Further information on some of the persons in the diary of John Robert Wilson
(and some other stuff)
Denning, C. ff. Lieutenant,
awarded the M.C. on February 2nd 1917.
Re 19th Feb. The first enemy machine shot down by 47 Sqn fell to Lt Denning. Whilst on patrol on a B.E. 12 he came across a German Albatross, in the ensuing fight Denning brought down the enemy aircraft but very little damage was done to it, a few bullets through the fuselage, the base of the right hand rear inner strut had been shot away and the aileron control damaged. When Denning landed beside the German machine the crew had already set fire to the aircraft but Denning rushed over and put out the fire, the Albatross was later dismantled and taken back to Janes.
Mather, Lieutenant, Observer.
Croil, Captain, Pilot
Ackroyd, J.B. 2/Lieutenant, Pilot.
Dickson, J.C.O. Captain, Pilot, Commander of "C" flight from winter 1917. He was awarded the DFC in the Birthday Honours list in June 1918.
Brufton, Howard Charles.
Lieutenant, Pilot. From Wanstead, London, died 8th July 1917.
From a report by the Officer Commanding No 25 Anti-Aircraft Section at Bekerli :- "At 19.30 hours a De Havilland engaged a Halberstadt over Krastali. The De Havilland pilot dived three times to the attack, and on the third occasion he dived very deeply and to great depth. After righting himself he proceeded in the direction of Janes. The Halberstadt took a northerly direction, apparently in great trouble."
When Lt Brufton`s machine was over the airfield at Janes it was seen to suddenly break up in the air. He fell about 3,000 feet and landed about 100 yards from his aircraft. He was buried in the cemetery near the aerodrome.
Sutherland, A.L. Lieutenant, Pilot.
Wilkinson, Eric Russell,
Lieutenant, Pilot, awarded the M.C. in the birthday honours list
June 1917. He came from Paddington, London.
At the end of February 1917 Lt Wilkinson was involved in an unusual accident. The pilots of 47 Sqn used any spare time practicing. One day 2/Lt J.L. Bamford of 17 Sqn, on a B.E.12, was returning from a patrol when he engaged Lt Wilkinson, on a D.H.2, in a mock fight over the aerodrome of Hadzi-Junas. In the course of this fight Bamford dived below Wilkinson and collided with the undercarriage of his machine, the tail plane and the rudder of the B.E.12 were swept away, and the machine began to fall out of control. At about 5,000 feet the airplane turned over on its back and remained that way until it hit the ground with one wing. Bamford received nothing more than concussion, and after being torpedoed whilst on his way to Egypt to recuperate, he was back flying again within a month. Unfortunately he was killed in action a few months later. Wilkinson landed safely but the aircraft folded like a pack of cards when it hit the ground.
On October 6th 1917 whilst returning from a bombing raid Wilkinson engaged enemy Infantry with machine gun fire, but his aircraft was hit in the engine and he was forced to land but he was shot in the abdomen and died the following day. He was 23 years old.
He is buried in Sarigol Military Cemetary, Kriston, Greece.
Stopher, A C.. 2/Lieutenant, Pilot, POW 12 th February 1917.
Dawes, G.W.P. Lt/Colonel.
Commander of 16 Wing RFC until June 19th 1918.
On 25th March 1917 Colonel Dawes set out to visit the wing commander at Mudros. When over the Athos peninsula his engine gave out and he was forced to land near Riha Bay, a desolate and uninhabited area. The following morning a machine was sent out search for him, but owing to fog the search was abandoned. Later in the day another search was mounted and this time Captain Hudson located his machine and as he flew low over it he saw four Greeks pointing in a north-westerly direction. It was assumed that the Colonel had gone across the peninsula to Toronis Bay. The navy were informed and a destroyer went to search, bringing him back the next day.
Pilkington, Lieutenant. Pilot.
Stowell, L.H. 2/Lieutenant.
