22 August 1916 – Hat trick

2nd Lieutenant Albert Ball of 11 Squadron became the first British pilot to down three enemy aircraft in one day today.

Following a cloudy day, the FE2bs of 11 Squadron finally got up around 1700. Ball accompanied them in his Nieuport 17 (A201). Over the Warlencourt valley at around 1900 they met about twenty German aeroplanes flying in three groups.

Ball first picked out a Roland CII at the rear of a group of seven and sent it down to crash. He then attacked another Roland in a group of five and sent it down in flame. He then used the last of his ammunition to shoot down another Roland which crashed into a house wounding its pilot and killing the observer. His colleagues accounted for another 2 aircraft.

He then flew to the nearest aerodrome to resupply his ammunition and took off again By yhtr time he arrived back the Fes had dispersed the enemy formation. Nearly out of petrol he turned for home but was attacked by further enemy aircraft. In the end he was forced to land near Senlis.

Ball has now shot down 11 enemy aircraft.


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