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Mark Abbott

47 Squadron South Russia

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Mark Abbott

I am currently researchin 980 WO1 Arthur Watkin RAF, who served with the Grenadier Guards, RFC and RAF.

From his copy service papers, I know he served with 47 Squadron in South Russia and received a Russian Medal of Zeal for his services.

Does anyone have any photographs of the squadron?

Mark

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Dolphin

Mark

There's not a great deal of information available regarding No 47 Sqn's activities in South Russia. To compound the difficulties, the squadron's flights (one with Sopwith Camels, and the other two with DH 9/DH 9As) operated as more or less autonomous units, though all were under the command of Major Raymond Collishaw DSO DSC. The conditions in South Russia in 1919 meant that very few photographs survived.

Three books spring to mind:

"Over the Balkans and South Russia" by H A Jones (the history of No 47 Sqn RFC/RAF) [iSBN 0 947898 62 X];

"Air Command" by AVM Raymond Collishaw [iSBN 0 7183 0073 4]; and

"Last Train Over Rostov Bridge" by Capt Marion Aten DFC [no ISBN].

Capt Aten was one of the most successful fighter pilots in the theatre, but his book is most disappointing, with very little detail on the air fighting.

Anyway, I've attached a photograph of DH 9s from C flight.

I hope this helps.

post-25-1078055922.jpg

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Dolphin

Mark

I'm pleased to assist

The nearest aircraft in the photograph, F1202, was sent to South Russia on 21 April 1919 and was with No 47 Sqn by 3 June and in flying condition by 4 July. On 3 November it went into store from 'A' Detachment Instructional Mission (No 47 Sqn's successor) and was later sold to the General Wrangel's forces.

A photograph of another No 47 Sqn aircraft, Capt S M Kinkead's Sopwith F.1 Camel (probably F1955) is below - note the Imperial Russian roundels. He was credited with 3 victories over Russia, but may have shot down as many as 10 opponents.

Another book worth consulting is "The Day We Almost Bombed Moscow" by Dobson and Miller [iSBN 0 340 33723 0].

Cheers

post-25-1078057669.jpg

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Mark Abbott

This is obviously a very interesting subject needing further study. I will try to obtain the books you mention through inter library loan.

Arthur Watkin had an intereting career. He joined the Grenadier Guards in time to serve in the Boer War and served with the regiment's Mounted Infantry detachment. For his services he received the QSA and the KSA. He became the Drill Sergeant of the 1st Btn and joined the RFC in 1913. Service in France and Russia followed, earning him the 1914-15 trio and Russian Medal of Zeal. He also received an Army LSGC medal, a Meritorious Service Medal and a bronze Royal Victorian Medal ( for services at the funeral of Edward V11).

Sadly all I have is his LSGC and MSM.

All I need is a photo and the other medals !!

Best wishes

Mark

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Dolphin

Mark

As he was a member of the RFC before the War, there's a short mention of 980 WO A Watkin in "A Contemptible Little Flying Corps" by McInnes and Webb [iSBN 0 948130 98 9]. It doesn't add much to what you've written, but it's there.

Cheers

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David Seymour

Mark,

When we commemorated Old Thetfordian Bill Ambrose in our Remembrance Service in November 2000 we had excellent support from 47 Sqn. Bill was shot down over the Med in 1943 flying in a 47 Sqn Beaufighter. The Sqn lent us various choice items from its museum. I wonder whether a letter to the CO might unearth something in the Sqn museum. 47 Sqn is based at Lyneham.

Good luck.

Regards,

David

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Mark Abbott

David,

Many thanks. I'll give it a go.

Regards,

Mark

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David Seymour

Mark,

I look forward to hearing how you get on with 47 Sqn.

Good luck.

David

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David Seymour

According to the RAF website it was sent in April 1919.

Regards,

David

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Dolphin

One flight from No 47 Sqn left Salonika in the SS Warpointer on 16 April 1919 and arrived in Novorossik on 24 April. The remainder of the squadron followed until the unit was struck of the strength of the RAF's 16th Wing, ie considered to be established on its own in Russia, on 28 May.

