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70 Sqn. Casualty on X date - ?


yossarian

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Hi folks,

I am trying to find the name of a casualty (KIA) on the 15 September 1916. He was Lt. Arthur Keen's observer, 70 Sqn.

For your perusal.

September 15th 1916

I have managed to rouse myself enough to write you a line as I am just about feeling all in. We have had some day, it seems to me to have been more like a year. My observer, one of the very best was wounded & by the time I had got him back he had bled to death. This was early around about dawn, later on I had an engine failure & glided into an aerodrome where I found Pip Pinsent & Hill....

Any help would be most appreciated, we are looking but someone here might have just the reference.

Kind regards.

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Hi youssarian

70 Squadron lost 4 men on the 15th Sept.

Lieutenant William Bell Saint 15th September 1916 - 70th Squadron and 1st/10th Bn. Royal Scots. Age 23. Son of Henry Bell Saint and Anna Maria Saint of Selbourne, Monkseaton, Northumberland. Buried Tincourt New British Cemetery Plot X, grave B.1

Captain Ferdinand Goncalves Glenday 15th September 1916 - 70th Squadron. and 12th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers. Age 24. Son of Alexander and Marie Louise Baptista Lopes Glenday. Buried Beauval Communal Cemetery grave A.16

Captain Guy Lindsey Cruikshank DSO, MC 15th September 1916 - 70th Squadron. and 1st Bn. Gordon Highlanders. Age 26. Son of James and Marie Cruikshank, of 4, Devonshire House, Devonshire Place, Eastbourne. Buried Hesbecourt Communal Cemetery grave 8.

Lieutenant Rudolph Arthur Preston MC 15th September 1916 - 70th Squadron. Age 23. Son of Arthur James and Christina Maria Dundas Preston. Buried Hesbecourt Communal Cemetery grave 9.

Assuming Cruikshank flew with Preston, it would be either Saint or Glenday

Regards

John

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Hi youssarian

Lars is right I have just checked Airmen died and The Sky Their Battlefield and none of the above are listed as flying with Arthur Keen on that day.

Cruickshank, observer, was killed with Preston, the pilot, in Strutter A895

Glenday, observer, was killed in Strutter A1913 with Captain C K Cochrane-Patrick, the pilot, unhurt

Saint, observer, died of wounds in Strutter A1910 with Lt F H Bowyer, the pilot, being taken POW. He was repatriated 7th Jan 1918.

2nd Lieutenant Carl John Beatty, observer, was also killed that day in Strutter A1903, but he is listed as flying with 2nd Lieutenant N Kemsley, the pilot, who survived. CWGC has Beatty flying with 7th Squadron, which is why I missed him earlier. Airmen Died and The Sky Their Battlefield both say 70th Squadron.

These are the only casualties to 70th Squadron that day, I have also checked the other squadrons and there is no aircraft listed with Keen as one of the crew on that date. Could the date be wrong?

Regards

John

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Apart from the previously-mentioned casualties I note that on 14 Sept 1916 EW Burke was killed - Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter (A1908), and a JH Gale was killed (in A897??) on the same date.

It's of course possible that Keen wished to mention something that had been troubling him from a previous incident, e.g. many pilots' memoirs or letters home often refer to an incident but they're trying to convey the significance to them and so sometimes a date may be changed to something more immediate or recent than it had actually been. (In many published memoirs there's a tendency to have a fatality for dramatic effect, i.e. the pilot or observer may not necessarily have been all that friendly with the casualty concerned but it makes for better reading to have a 'poor chap: when I look at the piano in the mess I always think of him ... ' and similar types of phrase).

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From C&C U.S. Vol.20 No.4

The reconnaissance flight was attacked by Jasta 2.

2/Lts F.H. Bowyer and W.B. Saint were killed near Hesbecourt

Capt. Cochrane-Patrick and Glenday came under attack Glenday shot down 1 opponent before being seriously wounded himself

Capt. Cochrane-Patrick extracted himself from the fight and flew back to base but his observer Glenday succumbed to wounds in the hospital the same day.

Capt. Cruickshank and Lt. R.A. Preston in Sopwith A895 were attacked by Boelke and eventually shot down to their deaths.

The forth machine of the flight returned to Fienvillers with its observer 2/Lt C.J. Beatty, also killed.

