An audacious attack

This was the account the Bermuda Colonist newspaper gave of Lt. Spurling's gallantry in an article dated October 18, 1918:

A formation of British machines had been carrying out some important operations well over the German lines.

On the return journey the weather suddenly became hazy, and one of the pilots lost touch with the formation in the clouds.

  • <b>Lt. Arthur Rowe Spurling</b>, Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps, the Lincolnshire Regiment and Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force veteran of the First and Second World Wars, earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for shooting down (with his gunner) five German aircraft in one action in 1918 and another plane a few weeks later. He is shown here during service in the RAF in the Second World War.

    Lt. Arthur Rowe Spurling, Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps, the Lincolnshire Regiment and Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force veteran of the First and Second World Wars, earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for shooting down (with his gunner) five German aircraft in one action in 1918 and another plane a few weeks later. He is shown here during service in the RAF in the Second World War.


This was the account the Bermuda Colonist newspaper gave of Lt. Spurling's gallantry in an article dated October 18, 1918:

A formation of British machines had been carrying out some important operations well over the German lines.

On the return journey the weather suddenly became hazy, and one of the pilots lost touch with the formation in the clouds.

The British pilot set his course due west, and flew on for some time.

Having made what he thought was sufficient allowance for the distance to the British lines, he put down the nose of his machine and saw beneath him an aerodrome.

The wind, however, freshened considerably, and so far as covering the ground was concerned he had been making only half the speed shown on airspeed indicator.

As he circled over the aerodrome, preparing to land, a German Scout machine suddenly appeared from the clouds above him, and immediately to attack.

Marvelling at the unusual temerity of the German in daring to attack over an English aerodrome, the British pilot checked his descent and opened fire on his attacker.

At this moment he became aware that no fewer than thirty German machines were actually climbing towards him from the aerodrome.

Realising now that he was over an enemy aerodrome, he dived towards the first group of German squadrons, both he and his observer firing on every machine upon which they could get their guns to bear.

The enemy pilots appeared too bewildered by the outstanding audacity of the British airmen to attack them effectively at first, and their own tremendous numerical superiority seemed further to confuse them.

One German plane burst into flames in the air, two more went down spinning and side slipping completely out of control.

Four enemy scouts had by this time got into position to attack, clinging to the tail of the British machine.

Two of these were sent blazing to earth.

Shaking himself clear of the remainder, the British pilot opened his throttle and sped homewards leaving on that German aerodrome three blazing wrecks, and two other crashed machines as a highly satisfactory outcome of what might have proved a fatal mistake.

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