F N Harrison, No 22 Squadron, dived on a two-seater near Laventie. One hundred rounds were fired, after which the E.A. went down side-slipping and smoking, and crashed among the buildings of a small village

    Capt A G Waller & 2nd-Lieut J Waugh, 2nd-Lieut H R Gould & Capt M S E Archibald, 18 Sqn, Lieut F J Morgan & Sergt M B Kilroy, 18 Sqn and 2nd-Lieut A C Atkey & Sergt H Hammond, 18 Sqn, Pfalz Scout out of control Estaires at 10:25/10:25 -

    Capt A G Waller & 2nd-Lieut J Waugh, 2nd-Lieut H R Gould & Capt M S E Archibald, Lieut F J Morgan & Sergt M B Kilroy and 2nd-Lieut A C Atkey & Sergt H Hammond, 18 Sqn, Pfalz Scout in flames Estaires at 10:25/10:25 - Capt A G Waller & 2nd-Lieut J Waugh, No 18 Squadron, with attacked with his patrol by 20 E.A. A general engagement ensued in which one machine was brought down in flames and seen to crash

    Lieut G G Bailey, 43 Sqn, Albatros Scout crashed Cagnicourt at 10:30/10:30 - Lieut G G Bailey, No 43 Squadron, got onto the tail of an Albatros Scout and fired a burst at about 50 yards range. It turned over on its back, went down out of control and crashed near Cagnicourt

    The stand out performance of the day belongs to Captain Henry Winslow Woollett MC & Bar, DSO 43 Squadron RAF.On this day Woollett had SIX confirmed victories

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    On 12 April 1918, Henry Winslow Woollett downed six enemy aircraft in one day.

    "Captain H. W. Woollett of No. 43 Squadron achieved the war's record by bringing down six enemy aircraft in one day, very largely owing to the excellent qualities of his machine. Thus at 10.30 a.m., whilst leading a patrol, he saw a German machine, out-manoeuvred it, fired about thirty rounds and saw it spin down and crash. During this fight he had been attacked by several other machines. Without delay he climbed rapidly above his attackers and dived on to a two-seater, firing as he went, causing this machine also to crash. Once again he out-climbed his opponents, looped away from two attacking Fokkers, made a vertical bank, and again dived on the tail of an Albatross. After he had fired about 40 rounds, this machine burst into flames and fell to pieces. He then went home. At 5 p.m. the same evening he attacked thirteen enemy aircraft, having absolute confidence in his own skill as a pilot and knowing that his machine could out-manoeuvre any of those he was attacking. He first fired 30 rounds into one of the enemy aeroplanes, which turned over on its back and fell to pieces. He then climbed again, manoeuvred rapidly among the remaining twelve machines, avoiding the fire of his opponents until he could fire a burst into an Albatross, which spun down and crashed. He then made for home. On crossing the lines he saw another enemy machine above him. Once more the climb of his 'bus enabled him to get over his enemy, and he crashed his sixth machine for the day. This day's work, the record for the war, illustrates the necessity for speed in the air—speed in climb and manoeuvreability."

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    This was one of the most deadly days in all of the war for those fighting in the air - there were in excess of 100 claimed kills by aces alone

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    This all came at a cost with 23 British airmen lost on this day

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    Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander Milne DSO (commanding 36th Australian Infantry) dies of wounds at age 46. He was wounded five times on landing in Gallipoli on 25th April 1915.

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    Battle of Hazebrouck (12–15 April)

    On 12 April, the Sixth Army renewed its attack in the south, towards the important supply centre of Hazebrouck, another 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the west. The Germans advanced some 2–4 kilometres (1.2–2.5 mi) and captured Merville. On 13 April they were stopped by the First Australian Division, which had been transferred to the area. The British Fourth Division defended Hinges Ridge, the Fifth Division held Nieppe Forest and the 33rd Division was also involved.

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    Captain Tunstill's Men: The recent cold, wet weather continued, with showers of rain, sleet and snow.

    2Lt. Bernard Garside (see 29th March), who was with the Company in reserve, recalled conditions, “Our Company was not quite in the front at first, but in reserve up a little hill through a wood from the front line. Our mess was really a trench covered in and our lath was the ‘firestep’. We slept in a cave on beds made of wire netting, three, one above the other. We could not undress now, so if we got very wet, as we often did, we had to sleep all wet, and when we got warm, if we did, the steam came up the valise. It was very cold and the roof of the cave all leaked, so we had a ground sheet stretched over us by strings and all night the water trickled on to it and fell off the end, just beyond our feet, in a lovely little waterfall into a big bucket, which was emptied from time to time. But I’ll tell you the thing I remember best. There were some big rats living with us and one night in the cold one stole along the wooden part of the bed – I was in the middle of the three wire-netting beds, one above the other. It found my head, against the beam, was warm and so it snuggled down on the beam in my hair and went to sleep. I know this because I moved and wakened and felt a tug and off scuttered the rat – I saw it – frightened. I was glad it didn’t bite me instead”.

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  22. #3172


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    13th April 1918

    The Last Zeppelin Raid (cont.)

    L.64, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Arnold Schütze, came inland over the Lincolnshire coast, observed from Louth at 10.00pm heading west. Two minutes later an incendiary bomb dropped at Biscathorpe. She approached Lincoln, which was in darkness, and circled to the north of the town. At 10.28pm an AA gun opened fire, after which L.64 moved away to the south-west, skirting Lincoln, and dropping two 100kg HE bombs on Skellingthorpe, which caused some damage to railway tracks and telegraph wires. A shed and a railway engine also experienced slight damage, and three men suffered minor injury from an AA shell. Moments later 12 bombs, all 50kg HE, dropped near the village of Doddington where the only damage was a shaken chimney and a few broken windows. Schütze believed he had attacked Hull. AA guns continued to fire towards the sound of L.64’s engines until she passed out of audible range at 10.45pm. At about that time she reached Waddington, south of Lincoln, where flares were alight on the airfield. L.64 dropped a 50kg bomb, which exploded in a field close by, and three more fell a little further east, at Mere. None of these bombs caused any damage. At 10.54pm, the AA gun at Brauncewell, that had earlier engaged L.63, now opened on L.64 as she headed away towards the coast at Wainfleet, where she arrived at about midnight. Schütze spent another hour over the Lincolnshire coastline before finally heading out to see from Mablethorpe.

    Kapitänleutnant Herbert Ehrlich, commanding L.61, had a remarkable raid, managing to penetrate within 12 miles of Liverpool, although he was unaware of his achievement. Ehrlich crossed the Yorkshire coast near Withernsea at 9.30pm, shortly after which guns of the Humber garrison opened fire at the sound of L.61’s engines. She crossed the Humber and headed west, passing a few miles south of Doncaster and Sheffield, but had by then become lost to ground observation. Heading north, she crossed the River Mersey near Widnes and reappeared over Bold in Lancashire at about 11.10pm, where she dropped two 50kg HE bombs. One fell on the main road at Bold Heath, damaging a milestone and a water main, while the second exploded in a field on Abbots Hall Farm, breaking windows in an office at Clock Face Colliery about 150 yards away. Continuing to the north, Ehrlich now must have seen the glare from the furnaces at the Wigan Coal & Iron Company about 10 miles ahead, which Ehrlich concluded was Sheffield. The area had not received an air raid warning.

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    At about 11.30pm L.61 reached Ince on the southern edge of Wigan and Ehrlich commenced his bombing run. An incendiary smashed through the roof of 12 Preston Street setting the house on fire and destroying all the furniture. At the same time another incendiary crashed through the roof of 7 Frederick Street, just 25 yards away, but it failed to ignite. More bombs followed by the railway. An incendiary smashed into a signal box 400 yards west of Ince station and an HE bomb landed 200 yards west of the station, damaging a section of track and destroying two trucks of a stationary goods train loaded with coal. Crossing the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Ehrlich released four bombs that fell around Hartley Avenue. One of the bombs destroyed three houses in Harper Street, claiming the lives of a married couple, Samuel and Jane Tomlinson; others escaped with injuries. Ehrlich then released four more bombs. Two exploded at the junction of three roads: Hardybutts, Birkett Bank and Scholefield Lane. The explosion caused damage to the roads and nearby buildings, blowing in doors up to 50 yards away and smashing windows 100 yards away. Two HE bombs then fell in Cecil Street. One of these exploded in the street causing damage to nearby properties and the other landed behind the houses where the explosion demolished 12 outbuildings. Now over Platt Lane, Ehrlich released three more HE bombs. Two landed harmlessly on waste ground but the blast from the other that exploded in the street killed Margaret Ashurst. The 14 other people in the house all escaped significant injury. Following the main road towards Aspull, Ehrlich dropped an HE that exploded at the rear of 181 Whelley, opposite the gates to the Lindsay Colliery. Fragments from the bomb smashed into the house and struck Walter Harris who was carrying his five-month-old son, Alfred, downstairs to safety. Both were killed. Another exploded in the Lindsay Pit Yard where it destroyed a coal truck in the sidings and one hit a stone wall on Whelley just before it becomes the Wigan Road, causing some local damage and injuring a man. Then four HE bombs landed in a line along a brook at New Springs close to allotments, just to the west of the Wigan Road. The blast smashed greenhouses, broke doors and windows of nearby houses, caused a fire to start at a brewery and injured four people. Steering away from Wigan now, L.61 headed north-east and at about 11.40pm dropped an incendiary at Little Hulton, south of Bolton. It fell in a field where it caused no damage. The last bomb dropped by L.61, another incendiary, landed in a field at Outwood, near Radcliffe, south of Bury. L.61 reached Hull at about 1.25am with engine problems and it was not until about 90 minutes later that she finally headed out to sea.

    The home defence aircraft of the northern squadrons flew 27 sorties but the low cloud and mist combined with the limited ceilings of the aircraft that got airborne meant the raiders were rarely troubled.

    The Air War

    General Headquarters, April 14th.

    “On the 13th inst. clouds and mist prevented fighting except at a low height from the ground. Our low-flying machines reconnoitred the battle front throughout the day, and dropped over 1,200 bombs on the enemy's troops on roads leading to the front. Only a few fights took place, and results were indecisive. One of our machines is missing."

    RAF Communiqué number 2:

    After 4 p.m. on the 12th, a great deal of work was carried out, but on the 13th, low clouds and mist prevented flying with the exception of low reconnaissances and contact patrols which were carried out by the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th Brigades.

    Twenty-nine reconnaissances were carried out and 31 contact patrols.

    Twenty-five hostile batteries were successfully engaged for destruction with aeroplane observation and six neutralized; six gun-pits were damaged, 11 explosions and nine fires caused. Seventy-three zone calls were sent down.

    On the 13th instant, balloons of the 1st and 2nd Brigades registered 11 targets, of which three were hostile batteries.

    A total of 39 tons of bombs were dropped as follows:-

    Night 12th/13th – 3rd Brigade: No 102 Squadron, 40 112-lb and 78 25-lb bombs on Bapaume.

    5th Brigade: No 101 Squadron, 12 112-lb and 538 25-lb bombs on villages opposite the Fourth Army front.

    7th Brigade: 14 112-lb bombs on Douai.

    9th Brigade: No 58 Squadron, 44 112-lb and 293 25-lb bombs on Don railway station. No 83 Squadron, 28 112-lb and 214 25-lb bombs on Estaires and the Estaires – La Bassée road.

    Day 13th –

    1st Brigade: 1st Wing, 132 25-lb bombs. No 18 Squadron, 15 112-lb and 51 25-lb bombs. No 40 Squadron, 12 25-lb bombs. No 203 Squadron, 152 25-lb bombs. No 210 Squadron, 96 25-lb bombs. 4th Squadron A.F.C., 21 25-lb bombs.
    2nd Brigade: 87 112-lb and 201 25-lb bombs.
    3rd Brigade: 36 25-lb bombs. No 77 Squadron, 22 112-lb bombs.
    5th Brigade: 15th Wing, 39 25-lb bombs. 22nd Wing, 15 25-lb bombs. No 205 Squadron, 2 112-lb and 132 25-lb bombs on Dompierre and Cappy Aerodromes; 6 112-lb and 106 25-lb bombs on villages.
    7th Brigade: No 211 Squadron, 28 16-lb bombs on Engel Dump.
    9th Brigade: No 25 Squadron, 4 112-lb and 27 25-lb bombs on Fives Railway Station, Lille.

    Night 12th/13th – 8th Brigade: Two Handley Pages dropped 24 112-lb bombs from 4,000 feet on the railway junction and sidings at Amagny and Lucquy. Six machines of No 100 Squadron and one Handley Page of No 216 Squadron dropped 24 112-lb bombs from a height of 1,000 feet on Juneville railway junction and sidings with good results. All machines returned.

    Enemy Aircraft:

    Enemy aircraft activity was very slight all day and practically no combats took place.


    Flt Sub-Lt W E G Mann (Ok), 208 Sqn, Camel D1840 - force landed near St Venant after petrol tank hit by machine-gun fire from ground whilst firing at enemy transport on special low patrol
    2nd-Lieut J Denison (Kia), 203 Sqn, Camel D3347 - crashed on landing Sh36a.H.5.a [north-east of Wittes] after pilot shot in head on special mission Estaires – Merville (Wittes is 17 Km west of Merville)
    Lieut G E P Elder (Inj) & 2nd-Lieut S M Sproat (Inj), 101 Sqn, FE2b A5632 - force landed Longpre after hit by French A.A. fire on attempted bomb raid
    Capt E Z Agar (Kia), 54 Sqn, Camel D6461 - last seen under control over Neuf Berquin on low flying patrol; ground fire?
    ? (Ok) & Lieut H F Davison (Wia), 22 Sqn, Bristol F.2B – ground fire?
    ? (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut J P Mackenzie (Wia), 10 Sqn, AW FK8 – ground fire?
    2nd-Lieut H S Woodman (Wia), 2 Sqn, AW FK8 – ground fire?

    After a claims total well over a hundred yesterday (just from aces) - today we have a few less...

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    There were still 11 British Airmen lost on this day

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    During the German spring offensive, when his platoon is surrounded Second Lieutenant John Munro (Seaforth Highlanders) leads them to fight their way out, delaying the enemy long enough for the rest of the battalion to regroup and mount a successful counter-attack. For his efforts on this day Lieutenant Munro, a Scottish Poet will be awarded the Military Cross. Three days later he will be killed in action at age 28. He wrote in his native Gaelic as Iain Rothach and came to be ranked by critics alongside other Great War Poets.

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    Brigadier General Robert Clements Gore CB CMG General Officer Commanding 101st Brigade 34th Division is killed in action at age 51. The headquarters of both the 101st and the 74th Brigades are occupying the same cellar in a farm on the Mont de Lille (southeast of Bailleul) when it is blown in. The explosion kills General Gore and his Signaling Officer, Major F G Avery.

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    Captain Thomas Tannatt Pryce VC MC (Grenadier Guards) is killed in action at age 32 performing the deeds that will win him the Victoria Cross. Two days ago at Vieux-Berquin, France, Captain Pryce lead two platoons in a successful attack on the village. Early yesterday he is occupying a position with some 40 men, the rest having become casualties. He beats off four enemy attacks during the day, but by evening the enemy is within 60 yards of his trench. A bayonet charge led early this morning by Captain Pryce drives them back some 100 yards, but he has only 17 men left with no ammunition when yet another attack comes. He again leads a bayonet charge and is last seen engaged in a fierce hand-to-hand struggle against overwhelming odds.

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    Western Front
    Flanders – Battle of Bailleul (until April 15): Germans gain less than 1/2 mile vs British 34th and 59th Divisons. Ludendorff sacks II Bavarian Corps commander. British 25th Division reoccupies Neuve Eglise, but loses it on April 14 again.

    Eastern Front

    Finland: Germans take Helsinki for 200 casualties, White Finnish Government says entirely at their request. White Western Army occupies Pori and its railway with Rauma on April 17.
    Baltic States*: United Diets resolve to form separate state within German Empire.
    Kuban: White Volunteer Army repulsed from Ekaterinodar, Komilov killed by Soviet shell, Denikin succeeds and orders retreat north back to Don.

    Lavr Georgiyevich Kornilov
    (Russian: Лавр Гео́ргиевич Корни́лов, IPA: [ˈɫavr kɐrˈnʲiɫəf]; 18 August 1870 – 13 April 1918) was a Russian military intelligence officer, explorer, and general of Siberian Cossack origin in the Imperial Russian Army during World War I and the ensuing Russian Civil War. He is today best remembered for the Kornilov Affair, an unsuccessful endeavor in August/September 1917 that purported to strengthen Alexander Kerensky's Provisional Government, but which led to Kerensky eventually having Kornilov arrested and charged with attempting a coup d'état, and ultimately undermined the rule of Kerensky; strengthening the claims and power of the soviets, and the Bolshevik party.

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    In the mass discontent following the July Days, the Russian populace grew highly skeptical about the Provisional Government's abilities to alleviate the economic distress and social resentment among the lower classes. Pavel Milyukov, the Kadet leader, describes the situation in Russia in late July as, "Chaos in the army, chaos in foreign policy, chaos in industry and chaos in the nationalist questions". Kornilov, appointed commander-in-chief of the Russian army in July 1917, considered the Petrograd Soviet responsible for the breakdown in the military in recent times, and believed that the Provisional Government lacked the power and confidence to dissolve the Petrograd Soviet. Following several ambiguous correspondences between Kornilov and Alexander Kerensky, Kornilov commanded an assault on the Petrograd Soviet. Because the Petrograd Soviet was able to quickly gather a powerful army of workers and soldiers in defence of the Revolution, Kornilov's coup was an abysmal failure, and he was placed under arrest. The Kornilov Affair resulted in significantly increased distrust among Russians towards the Provisional Government.

    After the alleged coup collapsed as his troops disintegrated, Kornilov and his fellow conspirators were placed under arrest in the Bykhov jail. On 19 November, a few weeks after the proclamation of Soviet power in Petrograd, they escaped from their confinement (eased by the fact that the jail was guarded by Kornilov's supporters) and made their way to the Don region, which was controlled by the Don Cossacks. Here they linked up with General Mikhail Alekseev. Kornilov became the military commander of the anti-Bolshevik Volunteer Army with Alekseev as the political chief. Even before the Red Army was formed, Lavr Kornilov promised, "the greater the terror, the greater our victories." He vowed that the goals of his forces must be fulfilled even if it was needed "to set fire to half the country and shed the blood of three-quarters of all Russians." In the Don region village of Lezhanka alone, bands of Kornilov's officers killed more than 500 people.

