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inkerman

59 Squadron Raf

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inkerman

Can anyone help please? I am trying to discover where 59 sqn were based in October 1918, what type of aircraft they were using and also any information about John Cyril Walker kia or died 18 Oct 1918. Many thanks for your help

Richard Peters

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topgun1918

Richard

No 59 Squadron was at Beugnâtre (north-east of Bapaume) until 13 October 1918, moving from there to Caudry (south-east of Cambrai) where it remained until 28 November 1918. The squadron was equipped with the RE8 throughout its period of service on the Western Front.

2nd Lt Walker was killed in action in RE8 D4909 together with his pilot, Lt Thomas Henry Upfill. They were probably shot down by Ltn d R Heinrich Henkel of Jasta 37 as his 6th victory.

Graeme

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Roger Austin

According to Jeff Jefford's excellent book, 59 Squadron operated the RE.8 from Feb 1917 and began to re-equip with the Bristol F2b Fighter in Apr 1918 but they appear to have kept some RE.8s. They moved from Vert Galand to Beugnatre on 17 Sep 1918, to Caudry on 14 Oct 1918 and to Gerpinnes on 29 Oct 1918 - thus, on 18 Oct 1918, they were at Caudry which is 15 miles North of St Quentin. 'The Sky Their Battlefield' says that Lt T H Upfill and 2nd LT J C Walker of 59 Squadron took off at 2.30 p.m. and were both Killed In Action when forced to land by machine gun fire in RE.8 D4909 at D12.c.5.0. The aeroplane was unsalvable. Ltn H Henkel of Jasta 37 claimed an RE.8 at Solesmes (5 miles North of Caudry) at 4.45 p.m.

Roger Austin

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jdoyle

59 Squadron combat reports are available at TNA

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/details?Uri=C7158229

The CO from late 1917 to the Armistice was Co Westmeath born Charles Joseph MacKay MC DFC CdeG. Died late 1930 as a Wing Commander. He was in Dublin during the Easter Rising in 1916 recovering from a wound and held prisoner for a short while. His brother was held prisoner for the duration of the Easter Rising. I believe that Charles MacKay has some documents at TNA re his recollections of WW1 but have yet to see these.

Johnny

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topgun1918

The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force by James J Halley (my copy is dated 1980) shows No 59 Squadron as moving to Gerpinnes on 29 October 1918; nonetheless, both cited sources confirm the move to Caudry on 14 October 1918.

Nothing I have suggests that the squadron re-equipped with the Bristol Fighter; the RAF Order of Battle for 11 November 1918 shown in "Airmen Died in the Great War 1914-1918" shows the squadron at Caudry with RE8s. All of the squadron's flying casualties on the Western Front were incurred by RE8 crews and all of the victory claims that I have identified have been by RE8 crews - I doubt that this would have been the case if the squadron had retained only a few RE8s after April 1918.

The full entry in The Sky Their Battlefield reads "**NF mg fire EA? ftl (Lt TH Upfill/2Lt JC Walker KIA) unsalvable, left 2-30pm, shot down at D12.c.5.0[RE8 claim combat wSOLESMES 4-45pm Ltn H Henkel J37]"

Just to clarify the timing of events - Upfill and Walker took off at 14:30 (British time)/15:30 (German time); Henkel's claim was made at 16:45 (German time).

Graeme

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Roger Austin

Graeme (Topgun) may well be right. More than one reference says that 59 Squadron had the Bristol F2b but, as is often the case, they may be quoting each other. The correct answer is probably in J M Bruce's 'The Aeroplanes of the RFC (Mil Wg)' where he says that the F2b served with 59 Training Squadron - which never left England - rather than 59 Squadron.

Roger Austin.

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topgun1918

Hi Roger

I think you're right - No 59 (Training) Squadron flew a mixture of types, including the RE8, Bristol Fighter, DH6 and BE2e.

Graeme

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fetubi

As far as I know, 59 Sqn in France had just the one F2b - A7129, which turns up in a few AIR1 files - it comes onto 59 Sqn strength in April 18 and in June there was a Casualty Report from the 28th, describing a loop being performed on a test becoming unstuck and crashing, but with no injury. It then went to 2AD. It was an RE8 unit, for sure.

Regards,

Trevor

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topgun1918

Hi Trevor

Thanks for sorting that one out :thumbsup:

Graeme

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MikeMeech

Hi

Please note that Bristol Fighters were being introduced into Corps squadrons for long range artillery spotting from early 1918. Two machines were being taken from each Bristol Fighter squadron and sent to a selected Corps squadron in each RFC/RAF Brigade. They were equipped with both transmitter and receiver wireless. In March 1918 two were with 16, 10 and 35 Sqn. while one machine was with 12 and 15 Sqn. 'Good artillery pilots' were selected on each squadron to fly these machines.

