2 Sqn RFC Pilot
Squadron RFC 1918, Lt Montgomerie's diary cont'd
No. 2 Sqn
CO on 21 March 1918 was Major Wilfred R Snow, DSO, MC. The
Squadron was under HQ 1st Brigade, Brig-Gen. D le G Pitcher,
CMG and HQ 1st (Corps) Wing, Lt. Col. E L Gossage, MC.
Jan 28th Mon
mumps and sent to No 12 Stationary hospital St Pol. Came here in a
motor ambulance. An RFC EO and a Yankee officer are in the same hut with.
records a rather dull time in hospital until his recovery in mid February.
Feb 14th Thurs
today with mumps. There are only three pilots left in A
flight now. Went for two good walks and saw an old French forest.
Heard that Thompson and Heney had crashed the old 285 on the aerodrome.
Whitworth FK8 B285 crashed in thick fog by Lt. Thompson at
Hesdigneul (February 1918). (Photos from H S Montgomerie's collection)
Feb 15th Fri
exciting happened today. Weather was misty and we did not go for a walk.
Feb 16th Sat
Sunny day. I
went for a long walk to the west of the hospital. Carved my
initials on a tree.
Feb 17th Sun
Went for two
walks. Bristol fighter landed here lost - Gothas came over bombing
and we think a stunt has started.
Feb 18th Mon
disinfected and ready to leave. Went in to St Pol and found out when
train left for Bethune. Received a pair of wings from
Mother for putting on flying tunic for luck.
Feb 19th Tues
Left St Pol on
wrong train and passed through Lillers to Hazebrouck. Stayed the
night at Hazebrouck in the Trois Clavaux hotel.
Feb 20th Wes
Hazebrouck on 9.21 civilian train and arrived Bethune at 11. Met
Gunson of Sherwood For. and Charlton of No 2 and a South African
pilot. Dunkerly returned from leave, saw CO and posted to
A flight again. Found Hom and Broadbent had been killed
on 18 Feb in a fight [claimed over Armentieres by Jasta 23 Lt.n
M Gossner (1)].
In this fight Allport and Hammond were attacked and Hammond brought
two down one in flames and this is a very good performance. [German
records show one loss to Jasta 23 Lt.n
H Kutt WIA (1)]
RFC Communiqué No 127
Enemy aircraft - Capt. J Allport and Lt. A W Hammond, 2 Squadron,
while on photography, were attacked by six EA scouts. Lt. Hammond
shot two down; one burst into flames and crashed, the other fell to pieces.
Feb 21st Thurs
Did not fly
today. Jenkinson went on leave. Morry arrived and is posted to
Feb 22nd Fri
Due for early
show but weather was too dud. Fired on observers
range and got 15 hits on running target.
Feb 23rd Sat
Went up and
did successful shoot on BY 56 with 125 SB. Cloud 4,000 feet and very
bad visibility. Heavily Archied over La Bassee canal but
not hit. Most of my flying from now onwards was done on AW 3566.
Feb 24th Sun
shoot on TC 82 with 73 SB. Cloud 4000 feet and one heavy shower. One
bomb on Rue de Marais. 73 was shelled as I came back.
Feb 25th Mon
Major Snow [CO]
went up and sent FL and all others sent UL. He did his shoot with
clouds at 2000 feet. Five new pilots arrived two for
Aflight. Did not go into huts and went to Bethune in
Feb 26th Tues
On early show
and did a successful shoot on BW 53 with 125 SB. Dropped bombs on
miles over the line]
and did not get much Archie. Went to do a second shoot but engine
went dud and UL was sent down. Hun tanks reported near Hulluck.
Feb 27th Wed
shoot on T25 and 20.25 with 20th SB. Clouds at 5,000 feet which
dropped to 2,000 later on. Dropped bombs on Rue de Marais. Went into
Bethune in the afternoon with Ashby.
Feb 28th Thurs
shoot on AX 12 with 73SB. Clouds from 2,000 to 9,000 with a heavy
shower. Very cold. Dropped bombs on Canteleux [W.
of La Bassée].
Mar 1st Fri
attempt at shoot on T 19 c11 60 with 237 SB owing to clouds. Farthing
wrote off a B flight bus on his
practise landings. Allport and Hammond awarded MC for their
work on the 18 th of last month in shooting those two Huns down, and
they deserved it.
RFC Communiqué No 129
Honours and Awards
The Military Cross - Capt. J M Allport; Lt. A W Hammond;
Mar 2nd Sat
officer. Snowed in the afternoon and the CO was trying to get shoots
done. Received sweets from Mother.
Mar 3rd Sun
Misty all day
and no work was done at all. I learnt up some information to pass
onto the CO.
Mar 4th Mon
as CO thinks we are responsible for some damage done during a
thick night. CO has been awarded the DSO. Dud
all day and no flying was done. Bertha asked if I was any
relation of Comte Montgomerie.
