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Remembered Today:

Awards to RFC Observer T.H.Sutcliffe 1915 - confirmed?


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clive_hughes

On 29.6.1915 1st Class Air Mechanic 1692 Thomas Henry Sutcliffe, "B" Flight, No.5 Squadron RFC was killed on the Western Front in an aircraft crash.  He had served at the Front since January 1915 as an Observer.  A subsequent newspaper report in The Yorkshire Telegraph and Star 22.7.15 states that he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for actions about three weeks earlier, which are described by him in letters published in that paper and also in the Liverpool Daily Post and Liverpool Echo 21-22.7.15.  Henshaw's reference book has some four references to Sutcliffe in combats etc. during May-June 1915, but not the final crash as it seems to have been regarded as accidental.  Sutcliffe incidentally claimed that the award was for being the first airman (in the Other Rank sense) to shoot down a German aircraft. 

 

His CWGC register entry, headstone, and burial records all mention the DCM; but his service record in the AIR 79 series only refers to the Russian Medal of the Order of St.George, 3rd class.  Can either or both of these awards be confirmed please? 

 

Clive

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And here’s confirmation of his DCM from his medal card (with the London Gazette reference).

TNA Catalogue ref: WO 372/23/6825

4283F29C-BF64-44F0-A8D2-1DA1280EC482.jpeg

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Hi,

Given the above information that the DCM was originally to 2726 H W Sutcliffe as opposed to 1692 T H Sutcliffe the following from  " Gazetted Awards to N C Os and other Ranks of the Aerial Forces 1914 - 1924 by Bernard Austerberry " may be of interest as it shows the citation.  Steve

IMG_20210609_0001.jpg.1e432d5b2cec31fc900b8feb9f61a205.jpg

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topgun1918

The award of the DCM appeared in the London Gazette of 5 August 1915, the citation reading:

 

2726 2nd Class Air Mechanic Sutcliffe, H.W., Royal Flying Corps

 

For great gallantry and zeal while employed as a gunner with an Officer Pilot.  On the 9th May, 1915, over Wytchaete [sic], they engaged a German aeroplane at a height of about 4,000 feet.  After a sharp fight the hostile machine turned on its side and finally fell to the ground nose first and was wrecked.

 

This was corrected in the London Gazette of 27 September 1920:

 

London Gazette, dated 5th August, 1915.

Page 7714—

For 2726 2nd Class Air Mechanic H. W. Sutcliffe, R.F.C.,

Read 1692 1st Class Air Mechanic T. H. Sutcliffe, R.F.C.

 

Graeme

 

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I would never have imagined it possible that an award such as a dcm could have be made to the wrong person, simply because they shared the same surname! Hopefully mistakes such as this were not common.

MB

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Well thank you once again everyone.  That's clarified the awards situation wonderfully.  

 

Much appreciated,

Clive

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