Also it had been planned to introduce the Bristol Fighter (Arab engine), as a Corps machine, into Corps squadrons from April 1918 originally, however, as we know this did not happen. I expect that Corps pilots were keen to get their hands on the Bristol to try them out, hence odd ones appear in Corps Squadrons during 1918. This may have been the case with 59 Sqn.

Mike

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ICM - RAF Retd

Picking up Mike's point that 10 Sqn was one of those provided with 2 Bristol Fighters in early 1918, Lieutenant P R Mallinson, the Squadron Adjutant who had been a pilot until grounded with a head injury incurred in a crash, later confirmed that "pilots competed to fly these fine machines."

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fetubi

Hi Trevor

Thanks for sorting that one out :thumbsup:

Graeme

I'm glad I had something on it!

All the best,

Trevor

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mickdavis

59 Sqn was issued with Arab engined BFs during its time with the Army of Occupation - known serials are C9853, C9897, D2660, D2708, D2755, E1978, E1992, E2014, E2015, E2016, E2028, E2030, E2050, F5117 & F5118,

BTW - I have A7129 as being damaged looping on 28.6.1918 (overstrained??) with Lt GN Prout & Sgt E Nutter (nice name) both OK. The machine was passed to 2 ASD the next day.

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inkerman

Thankyou all for your help in shedding light on an otherwise obscure incident of the War. I know that the relatives of Lt Walker are very grateful to have this extra information and it will make the visit to his grave more poignant and meaningful

Richard Peters

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Graham McIntosh

My late Father was posted to 59 Squadron in the middle of March 1918. He lasted a week before the German offensive and was wounded in action, being sent back home to recover. The aircraft he flew were RE8s, though he said the Squadron had a couple of Bristol Fighters, mostly used for long range work, usually flown by the CO. I have one picture of an RE8 from his album, and a crashed Bristol, presumably at the front, as well as some recce(?) pics. Am researching his history in the RFC at the moment.

post-106940-0-00737000-1395485101_thumb.

post-106940-0-18013900-1395485107_thumb.

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Graham McIntosh

Here is one of the pics from my father's album, have gone cross-eyed looking at rivers and towns/cities in northern France and beyond trying to locate it, the annotations are mine. They could be from his training at Yatesbury but does not look like England to me. There are other pictures of this area, with paddle steamer in the river, but have given up looking for it on google at the moment to concentrate on other research into his RFC/RAF days.

post-106940-0-65999100-1395485619_thumb.

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SAS

I recently bought Upfill's military cross and a load of his paperwork so this information has proved very useful - I have ordered the combat reports for the squadron as I have details of some scraps they got in to and shot down a plane. Considering how slow the RE8 was I am surprised they shot anyone down.

Thanks everyone.

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madelaine

thupfill.jpg.6d37caad70e84fa0febdfae25a4326d5.jpg

This is the picture of TH Upfill which his school has in the records.  Not a great copy but there he is!  He was good at maths and the school, Repton College, still give a maths prize in his memory.

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josquin

 

More about Lieutenants Upfill and Walker:  2/Lt. Thomas Henry Upfill, born in 1897 at Hampstead, London, was the son of John Marshall Harvey Upfill &

Una Grace Upfill, and the family residence was in Kensington, London in 1911.  He served with the Royal Field Artillery prior to the R.F.C. and R.A.F. 

2/Lt. John Cyril Walker was born in 1899, at Hull, Yorkshire, joined the R.F.C. in 1917, and was Upfill's observer on their final flight.  Upfill was 21 years

old; Walker was 19.  Ltn. Heinrich Henkel, their 22-year old antagonist from Jasta 37, survived the war and was credited with bringing down 8 aircraft.

Josquin

Edited by josquin

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Angus75

The 100th anniversary of the death on my Great Uncle, John Short, is fast approaching.

 

Second Air Mechanic John Short was a wireless operator in the 59th Squadron and died on 5th March 1918 following 9 months of active service, aged 19. According to a newspaper report, he and a colleague were killed by a heavy artillery shell landing on the roof of their dugout. He is buried at Delsaux Farm Cemetery in Beugny. From what I have read about that cemetery, I assume he must have been killed somewhere relatively close by. 

 

I suspect I won't ever learn much more about his life and death in service, but I am curious to understand more about what his role was - I assume as a wireless operator he must have been relaying information to/from the reconnaissance flights being flown by the 59 Squadron at the time. Does anyone know where the squadron was based at that time?

 

many thanks

 

Angus

 

John Short.jpg

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MikeMeech
1 hour ago, Angus75 said:

The 100th anniversary of the death on my Great Uncle, John Short, is fast approaching.

