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Remembered Today:

Robert Gregory


Trebrys
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The poem "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" was supposedly written by Yeats about his friend, Robert Gregory, who died on 23 January 1918. Gregory is buried at Padua in Italy, but does anyone know how he actually met his death?

Regards,

Trebrys.

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I have enclosed an excerpt for a piece I had published in Ulster Air Mail last year on Gregory

"Gregory did not do a lot of flying with the squadron; he did make approximately eleven flights that are logged as “Observing work of patrol” or similar. He led two patrols, one on 8 December a 130 minute Offensive Patrol, and on the 5 January 1918 he led an Escort Patrol lasting 155 minutes. There were also some test flights including a weather check and gun test. His last flight was on 23 January, the squadron record book list it as a Test? There were two Offensive Patrols that day. The first patrol of the day was led by 2/Lt Stanley Stanger, they left the aerodrome at 11.15, two pilots failed to return, (Stanger and ffrench. Stanger returned at a date unknown and ffrench return the next day, ffrench also had a wooden leg!). The second patrol departed at 11.20 and returned between 12.50 – 13.00 hrs. Gregory departed the aerodrome at 11.45 and was not seen again.

I have not been able to find out if he was or was not shot down by the Italians. My Italian contacts maintain that there were no Italian aeroplanes in that region on the day.

Captain Norman McMillan served with 45 Squadron in France and Italy and was eventually returned to H.E. following an accident in March 1918. In his book Offensive Patrol, which tells the story of the R.F.C., R.N.A.S and R.A.F. in Italy 1917-18 McMillan has quite a lot to say about the shooting down of his squadron commander Major Awdry (Bunney) Vaucour. Vaucour was shot down and killed by the Italian pilot Moresco on 16 July 1918. Moresco reported the incident to his superiors. The Commanding Officer of XV Group, Lt-Colonel E. Visconti signed a report about the incident and expressed the Italians’ deepest condolences. In the book McMillan simply notes that Gregory was “Killed. Flying accident”.

Further in the un-published memoirs of Frederick L. B. Burns a 66 squadron driver. He notes that he spoke to another driver who went to the crash. The driver related to Burns that an “Observers saw the Major’s Camel come down in a nose dive from a great height above the Asiago Plateau”. Burns then relates that he heard that the C.O. (Gregory) had been inoculated not long before his last flight and that he should not have flown so soon afterwards. The theory was that he had fainted and lost control. My own opinion is that Gregory suffered from a bout of Hypoxia, and that the inoculation may have been a contributing factor."

If you are interested in 66 Squadron, please visit my web page www.66squadron.co.uk which is continually being up dated.

john_g

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centurion,

Unfortunately the document does not say what he was inoculated for. It may be of further interest, but when a man joined the squadron the filled out a form called "Particulars of Officers Form" which as you would expect had next of kin, regiment, previous service and other details including Date of Inoculation, Gregory's is dated 1-9-1915, so perhaps this was a top up?

john_g

www.66squadron.co.uk

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John, do you, by chance, know the serial number of the Camel that Gregory was flying?

*EDIT* - found it on your site John. B'2475

cheers

Russ

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