30 March 1917 – 1 Australian Squadron suffers first loss

Following the setback at Gaza on 26 March, 5 Wing RFC have been monitoring the movements of the enemy, both to ensure there is no threat to the British forces and to prepare for a future attack on Gaza.

These few days however, were costly to the RFC. On 27 March, 14 Squadron lost one aircraft when a BE2e crashed shortly after take off when its engine stalled. Captain Charles Harry Williamson and 2nd Lieutenant Cecil Charles Gibbs were killed. On 28 March, 14 Squadron lost another aircraft when its engine overheated and seized and it crashed into the sea. The crew escaped however.

On the same day, Captain DW Rutherford and Lieutenant William Raymond Hyan from 1 Australian Squadron (67 Squadron) were on reconnaissance when they were attacked by an Aviatik. Both were wounded in the attack. Captain Allan Murray Jones flew to their assistance and chased off the enemy who flew off at a speed that Murray Jones could not match.

Today, Lieutenant Hyam died of his wounds, the first Member of 1 Australian Squadron to be killed.

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