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Dolphin

Cpl Martin No 7 Sqn 1914

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Dolphin

On Christmas Day 1914 Vickers FB 4 664 of No 7 Sqn RFC, based at Joyce Green, flown by 2Lt Montagu Chidson, with Cpl Martin as observer, was the first British aeroplane to intercept an enemy over the UK when it caught German Navy Friedrichshafen FF49 Nr 203 over Erith.  The German turned back and a short chase ensued.  2Lt Chidson went on to be captured on 20 February 1915 when delivering a Vickers FB 5 to the RFC in France.

 

Cpl Martin seems to be something of a mystery.  To be a Corporal four months into the War suggests a Regular.  However, none of the Martins listed in A Contemptible Little Flying Corps appear to be the man concerned: 455 A T Martin had transferred to the RNAS before Chistmas; 175 C E Martin was in France at the time; 117 D Martin was discharged in 1913; 252 D Martin was in France, as was 540 H Martin.

 

Of course, it's possible that Cpl Martin wasn't RFC and was an aerodrome guard, or similar, who was pressed into service in a hurry on the day; the RFC had only a small detachment at Joyce Green, and the strength may have been reduced over Christmas.  The Corporal took off without gloves, which meant that his hands were too cold to remedy a machine gun stoppage - perhaps the ommission suggests an inexperienced flier?  

 

Grateful for any information regarding Cpl Martin's given names(s) and subsequent career.

 

Gareth

 

 

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