6 October 1915 – Contact Patrols prove deadly

Flight Sergeant William Burns died today in hospital.

Flight Sergeant Burns was injured on 28 September on the front line after being hit by shrapnel. He was part of an experiment to improve contact patrols by tracking the movement of the troops on the ground by air. His job was to signal the location of his unit with signal lamps which would then be detected by reconnaissance aircraft.

Given the poor weather, and the fact that British troops have become bogged down, it’s hard to gauge the success of the experiment.

Burns was commended on 12 March 1915 for his rescue efforts following the accident which killed Lieutenant Cholmondeley and 11 of his ground crew.

Burns’ colleague from 3 Squadron, Major EW Furse who was with him on the 28th was severely injured on 30 September continuing the same mission.


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