Waiting for the Zeppelins and the Gothas.  (Shades of pictures of Battle of Britain squadrons)  Right to left: Capt CJQ Brand, Capt T Gran (Norwegian), Lieut RGH Adams, Lieut GR Craig (white scarf), Lieut CC Banks, Lieut LF Lomas, Lieut CA Lewis (author of "Sagittarius Rising", sitting with his back towards us), unknown.
[From the collection of Trevor Henshaw]


During the eight daylight raids made by the German Gothas on the south east of England between May and August 1917 the Sopwith Camels of No. 44 Sqn. at Hainault Farm had very little success. Night fighting equipment and tactics were then in their infancy. However, on January 25th, 1918 two pilots from No. 44 Sqn.  did share a kill when a Gotha was shot down at Wickford, Essex.

Commanding officers of No. 44 Sqn. were Major T.O'B. Hubbard from 24th July, 1917 to 29th August, 1917 and Major G.W. Murlis-Green, DSO, MC., from 29th August, 1917 until llth June, 1918. Lt. George Robert Craig was in 'B' flight with Captain J.I. Mackay as his flight commander. Camels in 'B' flight were identified with a white band edged in blue and placed around the fuselage aft of the roundel and forward of the plane's registration number.

There is only one formally recorded occasion when the newly promoted Lieutenant Craig and other pilots of the Squadron attacked a Gotha raid. This was on 12th August, 1917 one week before he was to be killed. It was a daylight raid on Southend in which 33 civilians were killed, 46 injured and 9,600 pound sterling of damage was incurred. 13 Gothas left Germany, 11 were attacked but none were shot down. On that date 'B' flight put 5 Camels into the air led by Captain Mackay in Camel B3827 The other flight members included Captain T. Gran, a Norwegian pilot who joined the RFC clandestinely (Norway was not at war with Germany) flying Camel B3815, Lieutenant E.S. Moulton-Barrett flying Camel B3776 who ran out of fuel and crash landed on his return to Hainault but was uninjured, Captain G.A.H. Pidcock flying Camel B3883 and Lieutenant G.R. Craig flying Camel B3886. It is noted that the plane in which Lieutenant Craig was later killed, B3788, also flew that day but in 'C' flight being flown by Lt. R.G.H. Adams (After wars end to become a music hall artist and film actor).


44 Squadron Camels flying in formation over Essex. [Philip Jarrett]


August 1917.  Camels lined up prior to flying.  The Camel in which George was killed (B3788) can be seen 5th from the right [Frank Cheesman]


The camel in the foreground Serial number B3763 was allocated to Captain WH Haynes in which he engaged a Gotha over Lambourne on Sept. 30, 1917.  Captain Haynes who attended Georges funeral on behalf of the squadron was awarded the D.S.O. in December.
He was subsequently killed by a freak accident on Sept. 26th 1918 in No. 151 Sqn. (in France). His camel overturned while taxiing at night and while he and others were inspecting the damage one of the guns was triggered and he was fatally shot. [Frank Cheesman]


A Sopwith Triplane Cockpit


"A flight" crash. [Philip Jarrett]


Full staff picture at the end of hostilities taken in front of the repair hangar.  The station commander (centre seated) is Major AT Harris, later known as "Bomber Harris" in WWII [JMB / GSL Collection]

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