1918 2 Sqn RFC Pilot



No 2 Squadron RAF 1918, Lt. Montgomerie's diary cont'd

Apr 4th Thurs

Started for France and stayed at Folkestone Hotel, Boulogne for the night. Met Max Deans and had dinner with him.

Apr 5th Fri

Arrived back at Sqdn. Found they had made two bombing trips to the Somme. Chisnall was wounded in the foot the first time- second time Smart and Barford were missing [27 Mar a/c serial B288 claimed by Rittm M v Richthofen JG1 over Foucaucourt  (1)] - Dunkerly and Wardrope – McLeod and Hammond were all severely wounded. Hammond got three Huns and Spence one.

 Left: Lt. W H Wardrope


Lt. Edward Treloar Smart,  KIA 27 March 1918 commemorated on the Arras Memorial

Lt. Keith Purnell Barford KIA 27 March 1918 commemorated on the Arras Memorial

RFC Communiqué 133

March 28

Enemy Aircraft - 2nd Lt. H I Pole & Lt. L C Spence, 2 Squadron, were attacked by six Fokker Triplanes and an EA scout, and they shot down one Triplane out of control which burst into flames before reaching the ground and was seen burning on the ground west of Estrees.

Apr 6th Sat

Went up to try shoot on NX 62 with 14 th SB but it was too ‘dud’. Heard McLeod had been recommended for the VC and he got it. Blenkinsop and Doran had a fight with the Huns. Doran was wounded in the arm. This makes nine Huns to the Sqdn in three months.

2/Lt. Alan Arnett McLeod VC

2nd Lt. McLeod was the last RFC recipient of the VC. The incident is recorded  in the RAF Communiqué 1. While on a bombing mission on 27 March, McLeod and his observer Lt. A W Hammond MC, were attacked by eight Fokker Triplanes of Jadgstaffel 6. Driving three aircraft down out of control, their aircraft caught fire during the engagement and both McLeod and Hammond were severely wounded [claimed by Ltn H Kirschtein of Jasta 6 SW of Albert (1)]. McLeod famously stood on one wing, away from the fire, and managed to pilot the aircraft to a landing in "No man's land". McLeod having been thrown clear on landing, extracted Hammond from the burning aircraft (still armed with bombs) and dragged him to temporary safety. They were rescued by soldiers of the South African Scotish Regiment. McLeod died subsequently on 6 Nov 1918 in Canada a victim of  influenza while recovering from his wounds. See link for further details on McLeod's story. Arthur Hammond received a Bar to his MC and went on to make a full recovery though he lost a leg.

RAF Communiqué No 1

April 6

2nd Lt.s E K Blenkinsop and C F G Doran, 2 Sqn, were attacked by three EA triplanes and one enemy scout; 60 rounds were fired at close range into one of the triplanes, which was seen to go down in flames.

Apr 7th Sun

Successful shoot on the NX 62 with 164 th SB. Had Salt as an observer. Went in to Bethune in the afternoon and met Smallwood who had just arrived and was going to No 4 Australian Sqdn. Heard Matt had been drowned at Montrose.


Left: Captain Salt in front of AW FK8

Apr 8th Mon

‘Dud’ all day. Visited batteries with Pole. Went to 493 SB and discussed my shoot of 15th March. Took Stanners with us and he was arrested for a spy  while noting information to annotate his photo for the CO. Pole and  I picked Stanners up at the Officers Club about 9 in the evening.

Apr 9th Tues

‘Dud’ all day. Huns start an offensive north of the La Bassée canal and advance at most six thousand yards. Heavy gun fire all day.

History note

The German offensive on the Lys commenced on 9 April 1918 (following the late March offensive on the Somme) and advanced rapidly between La Bassée and Armentieres, five miles in two days extending to ten miles by 14 April before being held. No 2 Sqn was based at Hesdigneul nr Bethune just South of the new bulge in the front line.

Apr 10th Wed

Went up on patrol. Clouds and mist 1,000 feet. Got lost over Hunland and machine was badly holed by M-c bullets. Climbed into the clouds and came out of them over Bethune. Hun line much the same as yesterday. Armentieres reported taken by the Huns. Spence as an observer.

Apr 11th Thurs

Orderly officer. Was ‘standing by’ in the afternoon to lead a bombing formation, but it ‘washed out’.

Apr 12th Fri

 Went on photos at 9.30 – exposed 12 plates. ‘Archie’ was very active, but very few Huns.

Apr 13th Sat

Clouds 2,000 and mist. Patrol and ground strafing at 4.30. Went to Richebourg-St.Vaast [behind the German line] twice and flew towards Robecq. Engine ‘cut out’ over canal and landed about 800x from line. Men came for machine at 9.15 and got it out by morning. We rang up from 11 th Brigade NZ in Bellerive (4 th Div). This was in 3566.

Apr 14th Sun

Successful shoot on 4 FA battery near Richebourg with ?? SB. When dropping a bomb I got hit above the right knee with a MC bullet. Finished shoot and dropped other bomb near Pacaut Wood [north of Hinges].  This shoot was with 71 SB. Went to 33 EA at Fouquiers and was sent to 23 CCS [casualty clearing station]. McLachlan was wounded with Rathbone and went to 22 CCS.

Apr 15th Mon
Saw McLaclan in 22 CCS. Left Lazinghen for hospital train at Lapugnoy after lunch. Arrived Etaples in morning. Went to No 1 Red Cross Hospital [Duchess of Westminster's] [the casino at Le Touquet].

Apr 16th Tues

Visited McLachlan in another ward. McLachlan went to England tonight.

Apr 17th Wed

Was told I was going to England.

Apr 18th Thurs
 Left Etaples in early morning in hospital train for Calais. Arrived Calais at 12.30. Crossed in ‘Princess Elizabeth’ to Dover. Arrived at Charing Cross and sent to RFC hospital, 82 Eaton Square, London SW, arriving there about 10.30 pm. I was carried by German stretcher bearers at Calais and Dover.

Link to list of 2 Squadron officers and men mentioned.

Lt. Montgomerie never returned to active flying in France,  he had an operation to take a bullet out of his leg. He returned to flying in July and went to a training Squadron (37 TS (24 Wing) later redesignated 39 TS ) as an instructor.  He survived the war. 

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Note: 1. The Jasta War Chronology, Franks, Bailey and Duiven