Following the loss of the unescorted RE8’s yesterday the task of photographing the Drocourt line was attempted again today by six FE2b’s from 11 Squadron with four Nieuport single-seaters of 29 Squadron as escort.
The reconnaissance was also timed to take place when the routine offensive patrols from 19 and 60 Squadrons. The photography formation was attacked over Vitry by Halberstadt and Albatros Scouts, but the escorting Nieuports and the FE2b’s fought so effectively that all the F.E.2b’s got safely home, although without their photographs. Unfortunately Corporal W Hodgson, the observer in FE2b 7702 flown by 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Woodhouse Gardner was killed.
2nd Lieutenant Eric John Pascoe from 29 Squadron was shot down and killed in his Nieuport 23 (A6794). 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Gordon Jones-Williams claimed an Albatros Scout in return.
The offensive formation from 60 Squadron were not so lucky. They got into a fight with Richthofen’s Jasta 11. The Nieuports had begun an attack on two German two-seaters, near Douai, when Richthofen appeared and shot four of them down.
- Lieutenant William Oswald Russell in Nieuport 17 A6796 claimed by Manfred von Richthofen.
- Captain Alan Binnie MC in Nieuport 23 A6772 claimed by Oberleutnant Lothar von Richthofen.
- 2nd Lieutenant John Herbert Cock in Nieuport 23 B1511 claimed by Leutnant Kurt Wolff.
- 2nd Lieutenant Lewis Carlton Chapman in Nieuport 23 B1523 claimed by Vitzfeldwebel Sebastian Fester
Russell, Binnie and Chapman were all taken prisoner but Chapman later died of his wounds. Bennie was badly wounded and had his arm amputated. Cock was killed outright. The fifth pilot, Lieutenant Graham Conacher Young managed to escape in Nieuport 23 B1509.