Mar 7th Thurs
visited 73-323 and 20 th S??? Batts. 73 were shelled soon after we
left. 20 th put over a few rounds while we were there. They had been
shelled in the morning. Bought mat for my hut on the way back.
Mar 8th Fri
shoot on 4x12 with 237 and 323 SBs. Very hard to see bursts. Had
Stanners as observer. Archie hit Sidleys prop and he had a
forced landing and I did his shoot and had no Archie at all.
Mar 9th Sat
Heney killed and burnt just after taking off the drome. Collins
turned when nearly stalled and spun from about 300 feet. Caught fire
and the bombs went up - [a/c
AW 5786. Annotated my photo of 124 HB for the CO.
shoot on T 25 c 6771 with 193[N] SB. Thick haze and bad visibility.
Sat on the lines and dropped bombs on Rue du Marais without getting
any Archie at all. Jenkinson returned from leave. Salt went on leave.
Mar 11th Mon
Standing by in
case of Hun push. Did not come off so I did ordinary
early patrol. Went down to Vimy and saw memorial and crosses on
ridge. Saw 7 Hun Albatros D 3 who attacked us at 3,500 feet and
followed us to 400 behind [the
Jenkinsons gun did not fire well so I spiralled all the way
down. Nothing hit at all.
HSMs combat report for 11 March records, that on
artillery patrol at 6,000 ft, seeing 3 EA Scouts over La Bassee which
were then joined by four others. He descended to 3,000 ft and one EA
dived on their tail while another attacked to their front out of the
sun. EA continued attacking down to 400 ft East of Gorre, his
observer, Lt. R A Jenkinson, fired 140 rounds from the Lewis gun. The
EA then flew away East. (a/c AW B 5776)
Mar 12th Tues
shoot on TC 41 with 90 th SB- Bty was shelled and had to stop firing
for an hour. Had Weatherly as an observer. Saw Hun plane down behind
the lines north of canal. Went to Bethune and saw Elphick and another
fellow from Sherwood Foresters.
Mar 13th Wed
First time on
C 13 photos, took about 17 plates. Attacked by three Hun Albatros W
of La Bassée. Wardrope shot one down about 10x range. Camels
came up and shot four down and four out of control we lost
none. This started at 9,000 feet and there were 17 Huns to start with.
HSMs combat report for 13 March records that on
photography duties with Lt. Wardrope over La Bassee at 9,000 ft, they
were attacked by 1 EA which dived on their tail. He put the aircraft
into a spiral descent and the observer fired 20 rounds from a range
of 25 yards. Bullets were seen to go through the engine and into the
pilots seat. The EA then stalled and turned over going down in a
vertical spin. The observer watched it down to 3,000 ft but they were
then attacked by another EA diving on their flank. The observer fired
10 rounds and the EA turned away. They recrossed the lines while the
remaining EA were attacked by Sopwith Camels. 2 EA were seen going
down vertically followed by the Camels. (a/c AW C3579). They were
credited with 1 a/c driven down OOC. The Camels were probably from 43
Sqn - mentioned in RFC Com 131.
RFC Communiqué No 131
EA were driven down out of control by the following: ... 2nd Lt. H S
Montgomerie & Lt. W H Wardrope, 2 Squadron;
Mar 14th Thurs
fly today. Went visiting batteries. Got badly shelled as we went to
visit 193 SB. Shells fell about 50 yards off and were too close at
that but the strafe soon stopped.
Mar 15th Fri
successful shoot on 4x57 with 493 rd SB[1-12 inch How] Wind and
cloud were the cause of the difficulty. Flying over Hunland quite a
lot E of Lens.
Mar 16th Sat
Only fired on
aerial range and shot my prop through. Very good day without much work.
Mar 17th Sun
Early show and
tried to shoot but Batty did not fire because of Hun planes. Quite a
lot of Huns about. Fired on aerial range and did practise bombing.
Mar 18th Mon
Tried to do a
calibration with 158th SB, but they would not fire for the Hun
'sausages'. Dropped bombs and came home. Went out on practise
formation, as 'deputy leader' this afternoon, and followed a Handley
Page after it was over.
Mar 19th Tues
Wet all day.
Went to Bethune in afternoon. HV shells had been put in the morning
[sic] and killed several people and wrecked the th?? h?? One
fell near the Officers Club.
Mar 20th Wed
morning. CO flew on leave and took 209 to Home Establishment. 209 had
done nearly 200 hours work in France. Left Chocques at 5.30 on leave
and arrived Boulogne midnight.
was on leave until the 4th of April. During that time he saw his
family in London, saw several of the current shows and bought his
mother a gold and diamond brooch of RFC wings.
The last major German offensive of the war was launched on 21 March
1918 in the Somme area facing the British 5th and 3rd Armies between
Arras and St Quentin. With the holding of the German advance by the
end of March, attention switched to the Northern sector where the
German forces launched a second attack on The Lys in early April.
I Brigade Order of Battle 21 March 1918
Page 1, 2, 3, 4
Note: 1. The Jasta War Chronology, Franks, Bailey and Duiven