Major R Collishaw took command on 13 June 1919 and arrived at the Squadron's Headquarters at Ekaterinodar with 7 officers and 179 other ranks of his reinforcement party on 11 July. The unit ceased to be No 47 Sqn in October 1919, becoming 'A' Squadron, RAF Training Mission, an operational instruction unit to the anti-Bolshevik forces. Collishaw remained in command until 31 March 1920.

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Igor Ostapenko

Capt S M Kinkead's Awards

Mark

I'm pleased to assist

The nearest aircraft in the photograph, F1202, was sent to South Russia on 21 April 1919 and was with No 47 Sqn by 3 June and in flying condition by 4 July. On 3 November it went into store from 'A' Detachment Instructional Mission (No 47 Sqn's successor) and was later sold to the General Wrangel's forces.

A photograph of another No 47 Sqn aircraft, Capt S M Kinkead's Sopwith F.1 Camel (probably F1955) is below - note the Imperial Russian roundels. He was credited with 3 victories over Russia, but may have shot down as many as 10 opponents.

Another book worth consulting is "The Day We Almost Bombed Moscow" by Dobson and Miller [iSBN 0 340 33723 0].

Cheers

post-7013-1179237541.jpg

post-7013-1179237549.jpg

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Igor Ostapenko
This is obviously a very interesting subject needing further study. I will try to obtain the books you mention through inter library loan.

Arthur Watkin had an intereting career. He joined the Grenadier Guards in time to serve in the Boer War and served with the regiment's Mounted Infantry detachment. For his services he received the QSA and the KSA. He became the Drill Sergeant of the 1st Btn and joined the RFC in 1913. Service in France and Russia followed, earning him the 1914-15 trio and Russian Medal of Zeal. He also received an Army LSGC medal, a Meritorious Service Medal and a bronze Royal Victorian Medal ( for services at the funeral of Edward V11).

Sadly all I have is his LSGC and MSM.

All I need is a photo and the other medals !!

Best wishes

Mark

Information about Russian medal FOR ZEAL from British Archives ?

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James A Pratt III

Airfix Magazine Aug 1970 Photopage P596 has some pictures taken in South Russia by a member of 47 Squadron. 3 of DH 9's, 1 of an RE 8, and 1 of a White Russian Neiuport. On the Aerodrome.com they have said that Aten did not shoot down a single plane while he was South Russia. See them for more information on this man.

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David Seymour

Mark,

Any luck with OC 47 Sqn.?

David

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RFT
Airfix Magazine Aug 1970 Photopage P596 has some pictures taken in South Russia by a member of 47 Squadron...

Hello James

Its such a shame that more photographs of No 47 Squadrons exploits in South Russia have not appeared on the market or indeed in publications.

Initially there were 5 photographers serving with No. 47 but 3 appear to have embarked in June/July 1919. AC1 Sinclair is known to have served with 'C' Flight from 1 May 1919 to 28 Aug 1919 and AC2 Beal, also with 'C' Flight, from 9 July 1919.

If you have not already done so you may wish to check out 'Cross & Cockade' international journal and also 'The RFC/RNAS Handbook 1914-18' by Peter G. Cooksley. The latter has a photo depicting several of the officers of No 47.

Rob

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alex revell

One section of the RAF's effort in Russia in 1919 seems to have been overlooked. In his book 'An Airfighter's Scrapbook' Ira Jones tells how he went to Russia with an RAF force under the command of Geoffrey 'Beery' Bowman. The force landed first at Archangel and were later based at Beresnick, where Bowman was in command of No. 3 Squadron, although Jones points out that this was 'not the original No.3 Squadron, but merely a local allocation'. This force went out to Russia, arriving in June 1919 and finally left in the middle of September. The chapter in the book contains Jones' diary entries. He does not mention Collishaw or 47 Squadron, neither does Collishaw mention this force in 'Air Command'. Jones witnessed Kosikoff' death and states that Kosikoff died in his arms. Perhaps someone more informed of the chaotic and complicated conditions of the fighting in this period in Russia can offer some insight into this 'other' RAF force in Russia. Were they perhaps on a different part of the front to 47 Squadron. Incidently Collishaw does mention that 'his' 47 Squadron was not the original, although Jefford in his RAF Squadron book gives it as the original. There are several articles and photos in the old magazine, Popular Flying, about 47 Squadron's activities on the Russian front.