On April 12th 1917 2/Lt Stowell with Lt J.J. Boyd Harvey were on a photographic recon and when over Stojakovo were hit by anti-aircraft fire, the rudder control was severed and the elevator controls almost severed. The machine plunged from 8,000 feet to 3,000 feet before control was resumed with the pilot operating the lateral aileron control and the observer pulling the tail skid wire.
Woodford, D.F. Lieutenant. 47 Sqn Adjutant
Leaver, H.C. Lieutenant. Observer.
Wynne-Eaton, R.M. Captain. Pilot.
Awarded the M.C. in the new years honours list, January 1917 and
Mentioned in Dispatches, November 28th 1917.
On 5th July 1917, whilst still a Lieutenant, Wynne-Eaton was on patrol when he came across four enemy aircraft 200 feet below him, he singled out the Albatross which was spotting for the enemy artillery and attacked. The Albatross dived steeply emitting smoke and apparently crashed. After downing the Albatross he climbed to attack the other three German aircraft but they were loth to linger and headed back to their base at Hudova.
On 30th November after a long and indecisive fight with an enemy aircraft, he and his observer, 2Lt W.D. Robertson were both wounded but managed to land safely.
Buckingham, R.E. 2/Lieutenant.
Awarded French Croix de Guerre March 31st 1917 and the M.C. in the Birthday honours, June 1917.
Dale, C.B.M. Lieutenant. Originally an Observer then a Pilot.
Murlis-Green, G.W. Captain.
Pilot. 17 Sqn RFC.
On 18th March 1917 he drove down one enemy machine which went down out of control and completely destroyed another.
On 14 Jan 1917 Capt G W Murlis-Green & Lt F G Saunders of
17 Sqn, RFC, flying BE12 aircraft, intercepted an Albatros two seater (a C.VII?)
and forced it to land at the squadron's Lahana airfield (or possibly near Lake
Doiran then to Lahana?), Salonika. After the war the Albatros was shipped to New Zealand as a war trophy. Sadly, towards the end of WWII or shortly thereafter the machine was burned and the remains buried at or near today's Christchurch International Airport.
A New Zealand press report of 1919, advising that the Albatros was en route to New Zealand, went on to describe the circumstances of its capture thus:
"A German Albatross C.I aeroplane...from Egypt has an interesting history. It was chased down by Captain Green on a B.E.12 machine, near Lake Doiran, Salonika. The pilot was a Hun n.c.o., and the passenger a Prince, supposed to be the nephew of the Kaiser. Out-manoeuvred in the air, the Prince surrendered, and ordered the pilot to land. Both were taken prisoners, and Captain Green flew the machine direct to Salonika and handed it over. It was shipped to Alexandria, and sent to Abukir, where it was rebuilt, and flown by Major Millar and Major Peck. On one of the machine's flights the engine stopped, and it was not flown again.
The 'plane was exhibited at Cairo, and at the Alexandria War Museum. This interesting trophy will come to the National War Museum [if it did it did not remain there]."
Bell, W.D.M. Captain. Flight
commander "A" flight in July 1917. Pilot.
Awarded a bar to his M.C. on March 2nd 1917.
He was well known in British East Africa as a big game hunter.
Farrow, W.H. 2/Lieutenant. Pilot.
1st January 1917, Lt Farrow dived on an enemy machine at 10,000 feet, when the German turned suddenly and headed straight for him and with just a second to spare the German dived away but the right wheel of Farrows undercarriage struck the wing tip of the enemy's top plane, which crumpled. Farrows engine then started to cut out and he headed for Snevce, two other enemy machines were engaged at long distance, but kept clear, he was then subjected to violent anti-aircraft fire over Furka but managed to land safely at Snevce.
On April 5th he was badly wounded in combat after bringing down an Albatross, near Bogdanci. He made a good landing at Snevce considering he was only semi-conscious.
Bamford, J.L. 2/Lieutenant.
Pilot. 17 Sqn RFC.
Died in combat on 20th August 1917 during a raid on Prilep.