    On 24 February 1918, as Rostov and the Don Cossack capital of Novocherkassk fell to the Bolsheviks, Kornilov led the Volunteer Army on the epic 'Ice March' into the empty steppe towards the Kuban. Although badly outnumbered, he escaped destruction from pursuing Bolshevik forces and laid siege to Ekaterinodar, the capital of the Kuban Soviet Republic, on 10 April. However, in the early morning of 13 April, a Soviet shell landed on his farmhouse headquarters and killed him. He was buried in a nearby village. A few days later, when the Bolsheviks gained control of the village, they unearthed Kornilov's coffin, dragged his corpse to the main square and burnt his remains on the local rubbish dump. The Kornilov Division, one of the crack units of the White Army, was named after him, as well as many other autonomous White Army formations, such as the Kuban Cossack Kornilov Horse Regiment. The Kornilov Division became recognizable for its Totenkopf insignia, which appears on the division's flags, pennants, and soldiers' sleeve patches.

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  23. #3173


    Yet another mammoth edition Chris.
    We will have to start charging the men more for each copy.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  24. #3174


    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte View Post
    Yet another mammoth edition Chris.
    We will have to start charging the men more for each copy.
    You'll have to start paying us PBI a lot more before that can happen. A shilling a day doesn't go very far these days!
    Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. Winston S. Churchill

  25. #3175


    You try getting printer's ink, paper and lead for plates around here Reg, and before you mention spent bullets, they are the wrong sort of lead. However, i will see that your comment goes into the readers letters section of the next edition.
    Squadron Leader Hedeby please note.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  26. #3176


    We need to ask the lads to give us more loo roll so we can print off the editions...paper is in great shortage!
    See you on the Dark Side......

  27. #3177


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    14th April 1918

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    During the battle of Lys, Major Roderick Stanley Dallas, Captains Ian Patrick Robert Napier, C H Lewis and Oswald Horsley (40 Squadron) carry out a special reconnaissance of the battlefield at the junction of the First and Second Armies to determine the situation which has been reported to be obscure. In spite of the most unfavorable weather conditions, they return with much valuable information. Major Dallas is wounded by machine gun fire from the ground early in the operation but continues to fulfill his mission until he is again wounded, when he successfully reaches his aerodrome. Major Napier will be killed in June while Captain Horsley will be killed in August.

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    Major Eric Stuart Dougall VC MC (Royal Field Artillery) is killed in action at age 32 four days after performing deeds for which he will be awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously.

    Lieutenant Christopher Henry Duncan Champion (Australian Imperial Forces) is killed at age 25. He is the son of the Reverend Arthur Hammerton Champion the headmaster at The King’s School Parramatte. His body will be found in March 2003 and he will be reburied on 22nd April 2005. His brother was killed in July 1916.

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    The Air War

    General Headquarters, April 15th.

    “On the 14th inst. our aeroplanes reconnoitred the enemy's lines on the Lys battle front, and were again obliged by clouds and mist to carry out their work at a very low height. Bombs were dropped and machine-gun fire was opened from the air on the enemy's troops in this area. All our machines returned."

    RAF Communiqué number 2:

    Lows clouds and mist prevailed on the whole front and very little flying was done except by the 1st Brigade, who, in spite of the weather, had machines out all day reconnoitring their Army front, bombing and machine-gunning the enemy’s troops.

    Fourteen reconnaissances were carried out, six by the 1st Brigade and eight by the 2nd Brigade.

    One hostile battery was neutralized and 16 zone calls were sent down.

    A total of four and a half tons of bombs were dropped as follows:-

    1st Brigade: No 2 Squadron, 120 25-lb and 8 40-lb phosphorous bombs. No 4 Squadron, 57 25-lb bombs. No 18 Squadron, 10 112-lb and 20 25-lb bombs. No 40 Squadron, 24 25-lb bombs. No 203 Squadron, 36 25-lb bombs. No 210 Squadron, 44 25-lb bombs.

    3rd Brigade: 12th Wing, 6 25-lb bombs.

    5th Brigade: No 35 Squadron, 12 25-lb bombs. No 48 Squadron, 36 25-lb bombs.

    Enemy Aircraft:

    Enemy aircraft activity was nil and no combats took place.


    2nd-Lieut H S Montgomerie (Wia) & ? (Ok), 2 Sqn, AW FK8 - hit by ground fire on artillery observation
    2nd-Lieut T Rawsthorne (Ok) & Lieut A H McLachlan (Wia), 2 Sqn, AW FK8 C3530 - hit by heavy machine-gun fire from ground near Locon during artillery patrol
    Maj R S Dallas DSO DSC (Wia), 40 Sqn, SE5a B4879 - hit by machine-gun fire from ground while firing on lorry convoy on reconnaissance

    Not combat-related but indicative of the urgency to get crews into the air:

    2nd-Lieut E A Doughty (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut J A R Andrews (Ok), 4 Sqn, RE8 B5893 – took off 15:35/15:35 then caught by wind and overturned on take-off for contact patrol
    2nd-Lieut E A Doughty (Killed) & 2nd-Lieut J A R Andrews (Killed), 4 Sqn, RE8 C4561 – took off 15:57/15:57 then spinning nosedive and caught fire on take-off for contact patrol

    The following few claims were made on this day

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    Oberleutnant Friedrich Navratil claimed his first victory on this day

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    Friedrich Navratil attended Infantry Cadet School in Libenau and served with the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Infantry Regiment No. 1 on the Serb front where he was wounded twice in 1914. His regiment then saw action on the Italian, Montenegrin and Romanian fronts. During this time Navratil was promoted to Oberleutnant and was wounded again in December 1916. The following month, he transferred to the LFT and received training as an observer at Wiener-Neustadr. In July 1917 he was posted to Flik 13 at Galicia and was transferred to Flik 11 in October of that year. After pilot training in November 1917, Navratil scored one victory with Flik 41J before assuming command of Flik 3J on 9 June 1918. With this unit he scored nine more victories by the end of the war. Post-war, he served in the Yugoslavian air force and was, for a time, the Croatian Minister of War during World War II. Navratil was convicted of war crimes and executed in 1947.

    Also claiming his first victory was the American Pilot from 94th Aero Squadron Lieutenant Douglas Campbell

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    The son of astronomer William Wallace Campbell, Douglas Campell graduated from Harvard University in 1917. On 18 May 1917, he enlisted in the United States Signal Corps, Aviation Section. After training at the School of Military Aeronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology he embarked for France on 23 July 1917. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on 29 September 1917. After additional training in early 1918 at Issoudun and Casaux, Campbell was assigned to the 94th Aero Squadron on 1 March 1918. He and Lt. Alan Winslow shared the squadron's first official victory over an enemy aircraft on 14 April 1918. Flying the Nieuport 28, Campbell was the first United States Air Service pilot trained in the United States to score five confirmed victories. Scoring his final victory on 5 June 1918, he and James Meissner shot down a Rumpler near Nancy, but Campbell was wounded in the back by an explosive bullet and sent home to recover. Promoted to Captain, he returned to France on 8 November 1918 and served with the Army of Occupation in Germany. Returning to the United States on 1 January 1919, Campbell was discharged from the army on 24 February. On 7 June 1919 he accepted a Captain's commission in the Air Service Officers' Reserve Corps.

    "The highest ranking man in the Air Service is the Ace..." Douglas Campbell in a letter home, 3 November 1917

    Despite the lack of aerial combat there were still 10 British Airmen lost on this day

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    Western Front

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    Marshal Ferdinand Jean Marie Foch (French pronunciation: ​[fɔʃ]) (2 October 1851 – 20 March 1929) was a French general and military theorist who served as the Supreme Allied Commander during the First World War. An aggressive, even reckless commander at the First Marne, Flanders, and Artois campaigns of 1914-1916, Foch became the Allied Commander-in-Chief in 1918 and successfully coordinated the French, British, American, and Italian efforts into a coherent whole, deftly handling his strategic reserves. At the outbreak of war in August 1914, Foch's XX Corps participated in the brief invasion of Germany before retiring in the face of a German counter-attack and successfully blocking the Germans short of Nancy. Ordered west to defend Paris, Foch's prestige soared as a result of the victory at the Marne, for which he was widely credited as a chief protagonist while commanding the French Ninth Army. He was then promoted again to Assistant Commander-in-Chief for the Northern Zone, a role which evolved into command of Army Group North, and in which role he was required to cooperate with the British forces at Ypres and the Somme. At the end of 1916, partly owing to the disappointing results of the latter offensive and partly owing to wartime political rivalries, Foch was transferred to Italy.[

    Foch was ultimately appointed "Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies" on 26 March 1918 following being the Commander-in-Chief of Western Front with title Généralissime in 1918. He played a decisive role in halting a renewed German advance on Paris in the Second Battle of the Marne, after which he was promoted to Marshal of France. Addington says, "to a large extent the final Allied strategy which won the war on land in Western Europe in 1918 was Foch's alone."

    On 11 November 1918 Foch accepted the German request for an armistice. Foch advocated peace terms that would make Germany unable to pose a threat to France ever again. Foch considered the Treaty of Versailles too lenient on Germany and as the Treaty was being signed on 28 June 1919, he declared: "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years". His words proved prophetic: the Second World War started twenty years and 64 days later.

    Flanders: 1st Australian Division repels massed charges; a German field gun destroys 6 MGs. British First Army repulses 7 attacks near Merville.

    Southern Fronts
    Salonika: Anglo-Greek operations across the Struma temporarily occupying 7 villages (night April 14/15 until April 20) but, due to poor reconnaissance, Bulgars nearly cut off a British battalion (most of 349 casualties) and Greeks lose half 33 casualties to own premature grenades; Bulgars claim 150 British PoWs with 3 MGs.

    Sea War
    North Sea: U-151 (Nostitz) leaves Kiel for US Eastern Seaboard. She re*enters Kiel on July 20, claiming 23 ships sunk of 61,000t (+ 4 mine victims). In all, big U-cruisers carry out 7 transatlantic summer cruises but fail to sink one loaded transport.

    Austria: Foreign Minister Count Czernin resigns, Baron Burian again in post on April 16.

    Captain Tunstill's Men: The recent cold, wet weather continued, with showers of rain, sleet and snow.

    According to the Battalion War Diary, overnight 14th/15th a small reconnoitring patrol encountered a strong Austrian patrol and “had to fight its way back to our lines which it did with success. The enemy patrol afterwards attacked one of our posts and was driven off with considerable loss”. This rather bald narrative was greatly expanded in an account written some years later by 2Lt. Bernard Garside (see 12th April):

    “Well, in reserve, we didn’t escape having a job. Every night we had to find an outpost from our Company – that meant a platoon with its officer, about 30 men. We had to go out at dusk and come in at dawn. The outpost our Company had to man was about 600 yards in front of the front line, all on its own with another outpost about 300 yards away on each side of it. The outpost was a little hill on top of which we could lie down and be still, because we didn’t want the Austrians to know we were there and we did want to hear any Austrian patrols which might come near us. Then we could give them a nasty shock by firing on them. I had been out, doing my turn, me and my platoon, several times, when one night I heard some firing near the outpost on our left. I told my sergeant to take two men to go and see what was the matter. He was back very quickly and said everything was all right. I said had he talked to the next outpost. He said no. I knew then he hadn’t been at all and was frightened to. I felt sorry for him for I was frightened too. But I knew we must find out what it was. So I told him to look after my men and I took two other men and went myself. We went, going very carefully and listening and when we got close, instead of being very quiet, everything suddenly became as if we were in a big thunder and lightning storm, only it wasn’t in the sky but right in our ear; or as if we had dropped suddenly into the middle of a huge noisy firework display. The noise came from rifles a few yards away and bombs and I don’t know what. Very fortunately we were just in a little hollow in the side of the ridge. We flopped down and suddenly the noise became twice as big, a lot of it coming from the outpost next to mine. We wriggled and wriggled back towards the front line with all the bullets about a yard above us and soon the noise died down. In all the noise I couldn’t really tell whether my platoon had been attacked as well, so I went to look for it and couldn’t find it where I had left it. I thought all sorts of things and went to one or two hillocks nearby not knowing whether to expect my men or Austrians to be there. It was very terrible wondering where my men were and wondering if a whole lot of bullets might riddle me as I went about looking. Presently I thought I had better not go wandering round any longer in case I came across a whole gang of Austrians, so I went back to the front line and explained that I wanted some men to go back with. I was given some and went back searching the hillocks. Presently I found my men. The sergeant, I’m afraid, had thought I must be killed, for he knew all the noise had come from just where we were going and had gone back a little towards the front line. I told you he had been frightened and had become more so after I left him. You see all soldiers aren’t brave people.

    Well, next morning, I had to report on what had happened and I’ll tell you what had happened, not only what I’ve told you, but what we got to know afterwards. An Austrian party of about 40 men (a prisoner taken later told us) had set out to raid and kill or capture all the outpost next to mine. They had all got into the farm house ready to spring out on the outpost when I surprised them by turning up from nowhere just in front. This alarmed them and they started shooting. (That was just when were in the hollow and flopped down quietly). This caused the outpost (not mine) to start shooting and there we were in between them. That was when we wriggled and a good job too for we could tell there were a lot of men from the noise. Now all this caused a funny thing to happen. Both lots of men got frightened and went off back home and so, I’m afraid, did some of the outpost (not mine), including the officer. I won’t tell you his name, for he was very nearly court-martialled, partly because, when he got back to our front line, he told a lot of stories about all his men having been killed except those with him. So you see, I had, without knowing it, prevented the Austrians from doing what they came to do. When I told the Adjutant my part he said, “Well now Garside, it was the right spirit for you to go in place of your sergeant when you thought he hadn’t done the job, but you should have stayed with your men really, and sent someone else. An officer’s place is with his men”. I always remembered that afterwards”.

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  28. #3178


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    Monday 15th April 1918
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    Armistice Countdown 210 days
    Today we lost: 1,636
    Today’s losses include:
    · The grandson of a General
    · Multiple sons of members of the clergy
    · Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
    · Two Military Chaplains
    · A man whose father was killed as a civilian contractor at RNAS Felixstowe in July 1917

    Air Operations:

    General Headquarters.

    “On the 15th inst. the bad weather continued, and only permitted flights at a low altitude. Over four tons of bombs were dropped by our aeroplanes on different targets. In one case a direct hit was obtained with a heavy bomb on a large column of hostile infantry. No German aircraft were encountered. One of our machines is missing."

    RAF Communiqué number 3:

    ln spite of low clouds and mist, machines of the 1st Brigade again did a considerable amount of work during the day - all from a low altitude.

    Sixteen reconnaissances and 17 contact patrols were carried out.

    Three hostile batteries were successfully engaged for destruction with aeroplane observation and 13 neutralized; one explosion was caused and 44 zone calls were sent down.

    A total of 4¼ tons of bombs were dropped follows:-

    1st Brigade: No 2 Squadron, 115 250-lb bombs on Locon. No 4 Squadron, 6 25-lb bombs. No 42 Squadron, 4 25-lb bombs. No 203 Squadron, 32 25-lb bombs. No 210 Squadron, 68 25-lb bombs. 4th Squadron A.F.C.,87 25-lb bombs.

    2nd Brigade: Three 112-lb and 17 25-lb bombs. One pilot obtained a direct hit with a 112-lb bomb in the centre of a column of half a battalion of hostile infantry resting near Neuf Berquin.

    5th Brigade: 15th Wing, 20 25-lb bombs. 22nd Wing, 21 25-lb bombs.

    Enemy Aircraft:

    Enemy aircraft activity was virtually nil, and no combats took place.

    Royal Flying Corps casualties today:

    ? (Ok) & Lieut J Thomson (Wia), 2 Sqn, AW FK8 - hit by ground fire during bombing

    ? (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut J A Weatherley (Wia), 2 Sqn, AW FK8 - hit by rifle fire during bombing

    ? (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut R Allan (Wia), 2 Sqn, AW FK8 - ground fire

    2nd-Lieut J H Jennings (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut H Stammers (Wia), 2 Sqn, AW FK8 C3651 - hit by hostile machine-gun fire from ground over Locon on artillery observation

    2nd-Lieut W S Hill-Trout (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut P S Williams (Ok), 22 Sqn, Bristol F.2B C4817 - shot through on OP First Army area

    ? (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut C E Lovick (Wia), 53 Sqn, RE8 – ground fire?

    2nd-Lieut G J Glazier (Wia), 208 Sqn, Camel D1845 - ground fire

    Capt H T Mellings (Wia), 210 Sqn, Camel N6376 - ground fire ?

    2nd-Lieut G H Allison (Ok) & Lieut F W Cundiff (Ok), 2 Sqn, AW FK8 B248 – took off 05:40/05:40 then hit by hostile A.A. fire over Locon 07:10/07:10 on line patrol

    Lieut J R Moore (Inj), 54 Sqn, Camel C1573 – took off 08:05/08:05 then shot down after direct hit on propellor by enemy gunfire Forest de Nieppe on offensive patrol

    Lieut N F Spurr (Ok), 54 Sqn, Camel C1601 – took off 08:05/08:05 then shot through by enemy gunfire on offensive patrol

    2nd-Lieut F H Baguley (Ok) & Lieut R L Rice (Ok), 2 Sqn, AW FK8 B218 – took off 05:40/05:40 then hit by hostile A.A. fire over Locon 09:00/09:00 on artillery patrol

    2nd-Lieut A C G Brown (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut W Hart (Ok), 48 Sqn, Bristol F.2B C4606 – took off 11:30/11:30 then damaged by machine-gun fire on low reconnaissance Chaulnes and returned 12:45/12:45

    2nd-Lieut G N Traunweiser (Kia) & 135681 Sgt F Belding (Kia), 22 Sqn, Bristol F.2B C4808 - brought down by British infantry Sh36a.J.28.c [south-east of Haverskerkue] 14:30/14:30 on special mission

    2nd-Lieut W Naylor (Kia) & Lieut D Elliot (Kia), 4 Sqn, RE8 C4557 – took off 15:40/15:40 then missing on patrol XV Corps front

    Lieut R Sly (Ok), 4 Sqn AFC, Camel B3903 – took off 16:35/16:35 badly damaged by enemy action between Festubert and Neuve Chapelle during bombing La Bassée - Estaires road 17:15/17:15

    Royal Flying Corps Losses today:

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    Claims: 3 confirmed (Entente 3 : Central Powers 0)

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    Western Front:

    Battle of Hazebrouck ends (see 12th).

    Battle of Bailleul ends (see 13th).: Bailleul taken by the German forces (see October 14th, 1914, and August 30th, 1918).

    Fighting continues on Bailleul-Wulverghem line, and Germans capture both places.

    Very violent artillery action in Luce Valley (Somme).

    With the Germans, in the throes of a major spring offensive on the Western Front, hammering their positions in Flanders, France, British forces evacuate Passchendaele Ridge, won by the Allies at such a terrible cost just five months earlier, on April 15, 1918.

