Tag Archives: Jasta 18

10 October 1917 – Berthold downed

Rudolph Berthold

The weather remained poor on the Western Front today to the extent that flying was only possible intermittently. The commander of Jasta 18, Leutnant Rudolph Berthold may have wished he had stayed on the ground. He was leading a ten strong flight late in the afternoon when they came across a formation of Bristol F2bs and Se5a’s from 5, 22 and 56 Squadron RFC and A Squadron RNAS.

Gerald Joseph Constable Maxwell

At the end of the combat Berthold had been shot down with a smashed upper right arm. A number of claims were made that day by British pilots in the area. Lieutenant William Geoffrey Meggitt and Arthur George J Whitehouse from 22 Squadron claimed an Albatross Scout destroyed. Captain Gerald Joseph Constable Maxwell from 56 Squadron also reported ‘..I got on to one EA’s tail and fired a drum of Lewis and about 100 rounds Vickers at very close range. EA went down very steeply and I lost sight of him…’
There are a number of competing claims for the victory but the prevailing wisdom currently is that Maxwell is the most likely candidate (See the discussion on the Aerodrome Forum).

Leutnant Otto Schober was also forced down with a shot up radiator but was otherwise unharmed.

Also lost in the combat was 2nd Lieutenant Geoffrey Miles Wilkinson from 56 Squadron who was shot down in his SE5a (B23) by Xaver Dannhuber from Jasta 26.

Berthold overcame the handicap of half-severed ailerons and remained conscious long enough to land one-handed at Jasta 18’s home airfield. He passed out after his arrival. He was rushed to the field hospital who were able to keep him alive. He was later sent, due tot influence of his older sister Franziska to the Berlin clinic of Doctor August Bier, who pioneered use of cocaine in spinal anesthesia. Berthold remained in hospital for four months. His arm never recovered but amazingly he recovered sufficiently to fly again in combat, one-handed, in May 1918.

 

 

Rudolph Berthold 5 Squadron RFC, 22 Squadron RFC, 6 Squadron RFC, A Squadron RNAS. William Geoffrey Meggitt, Arthur George J Whitehouse, Gerald Joseph Constable Maxwell, Otto Schober, Geoffrey Miles Wilkinson, 56 Squadron RFC, Xaver Dannhuber, Jasta 26, Jasta 18.

 

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2 October 1917 – 57 variety

In support of the British Offensive, five DH4s from 57 Squadron RFC bombed Abeele aerodrome. On their way back, they were attacked by about 15 Albatros scouts.

In the combat that followed 2nd Lieutenant Frank Ashcroft Martin and Lieutenant J D O’Neill were attacked by three scouts and O’Neill claimed one shot down in flames. Their wingmates Captain David Sidney Hall & 2nd Lieutenant Edward Patrick Hartigan engaged a large number of scouts. One attacked from the side but after Hartigan had fired 90 rounds into it the struts were seen to be shot away on one side, the main planes came together, and the aircraft broke up. Another EA passed in front of the DH4 and the pilot fired 50 rounds into it when it immediately dived, broke into flames, then crashed. The pilot then fired into another Enemy aircraft which went completely over and fell out of control. One Albatros scout continued to follow the DH4, firing at long range, and so when getting nearer the lines the DH4 throttled back and allowed the Albatros to approach. When within about 200 yards the DH4 pilot turned his machine and Hartigan fired a burst into the Scout which turned over and over, then fell out of control.

The rest of the flight did not fare so well with all three lost. 2nd Lieutenant Clifford Richard Brice Halley and Air Mechanic Thomas Joseph Barlow in 7451 and 2nd Lieutenant Colin Glen Orr MacAndrew and 2nd Lieutenant Leicester Philip Sidney in A7581 were shot down and killed. 2nd Lieutenant Clifford Gordon Crane and 2nd Lieutenant William Logan Inglis in A7583 were also shot down. Inglis was killed, but Crane survived and was taken prisoner. Pilots from Jasta 18 made the claims.

26 September 1917 – Polygon Wood

Following the short offensive at Menin Ridge Road, the British commenced another short attack to capture high ground around an area known as Polygon wood, south of Menin. Once again aircraft played a major part in the attack. During the night 100 and 101 Squadrons RFC bombed rest billets and railway centres. Once the battle commenced the RFC contributed by warning of enemy counterattacks, bring in artillery fire and ground attack on known assembly points. Army commanders were convinced a number of attacks were broken up before they even started.

Of course this heavy work was not without loss for the enemy aircraft were also

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Walter Harvey Russell Gould

70 Squadron suffered particularly in its ground attack role with four pilots lost. Lieutenant Walter Harvey Russell Gould in Sopwith Camel B2358 was shot down and killed. Obleutnant Rudolph Berthold from Jasta 18 claimed the victory. Leutnant Rudolf Klimke from Jasta 27 claimed to have downed two Camels, 2nd Lieutenant Thomas Burrough Fenwick in B3915 and 2nd Lieutenant C E Stuart in B5151. Both were taken prisoner. His wingman Leutnant Willi Rosenstein claimed to have shot down 2nd Lieutenant Charles Norman Lake Lomax in B6275, who was also taken prisoner.

