Tag Archives: James Kingston Lawrence

3 May 1917 – Close Air Support

It seems the Germans were resting a little today as a large number of bombing missions were carried out seemingly unopposed, including Don Station by 27 Squadron, Busigny and Brebieres Junctions by 55 Squadron, an enemy ammunition dump at Iwuy, Eswars aerodrome, and Tourmignies aerodrome by 16 and 100 Squadrons. There were no combat losses on any of these missions.


Stanley Forrester Browning

The only casualties were suffered by 41 Squadron who were attacked by a number of Jastas while on patrol. Captain Stanley Forrester Browning was killed in FE8 (A4873), and Lieutenant Alexander Fraser was taken prisoner in FE8 (7622).

The 25 Squadron FE2b A842 with 2nd Lt Berry King and Trumpeter

James Kingston Lawrence on board caught fire and nose-dived near Fiefs killing the crew. The cause of the fire in unknown.

In an unusual action, aerial reconnaissance by 43 Squadron showed German troops massing for a counter-attack of XIII Corps in the Oppy area. As a result Sopwith Strutters from 43 Squadron returned to attack the troops. The following day the RFC Communique suggested that 13 aircraft were involved, while the Official History says only 5. Either way they flew low over the trenches and machined gunned the troops. All the aircraft retuned safely. This is regarded as the first true close air support mission carried out by the RFC.

Whilst this mission gets a paragraph in the Official History of the air services (Volume 3, p373), and a mention on the RAF Museum’s timeline for 1917, it doesn’t seem that it was particularly important in the overall scheme of things as it does not get a mention in the Official History: Military Operations France and Belgium, 1917.