1 February 1917 -Burns day

In Mesopotamia, the British Forces have been carrying out an assault on the Hai salient. The Turkish front lines were captured on 25 January. On 27 January, ‘C Flight of No. 30 Squadron, which specializes in the artillery co-operation work moved forward to a landing-ground at Sinn Abtar to direct the fire of the artillery on the Turkish batteries and trenches and on fleeting targets, and report the progress of the operations.



James Rattray Burns

Today, the troops were assembled ready to attack the Turkish third line. Lieutenant James Rattray Burns of 30 Squadron RFC was engaged in registering the artillery on enemy gun-pits preparatory to the assault when he was attacked by a German Fokker.  He quickly dispatched the Fokker with only five shots, the aircraft crashing near the Turkish line, killing the pilot. Burns was unharmed.

By all accounts the victory was a tonic tot he troops about to advance.




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