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Remembered Today:

September 16th, 1918 - Gurkha attempt to rescue a British aircrew


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Eran Tearosh

I came across this quote in a book of 1st KGO Gurkha Rifles: 

 

On the 16th a British aeroplane crashed a thousand yards in front of the British and only two hundred yards from the Turkish lines. Lieutenant Barry, with two Gurkha Officers and eighty men, went out of Haiyeh Wood to rescue the pilot and observer; but before they could arrive the Turks had dragged the plane and the observer over the ridge. The Gurkha party followed up and reconnoitered the first line of Turkish trenches, which had been evacuated, but the observer was lost and the party had to retire with one casualty.

The wounded pilot was brought in by an advanced sentry group.

 

Below is a part of a British map of area. Any attempts to try to have a 100% identification of the sites mentioned on this map are doomed to fail, due to this area being one of these that have seen the most vast urbanization over the last century. However, I can easily point at Sabiye of that time (Within modern Kfar Saba) and Byer Adas (Near Hod-HaSharon of today). Haiyeh (Haiye) Wood is a bit tricky, but it was most likely in today's Kfar Malal. 

 

From this map we understand that the event mentioned above is connected to 'Yellow Hill', but I doubt I'll be able to pinpoint it exactly. Still, I'll give it a try. Anyway, so far I haven't find aerial records of this crash. Anyone? 

 

 

632883532_September161918-GR1attempttosaveBritishaircrew.jpg.f000e182394a4a888ad755da01401c0a.jpg

 

Eran

 

 

 

 

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Hi Eran, I had a look in Trevor Henshaw's The Sky Their Battlefield II.

 

The three listed for 16 September:

1. A6329? BE12 [single-seater] Lt H Junor forced to land, OK

2. RE8 [two-seater] of 113 Sqn RFC, MIA (-/2Lt J Topping KIA)

3. C6297.3 DJ9 144 Sqn, forced to land Deraa (pilot and observer POW)

 

Number 2 is closest to your description. The observer (2/Lt J Topping) is noted as killed, but the record doesn't indicate the pilot's fate. Unfortunately, that entry has no further detail. But it might be worth following that lead.

 

 

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charlie962
14 hours ago, b3rn said:

The observer (2/Lt J Topping) is noted as killed,

The parents appear to have suffered a double blow.  John(Jack) killed 16/9/18 in Palestine and brother George killed two days later 18/9/16 as a Pte 59789 in the 2nd Royal Scots in France.

 

Address 4 Merchiston Bank Avenue Edinburgh and 19 Wester Coates Edinburgh. Family building firm of Thomas Topping.

 

Jack was reported missing but death accepted as 16/9/18. Fits with original description of observer being dragged off with/in plane by the Turks.

Edited by charlie962
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13 hours ago, b3rn said:

Hi Eran, I had a look in Trevor Henshaw's The Sky Their Battlefield II.

 

The three listed for 16 September:

1. A6329? BE12 [single-seater] Lt H Junor forced to land, OK

2. RE8 [two-seater] of 113 Sqn RFC, MIA (-/2Lt J Topping KIA)

3. C6297.3 DJ9 144 Sqn, forced to land Deraa (pilot and observer POW)

 

Number 2 is closest to your description. The observer (2/Lt J Topping) is noted as killed, but the record doesn't indicate the pilot's fate. Unfortunately, that entry has no further detail. But it might be worth following that lead.

 

 

Junor crash landed his plane at Azraq in support of the Arab Army so he was east of the River Jordan and 50 miles east of Amman. The 144 Sqn machine came down at Deraa which is also east of the Jordan and about 45 miles north of Amman. So it does look like #2 is the one.

 

cheers

Dom. 

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Eran Tearosh

Thank you!

 

Looks like #2. Later today I'll be in that area and see if there's something worth mentioning (As I wrote - massive urbanization and agricultural development  in that area during the last 100 years).

 

Thanks again!

 

Eran

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