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RFT

Hello Alex Revell

The British Government decided to give support to General Denikin in his fight against the Soviet Government in South Russia, and No.47 Squadron was chosen as part of the R.A.F. contribution to that campaign. Raymond Collishaw took command on 13 June 1919 and remained with it until 31st March 1920. The squadron was different to that having served in Macedonia in that it required 4 specially equipped trains to serve three Flights ('A,' 'B,' and 'C') and the fourth for H.Q. Staff. Each flight operated as a separate and self contained unit.

I am aware of one article by AC2 E. Reynolds which featured in Popular Flying and would be pleased to know of the others, if you can oblige.

I believe Ira Jones' book is based on his experiences in North Russia and have yet to read a recently acquired 1st edition.

Rob

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august g blume

British aviation units served in North Russia, No.1, No.2 and No.3 Slavo-British Sqds. (also known as the Slavo-Brtish Air Corps - S.B.A.C.) South Russia with No.47 Sqd, A Detachment and Z Flight served on the Tsaritsyn and other South Russian fronts, and the Caspian Sea, with No.221 Sqd, and No.266 Sqd.. Seaplane carriers and seaplane flights served in all three theatres.

Capt. J.L.T. "Ira" "Taffy" Jones arrived at Murmansk in North Russia in June 1919; on 4 August 1919, Jones and his observer Parcel, on a D.H.9A, were unhurt when they crash landed on take off at Bereznik. Their machine ran into an Avro 504 and the wreck of Kozakov's Sopwith Snipe 7F1 E6350. Polkovnik A.A. Kozakov was killed in the crash of his Snipe on 3 August 1919. Jones claimed to have helped pulled his body from the wreckage.

Major Raymond Collishaw served as commander of No.47 Sqd. in South Russia. The unit was composed of volunteers from No.47 Sqd.which had served on the Macedonia Front.

Jones and Collishaw never served together during their service in Russia.

Hoping this will stimulate more research into Allied Intervention in Russia.

Best regards, agblume

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RFT

'Z' Flight, R.A.F., of the late Instructional Mission, South Russia was formed 30th November 1919. The O.C. was Squadron Leader J. O. Archer who was in command from formation of Flight to early January 1920.

The No.47 Squadron 'volunteers' were a mixture of R.F.C., R.N.A.S., and R.A.F. men, many of whom had seen service on the various fronts during the war. Almost all had been asked individually to volunteer for service. They disembarked Novorossisk, South Russia on 9th July 1919 and, after travelling to Ekaterinodar, were available for duty from the 11th.

Best regards

Rob

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RFT
A photograph of another No 47 Sqn aircraft, Capt S M Kinkead's Sopwith F.1 Camel (probably F1955) is below - note the Imperial Russian roundels.

Would appreciate information on the roundels depicted on the photograph attached to the original message. I cannot access the photo and would very much welcome copy of same. Are these roundels red, yellow and blue?

Thanks in anticipation.

Rob

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Dolphin
Would appreciate information on the roundels depicted on the photograph attached to the original message. I cannot access the photo and would very much welcome copy of same. Are these roundels red, yellow and blue?

Thanks in anticipation.

Rob

Rob

Here's the photo of Camel F1955. The roundels are similar to one of the variations of the Imperial Russian markings, ie (from outside) red, blue and white.

Regards

Gareth

post-45-1195614499.jpg

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RFT

Gareth

Many thanks for the information on the roundels. I am trying to establish if 47 'A' Squadron aircraft carried the blue, red and yellow roundels for it is known that they possessed their own flag (red, yellow and blue). Consequently they were the only RAF squadron ever to fly without the inspiration of the RAF Ensign. To this day the pilots of No 47 wear a red, yellow, and blue flash in recognition of this.

Do you have any connection with No.47 Squadron?

Rob

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