1 Squadron RFC were heavily involved in support of the British offensive at Messines today.
This morning around 0825 a patrol led by Lieutenant William Charles Campbell in Nieuport 23 (B1700) encountered six aircraft from Jasta 8 between Oosthoek and Gheluwe. Campbell claimed to have shot down two out of control, but his wingman 2nd Lieutenant William John Mussared was set upon by three enemy aircraft, shot down and taken prisoner. He later reported:
“That damned Nieuport-machine is to blame. I got into a fight at about 3000 meter altitude and tried to get away, because I had 3 machines against me. But the Germans circled around me and were firing all the time. I got cut off, got an engine failure and had to go down till several hundred meters, where I received extensive machinegun fire. As I lost control of the machine, I crashed on landing. I was uninjured and only a bit shaken up.”
Vitzfeldwebel Rudolf Frank was credited with the victory. In five weeks with 1 Squadron, Mussared had claimed 4 victories.
2nd Lieutenant Campbell led an afternoon patrol with a second led by Lieutenant F Sharpe in Nieuport 23 (B3481). They dived onto a formation of 6 enemy scouts over Houthem. Seven more enemy scouts joined in followed by another four scouts. Both Campbell and Sharpe claimed to have sent down an enemy scout from the first formation.
2nd Lieutenant Richard William Laurence Anderson saw a Nieuport being driven down by three enemy scouts. He tried to intervene but lost sight of all of them when he had to change a drum. It turned out that this was Sharpe who was wounded and forced down and taken prisoner. Credit for this victory was given to Obleutnant Kurt-Bertram von Doering, commander of Jasta 4. Sharpe had 5 victories to his credit.
After this fight broke up Lieutenant Louis Fleeming Jenkin flew on alone for some time finally attacking three Albatros scouts over Dadizeele at 1510, claiming one shot down in flames. This was his fifth victory.
Later in the evening around 2000, There was one more victory that day. Lieutenant Tom Falcon Hazell in Nieuport 23 B1649 shot down an Albatros scout out of control Zandevoorde.
Later records show that the Germans lost no pilots that day, but 1 Squadron had lost two of its up and coming new pilots.