Australian Flying Corps – Lest We Forget – ANZAC Day 2017

Australian Flying Corps

In the early days of military flying the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) operated during World War One (1914-1918) under the overall structure of the British Royal Flying Corps (RFC). Four complete AFC squadrons took part in the war, flying reconnaissance, observation photography, bombing, ground attack and scouting patrols to engage enemy aircraft over the battlefields of Europe and the Middle East.

No. 1 Squadron departed Australia for the Middle East in March 1916. By late 1917 No. 2, 3, and 4 Squadrons were formed to fight in France (the three AFC squadrons accounted for 768 German aircraft destroyed on the Western Front). The AFC also operated an Australian Training Wing in England consisting of four training squadrons to train pilots to fly on the Western Front (No. 5, 6, 7 and 8 Squadrons).

Australian Flying Corps World War One flight gear - Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne - April 2017
Australian Flying Corps World War One flight gear – Leather greatcoat of Major Murray Jones circa 1915 (left) and flying leathers of Lieutenant Alec Paterson, No. 3 Squadron AFC circa 1915 (right) – Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne – April 2017
Leather greatcoat of Major Murray Jones, AFC circa 1915 the year he became an AFC pilot - he flew with No. 1 Squadron in the Middle East during the Sinai Campaign and was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry during a raid on an enemy airfield and also shot down three German aircraft in a raid over Beersheba and was twice mentioned in despatches. He took over command of No. 2 Squadron in France in May 1918 and would earn a Distinguished Flying Cross in June 1918 and received a DFC bar from his actions during a bombing raid in November 1918 (one day before the war ended). He ended the war with 7 air to air victories.
Leather greatcoat of Major Murray Jones, AFC circa 1915 the year he became an AFC pilot – he flew with No. 1 Squadron in the Middle East during the Sinai Campaign and was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry during a raid on an enemy airfield and also shot down three German aircraft in a raid over Beersheba and was twice mentioned in despatches. He took over command of No. 2 Squadron in France in May 1918 and would earn a Distinguished Flying Cross in June 1918 and received a DFC bar from his actions during a bombing raid in November 1918 (one day before the war ended). He ended the war with 7 air to air victories. Bottom left – AFC brevet, officers pips and lucky charm of Lieutenant James Disney who served in the AIF at Gallipoli in 1915 and the Western Front before transferring to the AFC and serving with No. 2 Squadron in 1918. He would later become the Lord Mayor of Melbourne from 1948 to 1951 – Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne – April 2017
The Australian Flying Corps operated the Sopwith Pup in a training role with No. 5, 6, 8 Squadrons in England and the Central Flying School at Point Cook during World War One - Sopwith Pup replica (VH-SOR - 1992) at the Kyneton Air Show - April 23rd, 2017
The Australian Flying Corps operated the Sopwith Pup in a training role with No. 5, 6, 8 Squadrons in England and the Central Flying School at Point Cook during World War One – Sopwith Pup replica (VH-SOR – 1992) at the Kyneton Air Show – April 23rd, 2017
World War One fur-lined AFC flying jackets (open cockpits and no parachutes were the order of the day) vs RAAF World War Two flying suit with an oxygen mask for higher altitude flying - Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne - April 2017
World War One fur-lined AFC flying jackets (open cockpits and no parachutes were the order of the day) vs RAAF World War Two flying suit with an oxygen mask for higher altitude flying – Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne – April 2017

According to the Australian War Memorial a total of 460 officers and 2,234 enlisted men served in the AFC during World War One and 178 of them unfortunately never returned home (more than a third died in training accidents). Lest We Forget.

The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne was officially opened in front of 300,000 people in November 1934. The Shrine was originally built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War One, today it serves as a memorial to all Australians who have served in war and on peacekeeping duties
The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne was officially opened in front of 300,000 people in November 1934. The Shrine was originally built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War One, today it serves as a memorial to all Australians who have served in war and on peacekeeping duties – April 2017
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4 thoughts on “Australian Flying Corps – Lest We Forget – ANZAC Day 2017

    1. Hi Timothy – the AFC were under the orders of Britain’s Royal Flying Corps. Overall command of the First Australian Imperial Force was in the hands of the British Army but most divisional and brigade commanders were Australian officers.

      Liked by 1 person

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