13 March 1917 – 56 Pixie

56 Squadron was formed back on 8 June 1916, based at London Colney. Today the Squadron took possession of their new aircraft, the first production batch of the new SE5 fighter in preparation for moving to the front – the first Squadron to do so. (In fact they are the only Squadron to do so as later Squadrons were equipped with the Improved SE5a – the main change being a 200hp engine instead of the 150hp in the SE5).

Major Richard Graham Blomfield took command of the Squadron on 6 February 1917, but perhaps their most famous member is Captain Albert Ball who joined as a Flight Commander following a period of home leave and service as a trainer. The other pilots are:

2nd Lieutenant Leonard Monteagle Barlow
2nd Lieutenant Roger Michael Chaworth-Musters
2nd Lieutenant Reginald Theodore Carlos Hoidge
Lieutenant Maurice Alfred Kay
2nd Lieutenant Kenneth John Knaggs
2nd Lieutenant Clarence Raymond Wentworth Knight
2nd Lieutenant John Owen Leach
Lieutenant Henry Maurice Talbot Lehmann, MC
Lieutenant Cecil Arthur Lewis, MC
2nd Lieutenant Thomas Bertrand Marson
2nd Lieutenant Gerald Joseph Constable Maxwell
Captain Henry Meintjes
2nd Lieutenant William Beresford Melville
2nd Lieutenant Lieutenant Arthur Percival Foley Rhys-Davids


56 Squadron SE5s at London Colney

It remains to be seen how Ball will get on. He did not much like the SE5 at testing, preferring the more manoeuvrable Nieuports. Due to this, the Commander of the RFC Sir Hugh Trenchard has given him permission to retain his Nieuport 17 (B1522) for solo missions though he will fly the SE5 on group missions.


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