 

Second Air Mechanic John Short was a wireless operator in the 59th Squadron and died on 5th March 1918 following 9 months of active service, aged 19. According to a newspaper report, he and a colleague were killed by a heavy artillery shell landing on the roof of their dugout. He is buried at Delsaux Farm Cemetery in Beugny. From what I have read about that cemetery, I assume he must have been killed somewhere relatively close by. 

 

I suspect I won't ever learn much more about his life and death in service, but I am curious to understand more about what his role was - I assume as a wireless operator he must have been relaying information to/from the reconnaissance flights being flown by the 59 Squadron at the time. Does anyone know where the squadron was based at that time?

 

many thanks

 

Angus

 

John Short.jpg

Hi

No. 59 Sqn. was based at Courcelles-le-Comte between 16 December 1917 to 22 March 1918.  2AM John Short No. 53657 and 2AM J Thomson No. 99631 were KIA on 5 March 1918. (data from 'Airmen Died in the Great War 1914-1918', DVD-ROM for individuals, they also appear 368 of TSTB II in the 'Accidents Addendum' ?).  I am assuming they were killed at an artillery unit they were attached to, here they would receive Morse code corrections from spotting aircraft and relay them to the battery they were with so as to get their artillery fire onto the target.

 

Mike

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Angus75
17 hours ago, MikeMeech said:

Hi

No. 59 Sqn. was based at Courcelles-le-Comte between 16 December 1917 to 22 March 1918.  2AM John Short No. 53657 and 2AM J Thomson No. 99631 were KIA on 5 March 1918. (data from 'Airmen Died in the Great War 1914-1918', DVD-ROM for individuals, they also appear 368 of TSTB II in the 'Accidents Addendum' ?).  I am assuming they were killed at an artillery unit they were attached to, here they would receive Morse code corrections from spotting aircraft and relay them to the battery they were with so as to get their artillery fire onto the target.

 

Mike

 

Hi Mike - wow, thank you so much.

 

Is there any way of working out what unit he was attached to at the time of his death?

 

Angus

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MikeMeech
21 minutes ago, Angus75 said:

 

Hi Mike - wow, thank you so much.

 

Is there any way of working out what unit he was attached to at the time of his death?

 

Angus

Hi

It may or may not be in the Squadron Records at the National Archives.  One clue, however, may be another 59 Sqn. casualty, 2AM G Holling who was wounded the following day, 6th March, when attached to 17th Division Artillery.  It may be that he was with one of their units when killed.

 

Mike

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Angus75
22 hours ago, MikeMeech said:

Hi

It may or may not be in the Squadron Records at the National Archives.  One clue, however, may be another 59 Sqn. casualty, 2AM G Holling who was wounded the following day, 6th March, when attached to 17th Division Artillery.  It may be that he was with one of their units when killed.

 

Mik

Thank you!

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Miranda M

Hello,

2Lt. W.T.S. (Stanley) CAIRNS, 59 Squadron

Can anyone help with more info on Squadron 59 POW's?  Or how to research this subject.  Also to find out more about his pilot Lt R Calrow(?) and what happened to him?  Did he survive WW1?  I think they were both taken prisoner.

I'm researching my grandpa 2Lt W.T.S.Cairns, 59 Squadron.  He was an observer.  I know that WTS Cairns was a POW in Germany at the end of the WW1.  Have found a reference in airhistory.org.uk (see below) and can see when he was captured 06.10.18 and repatriated.

There seems to have been some confusion over his initials.  As, he is listed as both WTJ and correctly as WTS Cairns.  Otherwise it seems hard to find any info about him online.  Did he win any medals in WW1? 

Does anyone know what all the codes stand for below?  Are some plane number plates?  D4687 RE4?

"Cairns,2Lt,WTJ,,,,59Sq France,06.10.18,PoW [D4687 RE8] Missing - repatriated 13.12.18 (Obs). Lt R Calrow missing,CasCards,266891,42524,,181006,

CAIRNS Cairns,2Lt,WTS,,,,59Sq,06.10.18,PoW [D4687 RE8] Missing on recce. Lt R Calrow PoW/2Lt WTS Cairns PoW [shown as WTJ Cairns],CasBook,AIR 1/969 p343,42525,,181006,CAIRNS Cairns,2Lt,WTS,,,,59Sq,06.10.18,missing [D4687 RE8] Missing on NF patrol. Lt R Calrow missing/2Lt WTS Cairns missing,CasRep,AIR 1/860,42526,,181006,CAIRNS Cairns,2Lt,WTS,W T S,,RFC,,06.10.18,PoW. repat:13.12.18,PoW,,42527,,181006,CAIRNS"

Stanley Cairns died in his late 50's, in the 1950's in Bridge of Allan, Scotland soon after he retired from a career in N.E. India as a railway engineer.  He was born in Co. Mayo but grew up in Scotland from the age of 10.  

 

Thank you for this great forum.  It has helped me glean a bit more about my grandpa.

 

Miranda M

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