103 Squadron WW1 Awards
L to R - Michael Nethersole and Joel Chrispin
Major Michael H B Nethersole, BA (Oxon.), CSI, CIE, DSO.
Son of a prominent Indian Civil Service family.Possibly in UK completing a degree course before WW1. 2nd Lt Royal Garrison Artillery 1914. Seconded to RFC and a Flight Commander, later CO, of 70 Sq in 1917 with rank of Major. Appointed CO 103 Sq in June 1918.
"A squadron commander of exceptional merit, who, by his enthusiasm and fine example has revolutionised the tactics of his squadron. Formerly accustomed to bombing from a high altitude the members have descended to low altitudes, thus ensuring greater accuracy of aim. On 30th October he led his squadron on a low bombing raid against an aerodrome. The raid was most successful, he himself destroying two hangars. On the return journey he kept his machines so well together that, though they were attacked by large numbers of hostile scouts, they succeeded in destroying five of them with no loss on our side. The engagement continued during the whole of the return journey, but the squadron succeeded in causing considerable damage to hostile troops on the ground in addition to the casualties in the air as noted above. Gaz 19 Dec 1918. "
After the war he returned to India and became a very distinguished administrator. He died in retirement in the Seychelles in the late 60s/early 70s.
Lieutenant Joel Gordon Hirst Chrispin DFC.
"This officer has carried out over eighty bombing raids far into enemy country and has shown most consistent determination and gallantry, notably on 4th November, when, leading a formation of some sixty machines to bomb an enemy aerodrome, he encountered a large number of enemy aircraft. His progress was also seriously interfered with by many thick clouds. Undeterred by these difficulties, he never wavered, but led the whole raiding party straight to the objective, and descending to the low altitude of 1,000 feet, inflicted very serious damage on the aerodrome. Gaz 19 Dec 1918. "
Sergt.-Mech. Ernest James William Watkinson DFM.
"This non-commissioned officer has over one hundred hours' war flying to his credit, and has taken part in sixty bombing raids. He has destroyed one hostile aeroplane, and has proved himself an exceptionally skilful and courageous bomber, notably on 10th October, when, flying at a height of about one thousand feet under heavy fire from the ground, he directed his bombs with such accuracy that one hit the rolling stock in the station and another the transport on a road. Gaz 19 Dec 1918. "
Other WW1 awards. All DFC.
Lt. (A./Capt.) John Austin-Sparks.
Captain Roy Edward Dodds. ( USA )
Lt. Geoffrey Bruce Hett.
2nd Lieut. (Hon. Lieut.) Frank Masterman Loly.
Frank Loly was wounded in the left shoulder by shell fire at Richebourg 16 May 1915 while attached to 1st South Staffordshire Regiment. He was also aboard the SS Arabia, while travelling to the U.K. on leave, when it was torpedoed on 6 November 1916.
Captain John Stevenson Stubbs.
John Stubbs was the top scoring DH9 ace of WW1 with 11 kills
103 aircrew during WW1 were came from all parts of the UK, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and the USA. Amongst a number of interesting personalities who flew with 103 Sq in 1918 was Captain K T Dowding, brother of Hugh "Stuffy" Dowding of Battle of Britain fame.
I cannot possibly conclude this item without mentioning this outstanding young man.
2nd Lt Victor William Allen MC, MM.
4 Regt. 1 South African Infantry/RAF 103 Sq.
Military Medal - Private - 4 Regt. 1 South African Infantry. Awarded for action at Delville Wood in July 1916.
Military Cross - 2nd Lieutenant - 4 Regt. 1 South African Infantry. Awarded for gallantry in 1917.
Attached to RFC/RAF as Observer and transferred to France with 103 Sq in April 1918.
Shot down an enemy aircraft during a bombing raid, 22nd May, when own aircraft was damaged.
Killed on the 9th June 1918 on a bombing raid with his pilot, Lt E A Windridge.
Both are buried at Bouchoir New British Cemetery.
At the time of his death 2nd Lieutenant Victor William Allen MC MM was 19 years old.
Written by David Fell