The pilot of the 4th machine is not mentioned.

to add. looking back to the 28th of August Keen is mentioned flying with Glenday and they along with Capt Salmond with Lt Stewart both put in claims for enemy aircraft OOC.

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OOC

2/Lt C.J. Beatty was the observer to 2nd Lieutenant N Kemsley, according to Airmen Died and The Sky Their Battlefield

Airmen Died lists all the fatalities of the Squadron in alphabetical order, in the rear of the book, not got the book in front of me at present, but believe the figure was about 30-40 names. I will search for all of them over the weekend against their entries in the book to see whether any are listed flying with Keen.

Regards

John

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Thanks for the impressive response chaps.

Arthur was sometimes a little vague with dates, occasionally leaving them out altogether and leaving us to estimate from the Field Post Office frank on envelopes and other clues. The date of the 15th September came from the letter without the year. We placed the year using the context and type he was flying etc. If we can identify his observer the story opens a little as it the event happens during a particularly stressful time for Arthur (other letters and further research open up the episode).

We know Arthur flew with Glenday, but it wasn't him (other sources) as reported by Gareth earlier.

For your interest here is the rest of the letter's content. Syd, my co-writer/researcher will be along soon to perhaps add something to the conversation.

September 15th

I have managed to rouse myself enough to write you a line as I am just about feeling all in. We have had some day, it seems to me to have been more like a year. My observer, one of the very best was wounded & by the time I had got him back he had bled to death. This was early around about dawn, later on I had an engine failure & glided into an aerodrome where I found Pip Pinsent & Hill. This evening Bill Deeley came and looked me up which bucked me no end.
I shall never forget today, I have seen some of the most wonderful shows on land and in the air. If tomorrow is as bad I shall just about peter out. Today I either went to sleep or fainted for a few seconds in the air. I must go to sleep now.
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Hi yossarian

Over the weekend I'll review to Airmen Died and The Sky Their Battlefield and see what I can find, will start with 15th September 1917 and 1918. The squadron was formed on April 22, 1916 so it can't be 1915.

There are 12 RFC fatalities recorded on the CWGC for 15th September 1917, unfortunately most do not show a squadron and those that do are not from 70th. There are 21 fatalities on the CWGC for 15th September 1918 unfortunately most do not show a squadron and those that do are not from 70th - That would be too easy

Regards

John

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From C&C U.S. Vol.20 No.4

The reconnaissance flight was attacked by Jasta 2.

2/Lts F.H. Bowyer and W.B. Saint were killed near Hesbecourt

Capt. Cochrane-Patrick and Glenday came under attack Glenday shot down 1 opponent before being seriously wounded himself

Capt. Cochrane-Patrick extracted himself from the fight and flew back to base but his observer Glenday succumbed to wounds in the hospital the same day.

Capt. Cruickshank and Lt. R.A. Preston in Sopwith A895 were attacked by Boelke and eventually shot down to their deaths.

The forth machine of the flight returned to Fienvillers with its observer 2/Lt C.J. Beatty, also killed.

The pilot of the 4th machine is not mentioned.

to add. looking back to the 28th of August Keen is mentioned flying with Glenday and they along with Capt Salmond with Lt Stewart both put in claims for enemy aircraft OOC.

Hi Wace, thanks for that.

This is an interesting and similar event but Arthur states that his observer bled-out and died on the way home. Does this refer to the 15th September '16?

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Apart from the previously-mentioned casualties I note that on 14 Sept 1916 EW Burke was killed - Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter (A1908), and a JH Gale was killed (in A897??) on the same date.

It's of course possible that Keen wished to mention something that had been troubling him from a previous incident, e.g. many pilots' memoirs or letters home often refer to an incident but they're trying to convey the significance to them and so sometimes a date may be changed to something more immediate or recent than it had actually been. (In many published memoirs there's a tendency to have a fatality for dramatic effect, i.e. the pilot or observer may not necessarily have been all that friendly with the casualty concerned but it makes for better reading to have a 'poor chap: when I look at the piano in the mess I always think of him ... ' and similar types of phrase).

Airshipped,

Another interesting connection... how sure can we be that the letter refers to events on the 15th -- I'm not sure. He may have written it beyond midnight of course having had the experience during the day. However, he was pretty strung out: I imagine he would have turned in early - that or gone to the Mess and done the usual thing. We have more research to do around the squadron compliment but it was a very dynamic situation around that time.