20 September 1917 – Menin Road Ridge

As has now become commonplace, the latest British Offensive at Menin Road Ridge on the Western Front has been planned with a full suite of air operations.

Such was the extent of offensive patrolling that the Corps squadrons were able to carry out their artillery observation mostly unhindered. This work was essential to the success of the battle as one of the key contribution of the air services was to frustrate German counterattacks on seven occasions. This was achieved by both warning the British troops but also bringing down artillery fire on troops massing for the counter-attack.

Army squadrons also carried out ground attack missions on birth front line trenches and on reinforcement points, and bombers attempted to interrupt communications by bombing railway junctions and known mustering points.

Of course part of the reason that this work was possible was the extensive offensive patrolling by the rest of the Army squadrons served to keep enemy aircraft away from the front. Bombers also attacked German aerodromes to try and keep aircraft on the ground.

The success on the ground came at a heavy cost in the air as 10 crew were killed, 11 wounded and 7 taken prisoner. The worst affected were 1 Squadron RFC in their aging Nieuports.

Early on 2nd Lieutenant Charles Gilbert Dunbar Gray was forced down out of petrol behind enemy lines in his Nieuport 17 (A6721). Vitzfeldwebel Franz Schmitt from Jasta 29 claimed the victory. Gray was taken prisoner.

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Francis Jack Chown (by Dame Laura Knight)

Later on 2nd Lieutenant Reginald Horatio Garratt-Reed was shot down and killed in his Nieuport 27 (B3632). Leutnant Richard Runge from Jasta 18 claimed the victory. A little later, Runge also claimed to have shot down 2nd Lieutenant Francis Jack Chown in his Nieuport 27 (B6755). Chown was hit in the head and back and managed to make a landing in the front lines. However, he was later found dead by the wrecked aircraft.

 

4 May 1917 – Murdered

70 Squadron conducted a reconnaissance of the new German aerodromes around Tournai some 35km behind the lines. They were attacked over Tournai and had to fight their way back to British lines. During the fighting, Sergeant Skinner and Lieutenant Kenneth Arthur Seth-Smith claimed to have shot down an Albatross, though no German losses were recorded.

Lieutenant Dudley George Antoine Allen and Lieutenant Benjamin Lester Franklin (in Sopwith Strutter A2431 were shot down by Leutnant Wiessner also from Jasta 18. Allen was able to get back over the lines but force landed at Ballieu. Franklin was already dead.

2nd Lieutenant Valentine Howard Adams and 2nd Lieutenant Ivan Lapwith Pinson in Sopwith Strutter A1001 were shot down by Walter Göttsch from Jasta 18. They apparently suffered engine trouble and were forced to land near Lincelles, under control according to their wingmen. What happened next remained a mystery for some months.

Over the next 19 months various letters were sent to and from the Red Cross in Geneva, the War Office London, the Air Ministry, Central Prisoners of War Committee and the family in Australia and London.

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Valentine Howard Adams 

Eventually a number of eye-witness accounts turned up, taken by local French policemen with a local housekeeper, a labourer, a young woman, a farmer and a coachman who were all near the scene as the plane glided down.

They reported that as the plane landed, some German soldiers encamped at a nearby farm made towards the plane. Adams was seen to drag the body of his comrade from the aeroplane and then set fire to the machine. The German soldiers arrived at the scene and shot Adams dead as he tried to surrender. German officers arrived at the site and made the men cease firing and took Pinson) to hospital where he died the next day.

 

17 March 1916 – Mass brawls

There was intense activity in the air today.

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Arthur Elsdale Boultbee

This morning the biggest scrap involved 18 aircraft – 43 Squadron RFCwere on a photo reconnaissance mission over Beaumont covered by 25 Squadron RFC- and 17 enemy aircraft including 9 from Jasta 11. The British claimed six aircraft downed, but the German’s did not report any losses. The RFC lost three aircraft. Manfred von Richthofen claimed his 27th victory in Lieutenant Arthur Elsdale Boultebee and 1st Class Air Mechanic Frederick King from 25 Squadron, though accounts at the time suggested their FE2b (A5439) was actually crippled by AA fire before von Richthofen finished it off. Both men were killed. 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Leslie Constable and 2nd Lieutenant Charles Duncan Knox from 43 Squadron were shot down in their Sopwith Strutter (A1097) by Leutnant Kurt Wolff from Jasta 11. Their colleagues, 2nd Lieutenant James Cook Rimer and 2nd Lieutenant Reginald Herbert Lownds in Sopwith Strutter A1111 were shot down by Leutnant Karl Allmenroder. All four were killed.

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George Macdonald Watt

Late in the day around 1600, Manfred von Richthofen claimed a second victory when he claimed to have shot down 2nd Lieutenant George Macdonald Watt and Sergeant Ernest Adam Howlett from 16 Squadron RFC in BE2c 2814. Both men were killed.

It wasn’t all scout victories as Wilhelm Hippert and Heinrich Klose from FFA227 shot down Lieutenant W Anderson and Lieutenant Duncan B Woolley from 20 Squadron in their FE2d (A27). They were taken prisoner.

