Lieutenant, Arthur Percival Foley Rhys-Davies DSO, the 56 Squadron ace with 25 confirmed victories has been killed. A few weeks earlier, Rhys-Davies had been involved in the dogfight that saw the death of the German ace Werner Voss.
Fresh from receiving notification of his promotion to Lieutenant, he set off in SE5a B31 around 1035 for a patrol over Roulers. During the patrol, he was separated from
the rest of his flight when in typical fashion he set off in pursuit of a group of enemy Albatrosses.
He failed to return from the patrol and was posted as missing presumed dead. It was not until 29 December 1917 that a report came through from the German side that he had been shot down and killed. Post war research suggests that Karl Gallwitz from Jasta 2 is the most likely candidate for this victory.
The exact site of Rhys-Davies crash is unknown but was most likely between the lines as his body and aircraft were never recovered. He was posthumously awarded the DSO.
It was not a good day for the RFC and RNAS as a further seven crew were killed and three taken prisoner. In addition to this 5 more were killed in training accidents back in England.
Those killed in action were:
- 2nd Lieutenant George Page Bradley, 43 Squadron RFC
- 1st Class Air Mechanic William Malcolm Goldsmith, 10 Squadron RFC
- Probationary Flight Officer George Heaven Morang, 10(Naval) Squadron
- 2nd Lieutenant Cecil Ivor Phillips, 45 Squadron RFC
- 2nd Lieutenant Cecil Willibrod Primeau, 70 Squadron RFC
- 2nd Lieutenant John Henry Sanders , 59 Squadron RFC
- Lieutenant William Bernard Sherwood, 60 Squadron RFC
- Lieutenant Ronald John Santa White, 48 Squadron RFC
Those taken prisoner were
- 2nd Lieutenant Reginald Arthur Cartledge, 28 Squadron RFC
- Lieutenant Richard James Eardley Percy Goode, 70 Squadron RFC
- 2nd Lieutenant Sidney Lunn Whitehouse, 19 Squadron RFC
Those killed in accidents were:
- 1st Class Air Mechanic W Eastwood, In training
- Leading Mechanic Walter Fairnie, R.N. Air Station (Yarmouth)
- 2nd Lieutenant Leonard Fleet, In training
- 2nd Lieutenant Charles William Homer, 25 Training Squadron
- 2nd Lieutenant Leslie Sidney Hudson, 49 Squadron RFC
- 2nd Lieutenant John Harold Keeble, 49 Squadron RFC
- Flight Sub Lieutenant Charles Herman Macneil, In training
- 2nd Lieutenant Douglas Mcgill, 25 Training Squadron
- Flight Sub Lieutenant Peter George Shepherd, RNAS