Jasta 2 and Manfred von Richthofen tangled with 2 Squadron RFC today 2 Squadron was up on artillery observation at around 1100 when they were jumped by Von Richthofen. BE2 26231 with 2nd Lieutenant Cyril Douglas Bennett and 2nd Lieutenant Herbert Arthur Croft. He opened fire at 50m and then fired ‘several hundred’ rounds at the machine, until it crashed in the German trenches near Cite St Auguste. Croft was killed and Bennett was captured but seriously injured.
Later in the day Captain George Cyril Bailey and 2nd Lieutenant George William Betts Hampton also from 2 Squadron, were carrying out artillery spotting in BE2c 2543; with Lieutenant Henry Fowler and 2nd Lieutenant EH Swann in BE2c 6250. they were bounced by Jasta 2. Von Richthofen claimed to have shot down Bailey and Hampton (and it is officially noted as his 21st victory), but this is regarded with suspicion and likely a result of attempts to boost the star’s score. Richthofen also claimed to have seen the plane crash but in fact they escaped behind the lines although Bailey was wounded in the foot. Fowler and Swann fended off the attacks and claimed on enemy aircraft crashed.
20 Squadron were also on a photography mission when they were attacked by Jasta 18 also got into a fight around 1600. Captain Harold Evans Hartney and Lieutenant Wilfred Thomas Jourdan, FE2d A1960 claimed to have shot down two enemy aircraft before they themselves were shot down. Their control cables were shot away and they crashed near Proven. Both men were injured but survived. Their colleagues Lieutenant Francis Joseph Taylor and 2nd Lieutenant Francis Michael Myers MC in FE2d A15also claimed to have shot down an enemy scout before being shot down by Leutnant Paul Strähle for his first victory. They crashed into telephone wires when forced to land near Poperinghe. Taylor was badly injured and Myers was killed in the crash.
Other casualties today were 2nd Lieutenant James Valentine Fairbairn from 54 Squadron was on an escort mission in his Sopwith Pup (A642) when he was shot down and taken prisoner by Leutnant Georg Schlenker, Jasta 3 for his 2nd victory.
3 Squadron RFC lost another Morane (A6652) P when Lieutenant Francis Chisholm Young and 2nd Lieutenant Adam Gower Sutherland De Ross when they were attacked by 8 HA and brought down in spin in flames after shedding wings their wings by Leutnant Hans Gutermuth from Jasta 5. Both were killed.