Oh for Arthur's logbook! We are sure it survived but have no clue as to where it ended up.

Thanks for the input.

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Page 295 of U.S. C&C Vol.20 No.4 'A Short History of 70 Squadron, RFC/RAF 1916-1919' by Colin Waugh

Hi Yossarian, Here is how it reads.

"15 September was to become another disastrous day for the squadron as they were completely outfought by the speedier, more maneuverable enemy Albatros fighters. The reconnaissance flight bound for Cambrai reached their target and spotted no less than 40 trains in the area, although that information was to prove costly in bringing it back to Fienvillers. Jasta 2 attacked the flight and 2/Lts. F.H. Bowyer and W.B. Saint were both killed near Hesbecourt. The 23 year old Saint was from Monkseaton and was attached to the RFC from the Royal Scots since January 1916 and had joined No. 70 Squadron on 21 May 1916.

Capts. Patrick and Glenday then also came under attack. Glenday managed to shoot down one of his opponents before he was seriously wounded by the enemys fire. Hptm. Oswald Boelke then attacked Capt. Cruickshank and Lt. R.A. Preston in Sopwith A895 and after a long combat the German ace shot them down to their deaths near Eterpigny. Capt. Cochrane-Patrick then extracted himself from the fight and flew back to his base but his observer succumbed to his wounds in the hospital on the same day. Capt. Glenday, a 24 year old youth from Bury, has been promoted to Capt. in the Northumberland Fusiliers in March 1915 and had then applied to enter the RFC as an observer, joining No. 70 Squadron in August 1916.

The fourth machine of the reconnaissance flight returned to Fienvillers with its observer 2/Lt. C.J. Beatty, also killed. The squadron gained little consolation from the fact that No. 27 Squadron acted upon the information gained from that ill fated flight and that they had bombed some of the trains. As further consolation for their casualty losses, during a later offensive patrol Lts. Vaucour and Bott attacked an enemy aircraft which escaped them. They were then approached by 3 enemy fighter which attacked their Sopwith from behind. Bott fired off short accurate bursts and in trying to maneuver out of the line of his fire, two of his attackers collided and crashed."

The previous day on the 14th Cochrane-Patrick lost his observer Lt. Burke in a similar way. Burke died before landing.

The 16th says no opposition on reconnaissance to Cambrai

The 17th Nixon and Wood were lost.

In this history, I cannot find any other entry for Lt. Keen other than the victory claim on August 25th.

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Hi Wace,

Thanks again for your efforts, we may have something. I have tried to read it carefully so that I don't draw incorrect conclusions but the third para may contain the answer?

The fourth machine of the reconnaissance flight returned to Fienvillers with its observer 2/Lt. C.J. Beatty, also killed.

The pilot of this aircraft isn't mentioned which leaves me to conclude that it may be Keen?

It is from 70 Sqn, it was part of the recce* on the day in question and the observer died in flight by the look of it.

This would seem to match the information within the letter, indeed the circumstances* were pretty dire with an outcome that would shake the sturdiest let alone someone fairly new to the game. Arthur had been on the squadron for two and a half months which in one sense was quite a long time but in reality, not long at all.

Can anyone find a hole in my logic?

*Cambrai: Well behind the lines and a central movements area for the Germans.

*Circumstances: The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, 1916 - http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/flers.htm

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Thanks for that Lars, I'm on a goose chase after finding this and other references here from earlier. I should read more carefully.

Back to the drawing board... from the written evidence and AWK's service, the date 15 Sept 1916 is correct unless he wrote the wrong date at his letterhead.

Beatty was also Oswald Boelcke's 26th victim as noted in Johannes Werner's 2009, Knight of Germany: Oswald Boelcke German Ace. Brian M

In case you don't have this information, 2Lt C J Beatty of No 70 Sqn RFC, was flying as the observer in Sopwith 1½ Strutter A1903, flown by 2Lt N Kemsley, on an Offensive Patrol when the aeroplane was damaged by enemy fire and forced to land. 2Lt Kemsley survived, but 2Lt Beatty was killed in the crash. Perth Digger

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Hi John et al.

It certainly isn't Glenday. Any further thoughts upon Lt William B. Saint?

