19 March 1917 – Hotting up


James Gerald Fair

Early this morning, aircraft of the 9th Wing dropped 48 bombs on the ammunition depot at Aulnoye from a height of 6,000 feet. Jasta 3 attacked 27 Squadron and brought down three aircraft. Lieutenant William Samuel Caster in Martinsyde G100 7499 force landed at Brie inside the lines and was unharmed. 2nd Lieutenant James Gerald Fair was killed in Martinsyde G100 7503. 2nd Lieutenant Tom Webster Jay was taken prisoner after being shot down in Martinsyde G100 7508 by Leutnant Georg Schlenker.

Leutnant A Mohr from Jasta 3 was credited with having shot down Fair, but it is more likely that he actually shot down another aircraft – an RE8 (A79) with 2nd Lieutenant John MacGeorge and Lieutenant AA Murray from 34 Squadron on board. Their colleagues Lieutenant Harold Robert Davies and 2nd Lieutenant Basil Farmer went to their aid in RE8 (A88) when they saw them being attacked. Murray was hit in the head and later died of his wounds, and Farmer suffered a minor wound. Both pilots escaped unhurt and were able to get back over the lines, though Macgeorge crashed 100 yards from his aerodrome.

Two RE8s of 59 Squadron were on a photo mission when they were attacked hit by AA fire. Jasta 2 then swooped in and finished two of them off. Leutnant Werner Voss did for Captain Eldred Wolferstan Bowyer-Bower and 2nd Lieutenant Edwin Elgey in RE8 A4165. The aircraft crashed and burst into flames. Leutnant Fritz Otto Bernert took down Captain Claude Peregrine Bertie and Lieutenant Frederick Henry Wilson in RE8 A4168. Bertie was killed in the cockpit and the plane crashed. All four were killed.

Later in the evening, Werner Voss made another claim when he shot down 2nd Lieutenant Charles Robert Dougall and 2nd Lieutenant Sydney Harryman in their BE2c (5784) east of the lines. They were both taken prisoner but Harryman later died of his wounds.

19 Squadron were up on patrol in their SPADVIIs when they ran into Jasta 5. 2nd Lieutenant Stanley Stewart Beattie Purves was taken prisoner when his engine failed and he was forced to land. He tried to restart but was unable to do so. Lieutenant Arthur Trevor Hope was shot up in SPAD VII A6633. Captain William Jameson Cairnes in SPAD VII A312 suffered the same fate. Both force landed inside the lines but escaped unharmed.



One thought on “19 March 1917 – Hotting up

  1. Pingback: 20 March 1917 – “A dangerously low point” | airwar19141918

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