Ross Smith, image courtesy State Library of South Australia B6101
Smith, Ross – May 1917
May 1st to 23rd
Started T.T.C. [Tactical Training Course?] at No. 3 School of Military Aeronautics, Abbassia. We lived in stone barracks & were very comfortable and the work was not hard. Completed the course and passed all exams
Tunbridge was shot down by a Hun from 8,000 ft. At 2,000 ft. a bullet ignited one of his Very’s lights & he was badly burned & sent to 14 A.G.H. Macnamara, Turner & Tunbridge were in hospital together & I used to go round & see them from the school. Murray-Jones wounded.
Transferred from Cairo to No. 57 Reserve Sqdn. Ishmalia
A force consisting of one Company of Camel Corps under Major Mills was being sent out to NEKHL to destroy the wells there in case the Turks should want to come back and occupy the place. One Flight of the 20th Reserve wing R.F.C. was detailed to work with the Columns & reconnoiter (sic) it from & flanks daily. As I knew the country I was one of the Observers & Gardiner & Forrest of 14 Sqdn were the other 2. Our pilots were Capt. Macrindle (M.C.) from 57 R.S. Lt. French, 57 R.S & Capt. Peck (since M.C. & D.S.O) from 22 R.S at Aboukir. We went down to SUEZ and left our machines at the aerodrome (58 Res. Sqdn.) & lived at the Hotel Belair. I did not enjoy the stunt very much because we were working over very uninteresting country and I was flying with pilots I didn’t know very well. We were using School machines (2 E’s) so of course had several forced landings in the desert.
Did a recco with Peck but did not see anything except a few goats.
May 27th. & 28th.
Went out and landed at NEKHL and watched the Camel Corps blowing up the wells. They were beautiful wells and it seemed to me to be a great pity to blow them in as there was no one in the town and no Turks nearer than 50 miles away. The engineers did not take enough gun cotton out with them so Macrindle & Peck flew back to Suez & got some more. We camped at NEKHL on the night of the 27th. & returned to Suez on the 28th. .
Did a recco with Peck & completed my 200 hours (in the air) as an Observer.
From Suez to Ishmalia by train. Stone & Morgan, while flying over GAZA were hit by an archie. They were on a 2E & one extension was shot away. Stone brought the machine down to about 200ft but it then got out of control & crashed. They were both killed.
Started to learn to fly dual control on a Maurice Farman. Found it quite easy.