I have searched heavily using normal resources but do not have some of the specialist document some clearly have here.

ATB

Norman

Hi youssarian

70 Squadron lost 4 men on the 15th Sept.

Lieutenant William Bell Saint 15th September 1916 - 70th Squadron and 1st/10th Bn. Royal Scots. Age 23. Son of Henry Bell Saint and Anna Maria Saint of Selbourne, Monkseaton, Northumberland. Buried Tincourt New British Cemetery Plot X, grave B.1

Captain Ferdinand Goncalves Glenday 15th September 1916 - 70th Squadron. and 12th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers. Age 24. Son of Alexander and Marie Louise Baptista Lopes Glenday. Buried Beauval Communal Cemetery grave A.16

Captain Guy Lindsey Cruikshank DSO, MC 15th September 1916 - 70th Squadron. and 1st Bn. Gordon Highlanders. Age 26. Son of James and Marie Cruikshank, of 4, Devonshire House, Devonshire Place, Eastbourne. Buried Hesbecourt Communal Cemetery grave 8.

Lieutenant Rudolph Arthur Preston MC 15th September 1916 - 70th Squadron. Age 23. Son of Arthur James and Christina Maria Dundas Preston. Buried Hesbecourt Communal Cemetery grave 9.

Assuming Cruikshank flew with Preston, it would be either Saint or Glenday

Regards

John

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Not Saint either:

"No 70 Sqn suffered badly that day. As well as A1913, 2Lt C J Beatty was killed in A1903, Capt G L Cruickshank and Lt R A Preston were killed in A895, and Lt W B Saint was killed in A1910, while his pilot, Lt F H Bowyer, was taken Prisoner of War."

Lars

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I see Lars has just beaten me to it.

70 Squadron's casualties on 15 September 1916 were:

Strutter A1913 - Capt William John Charles Kennedy-Cochran-Patrick (Ok) + Capt Ferdinand Goncalves Glenday (Kia)

Strutter A1910 - 2nd Lt Frederick Hugh Bowyer (Pow) + 2nd Lt William Bell Saint (Kia)

Strutter A1903 - 2nd Lt Neville Kemsley (Ok) + 2nd Lt Carl John Beatty (Kia)

Strutter A895 - Capt Guy Lindsay Cruikshank (Kia) + Lt Rudolph Arthur Preston (Kia)

Nothing in any of my databases shows Keen returning with a dead or dying observer on any date.

Graeme

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Was thinking about this again this morning. Keen very well might not have been one of the 4 aircraft in the above flight, but part of a much larger formation tasked for that day and the attack that was happening. If no aircraft were lost in Keens flight, there probably wouldn't be record of it in the usual 2nd hand sources. The dawn sortie apparently wasn't the only one that day either.

A 1st hand account of the 15th is written by Capt. Alan Bott an observer from 70 Sqn. in 'Cavalry of the Clouds' free to read found here

https://archive.org/details/cavalryclouds00bottgoog

Although coming across a little glamourized, details can be picked out about the day and the events.

I believe that this story about what happened that day has probably been the victim of a typo from who knows when that has been perpetuated time and again. Who were the pilots and who were the observers? was A1903 and A1913 switched or combined at some point?

'Jasta War Chronology' Franks Bailey and Duiven says A1903 was Beatty and Glenday as Boelkes 26th

'Above the Lines' Franks Bailey and Guest says A1903 was Boelkes 26th

'The Sky Their Battlefield' Henshaw says A1903 Kemsley and Beatty with Beatty killed in a crash.

2 first hand accounts, the C&C article and the above book 'Cavalry of the Clouds' identify Beatty as dying in flight described similar to The Keen letter but no pilot was mentioned. What is the 1st hand source saying Kemsley was the pilot?

If I were you, I would try to obtain the following records as 1st hand source documents.

AIR1/845, 204/5/374 for RFC casualty reports for September 1916

AIR 1/1226/204/5/2634 for combat reports for 70 Squadron 01 September 1916 - 30 November 1918 This one should tell you by witness and claim reports who were manning what aircraft.

and maybe

AIR 1/1434/204/33/12 for History Data for 70 Squadron

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Wace,

Thanks again: your analysis is running along similar lines to ours. Primary sources and those that corroborate provide better answers to these questions.

