4 November 1915 – Combats hot up again for 5 and 6 Squadron

2 Lieutenant Bright and Captain Ryan of 6 Squadron were carrying out an artillery observation in their BE2c when they were attacked by a large enemy pusher machine, closely followed by three tractors. Ryan fired one drum at the pusher which flew off followed by two of the tractors. While the B.E.2c manoeuvred for position the remaining hostile machine pursued and dived under the BE2c shooting. Ryan was twice wounded in the right arm and the petrol tank was pierced.
Around this time, Lieutenants Kelway Bamber and Payne, also 6 Squadron, were on patrol in their FE when they saw their colleagues under attack. Lt Bamber dived steeply to attack the German who turned and flew directly beneath the FE passing at about 30 yards. Payne got off half a drum at the German. The FE and the enemy aircraft circled each other, with both machines losing height rapidly. The German then dived towards his lines followed by the F.E. at about 80 yards firing the remainder of the drum. The German now turned right-handed with a steep bank, turned on his back, and
plunged to earth just inside the British lines near Zillebeke. The pilot and observer were killed. The Germans heavily shelled the machine setting it on fire.

Lieutenants Powell and Lubbock of 5 Sqn, in their Vickers FB5 (1651) were taking photographs when they observed a hostile machine approaching them. They flew to attack him, with both pilot and observer tiring one drum each at him at a range of about 600 yards with the German machine 1000 feet above them. Another hostile machine now approached them from the direction of St Elon. Lt Powell engaged him but after firing 35 rounds the Lewis gun jammed. In the meantime, Lubbock fired about 60 rounds at a range of 600 yards. As the German turned to the west another machine approached from the direcdon of Ypres flying west. Lt Powell attempted to head off this machine but never succeeded in getting closer man 400 yards and having exhausted all his ammunition returned home.

Lieutenants McConnochie and C Porri, also of 5 Squadron, were carrying out a reconnaissance in their BE2c (2043) when they encountered an Aviatik flying about 600 feet above them. This machine passed over the B.E.2c firing, and at the same time a Fokker attacked from the opposite direction and about 100 feet above them. Lt McConnochie now turned and attacked the Aviatik which went away towards the south. He then again attacked the Fokker which banked
vertically, side-slipped, and then disappeared from sight.

2 Lieutenant Kemp and Corporal Monks of 11 Squadron were crossing the lines near Nestle in their Vickers FB5 when they saw an Albatros to the south-west flying north and climbing rapidly. The Vickers had the advantage in height and turned to attack. Apparently the German did not observe the Vickers till it got within 600 yards. The hostile machine turned sharply and dived followed by the Vickers firing into it at a range of 600 yards. The Lewis gun then jammed. The German machine went down and landed 5 miles north of Neade.

Lt Danby and 2 Lt JEP Howey of 6 Squadron, in a B.E.2c (1714) were carrying out reconnaissance on the IInd Army front when they encountered an Albatros which passed in front of the BE2c at a range of about 200 yards. Firing was then heard behind the BE2c which turned sharply to the right and discovered another Albatross. At the same time, another Albatross passed to the right of the BE2c firing its machine-gun. Lt Dalby fired one drum at the Fokker which immediately flew off. The two Albatroses manoeuvred round and fired on the B.E.2c for nearly 20 minutes and then disappeared, apparently undamaged. The British machine was not hit either.


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