3 April 1917 – Sketchy claims

Second Lieutenant James Herbert Sayer

James Herbert Sayer

2nd Lieutenant James Herbert Sayer and 2nd Lieutenant Vaughan Clarence Morris from 15 Squadron were hit by Anti-Aircraft fire while on a photographic mission in their BE2g (7236). A big hole was shot in the aircraft and Sayer was killed. The aircraft fell out of control, but Morris managed to force land behind the German lines using the dual controls. He was taken prisoner. The sketchy nature of many victory claims is illustrated when Hauptmann Paul von Osterroht from Jasta 12 claimed the victory, despite the fact that Morris survived. They were attacked by an enemy aircraft – most likely Vitzfeldwebel S Festner from Jasta 11, though neither delivered the decisive blow.

Festner went on to make two other claims that day, neither of which were upheld. One of these was Lieutenant E L Heyworth from 32 Squadron who was shot down in his DH2 (A2536), which was eventually credited to Vitzfeldwebel Emil Eisenhuth from Jasta 3.

Manfred Von Richthofen made one of his less controversial claims today. He, Lothar Von Richthofen and Emil Schaefer attacked three FE2ds from 25 Squadron. 2nd Lt D P McDonald & 2nd Lt John Ingram Mullanniffe O’Beirne from in FE2d A6382 were attacked by Richthofen. O’Beirne was hit in the head firing back over the engine tof the pusher and killed. The engine was then hit and

‘…The Hun followed me right down to the ground, firing all the time…’

The FE overturned in some wire and MacDonald was thrown out and subsequently taken prisoner.

Also lost today were:

 

Lieutenant Edgar Thomas Colin Brandon and 2nd Lieutenant George Masters from 11 Squadron, who were hit by AA fire in their FE2b (A808).  Brandon was killed and Masters taken prisoner.

2nd Lieutenant Sydney Ansely Sharpe from 40 Squadron was taken prisoner when his Nieuport 17 (A6674) was shot down by Leutnant Gustav Nernst from Jasta 30.

Lieutenant Leonard Dodson and 2nd Lieutenant Henry Scotson Richards from 25 Squadron  were both killed when their FE2d A6371 was shot down by Leutnant Karl Schaeffer from Jasta 11.

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