Gibson, H.J. Lieutenant. Pilot.
Mentioned in Despatches November 28th 1917.
Brooks, F.C. 2/Lieutenant.
Was observer with Farrow at the incident when he struck an enemy machine.
Howes, E. McM. Lieutenant. Sqn
He was wounded during the enemy raid on Janes, 26th February 1916.
Thomas, Frank William Henry.
He came from Dryden, Plumtree, Southern Rhodesia, but was born at Zeerust, Transvaal. He was a big game hunter by profession.
Awarded the French Croix de Guerre on August 22nd, and the M.C. on September 2nd 1917.
In April 1917 whilst on patrol he came across 4 enemy machines, he immediately attacked and shot one down.
In the combat in which 2/Lt Bamford was killed, Thomas was wounded in the back early on in the fight and his observer, Lt H.A. Jones, was wounded in the stomach, in the course of further fighting Jones was shot in the mouth and his left hand hit by an explosive bullet. Lt Thomas fainted twice from lack of blood. After falling several thousand feet, encouraged by Jones, he managed to get control of the aircraft at 200 feet and make a good landing, he sadly died of his wounds some 4 months later, he is buried in Brookwood Cemetry, London.
Some notes on 47 Sqn RFC.
47 Squadron RFC was formed at Beverly, Yorkshire in May 1916
under Major F.G. Small; it had a "Zep straffing"
detachment at Doncaster and later at Coal Aston, Sheffield. At
this time it was a training Sqn, but in August 1916 it was
mobilised as a service unit. The squadron left for Devonport on
the 5th of September, embarking the following day on board the
transport ship "Menominee". Major C.C. Wigram was in
command of the squadron and the flight commanders were:- Major
M.A. Black, "A" flight, Captain J.W. Gordon,
"B" flight, and Captain A. Goodfellow, "C"
flight; Lieutenant D.F.Woodford was Adjutant. On board the ship
were 60 officers and 2,000 men, also on board were 600 horses and
mules. The Menominee arrived in Gibraltar on Sunday 10th
September and left again at 9.30 on the Tuesday 12th and arrived
at its destination, Salonika, Greece, in the afternoon of Tuesday
19th September 1916.
On the 20th "A" flight moved to Janes, followed by "B" flight and Headquarters on the 27th. Also on the 27th "C" flight moved to Kukus.
Hostilities ceased with Bulgaria on Monday 30th September 1918. 47 Sqn were moved into South Russia in June 1919 to assist the Russian Volunteer Army in their fight against the Bolsheviks. 47 were in Russia from June to October 1919. After September 1919 the unit in Russia was no longer known as 47 Squadron, they were ordered to leave, but many members stayed on in Russia to fight with the Russian Volunteer Army.
Some facts and figures about 47 Squadron.
|Enemy aircraft destroyed||9|
|Enemy aircraft captured||1|
|Enemy aircraft driven down out of control||8|
|Weight of bombs dropped||54 tons 2 1/2 cwt.|
|Machines lost over lines||10|
|Local recons carried out||360|
|Army recons carried out||135|
|Photographic recons carried out||773|
Some of this information is from a book called: - Over the Balkans and South Russia 1917 - 1919, The history of No 47 Squadron Royal Air Force. Written by H.A. Jones. Published by Greenhill Books.
The foThe following history of 47 Sqn is from the Sqn website…
Formed in March 1916, the Squadron saw its first 'action' in Salonika
against the Bulgarians on the northern frontier of Greece. In those days the
squadron flew as 2 elements, a fighter and a reconnaissance force. Bristol
Scouts, BE12s,Vickers Bullets and DH2s were used as fighters and Armstrong
Whitworth FK3s and FK8s were used as reconnaissance aircraft.
