Tag Archives: 55 Squadron RFC

21 September 1917 – More Menin Road

Following on from yesterday, the British offensive continued around Menin Road Bridge. The weather was significantly improved from yesterday and this resulted in an even wider programme of air support.

The main focus today was on preventing reinforcements reaching the front. Early morning reconnaissances reported that reinforcements were arriving at Roulers and Menin stations.

55 Squadron attacked the station at Roulers, dropping twenty 112lb. bombs on the target. In the evening air reconnaissance reported that troops were pouring in, by rail, to Menin and were being transported by bus to the front. 100 and 101 Squadrons therefore spent the night attacking the town, other detraining centres, and the roads along which the movement of troops had been reported. They dropped fourteen 230-lb. and sixty-eight 25 -lb. bombs and then attacked the troops with their machine-guns. The Squadrons also bombed Menin, Ledeghem, Wervicq, Gheluwe and Roulers.

Two aircraft from 101 Squadron failed to return – Captain Aubrey Cecil Hatfield and 2nd Lieutenant Robert Roy Macgregor in FE2b A5672 and 2nd Lieutenant Archibald Ian Orr-Ewing and Corporal E Marshall in FE2b A856. Both crashed behind enemy lines and the crews were taken prisoner.

Again the toll, particularly on the fighter squadrons was high with (in addition to the above) 10 crew killed, 3 wounded and 7 taken prisoner. 19 Squadron suffered badly in their undergunned SPADVIIs when they ran into Jasta 18 in their Albatross DVs near Dadizeele. Three planes were shot down in short order and their pilots killed

2nd Lieutenant Robert Andersson Inglis (B3557)
2nd Lieutenant Frederick William Kirby (B3533)
2nd Lieutenant William Gordon McRae (B3642)

Oberleutnant Rudolf Berthold and Leutnant Richard Ruege all claimed victories, thought it’s not clear exactly who downed who.

In return, Flight Commander Captain John Leacroft claimed an Albatros out of control, though later German records record no losses.

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31 May 1917 – 55 Mishaps

Following the wind down of the British offensive at Arras, preparations are ramping up for a new offensive to the North in the Messines area.

The DH4s of 55 Squadron RFC have been tasked with the jobs of long range strategic reconnaissance of railway communications around Bruges, Ghent, Grammont, and Ath, and of day bombing to divert enemy air activity from the impending battle front.

To facilitate this, 55 Squadron started to move aerodromes further north today.
This was not without mishaps unfortunately as two aircraft were lost in crashes.

First 2nd Lieutenant William Fraser Sleeman and Lieutenant Gerald Inchbold stalled their DH4 (A2172) which then went into a spin and crashed. The aircraft was completely wrecked and both crew were killed.

Lieutenant Arthur Lindley and Lieutenant Charles Frederick Richards Goodyear were a bit more fortunate. They flew their DH4 (A7428) into a barbed wire fence not long after take off from Fienvillers. They survived and the aircraft was able to be rebuilt.