3 August 1915 – 11 Squadron’s Insall and Cooper join the action

11 Squadron have only been at the front for a week and already they are getting into the action. 2nd Lieutenant A. J. Insall flying as observer with 2nd Lieutenant H. A. Cooper, sighted a pale blue LVG two seater biplane some 1500 feet below. He describes the action as follows.

“As I banged on the side of my cockpit and pointed him out to Cooper, I could see the observer leaning over the side of his fuselage studying the ground and quite unaware of our presence above him. He was an absolute sitter. We went down on his tail in a steep-curving dive, and I held my fire until we were as close to him as we dared go without risk of colliding. I saw the observer whip round as we levelled up. He was wearing a black flying jacket, and appeared to be aiming a rifle at me as I opened fire in a series of short five round bursts. At the same moment his pilot pushed his nose right down. I saw two quick flashes from the observer’s weapon, and then the enemy machine gave a lurch and Cooper swerved to avoid him, and I seized the opportunity to change drums. We were now both diving again, and the LVG was travelling at a phenomenal speed, with the engine full on. Before he drew away, while he was still no more than 30 or 40 feet from us, I emptied one half of the new drum into him, and at that stage I saw a bright light appear where previously the black figure of the observer had been. Then Cooper, aware of the fact that we had gone down to less than 3000ft, came out of the dive.”

A J Install in the observer’s seat of a Vickers FB5


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