    Under the command of Erich von Ludendorff, the German army launched “Operation Georgette,” the second phase of their first major offensive on the Western Front for more than a year, on April 9, 1918, near the River Lys in Flanders. In the first days of the attack, the Germans regained the momentum they had lost at the end of March, when the Allies halted the first phase of the attacks at Moreuil Wood and around Amiens, France. Storming ahead against the British and Portuguese divisions at the Lys (one Portuguese division was so overwhelmed it refused to go forward into the trenches after the initial bombardment), German forces advanced quickly as panic swept down the Allied lines of command.

    On April 15, less than a week after Georgette began, the British were forced to evacuate Passchendaele Ridge, an area that had seen heavy bloodshed the previous fall, during the Third Battle of Ypres. That battle had ended in the Allied capture of Passchendaele on November 6, 1917, but only at the cost of 310,000 British casualties, compared with 260,000 on the German side. In addition to Passchendaele, the Germans gained control of Messines Ridge, the scene of another important Allied victory in June 1917, before the Allied defenses hardened and Ludendorff shut down the Georgette operation on April 29, 1918.

    Eastern Front:

    Finland: Germans report occupation of Helsingfors.

    Southern Front:

    Macedonia: Greek troops cross Struma river and occupy villages in Seres district.

    British troops take two villages south-west of Demirhissar.

    Tunstills Men Monday 15th April 1918:

    Front line trenches between San Sisto and Poslen.

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    The recent cold, wet weather continued, with showers of rain, sleet and snow.

    Following the events of the previous night, overnight 15th/16th a fighting patrol was sent out to investigate an Austrian strong point south of Ave but the post was found to be unoccupied.

    Pte. William Thomas Foley (see 29th October 1917) was reported by Sgts. John Stephenson (see 10th January) and Edward Arthur Myers (see 15th February) as being “deficient of bully beef”; on the orders of Lt.Col. Francis Washington Lethbridge DSO (see 5th April) he would be deprived of seven days’ pay and ordered to pay for the deficiency. Ptes. Benjamin Tetley (see 11th January 1917)and Francis Titcombe (see 29th October 1917) were reported on similar charges by Sgts. Myers and Edward Isger (see 4th January), and were awarded the same punishment.

    Pte. Hiram Tasker (see 14th March) was discharged from 66th General Hospital at Bordighera and posted to ‘C’ Camp at Arquata Scrivia.

    Ptes. James Arthur Markinson MM (see 19th March) and William Postill Taylor (see 16th February) were wounded in action while serving with 2DWR. Markinson suffered what were described as minor contusions to his face as a result of a shell explosion and would be admitted via 23rd Casualty Clearing Station to 4th General Hospital at Camiers, where he would be treated for a week before being discharged to one of the Base Depots at Etaples. Taylor suffered wounds to his chest and would be admitted to 26th General Hospital at Etaples.

    Pte. James Wilson (see 18th March) boarded the hospital ship Neuralia which would bring him back to England from South Africa.

    Lt. David Lewis Evans (see 14th January), serving with 3DWR, appeared before a further Army Medical Board assembled at Tynemouth. The report of the Board found that, “He is improving but is short of breath on forced exertion; his hearing seems to vary with his general condition. Full expansion of the lung is not obtained”. The Board instructed him fit to resume light duties with 3DWR at North Shields. He was to be re-examined in three months.

    A second payment, of 2s. 9d., was authorised, on the account of the late Pte. William Beswick (see 6th February), who had been killed in action on 1st October 1917; the payment would go to his mother, Mary.

    A pension award was made in the case of the late Pte. Willie Priestley (see 9th February), who had been killed in action on 20th September 1917; his widow, Lilian, was awarded 18s. 9d. per week, for herself and her son.

    Asiatic, African, Egyptian Front:

    Batum (Georgia) occupied by Turkish forces (see December 27th)

    Naval Operations:

    British Naval forces sink ten German armed trawlers in Kattegat.

    The merchant man SS Pomeranian (Master Alex Maxwell) is torpedoed by UC-77 en route from London to Saint John, New Brunswick 12 miles off Portland Bill. William Bell, the second engineer is rescued one hour after the ship sinks by the patrol yacht Lorna perched on the topmost yard which is sticking out of the water where the ship sank. The master and other 53 crewmembers are lost.

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    Austria: Count Czernin's resignation announced.

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    Ottokar Czernin (1872-1932), Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister from December 1916 to April 1918.

    April 14 1918, Vienna
    –Hopes for a negotiated peace largely evaporated after the harsh Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in the east and Germany’s massive offensives in the west. The most promising peace feelers had come from Austria-Hungary, whose Emperor Charles had sent his brother-in-law, Prince Sixtus, to negotiate on his behalf in early 1917 On April 2 1918, Austrian Foreign Minister Czernin, wanting to improve relations with the victorious Germans, gave a fiery speech in Vienna claiming that France had attempted to reach a peace deal with Austria-Hungary before Operation Michael, but that Austria-Hungary had firmly rejected them.

    Clemenceau was incensed by this fabrication, and decided to release Austria-Hungary’s own peace feelers of the previous year. He revealed the details of Charles’ letter of March 24, 1917, including Charles’ agreement that the Germans should return Alsace-Lorraine to the French. Czernin had not even known of the existence of this letter, and dismissed it as a fabrication until it was published in the French press. The revelations severely damaged Charles’ reputation in the eyes of his government, his army, German Austrians, and his German allies. Czernin attempted to convince Charles to remove himself from active governance of the empire, but failed, and was forced to resign on April 14; he would be replaced by his predecessor, Count Burian.

    Charles was savaged in the German press, who saw him as a traitor, and a month later he was forced to “go to Canossa” and make severe, long-lasting economic and military concessions (some provisions extending as far as 1940), essentially making Austria-Hungary a German vassal and committing them to an offensive against the Italians. Clemenceau’s revelations ultimately ended any hope of a separate peace with Austria-Hungary, much to the disappointment of the Americans.

    Anniversary Events:

    1755 English lexicographer Dr. Samuel Johnson publishes his Dictionary of the English Language.
    1784 The first balloon is flown in Ireland.
    1813 U.S. troops under James Wilkinson lay siege to the Spanish-held city of Mobile in future state of Alabama.
    1858 At the Battle of Azimghur, the Mexicans defeat Spanish loyalists.
    1871 ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok becomes the marshal of Abilene, Kansas.
    1861 President Lincoln mobilizes Federal army.
    1865 Abraham Lincoln dies from John Wilkes Booth's assassination bullet.
    1912 With her band playing on the deck, the ocean liner Titanic sinks at 2:27 a.m. in the North Atlantic.
    1917 British forces defeat the Germans at the Battle of Arras.
    Last edited by Skafloc; 04-15-2018 at 09:20.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  29. #3179


    Welcome back Neil.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  30. #3180


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    Tuesday 16th April 1918
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    Armistice Countdown 209 days
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    Jack Thomas Counter VC (3 November 1898 – 16 September 1970) was 19 years old, and a private in the 1st Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool) Regiment, when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

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    On 16 April 1918 near Boisieux St. Marc, France, it was necessary for information to be obtained from the front line and the only way to get it was over ground with no cover and in full view of the enemy. A small party tried without success, followed by six men, singly, each one being killed in the attempt. Private Counter then volunteered and, going out under terrific fire, got through and returned with vital information which enabled his commanding officer to organise and launch the final successful counter-attack. Subsequently he also carried five messages across the open under heavy artillery barrage to company headquarters.
    Counter left the army in 1921 with the rank of corporal. His medal is on display at the Jersey Museum, Saint Helier.

    Today we lost: 1,485

    Today’s losses include:

    A Baronet in commander of an Armoured Car Battery
    · Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
    · Multiple sons of members of the clergy
    · A Military Chaplain
    · A Count of the Holy Roman Empire

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Major ‘Sir’ John Christopher Willoughby DSO (Commanding 1st Armoured Motor Battery, Army Service Corps formerly Royal Horse Guards) the 5th Baronet dies at home at age 59. He has previously served in the Egyptian Campaign (1882), the Nile Expedition (1884) and the South African War.
    · Lieutenant John Munro MC (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed at age 28. His brother will die at home on service next January.
    · Second Lieutenant Gordon Penry Williams (Liverpool Regiment attached Intelligence Staff GHQ) is killed at age 20. He is the son of the Reverend Edward Osborne Williams.
    · Second Lieutenant Bouverie Walter St John Mildmay (General List attached Royal Air Force) is accidentally killed on service at age 19. He is the only son of the Reverend Arundell Glaxtonbury St John Mildmay and a Count of the Holy Roman Empire by inheritance and the last of the line of the Hazelgrove Mildmays.
    · Chaplain the Reverend John William Alcock Eyre-Powell (attached 27th Labour Group Headquarters) is killed at age 31.
    · Second Lieutenant Richard Philip Nason (South Notts Hussars) is killed at age 20. He is the son of the Reverend Richard Muriel Nason.
    · Chaplain John William Alcock Eyre Powell (attached Labour Corps) is killed at age 32.
    · Corporal Allen Evershed (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 36. He is the first of three brothers who are all killed this year.
    · Lance Corporal William Archibald Dutnall (Sussex Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother was killed in May 1917.
    · Private Frank Allgood (North Staffordshire Regiment) is killed at age 19. His brother was killed last July.
    · Private Horace William Armstrong (Sherwood Foresters) is killed at age 19. His brother was killed in March 1916.
    · Private Francis James Buckley (Australian Infantry) is killed. His brother was killed twelve days ago.
    · Private John Nield (Cheshire Regiment) is killed at age 23. His brother was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
    · Private David Merson (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 27. His brother was killed in August 1916.
    · Private Joseph Beard (Cheshire Regiment) dies of injuries as a prisoner of war after attacking a sentry at age 34. He was taken prisoner on 24th August 1914 and is the last of three brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War.

    Air Operations:

    General Headquarters.

    “On the 16th instant the mist that has hung over the lines during the last few days turned to drizzle, making flying almost impossible. Movements on the battle front were, however, watched by our machines flying at a very low height and a few bombs dropped. One hostile machine was brought down and another landed behind our lines. One of our machines is missing."

    RAF Communiqué number 3:

    The mist which had prevailed during the previous days turned into rain and very little flying was possible.

    Ten reconnaissances (one by No 11 Squadron at dusk, at a height of 300 to 800 feet) and nine contact patrols were carried out by Brigades, and several counter-attack patrols were carried out by machines of the 2nd Brigade.

    Four hostile batteries were successfully engaged for destruction with aeroplane observation and 14 neutralized; one gun-pit was destroyed, one explosion and one fire caused. 42 zone calls were sent down.

    A total of 2¾ tons of bombs were dropped during the day as follows:-

    1st Brigade: No 2 Squadron, 99 25-lb bombs on Locon and Calonne. 4th Squadron A.F.C., 20 25-lb bombs.

    2nd Brigade: One 112-lb and 34 25-lb bombs.

    5th Brigade: 15th Wing, 8 25-lb bombs. 22nd Wing, 31 25-lb bombs.

    Enemy Aircraft:

    Capt J Gilmour, 65 Sqn, LVG C ? in flames north of Hangard Wood at 17:40/18:40 - Capt J Gilmour, No 65 Squadron, was attacked by an E.A. two-seater from above; he climbed up to the E.A. and fired a burst from both guns into it. The E.A. crashed in flames near the Bois de Hangard

    Royal Flying Corps casualties today:

    Capt J S Windsor MC (Wia), 1 Sqn, SE5a C1107 - shot up on low patrol

    2nd-Lieut J L Walton (Wia) & Lieut A E Cripps (Ok), 2 Sqn, AW FK8 D5026 - hit by hostile machine-gun fire from ground over Locon and crashed north-east of Bethune after pilot fainted during day bombing

    ? (Ok) & 2nd-Lieut E K Harker (Wia), 10 Sqn, AW FK8 - ground fire

    2nd-Lieut F R Knapp (Pow), 1 Sqn, SE5a B532 – took off 13:10/14:10 and last seen over Flêtre 13:40/14:40 on low flying patrol Messines

    Lieut R A Way (Ok), 23 Sqn, Spad 13 B6737 – took off 16:40/17:40 shot down by A.A. and force landed 300 yards in front of trenches at Sh62d.P.31.b.4.5 [east of Villers-Bretonneux] while viewing lines

    Lieut B Balfour (Kia), 65 Sqn, Camel D1799 - seen to be hit by AA at 4,000 feet and crash Domart 17:20/18:20 during offensive patrol

    Royal Flying Corps Losses today:

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    Claims: 2 confirmed (Entente 1: Central Powers 1)

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    Western Front:

    Sir Douglas Haig issues special despatch "The 55th Division at Givenchy".

    Heavy fighting in Boyelles district, south of Arras.

    Heavy attacks develop at Wytschaete and south-west of Vieux Berquin.

    Wytschaete and Metern lost and retaken.

    Attacks near Bailleul repulsed.

    German progress on Lys river forces British withdrawal from Passchendaele.

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    A French armored car arrives to assist British forces near Méteren, to the south of Ypres, on April 16.

    April 15-16, Passchendaele
    –The German advance in Flanders had slowed as the British had been able to scrape up reinforcements from wherever they could find them. However, the slackening of the German pace was not obvious to the British commanders, who were still far too short on reserves for comfort. Furthermore, Foch seemed reluctant to commit any French troops to the battle, and they knew the Germans had enough reserves to attack again elsewhere at almost any time. The German advance south of Ypres placed the British position in the Ypres Salient in a precarious position–and in fact the Germans were planning a new attack in the north to try to cut it off. With great reluctance, Plumer ordered a withdrawal from Passchendaele Ridge–voluntarily giving up what had been won with a cost of over 250.000 casualties last fall.

    On April 15, most of the British forces on Passchendaele Ridge fell back to lines much closer to Ypres, while a much smaller force manning outposts along the original front line attempted to make it seem like nothing had changed. Those men withdrew as well that night, without the Germans noticing. The British were able to substantially shorten their lines and free up divisions to reinforce other areas of the front; they were soon aided by the Belgians, who agreed to extend their line, and the French, who finally committed troops to the battle after Foch saw how desperate Plumer’s situation was. The Germans would still make some gains to the south of Ypres over the next few days but they were quickly nearing the end of their rope; on the same day the British were evacuating Passchendaele, Crown Prince Rupprecht reported that “we are all utterly exhausted and burned out….Everywhere I heard complains of the accommodation of man and horse in the totally ravaged country and the heavy losses from bombs, particularly in horses which could not be hidden from sight.”

    Eastern Front:

    Renewed fighting between Soviet troops and those of General Kornilov.

    Southern Front:

    Tunstills Men Tuesday 16th April 1918:

    Front line trenches between San Sisto and Poslen.

    The recent cold, wet weather continued, with showers of rain, sleet and snow.

    2Lt. Keith Sagar Bain (see 23rd March) re-joined the Battalion having spent the previous three weeks on “a course of instruction” (details unknown).

    Pte. Erwin Wilkinson (see 24th March) was discharged from the Convalescent Depot at Lido d’Albano and posted to the Base Depot at Arquata Scrivia.

    Pte. Greenwood Speak (see 16th August 1917), who had been in England since having been wounded on 10th June 1917, appeared before an Army Medical Board which recommended that he be discharged from the Army as no longer physically fit for service.

    A payment of £5 17s. 11d. was authorised, being the amount due in pay and allowances to the late Pte. Joseph Fox (see 16th October), who had been killed in action on 16th October 1917; the payment would go to his mother, Mary.

    A payment of £4 4s. 9d. was authorised, being the amount due in pay and allowances to the late Pte. Henry Leech (see 18th October), who had been killed in action on 18th October 1917; the payment would go to his widow, Harriett. She would also receive a package of his personal effects, comprising of, “Bible, prayer book, wallet, note book, photos, cards, letters”.

    John Pashley, brother of the late L.Sgt. Fred Light Pashley (see 15th March), wrote to the Infantry Records Office regarding the affairs of his late brother:

    “I got sound information from Corporal Keeling (Cpl. George William Keeling MM, see 1st April) that he was killed 20th September 1917 at Menin Road and have previously sent the copy of Keeling’s letter as asked for and still get nothing only missing and hoping to hear of something more definite. I also beg to inform you that owing to trouble with his wife, Fred lived with his mother and family for above 12 months before enlistment. He did not pay any money to his wife during that period and had no dealings with her. He said she should not have anything belonging to him after his death and made a will to his mother that all was left to her. Trusting you will do the right thing and not pay any money to his wife seeing all is made out for his mother at his death which can be proved by the will in our possession or there might be trouble”

    Samuel Irving Bell died aged 61; he was the father of Pte. William Irving Bell (see 20th October 1916) and also of Pte. Joseph Bell, who had been killed in August 1916 while serving in France with the Australian Imperial Forces.

    Naval Operations:

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    Military Service Bill passes House of Commons; majority 198.

    U.S.A.: Mr. Schwab appointed Director-General of U.S. Shipbuilding.

    Hungary: Dr. Wekerle (Premier) resigns.

    Dutch Government decides to send convoy to East Indies.

    Ukraine Government protests against union of Bessarabia and Romania.

    Anniversary Events:

    69 Defeated by Vitellius' troops at Bedriacum, Otho commits suicide.
    556 Pelagius I begins his reign as Catholic Pope.
    1065 The Norman Robert Guiscard takes Bari, ending five centuries of Byzantine rule in southern Italy.
    1705 Queen Anne of England knights Isaac Newton.
    1746 Prince Charles is defeated at the Battle of Culloden, the last pitched battle fought in Britain.
    1818 The U.S. Senate ratifies the Rush-Bagot amendment to form an unarmed U.S.-Canada border.
    1854 San Salvador is destroyed by an earthquake.
    1862 Confederate President Jefferson Davis approves a conscription act for white males between 18 and 35.
    1862 Slavery is abolished in the District of Columbia.
    1917 Vladimir Lenin returns to Russia to start the Bolshevik Revolution.
    Last edited by Skafloc; 04-17-2018 at 05:51.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  31. #3181


    Thanks Neil

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  32. #3182


    16th Air Operations & Casualties updated.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  33. #3183


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    Wednesday 17th April 1918
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    Armistice Countdown 208 days
    Today we lost: 1,292
    Today’s losses include:

    Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Harcourt Sanderson (Royal Field Artillery) is killed in action at age 41. He was a Cambridge and Leander oarsman and the son of the Reverend Prebendary Edward Sanderson. He was a crew member on the British eight men’s rowing boat which won the 1908 Olympic gold medal.

    Lieutenant William Hope Hodgson (Royal Field Artillery) is killed by a mortar shell at age 40. He is the son of the late Reverend Samuel Hodgson and is a silent screen writer and author. He produced a large body of work, consisting mostly of short stories and novels, spanning several overlapping genres including horror, fantastic fiction and science fiction. Early in his writing career he dedicated effort to poetry, although few of his poems were published during his lifetime. He also attracted some notice as a photographer. Born 15th November 1877 in Blackmore End, Essex, Hodgson ran away to sea at the age of thirteen and eventually served in the Merchant Mariine In 1898 he was awarded the Royal Humane Society medal for saving another sailor who had fallen overboard in shark-infested waters After a bodybuilder business venture failed he decided to support himself by writing. Two of his most noted works, “The Voice in the Night” and “The Boats of the Glen Carrig”, are based on his experiences at sea, and much of his work is set aboard ships or features seafaring characters.