Your references will be very useful, thanks for taking the time to help.

The same is true for all responders, your encyclopaedic knowledge base, generous help, patience and expertise are really appreciated!

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Evening yossarian

As promised, I have gone through Airmen Died to identify the observers killed with 70th Squadron whilst it was an RFC Squadron, and cross referenced the casualties against those listed in The Sky Their Battlefield and have listed my findings below. As you believe the fatality occurred before April 1918, I have not checked the RAF casualties, although a similar exercise can be performed if requested. The squadron suffered 84 fatalities whilst an RFC squadron of which 36 were observers. Of those also mentioned in The Sky Their Battlefield NONE appear to have flown with Lieutenant Keen when they became fatalities. Some however, are listed as casualties where the pilot is not listed or who do not appear in The Sky Their Battlefield, presumably because their plane was not shot down. Of these, the most obvious candidate is LIEUTENANT CECIL WILLIAM HARDMAN who is listed as killed whilst flying on 21st September 1916. This is based on the fact that his pilot is not known and that he became a fatality in September 1916, the month you believe the letter was wrote. The full list of observer fatalities are:

2nd Lieut. Frederick Allinson - 27th March 1917

2nd Lieut. Carl John Beatty - 15th September 1916

Lieut. Trevor Moutray Bennet - 10th November 1916

AMII William James Bond - 24th April 1917

AMII George Dwight Breakfield - 9th May 1917

2nd Lieut. Edward William Burke - 14th September 1917

2nd Lieut. Norman Butterworth - 9th May 1917

Lieut. Harry Athelston Chuter - 25th March 1917

Lieut. George Lushington Colomb - 22nd November 1916

2nd Lieut. Guy Newsome Cousans - 9th September 1916

Capt. Guy Lindsey Cruickshank - 15th September 1916

2nd Lieut. Andrew John Tuke Cruickshank - 8th July 1916

Lieut. Harold Forester Duncan - 29th March 1917

Bombardier Eric Fletcher - 13th July 1917

Lieut. Benjamin Lester Franklin - 4th May 1917

AMII Edward Gilchrist - 6th July 1917

Sergeant Arthur M. Giles - 3rd June 1917

Capt. Ferdinand Goncalves Glenday - 15th September 1916

AMI Arthur Grundy - 26th September 1916

2nd Lieut. John Welby Gunton - 9th August 1916

Lieut. Cecil William Hardman - 21st September 1916

Capt. Frederick William Harley - 2rd June 1917

2nd Lieut. Francis Matt Lawledge 10th October 1916

2nd Lieut. Alexander Norman MacQueen - 25th March 1917

2nd Lieut. Charles Eric MaCrea - 10th November 1916

Lieut. Leslie Archibald Norris - 25th March 1917

2nd Lieut. Robert Claude Oakes - 19th July 1917

Gunner Charles Rapley Pearce - 24th August 1916

2nd Lieut. Ivan Lapworth Pinson - 4th May 1917

Lieut. William Bell Saint - 15th September 1917

Lieut. John Moir Sim - 25th March 1917

Corporal Jeffrey McVicar Strathy - 14th September 1916

2nd Lieut. Leicester Frederick Struben - 16th November 1916

Lieut. George William Swan - 24th March 1917

AMI Henry Percy Warminger - 25th August 1916

Capt. John Leo Whitty - 8th July 1916

Assuming I am right about Lieutenant Hardman, a search on the CWGC website shows that Lieutenant Hardman was the son of William Stevens Hardman and Florence Elizabeth Hardman, of 74, Hertford Rd., East Finchley, London. He had previously served with the 23rd Bn. Middlesex Regiment and was 28 years old when he was killed. He is buried in Plot 1 Row F Grave 11 in Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery Extension.

Regards

John

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According to the Casualty Book (AIR1/967) and Casualty Report (AIR1/845), Hardman and his pilot, 2nd Lt Vernon Leslie Morgan, were killed on 21 September 1916 when Strutter A1915 stalled and nose-dived at about 150ft just after taking off on a practice flight. Morgan is buried in Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery Extension, grave reference I. F. 10.

Graeme

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topgun

Thanks for that. I assume I didn't see them in The Sky Their Battlefield, as they were not lost to enemy action. I checked Hardman's details against Airmen Died. Look like back to square one!! Next step will be to go through the pilots listed in Airmen Died and marry up dates of death against those for the observers, at least that will reduce the possibilities some.

