19 November 1915 – Search and Rescue

Officers of 3 Wing RNAS carried out a bombing raid on Ferrijik Junction, Bulgaria today. Flight Sub-Lieutenant George Formby Smylie’s machine was hit by heavy anti-aircraft fire and brought down. He glided over the station, releasing all his bombs, except one which failed to drop. He then crashed into a nearby marsh.

As is normal practice in enemy territory, Smylie set his machine on fire, knowing that the bomb would ensure its destruction. At this moment he saw his Squadron Commander Richard Bell-Davies attempting to land. Smylie ran back and exploded the bomb with his pistol to ensure Bell-Davies was not caught up in the explosion.

bell-davies_large

Richard Bell-Davies

Shortly after this, Bell-Davies landed a good distance from the burning machine and picked up Smylie, in spite of approaching enemy troops. Luckily for Smylie, Bell-Davies was flying a Nieuport 10, a two seater hastily converted to a fighter by fairing over the front cockpit. When Davies picked him up, Smylie wriggled past Davies and through his controls into the tiny roofed-over front compartment. Bell-Davies then returned to their aerodrome, where it took two hours to extricate Smylie from the aeroplane.

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