11 Squadron RFC and Jasta 2 clashed with Jasta 2 getting the better of the fight. Lieutenant Archibald Campbell Woodman and 2nd Lieutenant Reginald Charles Cox claimed to have shot down one enemy aircraft but were in turn shot down in their FE2b (4979). They crashed near Grevillers and totalled the aircraft, Cox was wounded but Woodman was unhurt. Lieutenant Norman Hatfield Read and 2nd Lieutenant Larry William Nevile-Smith in FE2b 7694 were also brought down but escaped unhurt. Their colleagues 2nd Lieutenant Russell Wilfred Cross and Lieutenant Christopher Fryers Lodge were less lucky as they were shot down and taken prisoner in their FE2b (7695). Werner Voss and Heinrich Gontermann both made claims but there is some confusion as to who did what though Cross and Lodge is traditionally attributed to Voss.

Voss also made a later claim to have shot down Lieutenant Theodore Algernon Cooch from 32 Squadron RFC in his DH2 (A2583). The aircraft was completely wrecked near Bapaume and Cooch was wounded in the back.

4 Squadron RFC were up on an artillery patrol when 2nd Lieutenant John Thwaytes and 2nd Lieutenant Gerald Hugh Temple Bourne in BE2c 2755 were brought down, most likely be anti-aircraft fire. Their plane was totally wrecked and both were killed. Their colleagues 2nd Lieutenant Norman Hay Colson and 2nd Lieutenant Harold Bagshaw Mann in BE2d 6740 were attacked by 6 enemy aircraft and shot down. Colson was injured but Mann escaped unhurt.

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Aaron Appleton

Jasta 18 made 2 claims. At around 1020, 2nd Lieutenant Alex Ivan Gilson from 1 Squadron RFC was shot down in spinning nosedive near during a combat with 8 enemy aircraft. Leutnant Paul Strähle claimed the victory. Two hours later, 2nd Lieutenant Aaron Appleton and Corporal Albert Cooper from 6 Squadron RFC were shot down in flames  in their BE2d (6241) following an attack by 5 enemy aircraft. Oberleutnant Heino Grieffenhagen claimed the victory. All four were killed.

11 March 1917 – Losses mount

After the poor weather of the last few days, the fighting int he air intensified again on the Western Front. In the event four major engagements took place.

Just after 10am 6 aircraft from 32 Squadron RFC and 12 from Jasta 12 clashed to the east of Bapaume. In the ensuing fight, 32 Squadron claimed to have downed one German aircraft and Jasta 12 claimed.

The Jasta 12 pilot was Leutnant Erkenbrecht who was shot at by Lieutentants Charles Edward Murray Pickthorn in DH2 7898, Gilbert Howe and Arthur Clunie Randall in DH2 A2548. Pickthorn and Howe both subsequently crash landed after being shot up. 2nd Lieutenant John Hassall Cross was also brought down in DH2 A5025.

Jasta 1 and Jasta 5 seem to have joined the fight and three more DH2s were shot up,  forced down and crashed. 2nd Lieutenant William Arnold Gemmell Young in DH2 7903, Captain James Milne Robb in DH2 A2535 and Lieutenant Randall. Remarkably none of the 32 Squadron pilots were killed though they all suffered injuries.

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Horace Bowden

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Eric Lubbock

While this was going on 45 Squadron and Jasta 18 clashed over Ypres. Jasta 18 came off best downing two of the patrol – 2nd Lieutenant Horace George Cecil Bowden and 2nd Lieutenant Douglas Baptist Stevenson in Sopwith Strutter A1071, and Captain The Hon Eric Fox Pitt Lubbock MC and Lieutenant John Thompson in Sopwith Strutter A1082. Leutnant Josef Flink claimed A1071 and Leutnant Paul Strähle A1082. All four men were killed.

The third big fight of the day took place between Jasta 1 and 5 and a flight of FE2bs from 18 and 23 Squadron RFC who were providing cover for photography.Two 23 Squadron aircraft were forced down with the crews taken prisoner. These were 2nd Lieutenant Charles Arthur Robert Shum and 2nd Lieutenant Frank Cecil Coops in FE2b 7713 and 2nd Lieutenant A Holden and 2nd Class Air Mechanic A G Walker in FE2b A5443. 2nd Lieutenant John Eric Lewis and Lieutenant Richard Mayberry from 18 Squadron were both wounded when they were forced down in their FE2b (A785). Their colleagues Sergeant Henry Philip Burgess 2nd Lieutenant Herbert Marshall Headley were less lucky and both were killed after their FE2b (A5475) was shot up and crashed.

Finally Jasta 11 got the better of the BE2s of 2 Squadron. 2nd Lieutenant George Chandos Hoskins and 2nd Lieutenant George William Betts Hampton in BE2c 4541 were sent down in flames in a spinning nosedive in the Loos Salient by Leutnant Karl Schaeffer. Manfred von Richthofen claimed to have brought down 2nd Lieutenant James Smyth and 2nd Lieutenant Edward Gordon Byrne in their BE2d (6232). Al four were killed.