    Private Edward Clark (Royal Fusiliers) dies of wounds at age 17. His brother was killed in May 1915.

    Air Operations:

    General Headquarters.

    “During the morning of the 17th inst. there was a slight improvement in the weather, but before midday rain and mist again set in. Our aeroplanes were active throughout the day on the Meteren - Wytschaete front bombing the enemy's troops and harassing them with machine-gun fire. Over 500 bombs were dropped by us from a very low height. There were a few fights early in the day, in the course of which two hostile machines were brought down and one other was driven down out of control. Four of our aeroplanes are missing."

    RAF Communiqué number 3:

    Up to 11 a.m. the weather was clearer but after this low clouds and mist again set in.

    Thirty-one reconnaissances and 30 contact patrols were carried out.

    Three hostile batteries were successfully engaged for destruction and five neutralized; one gun-pit was destroyed, nine explosions and one fire caused. Forty-three zone calls were sent down.

    A total of 10½ tons of bombs were dropped as follows:

    1st Brigade: No 2 Squadron, 25 25-lb bombs on Locon and Pacault Wood. No 18 Squadron, 36 25-lb bombs. 1st Wing, 65 25-lb bombs. No 203 Squadron, 96 25-lb bombs. No 210 Squadron, 56 25-lb bombs. 4th Squadron A.F.C., 41 25-lb bombs.

    2nd Brigade: Fifty-two 112-lb and 106 25-lb bombs.

    3rd Brigade: 12th Wing, 14 25-lb bombs. 13th Wing, 60 25-lb bombs.

    5th Brigade: 15th Wing, 38 25-lb bombs. 22nd Wing, 107 15-lb bombs.

    Enemy Aircraft:

    Enemy aircraft activity was slight and after 11 a.m. was practically nil.

    Lieut P M Dennett, 208 Sqn, Albatros Scout crashed south of Merville at 07:15/08:15 - Lieut P Dennett, No 208 Squadron, dived on one of six E.A. scouts and fired a burst of 50 rounds into it at close range. The E.A. dived vertically, followed by Lieut Dennett, who fired another burst of 30 rounds into it and the E.A. eventually crashed just south of Merville

    Lieut C J Mason, 54 Sqn, Albatros Scout crashed north-east of Neuf-Berquin at 14:00/15:00 - Lieut C J Mason, No 54 Squadron, whilst on OP at a height of 1,000 feet, was attacked by five Albatros scouts. He fired a long burst into one which crashed north-east of Neuf Berquin

    Capt T P Middleton & Capt F Godfrey, 20 Sqn, Albatros Scout crashed? [by Middleton] south-east of Hazebrouck at 14:00/15:00 and Albatros Scout out of control south-east of Hazebrouck at 14:00/15:00 - Patrol engaged five Albatros scouts and one was driven down out of control; it was last seen spinning slowly at 250 feet

    Royal Flying Corps casualties today:

    Lieut G A Barry (Wia), 2 Sqn, AW FK8 - ground fire

    Capt F J Watts (Ok) & Lieut D Gardner MC (Wia), 7 Sqn, RE8 C5065 - shot through by machine-gun fire from ground on offensive patrol

    2nd-Lieut N F Spurr (Wia), 54 Sqn, Camel B7293 - wounded in action on OP; candidates are Ltn d R Kurt Legel, Js52, 1st victory [Merville at 06:20/07:20], Ltn d R Paul Strahle, Js57, 9th victory [north-east of Vieux Berquin at 14:00/15:00] or Uffz Meyer, Js57, 1st victory [Hazebrouck at 14:05/15:05] ?

    2nd-Lieut V F A Rolandi (Wia), 206 Sqn, DH9 - shot up during bombing

    ? (Ok) & Sgt J J Ryan (Wia), 206 Sqn, DH9 – ground fire

    Lieut C C Lloyd (Kia), 54 Sqn, Camel D1837- took off 06:00/07:00 and last seen just west of Bailleul under control

    2nd-Lieut A G E Edwards (Wia) & Lieut N Sworder (Wia; dow), 5 Sqn, RE8 C2274 – took off 07:50/08:50 then attacked by 5 EA and brought down near Farbus Wood on artillery patrol; Ltn d R Emil Koch, Js32, 2nd victory [Farbus at 10:25/11:25]

    Lieut T S Howe MC (Ok), 54 Sqn, Camel D6523 – took off 08:00/09:00 then shot up on OP

    Lieut R F W Moore (Ok), 54 Sqn, Camel D6512 – took off 08:05/09:05 then shot through by enemy gunfire on offensive patrol

    Lieut D S Thompson (Ok) & Lieut A J Melanson (Ok), 2 Sqn, AW FK8 B5776 – took off 09:30/10:30 and force landed Chocques aerodrome 10:15/11:15 after engine caught fire near Bellerive on artillery observation and hit by hostile machine-gun fire from ground

    Lieut C S Bowen (Ok), 54 Sqn, Camel B6365 – took off 10:35/11:35 then shot through by enemy gunfire on offensive patrol

    2nd-Lieut M L James (Wia) & 2nd-Lieut O A Broomhall (Wia; dow 18-Apr-18), 4 Sqn, RE8 B830 – took off 11:30/12:30 then force landed Sh36a.D.17.d.9.3 [east of Morbecque] after attack by 7 enemy Scouts on patrol; Ltn Haevernick, Js47, 2nd victory [Estaires at 11:00/12:00] ? – Estaires is 15 Km south-east of Morbecque

    Lieut A S N Coombe (Kia) & Lieut S S Wright DCM (Kia), 7 Sqn, RE8 B5048 – took off 11:45/12:45 then missing on offensive patrol; Ltn Georg Schlenker, Js41, 14th victory [Haute Maison at 12:10/13:10] ?

    2nd-Lieut S B Welch (Ok) & Lieut C De Guise (Ok), 98 Sqn, DH9 C6087 – took off 12:00/13:00 then crashed in forced landing near Lynde [west of Hazebrouck] after control wires shot away on bombing raid; Uffz Wieprich, Js57, 1st victory [Hazebrouck at 14:10/15:10] ?

    Lieut T S Howe MC (Kia), 54 Sqn, Camel D6583 – took off 12:15/13:15 and last seen in combat north-east of Outtersteene on patrol; Ltn d R Aloys von Brandenstein, Js49, 1st victory [Flêtre at 12:40/13:40] ? - Flêtre is 4.5 Km north of Outtersteene

    Capt C R Lupton (Ok) & AG A G Wood (Ok), 205 Sqn, DH4 N6000 – took off 12:37/13:37 then force landed Corbie after rudder control shot away in combat with E.A. during bombing La Motte

    Lieut M H G Liddell (Kia), 54 Sqn, Camel D1848 – took off 17:15/18:15 then missing on offensive patrol

    Royal Flying Corps Losses today:

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    Claims: 36 confirmed (Entente 23 : Central Powers 13)

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    Home Fronts:

    Pogrom in Cracow ,April 16-21, Cracow [Kraków]–The Allied blockade of Europe and several years of back-and-forth fighting on the Eastern Front had led to severe food shortages in Austria, even in its breadbasket of Galicia. The Jewish population of the area was over-represented in milling, baking, and other food-related trades, and the combination of hunger and anti-Semitism led to suspicions that the Jewish population was hoarding food. These feelings were so pronounced by May 1917 that the Jewish population began seriously considering setting up its own defence forces in case violence broke out against them. Late in 1917, an attempt by bread protesters to march south to the Jewish district of Kazimierz was halted by police.

    In 1918, tensions rose further with bread strikes in January, followed by riots against the peace treaty with Ukraine, which had given major concessions to the Ukrainians at the expense of the Poles, in a misguided attempt to secure food supplies. By the spring of 1918, the local Polish population no longer had any trust in the government; for example, two women on a tram were overheard saying that if the bread shortage continued, “we won’t go to the town council or governor, we’ll just demolish the shops where they sell cakes and rolls.”

    On April 16, at a food market in the north of the city, Christians, enraged at the high prices and blaming Jewish traders for them, began attacking the latter. A mob marched twenty-five minutes south to Kazimierz, looting Jewish shops; the police did nothing to stop them. Violence continued through the 20th. On the 19th, Jewish youths retaliated, driving out Christian traders from a market with sticks and iron rods. The military attempted to intervene on the 18th, and did temporarily calm the situation, but neither side trusted the emperor’s soldiers; both Christians and Jews attacked or tried to drive the soldiers off.

    Although the city was calm once again by April 21, it was not to be a one-time affair. Pogroms would continue across Galicia throughout the remainder of 1918, and the ugly anti-Semitic attitudes would long outlast the war.

    Western Front:

    First Battle of Kemmel (17–19 April)

    The Kemmelberg is a height commanding the area between Armentières and Ypres. On 17–19 April, the Fourth Army attacked and was repulsed by the British.

    Intense bombardment, followed by infantry attack, on whole line from Nieppe Forest to Wytschaete.

    Wytschaete and Meteren again lost.

    North-west of Dixmude, Belgians take 700 prisoners and 42 machine guns.

    French repulse attacks on Meuse and in Champagne.

    Southern Front:

    Tunstills Men Wednesday 17th April 1918:

    Front line trenches between San Sisto and Poslen.

    The recent cold, wet weather continued, with showers of rain, sleet and snow.

    Pte. Ernest Smith (29167) (see 19th March), who had been wounded while serving with 10DWR in June 1917, was killed in action while serving with 5DWR in France; he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial.

    A payment of £4 12s. 1d. was authorised, being the amount due in pay and allowances to the late Pte. Willie Bates (see 7th June), who had been killed in action on 7th June 1917; the payment would go in six equal shares to his four brothers, Albert, Harry, Tom and Sam, and two married sisters, Clara Ackroyd and Annie Hanson.

    Asiatic, African, Egyptian Front:

    Turks approach Kars, and claim 250 guns at Batum.

    East Africa:
    War Office reports progress.

    Naval Operations:

    Patrol drifters attack and sink the German submarine UB-82 in the English Channel.

    British monitors bombard Ostend.

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    Government makes proposals for increase of manpower.

    General Belin succeeds General Weygand on Supreme War Council.

    Austria: Baron Burian succeeds Count Czernin as Minister for Foreign Affairs.
    Hungarian Cabinet (Wekerle) resigns.

    Bolo is executed.

    Anniversary Events:
    858 Benedict III ends his reign as Catholic Pope.
    1492 Christopher Columbus signs a contract with Spain to find a western route to the Indies.
    1524 Present-day New York Harbor is discovered by Giovanni da Verrazzano.
    1535 Antonio Mendoza is appointed first viceroy of New Spain.
    1758 Frances Williams, the first African-American to graduate from a college in the western hemisphere, publishes a collection of Latin poems.
    1808 Bayonne Decree by Napoleon Bonaparte of France orders seizure of U.S. ships.
    1824 Russia abandons all North American claims south of 54' 40'.
    1861 Virginia becomes the eighth state to secede from the Union.
    1864 General Ulysses Grant bans the trading of prisoners.
    1865 Mary Surratt is arrested as a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination.
    1875 The game "snooker" is invented by Sir Neville Chamberlain.
    1895 China and Japan sign peace treaty of Shimonoseki.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  34. #3184


    I now hand over to Chris for his stint at the presses.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  35. #3185


    Thanks Neil.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  36. #3186


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    18th April 1918

    Quiet one today as many of our stalwarts descend on Prague, here on the home front we will try and find something to necessitate the rolling of the presses.

    A random shell strikes 26th Brigade Headquarters killing four officers. Lieutenant Colonel Robert Horn DSO MC (commanding 7th Seaforth Highlanders) is killed at age 36. He served on the Northwest Frontier in 1906. Chaplain the Reverend Charles Gustave Clarke Meister MC (attached Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) is killed at age 36. He is the Assistant Priest at Old St Paul’s Edinburgh. Also killed by this shell is Major Hugh Alexander Leslie Rose, the Brigade Major of Artillery, Captain Reginald Somers-Cocks MC (Somerset Light Infantry Staff Divisional Headquarters Captain attached 26th Infantry Brigade) will die of wounds within a week at age 23. He is the son of the Reverend Henry Lawrence Somers-Cocks Rector of Eastnor.

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    Lance Corporal John William Sayer VC (Royal West Surrey Regiment) dies of wounds as a prisoner of war received 21st March at Le Verguier where he held the flank of a small isolated post for two hours while inflicting heavy losses while exposed to heavy fire until nearly all the garrison has been killed and himself wounded and captured. For his actions he will be awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously.

    Home Fronts
    Britain: THIRD MILITARY SERVICE ACT becomes law, lowers age to 17 1/2 and raises it to 50, eyesight criteria lessened.
    Ireland: Dublin Mansion House Conference against conscrip*tiοπ includes Roman Catholic bishops.

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    Western Front

    Flanders – Battle of Bethune: Heaνy German attacks from Givenchy tο the Lys, 10 miles gained since April 9; slight German advance at Givenchy νs British 1st Division until April 19.
    Somme: Reinforced French 18th division takes 650 PoWs near Castel southeast of Amiens, 500 yards advance with tank support.

    The White Cavalry of Bethune

    Now here is a tale that takes some that has similarities to the more famous 'Angel of Mons'

    As Captain Cecil Whitewick Hayward advanced on foot quickly and stealthily forward towards the battle lines to assess the situation, to gauge the severity of this latest furious German offensive, he eventually came upon a British Sargeant who waved his helmet until he got the Captain's attention, and when the Captain managed to link up with him, the Sargeant told him a startling thing: "Fritz has gone out of his mind, sir! They're peppering naked ground. What in the world is this good for?"

    And peering over the hill at the battle going on in the distance, Captain Hayward saw that the Sargeant was right. The Germans had shifted the object of their blistering artillery and machine gun fire to an open bench of ground near the shattered remains of the town of Bethune, plainly visible below Captain Hayward and the Sargeant, and they were pouring out all sorts of firepower onto.....empty open ground. They had redirected their shelling of the British troops trying to hold out in the trenches, and shifted it with a fury to an open field where they were firing like lunatics upon nothing but plants and dirt, as if they were being attacked from there. The Sargeant and the Captain could watch the puffs of dirt rising from all over the field, and see the pits caused by the shelling. It was incomprehensible to them. Not a soul was out there to fire at.

    Then suddenly there was silence, and to their amazement they watched this seasoned and veteran force of experienced, well ordered German troops drop their guns and their haversacks in many cases, and just flee the battle field in what seemed to be open terror. Captain Hayward recounted that at the same moment a lark flew up, in the silence, from very near to them and sang with such remarkable beauty that he thought he would never forget it.

    The British quickly took advantage to reclaim the ground and their trenches, because for the moment the Germans had no desire to contest the battle further. A sweep of the land that the Germans had momentarily occupied netted a small number of German prisoners. Among them were two German officers - Officers of the Prussian Gaurd. These were interrogated within a fairly short time, as there was extremely keen interest on the part of Capt. Hayward and other British Commanders to find out just what was the cause of all the craziness that they witnessed on the part of the Germans. The answer was scarce to be believed, but in the course of the following weeks, additional Germans were captured who produced versions of the same startling story which hardly varied. Their claim was this:

    In the midst of their intense shelling of the British trenches and their brick shattering attack on the small town of Bethune, the smoke over the open field involved had cleared, and the Germans had observed a surprising thing; they saw a group of British cavalry was making its way across the field in splendid and fearless fashion, moving slowly and with dignity. All of the soldiers wore white uniforms, and each was mounted on a white horse.

    The officer commented that when they first saw the force, they assumed that it must be some British colonial force, since they had not known the British to have units which wore an all white uniform, or which rode all white horses.

    In front of them rode their leader, and he cut a remarkably splendid figure - his appearance was magnificent. He wore no helmet, but his blond hair sparkled like a large golden halo all around his head, brilliant in the sun. In his hand he held a large bright sword, and in his other, the reigns of his horse. They were all coming onward towards the German troops, the German officer said, "remoreless as fate, as the incoming tide."

    The Germans shifted their machine gun fire and their artillery barrage onto this magnificent group of horsemen, and they blasted the oncoming white cavalrymen with everything they had. But though their fire and rounds landed where they wished them to, every time the dust cleared they saw the same thing: on came the horsemen, unwounded, undeterred, slowly and with frightening purpose. The German rounds had no affect. Not even these men's horses were frightened. They were inhuman - unstoppable. They came onwards without pause. And the Germans found the sight of the leader quite frightening in some regard which was difficult to explain.

    It was too much for the Germans, (probably would have been for anyone) and they broke and fled the field.

    The German officer first being interrogated admitted that, in his estimation, "There may still be fighting, but the German army is broken. We have lost the war. It is the White cavalry. We are broken."

    When the Germans fled, the sight of the White cavalry disappeared. Though multiple Germans were eventually to give the same story about the unexplainable appearance of the White Cavalry, not a single British soldier claimed to have seen even a glimpse of this heavenly fighting force. It was for the enemies' eyes only. To the British onlookers, there was only the sight of the Germans going mad and pouring out torrents of fire power upon an empty field.

    Most of the accounts of this story seem to be found in religious books etc.

    In the very early days of the 1st World War, another National Day of Prayer was called. Our troops were being slaughtered by the thousand and the British Army were trapped at Mons, with no way of escape from the surrounding Germans. A report appeared in The Times that our Army had been annihilated, but it turned out to be a somewhat premature report. There appeared between the two armies a very large angel surrounded by thousands of other angels. The charging cavalry of the German Army were horrified to find their horses fleeing in terror from the front and nothing they could do could make them stop and face the British who were then able to withdraw to safer positions. When Intelligence Officers questioned captured German Officers, they asked them why, when the British were so few in number, such a large force had fled. The Germans told them that not only were they unable to control their horses but they saw that we had legions of supporting troops. To the Germans, the angels had appeared as cavalry about to charge them.

    In 1918 another National Day of Prayer was called because the Germans were preparing for their final assault which would end the war and this was the occasion for more divine intervention. The British army were surprised to find that the overwhelmingly superior German forces were raking with every type of gun, a field to their left which was devoid of troops, trees or houses. This heavy firing went on for a long time and then, to the amazement of British troops, the Germans turned and fled leaving behind all their equipment. Captured Germans reported the awesome spectacle of what they called the "White Cavalry". They reported that thousands of cavalrymen, dressed in white and riding white horses, were advancing across the fields that they had been raking with fire. They were in perfect formation, advancing at a slow trot and although every sort of fire power was falling on them, not one horse faltered and not one man fell. They were lead by a very large man with blond hair and a halo of light around his head and this figure filled them with so much dread that they had fled in front of him.

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    Southern Fronts
    Macedonia: 4-day British artillery harassing in Lake Doiran sector plus 3 trench raids (April 20 and 22) cost 136 casualties for 100 Bulgars; Italians in Crna bend repel Bulgar attacks (and on April 24).
    Italy: Italian II Corps (3rd and 8th Divisions) begins tο entrain (until April 27) for Western Front; comprises 52,826 men as symbol of Αllied unity and affront tο Austria.

    Britain: Lord Derby new British Ambassador tο Paris.
    Italy*: Prime Minister Orlando announces Italian troops sent tο Western Front. Central Inter-Allied Propaganda Commission begins work at Padua (by October 70 million publica*tions sent tο Austrian Army and beyond cause much desertion).

    The Air War

    General Headquarters, April 18th.

    “On the 18th inst. the weather made it impossible during the day to do more than carry out low reconnaissances and to drop a few bombs in the battle area. At night 9 tons of bombs were dropped on Bapaume, Armentieres, Warneton, and on the railway junction at Chaulnes. All our machines returned."

    RAF Communiqué number 3:

    Low clouds and rain prevailed during the day.

    Six reconnaissances and 10 contact patrols were carried out.

    Eleven hostile batteries were successfully engaged for destruction with aeroplane observation and one neutralized; two fires were caused, and seven zone calls were sent down.

    A total of two and a half tons of bombs were dropped during the day as follows:-

    1st Brigade: No 18 Squadron, two 112-lb and four 25-lb bombs on Neuf Berquin. No 2 Squadron, 13 25-lb bombs on Locon and Bois Pacaut. 1st Wing, 28 25-lb bombs. No 203 Squadron, 36 25-lb bombs. No 210 Squadron, eight 25-lb bombs. 4th Squadron A.F.C., 42 25-lb bombs.

    2nd Brigade: Four 112-lb and 19 25-lb bombs.
    3rd Brigade: Eight 25-lb bombs.
    5th Brigade: 15th Wing, six 25-lb bombs. 22nd Wing, 26 25-lb bombs.

    Enemy Aircraft:

    Enemy aircraft activity was practically nil. One E.A. was shot down out of control by 2nd-Lieuts W E M Whittaker and C Sutherland, No 4 Squadron.

    2nd-Lieut W E M Whittaker & 2nd-Lieut C Sutherland, 4 Sqn, Albatros Scout out of control Merris - 2nd-Lieuts W E M Whittaker & C Sutherland, 4 Sqn, while on photography, were attacked by three Albatros scouts. One was driven down out of control and was last seen in a vertical dive low over Merris


    Lieut R B Donald (Ok), 1 Sqn, SE5a A8929 – took off 11:58/12:58 then shot about over lines and force landed 42 Sqn on low bombing patrol; ground fire?

    I can only find one aerial victory claim for this day:

    Captain Raymond James Brownell 45 Squadron RAF

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    One of 200 Australians recruited by the Royal Flying Corps 1916, Brownell served as a gunner with the 9th Battery, 3rd Field Artillery Brigade at Gallipoli. After he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, he was posted to 45 Squadron and shot down five enemy aircraft over France before his squadron was sent to Italy in November 1917. On 31 December 1917, Brownell assisted Henry Moody in shooting down German ace Alwin Thurm near Asolo. When the war ended, Brownell joined the Royal Australian Air Force and attained the rank of Air Commodore before he retired.

    2nd Lt. Raymond James Brownell, M.M., R.F.C., Spec. Res.
    For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Within the last three months he has brought down six enemy aeroplanes, four of which were seen to come down in flames, the other two falling completely out of control. The dash, gallantry and offensive spirit displayed on all occasions by this officer are worthy of the highest praise.

    A total of six British airmen were lost on this day

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  37. #3187


    Will catch up with last couple of missing editions at the weekend when I have a little more time.

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  38. #3188


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    19th April 1918

    Another quiet day, but no ghost story to entertain the troops...

    Private Robert Craig (South Wales Borderers) dies of wounds at Boulogne received in action eight days earlier at age 30. He played football for many clubs including the Celtic Football Club. His Celtic career spanned from 1906 to 1909 when he appeared thirteen times as a fullback.

    Second Lieutenant Guy Maddison Vaisey AM (Gloucestershire Regiment) dies of wounds received in action the previous day at Bethune at age 28. On 6th April 1917 while training at Frenchcourt bombing range he threw himself on a grenade saving the lives of other soldiers around him. For this action he was awarded the Albert Medal.

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    The Air War

    General Headquarters, April 20th.

    “There was no improvement in the weather on the 19th inst., but a certain amount of flying was done by our aeroplanes between storms of rain and snow. Reconnaissances were carried out at a low height, and 4½ tons of bombs were dropped on Thourout Railway Station, Engel ammunition dump, and targets in the battle area. Only a few indecisive combats took place. None of our machines are missing.

    “After dark our night-flying squadrons were very active. Sixteen tons of bombs were dropped by them on Armentieres, Warneton, Estaires, Bapaume, and the railway junction at Chaulnes. Direct hits were observed on four trains, one of which, judging from the explosions caused, was undoubtedly full of ammunition. All our machines returned."

    RAF Communiqué number 3:

    There was a strong wind and snow and hail storms, with occasional bright intervals.

    Nine reconnaissances and 39 contact patrols were carried out.

    Two hostile batteries were successfully engaged for destruction with aeroplane observation and 10 neutralized. Ninety-three zone calls were sent down.

    A total of 13¼ tons of bombs were dropped as follows:-

    Night 18th/19th - 1st Brigade: No 5 Squadron, 6 25-lb bombs on Brebières. No 16 Squadron, 2 112-lb bombs on Berquin, 2 112-lb bombs on Billy Montigny,

    3rd Brigade: No 102 Squadron, 4 230-lb, 31 112-lb and 44 25-lb bombs on Bapaume and roads in the neighbourhood.
    5th Brigade: No 101 Squadron, 45 112-lb and 28 25-lb bombs on Chaulnes Railway Junction; 98 25-lb bombs on villages in the area Mézières, Beaucourt, Fresnoy and Le Quesnel.
    9th Brigade: No 58 Squadron, 11 112-lb and 81 25-lb bombs on Warneton. No 83 Squadron, 9 112-lb and 70 25-lb bombs on Armentiéres.

    Day 19th -
    1st Brigade: 1st Wing, 55 25-lb bombs. No 208 Squadron, 40 25-lb bombs. 4th Squadron A.F.C., 43 25-lb bombs.
    2nd Brigade: Eighteen 25-lb bombs.
    3rd Brigade: Thirty-two 25-lb bombs.
    5th Brigade: 15th Wing, 53 25-lb bombs. 22nd Wing, 37 25-lb bombs.
    7th Brigade: No 211 Squadron, 20 25-lb and 40 16-lb bombs on Engel Dump. No 49 Squadron, 14 112-lb bombs on Cortemarck, Engel and Ferneghem.

    Enemy Aircraft:

    Enemy aircraft activity was slight, only a few combats taking place. One hostile machine was driven down out of control by Lieut H G Watson, 4th Squadron, A.F.C.

    Lieut H G Watson, 4 AFC, Albatros Scout out of control east of Loos at 12:05/13:05 – dropped 2 Cooper bombs on La La Bassée from 1,000 feet at 12:05/12:05 and drove down an Albatros Scout out of control [it has been suggested that he actually attacked a 19 Sqn Dolphin]


    Lieut R F W Moore (Ok), 54 Sqn, Camel B5214 - shot through by enemy gunfire on offensive patrol

    There was just the one aerial victory I could find today, scoring his first victory was Captain Herbert Giles Watson MC 4th Australian Squadron

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    A depot manager living in Sydney, Herbert Gilles Watson was the son of Rev. Francis Edward and Fanny Martha (Gilles) Watson. At the age of 24, standing 5 feet 8 inches tall, he enlisted as a sapper in the 2nd Light Horse Signal Troop of the Australian Imperial Force on 28 October 1914. He departed Australia for overseas service in late December 1914 and underwent training in Egypt. At Gallipoli on 23 July 1915, he was in hospital with scalded feet and was evacuated to England in October 1915. When he was fit for duty, he served as a driver with the Motor Transport Services before he transferred to the Australian Flying Corps in 1917. Posted to 4 Squadron (AFC) on 5 February 1918, he scored fourteen victories and was the highest scoring New Zealand ace to serve in the A.F.C. He returned to service with the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II but died in 1942. Watson's medals are held by the Australian War Memorial.

    Listed as Herbert Gillis Watson in the London Gazette.

    However there were only three British airmen lost on this day, the lowest figure for months

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    Western Front
    Flanders: Lull in fighting; minor actions (until April 24). General de Mitry assumes command of French Νorthern Army Detachment (until July 5) which relieves British ΙΧ Corps, 6 battered British divisions withdrawn for rest.
    Belgium: *Lieutenant-General Gillain replaces Lieutenant-General Rucquoy as CoS under King Albert.

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    Eastern Front
    Finland: German troops under Colonel Brandenstein captures Lahti, cutting off 25,000 Red Guards and joins with Whites on April 20. Fighting till Reds surrender until May 2.
    Southern Russia: Germans invade Crimea, occupy capital Simferopol on April 24.

    Middle East
    Armenia: Turk Ι Caucasian Corps breaks Nazarbekov’s 9,000-strong Armenian line (350 casualties) southwest of Kars.
    Hejaz Railway: Lieutenant-Colonel Α Dawnay and Lawrence plus 5 armoured cars, 2 aircraft, Egyptian Camel Coy and Bedouin capture Tell-esh* Shakin Station (54 PoWs, 200 rifles), occupy Ramleh and wreck 80 miles of line; Medina cut off from north.

    Captain Tunstill's Men: News has been received that Gunner Herbert Airey, of the Royal Field Artillery, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Airey, of 63, Otley Street, Skipton, died from wounds received on March 30th. In a letter to the deceased soldier's parents the Commanding Officer writes: "Your son was one of my best signalmen, and I feel his loss very keenly. The battery was heavily pressed, and he had been doing splendid work when a shell landed close to him, inflicting a wound, from which he died in the course of an hour. I feel wonderfully proud of his splendid courage." Gunner Airey, who was 31 years of age, enlisted in October, 1916, and had been out in France about seven months. He was formerly employed as a dyer's labourer by Mr. Torney, Alexandra Mills, Skipton. Mr. and Mrs. Airey have another son Second-Lieut. S.B. Airey, who is serving with the West Riding Regiment in Italy, and also a son-in-law, Driver F. H. Briggs, who is attached to the R.F.A.

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  39. #3189


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    20th April 1918

    One day to go until the edition I have waited 4 years to write (crap no pressure there then)

    Manfred Von Richthofen claims his 79th and 80th (and FINAL) victims on this day

    Major Richard Raymond Barker MC
    (Royal Air Force) is killed in action at age 23 near Bois de Hamel when his Sopwith Camel is shot down by Manfred von Richthofen. He is the Red Baron’s 79th victim and his body will never be found. He is a 6-victory ace.

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    Victory 79:
    Sopwith Camel D6439 - 3 Squadron RAF- 18:40 hrs south West of Bois de Hamel, Sopwith Camel, burned, Englishman.

    With six planes of Jasta 11 I attacked a large enemy squadron. During the fight I oserved that a Triplane was attacked and shot at from below by a Camel. I put myself behind the adversary and brought him down, burning, with only a fw shots. The enemy plane crashed down near the forest of Hamel where it burned further on the ground.

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    Victory 80: Sopwith Camel B7393 - 3 Squadron RAF - 18:43 hrs North East of Villiers Bretonneux. Sopwith Camel burned, Englishman.

    Three minutes after I had brought down the first machine, I attacked a second Camel of the same enemey squadron. The adversary dived, caught his machine and repeated this manoeuvre several times. I approached him as near as possible when fighting and fired 50 bullets until the machine began to burn, the body of the machine was burned in the air, the remnants dashed to the ground, North East of Villers Bretonneux.

    Other claims on this day

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    General Headquarters, April 21st.

    “The weather improved on the 20th inst., but thick clouds prevented flying at high altitudes. A number of reconnaissances were carried out by our aeroplanes, and some observation work was accomplished in co-operation with the artillery. Twelve tons of bombs were dropped by us during the day on various targets, including Menin, Armentieres, and Thourout railway junction. Owing to the improvement in the weather, more fighting took place in the air than during the last few days. Six hostile machines were brought down and three others were driven down out of control. Three of our machines are missing.

    “During the night our night-flying squadrons bombed Bapaume and also the enemy's rest billets and roads leading to the front. Hostile railway junctions were also attacked at Chaulnes, where a large fire was caused, at Juniville (20 miles north-east of Reims), and at Betheniville. A total of over 11 tons of bombs were dropped, and all our machines returned."

    RAF Communiqué number 3:

    In the early morning the weather was fine, but during the day it became cloudy and very overcast and impeded flying at a height.

    Twenty-one reconnaissances and 19 contact patrols were carried out by Brigades, and one long distance photographic flight by a machine of the 9th Brigade.

    Eleven hostile batteries were successfully engaged for destruction with aeroplane observation and eight neutralized; four explosions and two fires were caused. 55 zone calls were sent down.

    A total of 27½ tons of bombs were dropped as follows:-

    Night 19th/20th – 1st Brigade: No 102 Squadron, 4 230-lb, 41 112-lb and 75 25-lb bombs on Bapaume, Achiet-le-Grand, Moreuil, Bihucourt and on trains.

    5th Brigade: No 101 Squadron, 16 112-lb bombs on the railway junction at Chaulnes. Five direct hits on line; eight direct hits on three trains, and one ammunition train blown up at Rosières. 126 25-lb bombs. The Communiqué specifically noted: No 101 Squadron carried out a very successful raid on Chaulnes Railway Junction. At the commencement of the raid no searchlights or A.A. defences were encountered, but when the machines went out on the second trip five searchlights had been brought up, and many machine guns and A.A. Batteries and “flaming onion” batteries came into action. During the first raid E.A. showed a tendency for attacking, but these tactics were not pressed home to any great extent, and our machines were easily able to hold their own.

    9th Brigade: No 83 Squadron, 32 112-lb and 249 25-lb bombs on Armentières and Estaires. No 58 Squadron, 29 112-lb and 197 25-lb bombs on Warneton. A direct hit was obtained on a train.

    Day 20th -
    1st Brigade: 1st Wing, 82 25-lb bombs. No 18 Squadron, 36 112-lb, 68 25-lb and 2 40-lb phosphorous bombs on villages opposite the First Army front. No 203 Squadron, 67 25-lb bombs. No 210 Squadron, 56 25-lb bombs. 4th Squadron A.F.C., 61 25-lb bombs.
    2nd Brigade: No 98 Squadron, 19 112-lb bombs on Menin; 10 112-lb and 131 25-lb bombs.
    3rd Brigade: No 57 Squadron, 20 112-lb bombs on roads around Bapaume; 44 25-lb bombs.
    5th Brigade: 15th Wing, 55 25-lb bombs. 22nd Wing, 29 25-lb bombs.
    7th Brigade: No 49 Squadron, 10 112-lb bombs on Thourhout, Railway Junction and Bruges Docks. No 211 Squadron, 12 25-lb and 42 16-lb bombs.
    9th Brigade: No 27 Squadron, 2 112-lb bombs on Armentières.

    8th Brigade: During the night of 19th/20th, two Handley Pages of No 216 Squadron and seven machines of No 100 Squadron dropped 42 112-lb bombs on Juniville Railway Junction (20 miles north-east of Rheims), and one machine of No 216 Squadron dropped 14 112-lb bombs on Bethenville Railway Junction. All machines returned.

    Enemy Aircraft:

    Enemy aircraft were fairly active. One hostile machine was brought down by A.A. in addition to those brought down in combat.

    Enemy aircraft were driven down out of control by the following: 2nd-Lieut H B Redler, No 24 Squadron; Capt J A Slater, No 64 Squadron (two); Lieuts W V Herbert and A Sewell, 3rd Squadron A.F.C.; Lieut P K Hobson, No 84 Squadron; Lieuts G A Leckie and G Cuttle, No 49 Squadron.

    Lieut P K Hobson, 84 Sqn, Albatros Scout out of control Marcelcave at 09:20/10:20 -
    Capt J A Slater, 64 Sqn, Albatros Scout out of control Neuf-Berquin at 09:45/10:45 -
    Capt J A Slater, 64 Sqn, Pfalz Scout out of control Neuf-Berquin at 09:45/10:45 -

    Capt I D R McDonald, 24 Sqn, Pfalz Scout crashed south of Morcourt at 09:55/10:55 - Capt I D R McDonald, No 24 Squadron, led his patrol against a mixed formation of 13 E.A. He fired 30 rounds at close range into the leader before being observed. The E.A. turned over, making two very quick spins and dived vertically into the ground south of Marcourt [sic]

    Capt C J Marchant and 2nd-Lieut M M Freehill, 46 Sqn, Albatros C crashed Harnes (east of Lens) at 10:00/11:00 - Capt C J Marchant , No 46 Squadron, whilst leading his patrol observed two two E.A. two-seaters. He dived on one from behind and fired a burst of 30 rounds into it. 2nd-Lieut Freehill then dived on this E.A., firing 130 rounds into it. The E.A. dived steeply east followed by Capt Marchant who fired another 100 rounds into it, whereupon the E.A. went down vertically emitting dense clouds of smoke and was seen to crash near Harnes

    2nd-Lieut G B Foster, 24 Sqn, Pfalz Scout crashed Morcourt at 10:00/11:00 - 2nd-Lieut G B Foster, No 24 Squadron, fired 350 rounds into one E.A. scout which spun down and was followed to 700 feet by 2nd-Lieut Foster, who saw it crash
    2nd-Lieut H B Redler, 24 Sqn, Pfalz Scout out of control Bayonvillers at 10:15/11:15 -

    Lieut K W Junor, 56 Sqn, Rumpler C broke up south-west of Puisieux at 10:15/11:15 - Lieut K W Junor, No 56 Squadron, dived on an E.A. two-seater and fired 150 rounds into it from very close range. The top right wing of the E.A. came off, followed almost immediately by the other three wings, and the wreckage fell and burned up on the ground south-west of Puisieux

    Lieut C G Edwards, 209 Sqn, Fokker DrI out of control Cléry at 11:00/12:00 -
    Capt E S Arnold, 210 Sqn, Albatros C crashed north of La Bassée at 14:20/15:20 -

    Lieut C S Bowen, 54 Sqn, Pfalz Scout crashed north of Neuf-Berquin at 17:30/18:30 - Lieut C S Bowen, No 54 Squadron, with his patrol attacked 10 E.A. scouts at a height of 2,000 feet. Lieut Bowen drove one down to 200 feet, firing 10 to 12 bursts into it and he followed it down. The E.A. was observed to crash north of Neuf Berquin [21 April ?]

