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Remembered Today:

Loss of Triplane N5488


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Paul bardell

Good Day All

 

 

I am looking into the loss of Triplane N5488, No 1 Naval Sdn, on the 19th May 1917.

 

The  pilot was FSL Oliver Bernard Ellis (a local Leicester lad) I have the Details from the excellent TSTBFII, and I wondered in any photos of either Ellis or N5488 were 'out there'?

 

As always any information would be welcome.

 

Many Thanks

 

 

:poppy:

 

Paul in Leicester.

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Paul,

There should be a photo of FSLt Oliver B Ellis , taken when he passed his flying test. Others on GWF can tell you where to find this.

Also there may be a photo printed in the local newspapers of the time, reporting his death.

Can't help with photo of Triplane 5488, but lots of photos exist of them.

Ellis is mentioned several times in Adrian Hellwig's book Australian Hawk Over The Western Front_ the biography of Stanley Dallas

who became a high scoring ace in 1(N) Squadron. Several letters Ellis wrote home are quoted, including one written just before he

died, in which he tells his parents that he has scored his first kill.

I think he was Gisbert-Wilhelm Groos's first victim too.

Dallas was leading a different flight in this large encounter,with 12 Triplanes from 1(N) Squadron taking on 25 to 30 enemy machines,

and witnessed Ellis shooting down one opponent, before being shot down himself.

Hope this helps with your research

Regards

Geoff

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Paul bardell

Geoff

 

Many thanks for your reply, My mind must be off with the birds at the moment, I have Adrian Hellwig's book, and had completely forgotten it!!

 

A quick re read of the relevant passages would seem to indicate Ellis should be credited with two kills, one on the 10th of May, as out lined in his letter of the 11th May and the one see to go down during his last combat of the 19th May.

 

 

Again many thanks for kick starting the old grey cells!!

 

Best Regards

 

:poppy:

 

Paul

 

Spoiler

 

 

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Another photo and an interesting article.

Courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive 

 

Screenshot_20201115-195801.jpg

 

 

Screenshot_20201115-200907.jpg

Edited by sadbrewer
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Paul bardell

 

MikeW and sadbrewer -  very many thanks for your response and photos -  just the job.

 

B R

 

:poppy:

 

Paul

 

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Oliver was a prolific letter writer, and photographer - many letters were smuggled home by returning acquaintances thus avoiding the censor. He was also aware that it was a military offence to have a camera on the aerodrome and smuggled home many rolls of film! I have transcripts of  most of his letters written during training, his spell with Naval 10, and with Naval 1 up to his death. Here are 2 more accounts of his first claim:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             May 12th 1917

Dear Mother,

 

.................................... At last I can claim a Hun!  Last night I drove two down and with the help of another man crashed a third - it was a glorious scrap! but one doesn't often get such a chance.  This morning I was sent up to look for one and during my wanderings came to where Colin is - I picked out his hospital because of a big red cross and so I came down low and looped and side looped or "laced the boot" as we call it - right over head - I wonder whether he saw me?  At about 3 to one to-day Saturday - will you ask him - he knows the type of machine I was in!  Just think that I did in 45 minutes what it took me 4 hours to do in a fast car!  ..................................................

 

Good bye

 

                 Your loving son

 

                        Oliver B. Ellis

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             May 15th 1917

Dear Colin,

 

...........................I had a ripping scrap t'other day - fought one down 5000 ft and eventually saw him off - not crashed but "driven down" then I found 6 on my tail - so the only thing to do was to fight them till something happened - luckily the something was another of my lot and while he was there I drove another Hun down - then my partner had a gun jamb and I had 4 to keep going till another of my lot turned up at which 3 of the 4 Huns thought fit to go - this other man dived on the remaining Hun and pumped quite a lot into him - and drove him down below me so as my partner had drawn off I attacked and finished off the unfortunate Hun, who crashed - then we were at 5000 ft 10 miles the wrong side the lines and had archies the whole way home.  I found I had one strut nearly shot through and 2 hits by archies one within 2in of my petrol tank - it's a great war isn't it! - it's raining like fun tonight and I can hear a great Hick Boo on in the East - Good night,

 

Your affectionate brother

 

                 Oliver B. Ellis.

 

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Oliver attended Bootham School at York, a Quaker Boarding School. The following is copied from the magazine "Bootham", dated October 1916:

 

OLIVER BERNARD ELLIS left Bootham July 1916. 

 

"O.B. Ellis excelled in all forms of athletics.  He was a brilliant and daring gymnast, weathering all hurts.  He was an able goal-keeper, where he obtained his 1st Masters' colours, and, later played at outside right.  At cricket he obtained his 1st eleven colours.  Last year he obtained the Silver Medal of the Life Saving Society, and served on the Athletics and Football Committees.  Last Year he tied for the Senior Athletics Cup, and helped to command the Fire Brigade.

 

He was a wonderful practical photographer, and was very patient over his ornithological excursions with the camera.  He was a curator of ornithology and the N.H. rooms, and two years ago obtained the Old Scholars' Prize.  He leaves from the Upper Senior and was a reeve."

 

O.B. Ellis was an undergraduate of St. John's College, Cambridge, and had hoped to take up his residence there in the autumn of 1916.

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Paul bardell

MikeW

 

Very many thanks for your latest details regarding Oliver B Ellis, the information is fascinating, and a very talented and determined young man materializes into the light from over 100 years ago.

 

We Will Remember Them.

 

:poppy:

 

 B R

 

Paul

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Paul,

 

to be fair to Oliver, he materialised into the light in 2004 in my  book 'A History of No10 Squadron RNAS' :), and then  again in Adrian's book in 2006. He had the distinction of photographing famous ace Raymond Collishaw's first Sopwith triplane. Also he must have been the most aggressive Quaker in history!

 

let me know if you need all the letters

 

Cheers,

Mike

 

 

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Paul bardell

 

 

Mike

 

very many thanks for you kind offer of seeing Oliver's letters, I would indeed be very interested in seeing them: my email details are:

 

paulbardell55@

 

With regards to your no10 Sdn book, I have to confess I do have this - it was bought soon after publication and read at the time, my only excuse for not looking through it before asking for help here, is that its present location at the top of my book case makes actually getting my hands on it quite a job! But you may have forced my hand in getting my books and book case sorted out ,something she who must be obeyed, has been bending my ears about for years.

 

Lesson learned, check you own references first.

 

Again thanks for you help and your kind offer of the letters.

 

B R

 

:poppy:

 

Paul

 

   

Edited by Paul bardell
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