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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:



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Good morning all,

I have not lodged a post for a while now as I have been tracing my family history as well as military history.One family member in particular listed below.My great grandfather.

Harold Francis Evans

PLY 16385

Royal Marine Light Infantry.

BWM,VM,1914 Star and clasp.King George VI coronation medal.

A few interesting points have arisen.

When he was wounded on the 21/03/1918 ( I am still trying to pinpoint exactly where he was although he was part of the 63rd Div. ) I was told that he received a gunshot wound to his shoulder whilst going over the top.This has been confirmed by a great auntie of mine.But his wound was received by a German aircraft. Apparently this aircraft was straffing the trenches and no-mans land picking a few off.My great auntie remembers this as he once mentioned that as he was such a fast runner the ******* couldn't get him on the ground so they got him from the air.He was used quite alot for message deliveries because of this.The bullet went down through his shoulder at an angle and lodged very close to his heart.The sad part as well was as he was discharged because of his wounds the hospital he was at, refused to operate as it was so close to his heart but the War Office insisted that if he didn't have it operated on he would not be entitled to a pension.When my auntie went to see him at hospital after the operation he was lying in a pool of blood that was dripping onto the floor and he nearly died.It is a shame the way he was treated and I cannot believe he was shot by a plane.

I am going to post a shortened item on the War in the air section to see if this was usual and maybe what unit or kind of aircraft it was.

Lastly as I have rambled on,I am happy to say that I now have in my possession all 4 of his medals which I thought I would never see again and also my other great grandfather Frederick Elijah Dew's medals as well.

I hope you find this interesting.

Simon Dew.

P.S I also have photos which I am trying to attach but yet been able too.

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From 148 coy Labour Corps war diary.My GGF coy.

11th Sept 1917 :2 killed and 19 wounded by aircraft.

Regards, Roland.

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Strafing of troops by aircraft became a routine feature of the Great War. Ground attack was much disliked by airmen who thought it was beneath their dignity and also very dangerous as you were likely to be fired on by ground troops of both sides. I have read of machine gunners very quickly latching on to the technique of letting the aircraft simply fly into their cone of fire.

Troops equally resented being fired on from the air, regarding it as not cricket with the aircraft's height advantage negating any head cover. Ground troops were bitterly critical of their own airforce if they were not around while enemy aircraft were shooting them up. In 1940 the RAF were criticised by soldiers for their relative scarcity over the Dunkirk - although there were operational reasons for this.

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I red once (but I don’t know no longer when or where) that since 1917 or 1918 the Germans had planes at their disposal which where flying horizontal and could shoot quasi vertical through the plane bottom. (possible to shoot on this way in the trenches & shellholes)

Don’t ask me for any details; it’s for a plane-specialst


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Thanks for those replies.

I can totally understand how ground troops would look down on these type of actions especially back then.I suppose now it has become more common and accepted as part and parcel of war.Anyway my great grandad was very lucky to get to the beginning of 1918.I wonder if there are any statistics to show the total casualties caused by aircraft.


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