27 Squadron RAF suffered two casualties on bombing raids on Maria Aalter in Flanders early this morning.
The Squadron was flying a mixture of DH4s and the new DH9. The DH9 was intended to replace the DH4, but unfortunately problems with its engines meant that performance, particularly at altitude, was in fact worse that the DH4. The pilot’s view was also somewhat restricted as the cockpit was placed further back that in the DH4 – though this did solve the issue of communication between the crew in the DH4.
Captain Audubon Eric Palfreyman and 2nd Lieutenant William Irwin Crawford in DH4 A7840 – were last seen diving steeply near Thourout. Leutnant Diether Collin from Jasta 56 claimed victory. Palfreyman was killed and Crawford was taken prisoner.
2nd Lieutenant George Edward Ffrench and Corporal Francis Yates McLauchlan also failed to return in their DH9 (D5616). Reports at the time suggested that their engine came away from it housing causing them to crash – the cause of this is unknown. Both men were killed.