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Kimberley John Lindsay

NW Frontier photo of 2Lt D. Thomson, RAF, 31 Sqn Obs

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear All,

2 Lieut David Thomson, from Manchester, was commissioned into the 9th Service Bn Manchester Regt.

However he was seconded to Air Observer School on 17 Jul 1918 and attd 31 Sqn in India on 29 Jul 1918.

He flew as an Obs on the NW Frontier (medals) in obsolete Be2cs.

Latterly a F/O Obs with 31 Sqn during the Third Afghan campaign (medal and clasp).

The reward of a Goodie is offered for a 31 Sqn ("First in the Indian Skies") group photo copy including Thomson, and/or information...

Kindest regards,

Kim.

 

Edited by Kimberley John Lindsay

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Air-Minded GWF members,

Happily, I found my 1980-81 copy of "First in the Indian Skies" by Norman Franks, being the story of 31 Squadron, RAF. 

Several of the opening pages of the saga deal with the squadron's operations during Observer Lieut. David Thomson's sojourn, namely 29 Jul 1918 and 21 Oct 1919. His Commanding Officer was Major R. G. H. Murray, MC.

Although casualties were nothing compared with the Western Front, losses from ground fire and crashes did occur - and decorations were awarded (one DFC was posthumous). Indeed, one Observer (A. J. Cox) received an OBE.

Captured aircrews were often ransomed successfully from the Afridi tribesmen (300,000 rupees), and a "gooli chit" was carried for that purpose.

Some of the pilots from this 1918-19 period were photographed informally: Cronyn, Capt. O. Hughes, Taylor, Colin Cooper, Tweedie, Lieut. E. Robinson (whose Observer was Capt. Kitson, but who was killed with 2AM Cameron, when his5591883_Goolichit31SqnNWFP1919.jpg.dee274f00c31ae69b2cae3cf9deee25e.jpg Be2Cs wings folded back during a loop) and Capt. Fletcher.

Observer David Thomson may well have flown with one or the other of these officers...

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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Heid the Ba

Goolie chits still exist, in the same area and for the same purpose.  Sorry, I can’t help with your photo.

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Heid the Ba,

Yes, most ironical, isn't it?

Many thanks for your response: much appreciated!

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear All, 

Here is a near-identical group to that of Lieut Thomson, but with poignant ephemera: especially the portrait. 

'Longfellow qualified as a pilot in January 1918 and went to 31 Sqn at Risalpur in mid-1918. He died on 19 August 1920 having left the RAF in 1919 and remaining in India working in agriculture. He is buried near Cawnpore. The medals were forwarded to his mother in Leicester in 1925.' (With thanks to Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork, MBE, BA, etc., RAF (Rtd).)

Lieut Godfrey Longfellow, Pilot with 31 Sqn., seems to have been a contemporary of Lieut David Thomson, Observer in the same squadron. The picture of two Be2c aircraft (probably at Risalpur), is also of high interest - Thomson having clearly flown in aircraft of that type.

Any information relating to David Thomson (Manchester) would be most welcome and rewarded...

Kindest regards,

Kim.76822600x600.jpg.67afa0ee652276dc7efb3075bfcc6ad5.jpg1046055035_LieutGodfreyLongfellowRAF31SqnPilot.jpg.604d03517cb60db679773c4f9bf9bc52.jpg

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear All,

 

THE OFFICERS COMMANDING 31 SQN, RAF 1915-21

 

Capt C. Y. MacDonald: 11 October 1915

Major C. R. S. Bradley: 27 March 1916 (‘Beautiful Braddles’)

Major S. Hutcheson: 23 May 1917

Major R. G. H. Murray, MC: 22 July 1917

Capt O. Hughes: September 1918

Major E. L. Millar, MBE: 1 December 1918

Flt Lt D. H. M. Carbery, MC, DFC: 10 August 1919

Sqn Ldr A. L. Neale: 22 January 1920

Sqn Ldr A. T. Harris, AFC: 26 January 1921 (MRAF ‘Bomber’ Harris)

 

Major Murray, MC; Capt Hughes; Major Millar, MBE; and Flt Lt Carbery, MC, DFC, all commanded during Thomson’s time with 31 Squadron (29 July 1918 to 21 October 1919).

 

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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