27 Squadron RFC, 1916 continued
On 21 May
James Turner of 27 Sqn distinguished himself by capturing an enemy
aircraft from the ground. This
described in RFC Communiqué 37 below:
from ROYAL FLYING CORPS Communiqué 37
May 21st 1916
At about 2.45
a.m. on the 21st, the pilot on duty at 27 Sqn's aerodrome at
Treziennes was informed that a machine had been heard flying over the
aerodrome. The weather was very misty, and he prepared Very lights in
order to signal to the aeroplane. About 3 a.m. the machine was again
heard, and was seen over Isebergues. Lt. J. C. Turner, the orderly
pilot, fired one Very light. This was answered from the machine by
one white star-light. Lt. Turner again fired a red light and the
machine again replied with a white star-light. The aeroplane then
endeavoured to land but misjudged the landing and went round the
aerodrome again. By this time Lt. Turner had been able to see that
the machine had German markings, but the pilot was evidently under
the impression that he was landing at a friendly aerodrome. Lt.
Turner restrained the guard from firing, and ordered his machine to
be got ready. The hostile machine now landed successfully and taxied
up to the sheds where pilot and passenger at once surrendered.
29 May 1916 Capt.
Smith (27 Sqn) flew the aircraft mentioned in RFC Communiqué
37 from Hesdin to the Administrative Wing at Farnborough for
Smith records the aircraft, a German LVG serial 1543, as having
landed at Treizennes. (see Capt.
Smiths log entry below). Major Borton had flown the aircraft to
the RFC Depot St Omer for inspection on the 22 May (according to Chaz
Bowyer's 27 Squadron history "The Flying Elephants").
9.0 am LVG 1543 2 hrs 30 mins
"Hesdin - Farnborough, Delivered captured German machine to
Administrative Wing. Crossed Channel South Boulogne to Dungeness at
350 metres. Speed indication showing an average speed of 80-85
kilometres per hour. Machine very slow on controls & very nose
heavy when the engine is off. Engine 160 HP Benz."
1543 (over-painted with British markings!)
aircraft was later displayed at the Lord Mayor's Show in London 1916.
Squadron moved to Hesdin (St Andre-aux-Bois)
at the end of May 1916.
J C Turner with Capt.
Smith at 27 Sqn aerodrome Hesdin, France, June 1916.
from Communiqué 37 above describing Lt. Turners actions
as duty pilot in capturing a German aircraft (photograph above) and
its crew (Feldwebel Richter the pilot and Lt. Brandt the Observer).
Lt. Turner was
reported missing on 3 August 1916 following a raid on the airship
sheds at Cognelee. [Later confirmed dead, now buried at CWG cemetery
Namur. Aged 20.]
27 Sqn transport
Smith returned to France after a week's leave in England delivering
an FE 6 to St Omer.
FE 6A 1 1/2 hrs
Farnboro' to St Omer. Returned to France on 250 HP FE Rolls Royce
engine. Engine stopped after being shut off over St Omer aerodrome."
June 9 and 10
conducted a couple of short flights on Martinsyde 7269.
Editors note: On
June 13 Capt.
Smith was posted to command No.24 Reserve Squadron, Netheravon. He
had flown approximately 100 hours with No. 27 Sqn.
History note: The Battle of the Somme
The battle of the Somme commenced on 1 July 1916 and continued to 19
November 1916. Losses, killed and wounded, numbered over 600,000 men
on each side. The offensive also saw the first use of tanks (by the British).
all 21 Sqn officers as they are pictured in front of an RE7
(diagonal struts from lower to upper wing). Centre right appears to
be Capt. Jack Cooper of 21 Sqn, on the far left Capt. Kenneth
Pearson, 2nd right possibly 2 Lt.
Don Brophy. Others in the photo may include Creery, Duggan, Lee,
Goulding - mentioned in Brophy's diary see below.
No 27 Sqn
shared the airfield at Hesdin with 21 Sqn (as
the RFC HQ Wing Squadrons under Lt.
Col. Dowding) - see Orbat
contemporary account by RFC pilot Don Brophy of 21 Squadron (A rattle
of pebbles) can be found at this link
from the Canadian Forces Directorate of History and Heritage.
here for a list of officers serving in No 27 Squadron in this period