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Remembered Today:

FSLt N D M Hewitt Sopwith Triplane N5457


sdparker

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According to The Sky Their Battlefield, this machine was damaged in combat and forced to land near Mons.

The pilot was captured and the machine shelled. Does this mean that it crashed between the lines, in no mans

land? If so which Mons, and was the machine salvaged? The date was 6/4/17 just before the start of The

Battle of Arras.

Regards

Geoff

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Hi Geoff,

What this entry in The Sky Their Battlefield II does (hope you're using the updated and expanded one!) is assemble facts and words and place names from various sources relating to this loss.  We know there is an official German source clearly identifying a Triplane with serial "5457...ftl near Mons" - it doesn't say which Mons, unfortunately.  I suspect it has to be the one in Belgium, however (though a close scrutiny of the area noted below might yield a small hamlet with "Mons" in it - speculation though).  And then the two Casualty Reports from that day indicate 1 Naval were fighting that morning near and behind the Arras-Bapaume area - definitely at that time, therefore, over and beyond the Lines.  Which would tie in with the fact that he was taken prisoner...  Even more so, if for some reason, as it seems, he headed further east before being forced down.

 

There's also a lot of secondary sources which touch on this Tripe, that I see I also consulted - articles from Cross and Cockade International in vols 6 and 15, another article in Vol 2 of Over the Front mag, that book The Fighting Triplanes as well.  In all this, it appears there is no mention of any salvaging - rather unlikely, if the Germans are holding it in Mons.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Trevor 

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The I.R.C. prisoner of war record cards for Flt Sub Lt. Neville Hewitt are on this link, his place of capture is given as Soignies. If you enter the various PA numbers in the search box it takes you to further records (which do not add any further detail I must admit).

https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/177747/3/2/

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4 minutes ago, HarryBrook said:

The I.R.C. prisoner of war record cards for Flt Sub Lt. Neville Hewitt are on this link, his place of capture is given as Soignies. If you enter the various PA numbers in the search box it takes you to further records (which do not add any further detail I must admit).

https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/177747/3/2/

Good info.  Which feels like it ties in with the Mons in Belgium...

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Thanks Trevor and Harry for those details. This is obviously not the incident I was seeking.

I have a diary narrative by AM 1 Charles Hibberd of 1 Naval Sqdn which is held in the archive

at Yeovilton. In this he describes the salvage of a machine which came down in the trenches

of the old Somme Battlefield. The salvage operation took several days, and when they got back

to Chipilly the Squadron had moved to La Bellevue! 

Since the move to La Bellevue was around 11/4/17, it seemed reasonable to assume that it

might be this machine- but clearly he must have been describing a different salvage operation.

I would like to get a copy of the Sqdn War Diaries- are they available on line, or do I have to

go to TNA at Kew?

Thanks again

Geoff

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Hi Geoff,

 

I've been trying to hunt down this 1 Naval Sqn crash for you. The only candidate I can point to is Triplane N5478 that Ray Sturtivant and Page's RNAS Serials notes crashed on landing at Dancourt on 9 April 1917, and then was recorded at the Depot (i.e. salvaged) by the 12th April 1917.  Dates sort of fit?  Does Dancourt?  Over to you!

 

Cheers,

 

Trevor

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Trevor

Absolutely spot on! Charles Hibberd wrote that their lorry broke an axle near a village

called Laboissiere,and that they spent several nights in Roye. Looking at my map

there is a village called Dancourt-Popincourt slap bang between the two! Mystery solved.

Out of interest does your source have the pilots name?

Also looked at map near Mons and found Soignies in the direction of Brussels, which

ties in with info provided by you and Harry about FSLt Hewitt. He was certainly a long

way behind German lines!

Thank you both again Regards

Geoff

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That's great Geoff.  

Unfortunately the RNAS Serials book doesn't have a pilot.  You might get it from someone on the Forum with details of 1 Naval's Record Book.  Good luck with that.

Regards,

 

Trevor

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