The end of the Great War did not, however, mean an end to the war for No 47. In 1919 the Squadron was sent to southern Russia to help support General Denikin's White Russian Forces in their ill-fated attempt to repel the Bolshevik armies. However, the Government was criticised in the House of Commons when it was perceived that Great Britain was taking part in a foreign civil war, and subsequently 47 Squadron temporarily became 'A' Squadron and was the only unit to fight a war without the inspiration of the Royal Air Force Ensign. Instead, the officers and men fought under their very own flag, which is still worn today as a shoulder flash on the flying suits of aircrew.
Between the wars, the Squadron was based in East Africa - notably Khartoum - flying Bristol Fighters, Fairey II Fs. Vickers Vincents and Wellesleys. It was from this period of the Squadron's history that the Squadron crest and motto were derived. To gain the confidence of the natives in Khartoum, the local chieftains were gathered to see the River Nile set alight. This was achieved by pouring large quantities of petrol into the river which was then bombed by 47 Squadron aircraft. One chief praised the aircrafts' ability by saying 'the name of the Nile shall be an omen of your power' - hence the Squadron motto, 'Nili nomen roboris omen'. The crane on this crest is symbolic of the native bird of the Nile, and the blue and white background is a representation of the meeting of the Blue and White Nile.
During the Second World War the Squadron operated Beauforts and Beaufighters in the Mediterranean and Mosquitos in India and Burma. The Squadron disbanded in the Far East in 1946 and reformed in Palestine, returning almost at once to Fairford, Gloucestershire, where it operated Halifax transports. In 1948 it moved to Dishforth and then to Topcliffe, becoming the first squadron to operate the Hastings. Later that year it took part in the Berlin Airlift. In 1953, 47 Squadron moved to Abingdon and in 1955 was the eighth RAF unit to receive a Standard. In 1956 it re- equipped with Beverleys, again being the first squadron to do so, and continued to operate these aircraft until 1968. The Squadron then returned to Fairford to convert to the Hercules and finally moved to Lyneham in February 1971.
In December 1971, the Squadron made the 2,
much publicised, flights into East Pakistan to evacuate the civilian
personnel caught up in the war between East and West Pakistan.Wg Cdr Hannah,
the Squadron Commander, was awarded the Air Force Cross for his and the
Squadron's part in the evacuation.
In 1982 the Squadron was heavily involved in Operation 'Corporate' in the Falklands campaign, during which the Squadron was tasked with the resupply of Ascension Island. Flights of up to 24 hours were commonplace and for its efforts the Squadron was awarded the Battle Honour 'South Atlantic in 1982'. Along with its sister Squadrons at Lyneham, 47 was involved in the Gulf War flying tasks into Saudi Arabia. The Squadron also flew the first Hercules aircraft into Kuwait International airport after the expulsion of the Iraq forces and was ongoing. Still, nearly 10 years later, 47 Squadron still carries out operations in support of allied forces in the Gulf.
Following the break up former Yugoslavia, 47 Squadron has operated daily resupply missions to relieve the besieged cities, including Sarajevo in particular. This continued for nearly 3 years, and, without such efforts, the population would have suffered terribly. The Squadron is still involved in the resupply of SFOR operations in the area. In 1994,47 Squadron led the formation parachute drops into Normandy to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of D-Day and the Arnhem parachute drop. June 1998, and in Africa, as the situation deteriorated in Eritea, a decision was made to evacuate UK dependents from the country. This was successfully carried out without incident. Afica was to become the centre of attention again in late 1998, when 2 aircraft deployed from RAF Lyneham in December, to evacuate personnel from Sierra Leone, where yet another civil war was raging. Once again the Balkans became headline news with the Kosovo conflict in early 1999. The Squadron played a major role throughout, with both the deployment of UK forces and their resupply during the conflict: a commitment which still exists whilst NATO maintains a presence in the theatre.