    Lieut G A Leckie & Lieut G R Cuttle, 49 Sqn, Albatros Scout out of control smoking Keyem at 18:15/19:15 -

    Capt D J Bell, 3 Sqn, Fokker DrI crashed west of Hamel Wood at 19:50/20:50 - Capt D J Bell, No 3 Squadron, had an engagement with six E.A. triplanes and shot one down out of control which is confirmed by ground observers to have crashed


    2nd-Lieut L Goswell (Wia), 4 Sqn, RE8 – combat?
    ? (Ok) & Lieut J E G Mosby (Wia), 4 Sqn, RE8 – combat?
    2nd-Lieut C T Bremickar (Wia), 35 Sqn, AW FK8 – ground fire?
    Capt E H Tatton (Kia), 84 Sqn, SE5a D270 - brought down Glisy 07:15/08:15 by A.A. fire on offensive patrol
    Capt F Hyde (Ok) & 2nd - Lieut W T Blake (Ok), 13 Sqn, RE8 C5086 – took off 09:25/10:25 then attacked by E.A. and shot through during photography
    Lieut R G Landis (Ok), 40 Sqn, SE5a D3510 – took off 12:35/13:35 engaged Albatros two-seater over Bois de Pacaut and badly shot about on offensive patrol, returned aerodrome 13:35/14:35
    Lieut B W Robinson (Pow) & 11483 Sgt T Wills (Kia), 49 Sqn, DH4 D5578 - took off 16:30/17:30 then attacked and brought down by E.A. during bombing Thourout, seen to crash by Belgian A.A. battery between Leke and Ghistelles

    Maj R Raymond-Barker MC (Kia), 3 Sqn, Camel D6439 - took off 17:30/18:30 and last seen over Villers Bretonneux 18:00/19:00 on patrol, a Camel seen to be shot down in flames; Ritt Manfred von Richthofen, JGI, 79th victory [south-west of Bois de Hamel at 17:40/18:40]

    Lieut D G Lewis (Pow), 3 Sqn, Camel B7393 – took off 17:30/18:30 and last seen over Villers Bretonneux 18:00/19:00 on patrol, a Camel observed to be shot down in flames; Ritt Manfred von Richthofen, JGI, 80th victory [Villers Bretonneux at 17:43/18:43]
    2nd-Lieut G R Riley (Wia), 3 Sqn, Camel D6475 - hit by machine-gun fire from EA on COP 18:00/19:00; Ltn Hans Weiss, Js11, 15th victory [south-west of Bois de Hamel at 17:40/18:40] ?
    2nd-Lieut J E Phillips (Ok) & 2nd - Lieut H W White (Wia), 35 Sqn, AW FK8 C8503 – took off 18:05/19:05 then force landed near Villers Bretonneux after shot up by E.A. on return from contact patrol

    There were 13 British Airmen lost on this day

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    Eastern Front
    Finland: Mannerheim attacks towards Viborg with 24,000 men and 40 guns (until April 29).

    Western Front
    Flanders: German gas bombardment of Kemmnel*-Ypres with 9 million rounds (2,000t) mustard gas, phosgene and diphenylchlorarsine fired (until April 25) at BEF; 8,470 gassed (43 deaths).
    Somme: Skirmishes go in favour of British (until April 22).
    Meuse: Germans gain ground at Seicheprey (Woevre) against Franco-Americans, who counter-attack successfully on April 21.
    Artois: Pershing visits Canadian Corps.

    Air War
    Western Front: Richthofen’s 80th (and last) victory, a Sopwith Camel northeast of Villers-Brelonneux.

    Home Fronts
    Britain: Milner replaces Derby as War Minister.
    Canada: 20-22 year-old men called up.
    USA: Sabotage Act.

    The Battle of Lahti

    Battle of Lahti was a 1918 Finnish Civil War battle, fought from 19 April to 1 May between the German troops and Finnish Whites against the Finnish Reds in Lahti, Finland. Together with the Battle of Vyborg, from 24 to 29 April, it was the last major battle of the war.

    The German unit Detachment Brandenstein, commanded by the colonel Otto von Brandenstein, attacked Lahti on 19 April, taking the town by the next evening. At the same time, a column of tens of thousands of Red refugees was approaching Lahti from the west. On 22 April, the Reds launched a counterattack in order to break through the German lines and clear way for the fleeing people. The attempt failed and the Reds finally surrendered on 1 May. As a result, the Whites and Germans captured about 30,000 Reds and their family members who were placed to a concentration camp in the outskirts of Lahti.

    At the time of the Finnish Civil War, Lahti had a population of 6,500. The town was important for the Reds due to its location by the vital Riihimäki–Saint Petersburg railway, connecting Lahti to the major war theatres in Tavastia and Karelia. Red troops were formed and trained in the Hennala Garrison which the Russians had built in the early 1910s. As the Red front had collapsed in the northern part of Tavastia and the Battle of Tampere was over in 6 April, tens of thousands of Red refugees headed east through Hämeenlinna and Lahti. In the late April, there were about 40,000 Reds inside the triangle formed by the towns of Hämeenlinna, Riihimäki and Lahti. The German Baltic Sea Division landed in Hanko on 3 April. After the victorious Battle of Helsinki, fought 12–13 April, the division marched north to Riihimäki and Hämeenlinna, which forced the Red refugees to head to Lahti. Another German unit, Detachment Brandenstein, landed 75 kilometres east of Helsinki in Loviisa 12 April. The original plan for Detachment Brandenstein was to attack the Red stronghold of Kotka and then cut the Saint Petersburg railway in Kouvola. For some reason, the Germans finally decided to move north to Lahti, instead of Kotka in the east.

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    As the Germans reached Lahti along the Loviisa–Vesijärvi railway, the Reds started building trenches, artillery batteries and other defensive posts to the slopes of the Salpausselkä ridge. In 13 April, the Detachment Brandenstein took the Orimattila village 20 kilometres south of Lahti. The offensive against the town was launched six days later on 19 April at 5 am. The main force commanded by the lieutenant colonel von Luck took the village of Villähde, 9 kilometres east of Lahti, at 1:00 pm and cut the Saint Petersburg railway, while the second unit attacked Lahti and reached the Railway Station at 7:00 am without any resistance. After taking the Hennala Garrison, the Germans entered the town in the evening. Colonel Luck and his men headed for the General Hospital at 10:00 pm and most of Lahti was held by the Germans by 11:00 pm. All this happened with hardly any resistance by the surprised Reds. Instead of the town itself, the Reds were only defending their positions in the Salpausselkä ridge. It is unclear why the attack took the Reds by surprise, as they knew the Germans were approaching. One explanation is their poor reconnaissance and surveillance.

    On the morning of 20 April, the Germans reached the harbour by the Vesijärvi lake. At the same time the Finnish White Army division, commanded by the Estonian major Hans Kalm, entered the town from north as the Reds on the Radiomäki hill had surrendered. The German commander colonel Otto von Brandenstein and Hans Kalm greeted each other in a modest ceremony held in the Lahti main street.[3] On the next day, a small clash occurred as a group of 1,000 Red Guard fighters came by armoured train to Okeroinen, a village in Hollola, 5 kilometres south of Lahti. The Reds tried to break into the town but were pushed back. During the first two days of the battle, the Germans lost six men killed. Red losses were at least 37 killed and 500 captured. 300 more were captured within next three days as the Germans searched for Reds in their homes. The ones found with a fired rifle were shot.

    As the column of refugees reached the outskirts of Lahti, the Reds launched a counterattack on 22 April. They were desperately trying to break the German lines and march through the town to continue their journey eastward, but managed only to take the Hennala Garrison. In the next morning, the Red artillery started firing on the town. The bombing of German positions lasted for six days. At least 16 Reds were shot by the Germans as a retaliation for firing the military hospital. Some sources claim that even 60 Reds were executed, but this cannot be verified. The Whites, in turn, shot up to 30 Reds before the battle was over.

    No heavy fighting occurred in 25–28 April, but on 28 April the Reds launched another attack against the German lines. The fighting lasted for two days but despite their overwhelming strength, the Reds could not beat the experienced and well-armed German troops. The Germans had only about 800 men in Lahti while the Reds had up to 10,000 armed men from Western Finland and Helsinki region who had come with the refugee column. The problem for the Reds was that there was no order of battle and nobody commanded the force. There were only a couple of organized units, like the Turku Women's Guard and the squad composed of the youth section of the sports club Jyry Helsinki. The Germans in turn, managed in taking the Okeroinen village by the Helsinki railway on 30 April. They were now able to encircle the Red troops of the Hennala Garrison. In the morning of 1 May, the Germans attacked Hennala but the Reds had already fled. At 8:00 a.m., the Reds started surrendering and the Battle of Lahti was over, although there was still minor resistance in the surroundings of the town and five Germans were killed on 2 May.

    As the battle was over, the Germans and Finnish Whites captured about 30,000 Reds in the surroundings of Lahti. The numbers include Red Guards fighters and their family members as well as other Red supporters who had fled from the western and southern parts of the Red Finland. Among the captured was also the group of 4,000–5,000 Red refugees who had only a couple of days earlier fought their way through the German lines in the bloody Battle of Syrjäntaka. Up to 10,000 Reds surrendered in the fields of Vesala in Hollola, 10 kilometres west of Lahti. Led by the military band of the Pori Red Guard, the group marched to Lahti. The band was playing revolutionary anthems like The Internationale and La Marseillaise until the Germans finally took their instruments.

    22,000 captured Reds were gathered to the Fellman camp, a short-lived concentration camp in the fields of the Fellman Manor. The rest of the Reds were placed in factories, schools and other public buildings in Lahti. A prison camp was also established to the Hennala Garrison. The women and children were soon released from the Fellman camp and 13,000 Reds were moved to the Hennala camp. Most of them were men, but among the detainees were also more than 1,000 women and a smaller number of children. According to the past research, all women were released, but recent studies have shown that the Women's Red Guard fighters were systematically executed by the Whites and most likely sexually abused. At least 218 women were shot, the youngest being only 14-year-old girls.[6] The total number of executed Reds was more than 500. The executions were carried out by the Finnish battalion led by the Estonian colonel Hans Kalm. The Germans shot only approximately 20–30 Reds during the Battle of Lahti but did not participate the later executions. In some cases they were even trying to stop the Whites from executing their prisoners.The Germans usually robbed the killed as well as the captured Reds of their personal possessions. This was verified in the war diaries of the German officer Hans Tröbst, released as the sixth part of the 2015 book Der Krieg im Westen.

    The Hennala Camp was active until the end of September 1918. Nearly 1,200 of the 13,000 prisoners died of executions, disease or malnutrition.

    Trenches and potholes are still visible in the Salpausselkä hills. They are preserved by the Finnish National Board of Antiquities because of the historical significance. Some of the trenches were accidentally destroyed in 2015 as new skiing trails were built for the 2017 Nordic World Ski Championships

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    Captain Tunstill's Men:
    During the day the Battalion was relieved by the 8th Royal Warwicks and returned, via Pria dell Acqua to Granezza. However, one officer per company and one NCO per platoon would remain with the incoming unit overnight before returning to Granezza by 9.30 the following morning. Granezza by now had a fully-equipped YMCA in place and was ‘much more lively than previously” .

    The Brigade War Diary reflects the difficulties posed by the weather in recent weeks, “Throughout the latter part of this tour in the line the weather conditions were extremely bad with practically unceasing rain, snow or sleet and extreme cold at nights. This, together with lack of accommodation, bathing facilities and dry clothes told heavily on the men who, however, showed much cheerfulness and endurance throughout”.

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  40. #3190


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    21st April 1918

    When I started this thread back in August '14 there were three dates that I had in mind that I knew would have the biggest impact on me. Armistice Day, 1st July 1916 (thanks Neil for that one) and today. I think in all it was today that would mean the most to me personally. Today we mark the 100th anniversaryof the death of the one figure I would have to say was a boyhood hero of mine. His lifestory was the first non fiction book I ever read at the age of 12, he was the reason I got interested in old planes and all things world war one. He is without any doubt the most famous fighter pilot of all time and probably the single most recognised figure from the entire first world war. Gentlemen (and ladies) today we salute Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, THE RED BARON

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    In addition to all his deeds listed below, for members of this forum and all who now play our game, he is the single most represented pilot when it comes to official miniatures

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    There is also the alternative Fokker Dr.1 found in the Duel pack

    Manfred von Richthofen was born in Kleinburg, near Breslau, Lower Silesia (now part of the city of Wrocław, Poland), on 2 May 1892 into a prominent Prussian aristocratic family. His father was Major Albrecht Philipp Karl Julius Freiherr von Richthofen and his mother was Kunigunde von Schickfuss und Neudorff. He had an elder sister, Ilse, and two younger brothers. (Lothar and Wolfram - both aces in their own right) When he was four years old, Manfred moved with his family to nearby Schweidnitz (now Świdnica, Poland). He enjoyed riding horses and hunting as well as gymnastics at school. He excelled at parallel bars and won a number of awards at school. He and his brothers, Lothar and Bolko, hunted wild boar, elk, birds, and deer. After being educated at home he attended a school at Schweidnitz before beginning military training when he was 11. After completing cadet training in 1911, he joined an Uhlan cavalry unit, the Ulanen-Regiment Kaiser Alexander der III. von Russland (1. Westpreußisches) Nr. 1 ("1st Emperor Alexander III of Russia Uhlan Regiment (1st West Prussian)") and was assigned to the regiment's 3. Eskadron ("No. 3 Squadron").

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    Richthofen Family coat of arms

    When World War I began, Richthofen served as a cavalry reconnaissance officer on both the Eastern and Western Fronts, seeing action in Russia, France, and Belgium; with the advent of trench warfare making traditional cavalry operations outdated and inefficient, Richthofen's regiment was dismounted, serving as dispatch runners and field telephone operators.Disappointed and bored at not being able to directly participate in combat, the last straw for Richthofen was an order to transfer to the army's supply branch. His interest in the Air Service had been aroused by his examination of a German military aircraft behind the lines, and he applied for a transfer to Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches (Imperial German Army Air Service), later to be known as the Luftstreitkräfte. He is supposed to have written in his application for transfer, "I have not gone to war in order to collect cheese and eggs, but for another purpose." In spite of this unmilitary attitude, and to his own surprise, his request was granted. Manfred joined the flying service at the end of May 1915. From June to August 1915, Richthofen served as an observer on reconnaissance missions over the Eastern Front with Feldflieger Abteilung 69 ("No. 69 Flying Squadron"). On being transferred to the Champagne front, he is believed to have shot down an attacking French Farman aircraft with his observer's machine gun in a tense battle over French lines; he was not credited with the kill, since it fell behind Allied lines and therefore could not be confirmed.

    Richthofen had a chance meeting with German ace fighter pilot Oswald Boelcke which led him to enter training as a pilot in October 1915. In February 1916, Manfred "rescued" his brother Lothar from the boredom of training new troops in Luben and encouraged him to transfer to the Fliegertruppe. The following month, Manfred joined Kampfgeschwader 2 ("No. 2 Bomber Squadron") flying a two-seater Albatros C.III. Initially, he appeared to be a below-average pilot. He struggled to control his aircraft, and he crashed during his first flight at the controls. Despite this poor start, he rapidly became attuned to his aircraft. He was over Verdun on 26 April 1916 and fired on a French Nieuport, shooting it down over Fort Douaumont—although he received no official credit. A week later, he decided to ignore more experienced pilots' advice against flying through a thunderstorm. He later noted that he had been "lucky to get through the weather" and vowed never again to fly in such conditions unless ordered to do so. Richthofen met Oswald Boelcke again in August 1916, after another spell flying two-seaters on the Eastern Front. Boelcke was visiting the east in search of candidates for his newly formed Jasta 2, and he selected Richthofen to join this unit, one of the first German fighter squadrons. Boelcke was killed during a midair collision with a friendly aircraft on 28 October 1916, and Richthofen witnessed the event.

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    Richthofen scored his first confirmed aerial victory in the skies over Cambrai, France, on 17 September 1916. His autobiography states, "I honoured the fallen enemy by placing a stone on his beautiful grave." He contacted a jeweller in Berlin and ordered a silver cup engraved with the date and the type of enemy aircraft.[d] He continued to celebrate each of his victories in the same manner until he had 60 cups, by which time the dwindling supply of silver in blockaded Germany meant that silver cups could no longer be supplied. Richthofen discontinued his orders at this stage, rather than accept cups made from base metal. His brother Lothar (40 victories) used risky, aggressive tactics, but Manfred observed a set of maxims known as the "Dicta Boelcke" to assure success for both the squadron and its pilots. He was not a spectacular or aerobatic pilot like his brother or Werner Voss; however, he was a noted tactician and squadron leader and a fine marksman. Typically, he would dive from above to attack with the advantage of the sun behind him, with other pilots of his squadron covering his rear and flanks. On 23 November 1916, Richthofen shot down his most famous adversary, British ace Major Lanoe Hawker VC, described by Richthofen as "the British Boelcke". The victory came while Richthofen was flying an Albatros D.II and Hawker was flying the older DH.2. After a long dogfight, Hawker was shot in the back of the head as he attempted to escape back to his own lines. After this combat, Richthofen was convinced that he needed a fighter aircraft with more agility, even with a loss of speed. He switched to the Albatros D.III in January 1917, scoring two victories before suffering an in-flight crack in the spar of the aircraft's lower wing on 24 January, and he reverted to the Albatros D.II or Halberstadt D.II for the next five weeks.

    Richthofen was flying his Halberstadt on 6 March in combat with F.E.8s of 40 Squadron RFC when his aircraft was shot through the fuel tank, quite possibly by Edwin Benbow, who was credited with a victory from this fight. Richthofen was able to force land without his aircraft catching fire on this occasion. He then scored a victory in the Albatros D.II on 9 March, but his Albatros D.III was grounded for the rest of the month so he switched again to a Halberstadt D.II. He returned to his Albatros D.III on 2 April 1917 and scored 22 victories in it before switching to the Albatros D.V in late June.

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    Richthofen flew the celebrated Fokker Dr.I triplane from late July 1917, the distinctive three-winged aircraft with which he is most commonly associated—although he did not use the type exclusively until after it was reissued with strengthened wings in November. Only 19 of his 80 kills were made in this type of aircraft, despite the popular link between Richthofen and the Fokker Dr. I. It was his Albatros D.III Serial No. 789/16 that was first painted bright red, in late January 1917, and in which he first earned his name and reputation.
    Richthofen championed the development of the Fokker D.VII with suggestions to overcome the deficiencies of the current German fighter aircraft. He never had an opportunity to fly the new type in combat, as he was killed before it entered service. (So thanks to Tim for his 100th victory 'what if' plane that has graced many of our gatherings)

    Richthofen received the Pour le Mérite in January 1917 after his 16th confirmed kill, the highest military honor in Germany at the time and informally known as "The Blue Max." That same month, he assumed command of Jasta 11 which ultimately included some of the elite German pilots, many of whom he trained himself, and several of whom later became leaders of their own squadrons. Ernst Udet belonged to Richthofen's group and later became Generaloberst Udet. When Lothar joined, the German high command appreciated the propaganda value of two Richthofens fighting together to defeat the enemy in the air. Richthofen took the flamboyant step of having his Albatros painted red when he became a squadron commander. His autobiography states, "For whatever reasons, one fine day I came upon the idea of having my crate painted glaring red. The result was that absolutely everyone could not help but notice my red bird. In fact, my opponents also seemed to be not entirely unaware [of it]". Thereafter he usually flew in red-painted aircraft, although not all of them were entirely red, nor was the "red" necessarily the brilliant scarlet beloved of model- and replica-builders.

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    Other members of Jasta 11 soon took to painting parts of their aircraft red. Their official reason seems to have been to make their leader less conspicuous, to avoid having him singled out in a fight. In practice, red coloration became a unit identification. Other units soon adopted their own squadron colors, and decoration of fighters became general throughout the Luftstreitkräfte. The German high command permitted this practice (in spite of obvious drawbacks from the point of view of intelligence), and German propaganda made much of it by referring to Richthofen as Der Rote Kampfflieger—"the Red Fighter Pilot." Richthofen led his new unit to unparalleled success, peaking during "Bloody April" 1917. In that month alone, he shot down 22 British aircraft, including four in a single day, raising his official tally to 52. By June, he had become the commander of the first of the new larger "fighter wing" formations; these were highly mobile, combined tactical units that could move at short notice to different parts of the front as required. Richthofen's new command, Jagdgeschwader 1, was composed of fighter squadrons No. 4, 6, 10, and 11. J.G. 1 became widely known as "The Flying Circus" due to the unit's brightly colored aircraft and its mobility, including the use of tents, trains, and caravans, where appropriate.

    Richthofen was a brilliant tactician, building on Boelcke's tactics. Unlike Boelcke, however, he led by example and force of will rather than by inspiration. He was often described as distant, unemotional, and rather humorless, though some colleagues contended otherwise. He taught his pilots the basic rule which he wanted them to fight by: "Aim for the man and don't miss him. If you are fighting a two-seater, get the observer first; until you have silenced the gun, don't bother about the pilot." Richthofen was now performing the duties of a lieutenant colonel (a wing commander in modern British Air Force terms), although he remained a captain. The system in the British army was for an officer to hold the rank appropriate to his level of command, if only on a temporary basis, even if he had not been formally promoted. In the German army, it was not unusual for a wartime officer to hold a lower rank than his duties implied; German officers were promoted according to a schedule and not by battlefield promotion. For instance, Erwin Rommel commanded an infantry battalion as a captain in 1917 and 1918. It was also the custom for a son not to hold a higher rank than his father, and Richthofen's father was a reserve major.

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    Hospital photo of Von Richthofen

    Richthofen sustained a serious head wound on 6 July 1917, during combat near Wervicq against a formation of F.E.2d two seat fighters of No. 20 Squadron RFC, causing instant disorientation and temporary partial blindness. He regained his vision in time to ease the aircraft out of a spin and execute a forced landing in a field in friendly territory. The injury required multiple operations to remove bone splinters from the impact area. The air victory was credited to Captain Donald Cunnell of No. 20, who was killed by German anti-aircraft fire a few days later on 12 July 1917 near Wervicq, Belgium; his observer Lt. A. G. Bill successfully flew the aircraft back to base. The Red Baron returned to active service against doctor's orders on 25 July, but went on convalescent leave from 5 September to 23 October. His wound is thought to have caused lasting damage; he later often suffered from post-flight nausea and headaches, as well as a change in temperament. There is even a theory linking this injury with his eventual death.

    During his convalescent leave, Richthofen completed an autobiographic sketch, Der rote Kampfflieger (1917). Written on the instructions of the "Press and Intelligence" (propaganda) section of the Luftstreitkräfte, it shows evidence of having been heavily censored and edited. There are, however, passages that are most unlikely to have been inserted by an official editor. "I am in wretched spirits after every aerial combat. I believe that [the war] is not as the people at home imagine it, with a hurrah and a roar; it is very serious, very grim." An English translation by J. Ellis Barker was published in 1918 as The Red Battle Flyer. Although Richthofen died before a revised version could be prepared, he is on record as repudiating the book, stating that it was "too insolent" (or "arrogant") and that he was "no longer that kind of person." By 1918, Richthofen had become such a legend that it was feared that his death would be a blow to the morale of the German people. He refused to accept a ground job after his wound, stating that "every poor fellow in the trenches must do his duty" and that he would therefore continue to fly in combat. Certainly he had become part of a cult of officially encouraged hero-worship. German propaganda circulated various false rumours, including that the British had raised squadrons specially to hunt Richthofen and had offered large rewards and an automatic Victoria Cross to any Allied pilot who shot him down. Passages from his correspondence indicate he may have at least half-believed some of these stories himself.

    Richthofen received a fatal wound just after 11:00 am on 21 April 1918 while flying over Morlancourt Ridge near the Somme River, 49°56′0.60″N 2°32′43.71″E. At the time, he had been pursuing a Sopwith Camel at very low altitude, piloted by novice Canadian pilot Lieutenant Wilfrid "Wop" May of No. 209 Squadron, Royal Air Force.[47] May had just fired on the Red Baron's cousin Lt. Wolfram von Richthofen. On seeing his cousin being attacked, Manfred flew to his rescue and fired on May, causing him to pull away and saving Wolfram's life.[48] Richthofen pursued May across the Somme. The Baron was spotted and briefly attacked by a Camel piloted by May's school friend and flight commander, Canadian Captain Arthur "Roy" Brown. Brown had to dive steeply at very high speed to intervene, and then had to climb steeply to avoid hitting the ground. Richthofen turned to avoid this attack, and then resumed his pursuit of May. It was almost certainly during this final stage in his pursuit of May that a single .303 bullet hit Richthofen, damaging his heart and lungs so severely that it must have caused a quick death. In the last seconds of his life, he managed to retain sufficient control to make a rough landing ( 49°55′56″N 2°32′16″E) in a field on a hill near the Bray-Corbie road, just north of the village of Vaux-sur-Somme, in a sector controlled by the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). There were several witnesses, including Gunner Ernest W. Twycross, Gunner George Ridgway, and Sergeant Ted Smout of the Australian Medical Corps. Each of these men later claimed to have been the first to reach the triplane, and each reported various versions of Richthofen's last words, generally including the word "kaputt".

    His Fokker Dr.I 425/17 was not badly damaged by the landing, but it was soon taken apart by souvenir hunters. In 2009, Richthofen's death certificate was found in the archives in Ostrów Wielkopolski, Poland. He had briefly been stationed in Ostrów before going to war, as it was part of Germany until the end of World War I. The document is a one-page, handwritten form in a 1918 registry book of deaths. It misspells Richthofen's name as "Richthoven" and simply states that he had "died 21 April 1918, from wounds sustained in combat". No. 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps was the nearest Allied air unit and assumed responsibility for the Baron's remains.

    In 2009, Richthofen's death certificate was found in the archives in Ostrów Wielkopolski, Poland. He had briefly been stationed in Ostrów before going to war, as it was part of Germany until the end of World War I. The document is a one-page, handwritten form in a 1918 registry book of deaths. It misspells Richthofen's name as "Richthoven" and simply states that he had "died 21 April 1918, from wounds sustained in combat".

    Who fired the shot that killed Richthofen?

    Controversy and contradictory hypotheses continue to surround the identity of the person who fired the shot that actually killed Richthofen.

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    The RAF credited Brown with shooting down the Red Baron, but it is now generally agreed that the bullet which hit Richthofen was fired from the ground. Richthofen died following an extremely serious and inevitably fatal chest wound from a single bullet, penetrating from the right armpit and resurfacing next to the left nipple. Brown's attack was from behind and above, and from Richthofen's left. Even more conclusively, Richthofen could not have continued his pursuit of May for as long as he did (up to two minutes) had this wound come from Brown's guns. Brown himself never spoke much about what happened that day, claiming, "There is no point in me commenting, as the evidence is already out there."

    Many sources have suggested that Sergeant Cedric Popkin was the person most likely to have killed Richthofen, including a 1998 article by Geoffrey Miller, a physician and historian of military medicine, and a 2002 British Channel 4 documentary. Popkin was an anti-aircraft (AA) machine gunner with the Australian 24th Machine Gun Company, and he was using a Vickers gun. He fired at Richthofen's aircraft on two occasions: first as the Baron was heading straight at his position, and then at long range from the right. Given the nature of Richthofen's wounds, Popkin was in a position to fire the fatal shot when the pilot passed him for a second time, on the right.[50][51] Some confusion has been caused by a letter that Popkin wrote in 1935 to an Australian official historian. It stated Popkin's belief that he had fired the fatal shot as Richthofen flew straight at his position. In this respect, Popkin was incorrect; the bullet which caused the Baron's death came from the side.

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    Officers and NCOs of the 24th Machine Gun Company in March 1918. Sergeant Cedric Popkin is second from the right in the middle row.

    A 2002 Discovery Channel documentary suggests that Gunner W. J. "Snowy" Evans, a Lewis machine gunner with the 53rd Battery, 14th Field Artillery Brigade, Royal Australian Artillery is likely to have killed von Richthofen. Miller and the Channel 4 documentary dismiss this theory because of the angle from which Evans fired at Richthofen. Other sources have suggested that Gunner Robert Buie (also of the 53rd Battery) may have fired the fatal shot. There is little support for this theory. In 2007, a municipality in Sydney recognised Buie as the man who shot down Richthofen, placing a plaque near his former home. Buie died in 1964 and has never been officially recognised in any other way. No. 3 Squadron AFC's commanding officer Major David Blake initially suggested that Richthofen had been killed by the crew of one of his squadron's R.E.8s, which had also fought members of Richthofen's unit that afternoon. This claim was quickly discounted and withdrawn, if only because of the time factor. Following an autopsy that he witnessed, Blake became a strong proponent of the view that an AA machine gunner had killed Richthofen.

    Richthofen was a highly experienced and skilled fighter pilot—fully aware of the risk from ground fire. Further, he concurred with the rules of air fighting created by his late mentor Boelcke, who specifically advised pilots not to take unnecessary risks. In this context, Richthofen's judgement during his last combat was clearly unsound in several respects. Several theories have been proposed to account for his behaviour. In 1999, a German medical researcher, Henning Allmers, published an article in the British medical journal The Lancet, suggesting it was likely that brain damage from the head wound Richthofen suffered in July 1917 (see above) played a part in the Red Baron's death. This was supported by a 2004 paper by researchers at the University of Texas. Richthofen's behaviour after his injury was noted as consistent with brain-injured patients, and such an injury could account for his perceived lack of judgement on his final flight: flying too low over enemy territory and suffering target fixation.

    Richthofen may have been suffering from cumulative combat stress, which made him fail to observe some of his usual precautions. One of the leading British air aces, Major Edward "Mick" Mannock, was killed by ground fire on 26 July 1918 while crossing the lines at low level, an action he had always cautioned his younger pilots against. One of the most popular of the French air aces, Georges Guynemer, went missing on 11 September 1917, probably while attacking a two-seater without realizing several Fokkers were escorting it. There is a suggestion that on the day of Richthofen's death, the prevailing wind was about 40 km/h (25 mph) easterly, rather than the usual 40 km/h (25 mph) westerly. This meant that Richthofen, heading generally westward at an airspeed of about 160 km/h (100 mph), was travelling over the ground at up to 200 km/h (125 mph) rather than the more typical ground speed of 120 km/h (75 mph). This was considerably faster than normal and he could easily have strayed over enemy lines without realizing it. At the time of Richthofen's death, the front was in a highly fluid state, following the initial success of the German offensive of March–April 1918. This was part of Germany's last opportunity to win the war. In the face of Allied air superiority, the German air service was having difficulty acquiring vital reconnaissance information, and could do little to prevent Allied squadrons from completing effective reconnaissance and close support of their armies.

    In common with most Allied air officers, Major Blake, who was responsible for Richthofen's body, regarded the Red Baron with great respect, and he organised a full military funeral, to be conducted by the personnel of No. 3 Squadron AFC. The body was buried in the cemetery at the village of Bertangles, near Amiens, on 22 April 1918. Six of No. 3 Squadron's officers served as pallbearers, and a guard of honour from the squadron's other ranks fired a salute. Allied squadrons stationed nearby presented memorial wreaths, one of which was inscribed with the words, "To Our Gallant and Worthy Foe".

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    A speculation that his opponents organised a flypast at his funeral, giving rise to the missing man formation, is most unlikely and totally unsupported by any contemporary evidence.

    In the early 1920s the French authorities created a military cemetery at Fricourt, in which a large number of German war dead, including Richthofen, were reinterred. In 1925 von Richthofen's youngest brother, Bolko, recovered the body from Fricourt and took it to Germany. The family's intention was for it to be buried in the Schweidnitz cemetery next to the graves of his father and his brother Lothar von Richthofen, who had been killed in a post-war air crash in 1922. The German Government requested that the body should instead be interred at the Invalidenfriedhof Cemetery in Berlin, where many German military heroes and past leaders were buried, and the family agreed. Richthofen's body received a state funeral. Later the Third Reich held a further grandiose memorial ceremony at the site of the grave, erecting a massive new tombstone with the single word: Richthofen. During the Cold War, the Invalidenfriedhof was on the boundary of the Soviet zone in Berlin, and the tombstone became damaged by bullets fired at attempted escapees from East Germany. In 1975 the body was moved to a Richthofen family grave plot at the Südfriedhof in Wiesbaden.

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    Other news...

    There were a high number of claims on this day

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    17 British airmen were also lost on this day

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    Western Front
    Britain: Casualties on Somme and in Flanders since March 21 total nearly 250,000 soldiers.

    Sea War
    Western Mediterranean: Royal Navy ML413 depth charges and sinks Cattaro-bound coastal-subamrine UB-71 off Ceuta.
    Last edited by Hedeby; 04-21-2018 at 13:16.

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  41. #3191


    Probably worth saluting Captain Roy Brown and the Aussie gunners on the ground too. They seem to get overlooked on this auspicious anniversary.

  42. #3192


    I also found this tidbit wrt Manfred von Richthofen:
    Footage of Australian soldiers breaking apart the Red Baron’s crashed triplane:

  43. #3193


    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    Probably worth saluting Captain Roy Brown and the Aussie gunners on the ground too. They seem to get overlooked on this auspicious anniversary.
    Good point Dave

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  44. #3194


    I don't always get the time to read your excellent articles, but made a point of reading today's (and the previous couple)
    Well done, Chris.
    A fitting salute indeed.

  45. #3195


    Here is a photograph taken from our TV by Mrs K.
    The aircraft is reputed to be that of the Red Baron, taken the day after the crash?

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    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  46. #3196


    Excellent post, Chris!

    One remark, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedeby View Post

    Attachment 244936
    Hospital photo of Von Richthofen

    Richthofen sustained a serious head wound on 6 July 1917, during combat near Wervicq against a formation of F.E.2d two seat fighters of No. 20 Squadron RFC, causing instant disorientation and temporary partial blindness. He regained his vision in time to ease the aircraft out of a spin and execute a forced landing in a field in friendly territory. The injury required multiple operations to remove bone splinters from the impact area. The air victory was credited to Captain Donald Cunnell of No. 20, who was killed by German anti-aircraft fire a few days later on 12 July 1917 near Wervicq, Belgium; his observer Lt. A. G. Bill successfully flew the aircraft back to base. The Red Baron returned to active service against doctor's orders on 25 July, but went on convalescent leave from 5 September to 23 October. His wound is thought to have caused lasting damage; he later often suffered from post-flight nausea and headaches, as well as a change in temperament. There is even a theory linking this injury with his eventual death.
    This is indeed a hospital photo of Von Richthofen. However, this is Lothar. It can be found, e.g. on p. 66 of Osprey Aviation Elite Units 16, 'Richthofen's Circus', Jagdgeschwader Nr. 1, by Greg van Wyngarden, Oxford 2004. The caption:

    "Hardly the image of the devil-may-care fighter pilot, Lothar von Richthofen simply looks like a young man in a good deal of pain in this photograph, taken during his convalescence from injuries sustained on 13 March 1918. His broken jaw is wired and his nose was broken as well. Note the injury to the right eye, which would continue to trouble him during his return to combat flying in the summer."

    Manfred can be seen in this photograph, next to nurse Käthe Ottersdorf, who took care of him in a hospital in Kortrijk (Courtray), Belgium. He suffered from a glancing bullet to the head, hence just the head bandage.

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  47. #3197


    Good spot well done that man,subsequently amended
    Last edited by Hedeby; 04-21-2018 at 13:14.

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  48. #3198


    Quote Originally Posted by Niek_vD View Post
    Excellent post, Chris!

    One remark, though.

    This is indeed a hospital photo of Von Richthofen. However, this is Lothar. It can be found, e.g. on p. 66 of Osprey Aviation Elite Units 16, 'Richthofen's Circus', Jagdgeschwader Nr. 1, by Greg van Wyngarden, Oxford 2004. The caption:

    "Hardly the image of the devil-may-care fighter pilot, Lothar von Richthofen simply looks like a young man in a good deal of pain in this photograph, taken during his convalescence from injuries sustained on 13 March 1918. His broken jaw is wired and his nose was broken as well. Note the injury to the right eye, which would continue to trouble him during his return to combat flying in the summer."

    Manfred can be seen in this photograph, next to nurse Käthe Ottersdorf, who took care of him in a hospital in Kortrijk (Courtray), Belgium. He suffered from a glancing bullet to the head, hence just the head bandage.

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    Many thanks from the editor's office

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  49. #3199

    Default do you follow that one! Great report as always Chris. Along with Biggles, Richthofen got me into air combat games way back when I could still remember.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  50. #3200


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    Monday 22nd April 1918
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    Armistice Countdown 203 days

    A nice gentle ease back into the saddle with the raid on Zeebrugge with no less than eight VC’s awarded.

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    Major Edward Bamford VC, DSO (28 May 1887 – 30 September 1928) was born on 28 May 1887 to the Rev. Robert Bamford, Chaplain to the Yeatman Hospital in Sherborne.
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    Edward Bamford was also awarded the DSO for his gallantry aboard HMS Chester at the Battle of Jutland, the ship that also was the scene for the actions of Boy 1st Class John Cornwell who, posthumously, became a recipient of the VC at the age of sixteen.

    In September 1905, Edward joined the Royal Marine Light INfantry and served at various times in H.M.S. Bulwark, Magnificent, Britannia, Chester, Royal Sovereign, and Highflyer
    Bamford was 30 years old, and a captain in the RMLI when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    Captain Edward Bamford's Victoria Cross citation was published in the London Gazette, 23 July 1918:
    For conspicuous gallantry at Zeebrugge. April 1918. This officer landed on the Mole from "Vindictive" with Nos. 5, 7 & 8 platoons of the Marine Storming Force in the face of great difficulties. When on the Mole under heavy fire, he displayed the greatest initiative in the command of his company, and by his total disregard of danger, showed a magnificent example to his men. He first established a strong point on the right of the disembarkation, and when that was safe, led an assault on a battery to the left with the utmost coolness and valour. Captain Bamford was selected by the officers of the R.M.A & R.M.L.I detachments to receive the Victoria Cross under Rule 13 of the Royal Warrant, dated 26 January 1856.

    As with several WW1 actions where so many officers and ranks distinguished themselves, such as "The Six VCs Before Breakfast" won by thE Lancashire Fusiliers at Gallipoli, the Royal Marines Zeebrugge VCs were awarded by ballot, whereby those involved in the action voted for whom they deemed to merit the award. He later achieved the rank of Major.

    Bamford died of pneumonia on 30 September 1928 aboard the HMS Cumberland en route to Hong Kong, where he held the appointment of Instructor of Small Arms and Musketry Officer at Hong Kong. He was buried in the Bubbling Well Road Cemetery in Shanghai. A 1930s photograph in the RM Museum shows a picture of his grave and headstone. All remaining cemeteries containing "foreigners" were destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. Bubbling Well Road Cemetery is now Jing'an Park.

    Apart from the Victoria Cross and Distinguished Service Order, Bamford also received the Russian Order of St. Anna, 3rd Class with Swords on 5 June 1917, French Legion od Honour on 23 May 1919, Japanese Order of the Rising Sun 4th Class in August 1921, 1914/15 Star (MID), British War Medal and Victory Medal.

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    Lieutenant Commander George Nicholson Bradford VC (23 April 1887 – 23 April 1918) was born on 23 April 1887 to George Bradford. He had three brothers, Thomas Andrews, James Barker and Roland Boys. His brother was also awarded the VC, making them the only brothers to be awarded the VC during World War I.
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    He was 30 years old, and a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 22/23 April 1918 at Zeebrugge, Belgium, when commanding the naval storming parties embarked in HMS Iris II. He died on 23 April 1918, his 31st birthday, committing the act for which he was awarded the cross.
    Two of his brothers, Brigadier-General Roland Boys Bradford VC, MC, and Second Lieutenant James Barker Bradford MC, died in service.

    For most conspicuous gallantry at Zeebrugge on the night of the 22nd-23rd April, 1918. This Officer was in command of the Naval Storming Parties embarked in Iris II. When Iris II proceeded alongside the Mole great difficulty was experienced in placing the parapet anchors owing to the motion of the ship. An attempt was made to land by the scaling ladders before the ship was secured. Lieutenant Claude E. K. Hawkings (late Erin) managed to get one ladder in position and actually reached the parapet, the ladder being crushed to pieces just as he stepped off it. This very gallant young officer was last seen defending himself with his revolver. He was killed on the parapet. Though securing the ship was not part of his duties, Lieut.-Commander Bradford climbed up the derrick, which carried a large parapet anchor and was rigged out over the port side; during this climb the ship was surging up and down and the derrick crashing on the Mole. Waiting his opportunity he jumped with the parapet anchor on to the Mole and placed it in position. Immediately after hooking on the parapet anchor Lieut.-Commander Bradford was riddled with bullets from machine guns and fell into the sea between the Mole and the ship. Attempts to recover his body failed. Lieut.-Commander Bradford's action was one of absolute self-sacrifice; without a moment's hesitation he went to certain death, recognising that in such action lay the only possible chance of securing Iris II and enabling her storming parties to land.
    — The London Gazette, No. 31236, 14 March 1919

    His VC is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London.

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    Vice-Admiral Alfred Francis Blakeney Carpenter, VC (17 September 1881 – 27 December 1955) was a Royal Navy officer who was selected by his fellow officers and men to receive the Victoria Cross
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    On 22/23 April 1918, Captain Carpenter was in command of HMS Vindictive which was to land a force of 200 Royal Marines on the mole at Zeebrugge at the start of the Zeebrugge Raid. For his conduct during this action he was awarded the VC:

    For most conspicuous gallantry.
    This officer was in command of "Vindictive." He set a magnificent example to all those under his command by his calm composure when navigating mined waters, bringing his ship alongside the mole in darkness. When "Vindictive" was within a few yards of the mole the enemy started and maintained a heavy fire from batteries, machine guns and rifles on to the bridge. He showed most conspicuous bravery, and did much to encourage similar behaviour on the part of the crew, supervising the landing from the "Vindictive" on to the mole, and walking round the decks directing operations and encouraging the men in the most dangerous and exposed positions. By his encouragement to those under him, his power of command and personal bearing, he undoubtedly contributed greatly to the success of the operation. Capt. Carpenter was selected by the officers of the "Vindictive," "Iris II.," and "Daffodil," and of the naval assaulting force to receive the Victoria Cross under Rule 13 of the Royal Warrant, dated the 29th January, 1856.
    (Rule 13 of the Royal Warrant provides that after an action in which all are equally brave and distinguished, where no special selection can be made, the officer in overall command may direct that one officer may be selected for the award by the officers and men who took part in the action.)

    Carpenter was also made an Officer of the Legion of Honour and awarded the Croix de Guerre with palm. He was sent on a lecturing tour through the USA and Canada, 1918–19.

    His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Imperial War Museum, London, England.

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    Lieutenant-Commander Percy Thompson Dean VC (20 July 1877 – 20 March 1939) was 40 years old and a lietenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
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    Group of Naval VC winners with the King. Percy Dean on left

    On 22 and 23 April 1918 at Zeebrugge, Belgium, after Intrepid and Iphigenia had been scuttled, their crews were taken off by Motor Launch 282 commanded by Lieutenant Dean. He embarked more than 100 officers and men under constant and deadly fire from heavy and machine-guns at point blank range. This complete, he was about to clear the canal when the steering gear broke down, so he manoeuvred on his engines and was actually clear of the entrance to the harbour when he was told there was an officer in the water. He immediately turned back and rescued him.

    He later achieved the rank of Lieutenant-Commander.

    His VC is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London.

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    Norman Augustus Finch VC, MSM, (26 December 1890 – 15 March 1966) was born 26 December 1890 in Birmingham. He enlisted in the Royal Marines in January 1908 and received basic training at Eastney. For the next four years he served on various ships and shore stations.
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    Finch was 27 years old, and a sergeant in the Royal Marine Artillery, when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    On 22/23 April 1918 at Zeebrugge, Belgium, Sergeant Finch was second in command of the pom-poms and Lewis gun in the foretop of HMS Vindictive. At one period Vindictive was being hit every few seconds, but Sergeant Finch and the officer in command kept up a continuous fire, until two heavy shells made direct hits on the foretop killing or disabling everyone except Sergeant Finch who was, however, severely wounded. Nevertheless, he remained in his battered and exposed position, harassing the enemy on the Mole until the foretop received another direct hit, putting the remainder of the armament completely out of action. His award was by virtue of ballot.
    His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Marines Museum, Southsea.

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    Lieutenant-Commander Arthur Leyland Harrison, VC (3 February 1886 – 23 April 1918) was born in Torquay, Devon. He is the only England rugby international to have been awarded the VC.
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    He served aboard HMS Lion for most of the war, seeing action at Heligoland Bight and Dogger Bank. He also saw action at the Battle of Jutland, and was mentioned in despatches.

    Harrison was 32 years old, and a Lieutenant-Commander when the following deed took place at the Zeebrugge Raid for which he was awarded the VC:

    For most conspicuous gallantry at Zeebrugge on the night of the 22nd-23rd April, 1918. This officer was in immediate command of the Naval Storming Parties embarked in 'Vindictive'. Immediately before coming alongside the Mole Lieut.-Commander Harrison was struck on the head by a fragment of a shell which broke his jaw and knocked him senseless. Recovering consciousness he proceeded on to the Mole and took over command of his party, who were attacking the seaward end of the Mole. The silencing of the guns on the Mole head was of the first importance, and though in a position fully exposed to the enemy's machine-gun fire Lieut.-Commander Harrison gathered his men together and led them to the attack. He was killed at the head of his men, all of whom were either killed or wounded. Lieut.-Commander Harrison, though already severely wounded and undoubtedly in great pain, displayed indomitable resolution and courage of the highest order in pressing his attack, knowing as he did that any delay in silencing the guns might jeopardise the main object of the expedition, i.e., the blocking of the Zeebrugge-Bruges Canal.

    His body was never recovered. He, along with three others who were missing in action on the Zeebrugge raid, are commemorated on the Zeebrugge Memorial, at the Zeebrugge Churchyard. He is also commemorated by a brass plaque, mounted in the Warrior Chapel at st Mary's Wimbledon.

    His mother Adelaide Ellen Harrison, who lived in Wimbledon, London, received the VC and in 1967 relatives donated it to the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, Devon, where it is on public display.

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    Albert Edward McKenzie VC (23 October 1898 – 3 November 1918) was a 19-year-old able seaman in the Royal Navy who was taking part in the Zeebrugge RAid when he performed the deed for which he was awarded the VC.
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    HMS Vindictive's damaged superstructure following the Zeebrugge Raid

    On 22/23 April 1918, Able Seaman McKenzie was a member of a storming party on the night of the operation. He landed with his machine-gun in the face of great difficulties, advancing down the Mole with his commanding officer (Arthur Leyland Harrison) who with most of his party was killed. The seaman accounted for several of the enemy running for shelter to a destroyer alongside the Mole, and was severely wounded whilst working his gun in an exposed position

    He was presented with his VC at Buckingham Palace, and after almost recovering from his wounds he died of influenza during the world flu pandemic in October 1918.

    A statue in honour of Albert McKenzie VC was unveiled on 23 October, (the 117th anniversary of his birth), at the junction of Tower Bridge Road, Decima Street and Bermondsey Street in the London Borough of Southwark.

    His Victoria Cross is still owned by the McKenzie family and is on loan to the Imperial War Museum in London.

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    Richard Douglas Sandford VC (11 May 1891 – 23 November 1918) was a son of the Venerable Ernest Grey Sandford, Archdeacon of Exeter; his great-grandfather was Daniel Sandford, the Bishop of Edinburgh.
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    At 26 years old, he was a Lieutenant commanding a submarine, HMS C3 in the Royal Navy during when he took part in the Zeebrugge Raid and won the Victoria Cross.

    The citation read:
    On 22/23 April 1918 at Zeebrugge, Belgium, Lieutenant Sandford commanding HM Submarine C.3, skilfully placed the vessel between the piles of the viaduct which connected the Mole with the shore, before laying his fuse and abandoning her. He disdained to use the gyro steering which would have enabled him and his crew to abandon the submarine at a safe distance, but preferred to make sure that his mission would be successful.

    Sandford died of typhoid fever at Eston Hospital, North Yorkshire, 12 days after the signing of the Armistice, and the day after his last command, HMS G11, had been wrecked on rocks off Howick, Northumberland; his Victoria Cross is displayed at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.

    Today we lost: 1,001

    Today’s losses include:
    · An Albert Medal winner
    · A battalion commander
    · Multiple sons of members of the clergy
    · The son-in-law of a member of the clergy
    · Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
    · A family that will lose four sons in the Great War
    · An Australian Rugby footballer
    · The former Captain of cricket, football and hockey teams at Queen’s College Cambridge

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    · Lieutenant Colonel Francis Arthur William Armitage (West Yorkshire Regiment commanding 1st Hampshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 34. He is the son in law of the Reverend C R Day CMG Assistant Chaplain General of the BEF.
    · Major Frank Northey Harston MC (East Lancashire Regiment) is killed in action at age 27. He is the son of HM Inspector of Factories.
    · Captain George Gordon Miln (Cheshire Regiment) is killed in action. His brother will be killed next month.
    · Captain John Eric Trevor-Jones MC (Rifle Brigade) is killed in action at age 20. His older brother was killed in action on the first day of the battle of the Somme.
    · Captain Jervoise Purefoy Causton (Hampshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 24. He is the son of the Reverend Canon Francis Jervoise Causton Master of St Goss.
    · Captain Clarence Wallach MC (Australian Infantry) is killed in action at age 28. He was an Australian Rugby football player and his brother was killed in May 1916.
    · Captain Gerald Atkinson Magr (Royal Air Force) is killed over Moreuil Wood at age 21. His brother will be killed in two days in air combat over England.
    · Lieutenant Herbert Cyril Ramsay (Northamptonshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 27. He is the son of the Reverend W B Ramsay.
    · Lieutenant Lestock Handley Adams (Rifle Brigade) is killed in action at Pacant Wood at age 30. He is the son of the Reverend Henry Frederick Spencer Adams Vicar of Holy Trinity Redhall and had captained the cricket, football and hockey teams at Queen’s College, Cambridge.
    · Second Lieutenant Sidney Emlyn Jenkins Welsh Fusiliers) is killed at age 23. He is the son of the Reverend Rhys Jenkins.
    · Second Lieutenant Lewis Laugharne Morgan MC (Royal Air Force) is accidentally killed as an instructor in England at age 24. He lost a leg in 1917 and rejoined in March 1918. His cousin was killed in Palestine last month.
    · Second Lieutenant Ernest Cecil Watson Deacon (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry attached Royal Air Force) is killed in action at age 19. He is the son of the Reverend Ernest Deacon.
    · Private Benjamin George Hambling (Welsh Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 22. His brother was killed one month ago. · Private John William Wilton (Tank Corps) dies of wounds received in action at age 19. His brother died on service in July 1917.
    · Private Francis Barnett Barlow (Durham Light Infantry) dies of wounds at age 20 eighteen days after the death of his second brother in action. A fourth brother will die of a result of his war service in 1919.

    Air Operations:

    Royal Flying Corps casualties today:


    Royal Flying Corps Losses today:

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    Claims: 36 confirmed (Entente 31 : Central Powers 5)
    (apologies a double entry at the end!)

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    Western Front:

    Local fighting to British advantage in Albert, Robecq and Wytschaete sectors.

    Near Villers Brettoneux and on Ancre river, enemy concentrations are dispersed.

    Austrian troops reported to be arriving in Belgium.

    Eastern Front:

    United Diets of Baltic Provinces request German Government to form them into a monarchy under King of Prussia.

    Southern Front:

    Tunstills Men Monday 22nd April 1918:

    Billets at San Fortunato, Fara.

    At 10.25am the Battalion began a march to take them a further six miles south-west via Leva to Stecchini, between Dueville and Villaverla, where they would be accommodated overnight in tents and bivouacs, with Battalion HQ close by at Novoledo.

    Cpl. Joseph Haywood (see 10th April) was reported by Sgt. James Robinson (see 11th March) as “absent from tattoo at 9.30pm until reporting himself at 11.50pm”; on the orders of Lt.Col. Francis Washington Lethbridge DSO (see 15th April) he would be deprived of his Lance Corporal’s stripe and revert to Private.

    Pte. Harold Richard Denny (see 29th October 1917) was admitted via 69th Field Ambulance to 23rd Division Rest Station, suffering from impetigo; he would be discharged to duty and re-join the Battalion after three days.

    Pte. Joseph McDermott (see 9th April) was discharged from the Convalescent Depot at Lido d’Albano and posted to the Base Depot at Arquata Scrivia.

    Pte. Herbert Smith MM (11837) (see 16th August 1917), who had been transferred from 10DWR to 69th Brigade Pigeon Station, was reported for “drunkenness on active service”; he would be deprived of seven days’ pay.

    A payment of £5 5s. 11d. was authorised, being the amount due in pay and allowances to the late Pte. Harry Jackson (10796) (see 17th October 1917), who had been killed in action on 17th October 1917. Although he had served under the name ‘Harry Jackson’, his real name had in fact been Morris Kayles and the payment would go to his father, Israel Kayles.

    The Infantry Records Office replied to the recent letter from the family of L.Sgt. Fred Light Pashley (see 16th April), acknowledging the letter and informing them that they would need to contact the Ministry of Pensions.

    The London Gazette published notice of the award of the Military Cross to 2Lt. Albert Joseph Acarnley (see 24th March). The citation stated: “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When he was in command of a patrol reconnoitring on the farther side of the river his position was discovered, but, owing to his good leadership and initiative, he succeeded in withdrawing his patrol without loss. His patrol work has at all times been most conspicuous, and during numerous difficult crossings of the river he has displayed great courage and skill”.

    Asiatic, African, Egyptian Front:

    India Office announces unconditional surrender of Khotran Tribe.

    Transcaucasian Council decides to declare independence and reopens negotiations with the Turks.

    Naval Operations:

    Brilliant Naval Raid on Zeebrugge and Ostend, night of 22-23 April; Zeebrugge entrance blocked by sinking ships. (More on this tomorrow as the main action was on the 23rd.).

    Block-ships also sunk in Ostend Harbour.

    Destroyer action in Adriatic.

    The steamship SS Luis is struck by a torpedo in the stokehold three and a half miles south east from St Catherine’s. The engine room becomes full of escaping steam and the second engineer Robert Coulson and the fourth engineer are seriously scalded. Instead of making for safety Mr. Coulson in spite of his injuries carries the fourth engineer, who is in a helpless condition, up the engine room ladders to the top platform, out of immediate danger of steam and the inrush of water and he then collapses exhausted. The chief engineer who had run to the engine room from the bridge assists both men out of the engine room and with help manages to get them into a life boat. The ship will sink and after being landed both injured engineers are taken to a hospital where they will succumb to their injuries, Mr. Coulson in ten days. For his actions Mr. Coulson will be posthumously awarded the Albert Medal.

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    Severe tension reported between Holland and Germany.

    Germany: "Das neue Europa" publishes estimate of German losses up to 31 July 1917 as exceeding 5,000,000.

    Mr. Bonar Law introduces the Budget.

    Baron Goto appointed Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs (see 21st, and September 28th).

    Anniversary Events:

    296 St. Gaius ends his reign as Catholic Pope.
    536 St. Agapitus I ends his reign as Catholic Pope.
    1500 Pedro Alvarez Cabral discovers Brazil.
    1509 Henry VIII ascends to the throne of England upon the death of his father, Henry VII.
    1529 Spain and Portugal divide the eastern hemisphere in the Treaty of Saragossa.
    1745 The Peace of Fussen is signed.
    1792 President George Washington proclaims American neutrality in the war in Europe.
    1861 Robert E. Lee is named commander of Virginia forces.
    1889 The Oklahoma land rush officially starts at noon as thousands of Americans race for new, unclaimed land.
    1898 In the first action of the Spanish-American War, the USS Nashville, takes on a Spanish ship.
    1915 At the Second Battle of Ypres, the Germans use poison gas for the first time.
    1918 British naval forces attempt to sink block-ships in the German U-boat bases at the Battle of Zeebrugge.
    Last edited by Skafloc; Yesterday at 02:03.
    See you on the Dark Side......

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