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[Home] [103 Sqn WW1] [80 Wing]

80 Wing RAF – France - 1918

103 Sq Serny aerodrome 1918

A nice aerial pic of Serny aerodrome. 88 Squadron hangers are middle left. Top left is 2 Squadron AFC then 103 Squadron RAF and then 4 Squadron AFC

80 Wing was originally formed at Serny, Pas-de-Calais, on 1 July 1918 as the 80th Army Wing consisting of various squadrons equipped with mostly fighters but also included one dedicated bomber unit, 103 Squadron, equipped with the DH9 aircraft.

From inception the Wing was commanded by the legendary Lt Col Louis Strange.

Louis A Strange

On the 21 October 1918 103 Squadron moved to Floringhem, also in the Pas de Calais, but were based there for only 5 days before departing for Ronchin, Lille. 88 Squadron moved from Floringham to Gondecort south west of Lille on the 26 October 1918 and on to Bersee south of Lille till after the Armistice.

I presume the rest of the Wing were similar although I have been unable to confirm the exact locations at the time of writing.

80 Wing operated in daylight on a section of the Western Front up to and around the Lille area of the front line and were engaged as follows:-:-

1/ Air superiority enforcement and bomber escort duties by the fighter squadrons

2/ Attacks on German airfields, communications and supply routes.

3/ Low level strafing of trenches, troop concentrations etc.

4/ Photo reconnaissance sorties of their area of operations and were of great importance and value.

From July 1918 until the end of WW1 the Wing proved very successful and effective in all these roles.

Serny 22 Squadron leaving

Serny 22 Squadron leaving prior to arrival of the 80 Wing units

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80 Wing consisted in the main of 2 Squadron and 4 Squadron of the Australian Flying Corps and 88 Squadron and 103 Squadron of the RAF.

46 Squadron 54 Squadron and 92 Squadron RAF were also part of 80 Wing at various times.

88 Squadron RAF – Bristol F2B

103 Squadron RAF - DH9

2 Squadron AFC – SE5A

4 Squadron AFC – Sopwith Camels and Sopwith Snipes

46 Squadron RAF – Sopwith Camels

54 Squadron RAF – Sopwith Camels

92 Squadron RAF – SE5A

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88 Squadron RAF

Operated on the Western Front to great effect from April 1918 to Armistice Day. Leading aces were Kenneth Burns Conn and Australian Edgar Johnson who were both credited with 20 kills. Johnson had a distinguished post war career in Australian civil aviation

88 Squadron Bristol F2B

88 Squadron Bristol F2B

103 Squadron RAF

Operated on the Western Front with considerable success from May 1918 to Armistice Day

This unit produced several aces. John Stevenson Stubbs with highly creditable 15 kills being the most prominent

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2 Squadron AFC

A fine Australian fighter squadron formed from the original 67 Squadron in early January 1918. They flew with several Wings as required during the German spring offensive of 1918

In late June 1918 they became part of 80 Wing and fought throughout the summer and autumn till Armistice Day

This unit produced a number of aces. Francis Ryan Smith with 16 kills was their leading ace with Roy Cecil Phillipps on 15

2 Squadron AFC SE5A

2 Squadron AFC SE5A

4 Squadron AFC

This Squadron was considered one of the finest Allied fighter units if not the finest on the Western Front. They fought their Sopwith Camels and Sopwith Snipes with great skill and determination let by the top scoring Aussie AFC ace Harry Cobby. Australians Robert Little and Roderic Dallas both shot down more German aircraft but they served with the RAF and RNAS respectively. Cobby was a natural leader in the air and on the ground who led by example. He finished WW1 with 24 aircraft kills and a further 5 observation balloons shot down. Cobby became an Australian national hero and rose to the rank of Air Commodore in the RAAF serving with distinction in WW2. The latter stages of his career was however blighted by the unfortunate Morotai Mutiny affair.

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80 Wing was disbanded on 1 March 1919

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A selection of pics showing results of 80 Wing’s work.

80 Wing Bomb burst on railway

80 Wing Bomb burst on railway

80 Wing Damage at Ghislenghien railway

80 Wing Damage at Ghislenghien railway

80 Wing Raid on Marcq aerodrome

80 Wing Raid on Marcq aerodrome

80 Wing Marcq Aerodrome aftermath

80 Wing Marcq Aerodrome aftermath

Compiled by David Fell with photos from my archive and the IWM.

This is an interesting topic which I will return to in due course when more content has been researched.

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Also of local RAF Bomber Command interest are the

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