No 47 Squadron is specifically tasked with Transport Support duties and is engaged in such diverse activities as troop transportation, paratrooping, and resupply duties
The Squadron’s move to the Crimea in April 1919 is interesting and unique in RAF history. It became the "47th Squadron of the Russian Volunteer Army" under the command of the White Russian forces but to avoid the embarrassment of complicity, the War Office erased all records of 47 Squadron and thereafter referred to it as ‘A’ Squadron – a deliberate and intended pun on the letter ‘a’. Flying Sopwith Camels, it operated from a train using the rolling stock as its HQ and the entire compliment of personnel were volunteers. Before the collapse of the White forces in 1920 the Squadron moved to the Black Sea port of Ekeratinodor for evacuation and its aircraft were destroyed. In order to "muddy the waters" and give a legitimate home to an otherwise non-existant squadron No. 206 Squadron at Helwan was renumbered 47 Squadron on 1 February 1920 which was joined by the personnel from Russia in April. 47 Squadron is the only unit in the Royal Air Force to have it own tricolour. The emblem originated from the Squadron’s episode in the Crimea where it was not allowed to display RAF roundels on its aircraft and used this tricolour instead. The blue represents the RAF, the yellow the White Russians and the red the Bolsheviks.
Unofficial emblem adopted by 47 Squadron in February 1920 when the Squadron reformed at Helwan in Eygpt depicts the pyramid of Zoser silhouetted against the rising sun
Formed at South Farnborough on 22 April 1916, Number 70 Squadron was the first RFC Squadron to fly the Sopwith 1½-Strutter. The unit transferred to Fienvillers in France one Flight at a time such was the gravity of the situation between May and August 1916 to take up fighter patrols. As the Germans perfected their tactics, losses on the Squadron rose, and a year later the Squadron converted to the more capable Camels.
After the Armistice, the unit remained in Germany until February 1919 when it returned the UK, disbanding briefly during January 1920 only to reform nine days later at Heliopolis, Egypt by renumbering No 58 Squadron equipped with Vimy heavy bombers. Within three years, No 70 had moved to Iraq and re-equipped with Vernon bombers/transports which were flown on the Cairo-Baghdad air mail run until 1927. During this time, the Squadron also took part in operations against rebel tribesmen and insurgents on the Turkish frontier and received Victorias shortly before the famous evacuation of Kabul in 1928. Valentias arrived in 1935, and these lumbering aircraft spent the first year of World War II on transport duties around the Middle East until Wellington bombers replaced them in late 1940. Successive versions of the Wellington were used during the North African and Italian campaigns and it wasn't until February 1945 that Liberators replaced them and remained with the Squadron when it returned to the Middle East at the end of the year and disbanded in April 1947.
In May 1948, No 215 Squadron based at Kabrit, Egypt, was renumbered No 70 Squadron, and the unit resumed transport duties around the region with Dakotas. Shortly before re-equipping with Hastings' in late 1955, the Squadron and its Valletas transferred to Cyprus, subsequently taking part in the Suez campaign in 1957. Following a short-lived period with Argosys, No 70 began converting to the Hercules and finally returned to the UK, joining the Lyneham Transport Wing in 1975 after 55 years overseas. Since then, the Squadron has been involved in many operations and relief flights in many countries and is currently one of the two squadrons still flying the original Hercules C1 and C3.
Motto: Usquam - 'Everywhere'.
Badge: A demi-wing lion erased - approved by King Edward VIII in October 1936. Developed from an unofficial winged lion badge probably derived from the Squadron's long dependence on the Napier Lion engine during the 1920s.
Battle Honours: Western Front 1916-1918*, Somme 1916*, Arras, Ypres 1917*, Somme 1918, Kurdistan 1922-1924, Iraq 1918-1929, Kurdistan 1930-1931, Northern Kurdistan 1932, North West Frontier 1937, Mediterranean 1940-1943, Egypt and Libya 1940-1943*, Greece 1940-1941, Syria 1941, Iraq 1941*, El Alamein, North Africa 1942-1943*, El Hamma, Sicily 1943, Italy 1943-1945*, Salerno, Anzio and Nettuno, Gustav Line, Gothic Line, South East Europe 1944-1945*, South Atlantic 1982, Gulf 1991.
Honours marked with an asterisk, are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard