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[103 Squadron RAF]
[103 Sqn WW1]
[Joel Chrispin]
[Louis Strange]
[WW1 Gallery]
[WW1 Vignettes]
[WW1 Awards]


WW1 Vignettes.

These are short items which do not warrant a full page.

Bernard Augustine Tussaud

  The name of Lt B A Tussaud crops up in the 103 Sqn WW1 records as an Observer who served in 1918 and clearly saw plenty of action.

  Lt Tussaud 103 Sq RAF (formerly of the Gloucestershire Regt) is indeed a member of the world famous Tussaud family of wax works fame.

  After WW1 he returned to the family business becoming a modeller and sculptor of great distinction. When his father, John, died in the early 40s Bernard took charge of the business and rebuilt the London attraction after much of it had been destroyed in the Blitz.


Tussaud Family WW1

  Above - The Tussaud family with Mr Tussaud senior front row middle. Bernard Tussaud is 2nd left on the back row. All the Tussaud sons survived the war.

  Written by David Fell - Photo courtesy of the Tussaud archive.


  Captain Kenneth Townley Dowding RFC/RAF


103 Squadron Keith Dowding

  Pictured aboveis the only photo I have found of Cptn K T Dowding of 103 Sqn 1918. Kenneth Dowding was the younger brother of Air Chief Marshall Hugh "Stuffy" Dowding GCB GCVO CMG, 1st Baron Dowding. Hugh Dowding will always be recognised for his outstanding leadership of Fighter Command from 1936 up to and including the Battle of Britain.

  The Dowding brothers were born in Moffat, Scotland where their father established and ran the St.Ninian's Boys Preparatory School. Kenneth Dowding was a solicitor prior to WW1 and, like his brother Hugh, was an avid skier. At the start of WW1 he enlisted in the RFC.

  In 1917 Kenneth briefly commanded 42 Sqn in Italy and was later transferred back to the UK as a Flight Commander with 103 Sqn in France. His name is reported several times in surviving records. Lt Butters comments in his operational notes that, on the 15th August 1918 during a bombing raid on Peronne, Cptn Dowding turned the whole formation round to save Dodds and Corey who were "lagging behind and being attacked by Huns." Kenneth returned to the legal profession after WW1.

  In WW2 he re-enlisted in the RAF and was employed in legal duties with the rank of S/L.

  Like others in the Dowding family he left very little in the way of private papers and no historian ever consulted him about his famous elder brother Hugh. That is a shame. He could have revealed much about this enigmatic genius. - The Victor of the Battle Of Britain, to whom the nation and indeed the civilised world owes so much.

  Written by David Fell - Photo courtesy of Whiting Collection.


  Lt Irving Banfield Corey DFC


103 Squadron Corey

  Irving Banfield Corey was born Kingscroft, Quebec on a farm in 1892.

  Irving, a bank clerk, enlisted in the 87th (Canadian Grenadier Guards)Battalion in 1915 at Montreal. He has subsequently been transferred to the RAF and ended up with 103 Sqn.

  He was an Observer with 103 Sqn in France in 1918. Irving is credited with shooting down six German machines during that hectic summer of operations. This, of course, makes him an "Ace". Irving was the top scoring Observer with 103 Sqn along with 2nd Lt Charles Dance who also was also credited with six. ( Wonder if there is any family connection with the well known actor of the same name.)

  His regular pilot was an American, Cptn Roy Dodds from Buffalo, New York who was held in high regard and became a Flight Commander. Both flew about 60 operations.

  Irving survived the war and lived to a ripe old age passing away in 1976.

  Written by David Fell - Photo credit to the Corey family.


  Robert Newby

  103 Squadron Newby Group

  Robert Newby Second from the right on the back row with his mates. Possibly engaged in filling in bomb craters.

  Any photographs relating to 103 Sq from WW1 are something of a rarity so I was pleasantly surprised when a batch was submitted to me by Rick Crowley. The photographs in question are from the family archive of the late Robert Newby who served in the Photographic Section of 103 Sq in 1918. It is a fascinating collection.

  Robert was born in 1886 but spent lived most of his life on the Isle of Man. He joined the Royal Flying Corps in WW1 and served at Farnborough and Netheravon before going to France and where he was attached to 103 Sq who were a part of 80 Wing under the command of the charismatic Louis Strange, an exceptional man described as handsome, fearless, innovative and irrepressible.

  Robert rarely spoke about his experiences in WW1. He did recall the basic conditions and freezing huts in which they lived and worked and the rats that would jump on their bunks at night for warmth. Another story concerned the unauthorised use of methylated spirits for heating purposes in the Photographic Section hut. On one occasion they were sitting in the hut burning meths to keep warm when they noticed a thin layer of flaming vapour in the air all round the hut. Needless to say they got out very fast.

Written by David Fell. Photo courtesy of Rick Crowley and the Newby Collection.


Robert Emrys Owen RAF

Emerys Owen RAF was an Observer with 103 Sq in France in the summer of 1918. He came from Anglesey and was a fluent Welsh speaker.

In Aug 1918 he wrote a descriptive letter describing his experiences in the RAF to a friend in Fronheulog, Dinorwig in Snowdonia which was written in Welsh and featured on a Welsh language TV programme about the Great War some years ago. In fairness I cannot include that as it is copyright of the owner. Perhaps another time. He does mention flying regularly with an American pilot and clearly enjoyed the RAF life and the adventure of operational flying

Emrys was born in 1899 in Anglesey so would be 18 or 19 at the time he wrote the letter.

He was killed with his pilot on the 18th Sept 1918

Written by David Fell with thanks to Patrick Russell-Jones

Extra Notes (Courtesy of Patrick Russell-Jones.)

Owen was flying with Lt L K Weaver on 11, 12 and 25 August so we assume he was the American to which Robert Owen refers.

18 Sept Owen took part in his final sortie but with Lt Phillips as pilot. Phillips was another Welshman from Swansea. The Squadron were bombed Harbourdin in a formation led by Capt Darroch.

103 Sqn Diary -18 Sept 1918 mentions 2 enemy Fokkers over Lille one of which was claimed by Lt Russell. The 103 Sqn mission was flown at 0950 to 1200 and The Sky Their Battlefield records show the time of Owen and Phillips' demise at 1140. “D5572 Lt TM Phillips 2Lt RE Owen both KIA LILLE”

They are thought to have been an Anti Aircraft victim and 2Lt Butters suggests this in his notes written at the time.

The Jasta War Chronology however records a German fighter claim at 1135 over Lille by OfStv Otto Sowa of Jasta 52. The victim is not linked to any specific Sqn and just stated as a DH9. It is thought to be the same aircraft.

Note however that the difference between the British and German “War Times” makes this slightly confusing. There is also a suggestion that the Germans gave the credit for this kill to an AA battery in the vicinity.




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