Regards

John

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Evening yossarian

I have gone through the list of observers that I sent you last night and cross referenced all the casualties against a corresponding pilot - I actually found a pilot for all the observer casualties. The last Sopwith Strutter loses for 70th Squadron were on 13th July 1917, after which they transferred to Sopwith Camel, of which first loss was 17th July 1917.

I did find this biographical information on Keen:

The son of Arthur Thomas and Isabel Charlotte Eliza (née Willan) Keen, Arthur Willan Keen was schooled at Aldro, Dunchurch Hall and Rugby before commencing an engineering degree at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1913. His degree unfinished, Keen joined the Army Service Corp (Mechanical Transport) in 1915, as a 2nd Lieutenant.

In November 1915 he joined the Royal Flying Corps and attended the School of Instruction, Reading, Berkshire. Basic flying training followed at Catterick, Yorkshire where Keen achieved his Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 2298 on 17 January 1916, flying a Maurice Farman biplane.

In late January 1916 Keen moved to Montrose, Forfarshire in Scotland, for advanced flying training. By mid-February he had been awarded his RFC Pilot Brevet and was selected to remain at Montrose as a flying instructor. On 17 June 1916, whilst airborne, Keen witnessed another aircraft crash into the sea close to Montrose airfield. He quickly landed, leapt into his car, drove rapidly for the beach, and swam out about 150 yards to rescue injured Canadian pilot 2nd Lt Robert E. A. Macbeth from the submerging wreck. This incident earned Keen the Bronze Medal of the Royal Humane Society.

August 1916 saw Keen join his first operational unit, 70 Squadron. Operating the Sopwith 1½ Strutter, the squadron had already begun deploying in July, by individual Flights, to Fienvillers, France, in support of the Somme offensives. On 28 August Keen scored both his, and 70 Squadron's, first aerial combat victory. At the end of October 1916 Keen was briefly posted to No.45 Squadron, as a temporary Captain and Flight Commander, to assist the newly-arrived squadron in gearing up for war. No. 45 Squadron, also operating the Sopwith 1½ Strutter, was co-located with 70 Squadron at Fienvillers.

In early December 1916 Keen returned to Home Establishment, this time serving as a flying instructor with training units at Ternhill, Shropshire and Harlaxton, Lincolnshire.

Keen returned to France at the end of April 1917, to 40 Squadron, newly-equipped with Nieuport scouts and in the throes of moving from Auchel to Bruay, France. He initially commanded C Flight which included (then) 2nd Lt Edward C. 'Mick' Mannock amongst its members. During this tour Keen claimed a further 11 victories flying the Nieuport 23, and was awarded the Military Cross:

T./Capt. Arthur Willan Keen, Gen. List and R.F.C.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He has shown the greatest gallantry and skill in aerial fighting, and his daring in leading offensive patrols into favourable positions for attack has been the means of many hostile aircraft being destroyed and driven down.

Supplement to the London Gazette, 16 August 1917

Another Home Establishment tour followed in November 1917, with a posting to HQ Eastern Training Brigade. Keen was then promoted to Major in April 1918 to command a flying training squadron at the Central Flying School, Upavon, Wiltshire.

It wasn't long before Keen returned to 40 Squadron again, in June 1918, this time as Squadron Commander, following the combat death of previous incumbent Major Roderic S. Dallas. No.40 Squadron now operated the RAF SE5a; with this aircraft Keen added 2 further victories to his tally. An unfortunate flying accident at Bruay on 15 August 1918 resulted in concussion and burns, and Keen sadly succumbed to those injuries in hospital on 2 September, 70 days before the Armistice.

So Keen was not posted to 70th Squadron until August 1916, and left by October 1916, and I am now convinced the events in the letter do not relate to 70th Squadron. It could have occurred between October 1916 and December 1916 when he was with 45th Squadron, who were also using the Sopwith 1½ Strutter. However, of the four losses that the Squadron suffered between those dates none involved Keen. When he next returned to France with 40th Squadron, he flew the Nieuport which was single seat fighter, and then when he returned in 1918 he flew a SE5a, another single seat fighter. So the letter may remain a mystery.

I also found a photo of Keen which I though might interest you.

Regards

John

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