Keith Muspratt

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Keith Knox Muspratt MC, born 22 December 1897 in Bournemouth, England and educated at Sherborne School, was a First World War flying ace in the Royal Flying Corps with eight victories to his name.

Keith Knox Muspratt
Born (1897-12-22)22 December 1897
Bournemouth, Hampshire, England
Died 16 March 1918(1918-03-16) (aged 20)
Martlesham Heath
Buried at Bournemouth Cemetery, Wimborne Road, Hampshire
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Flying Corps
Years of service ca. 1917 - 1918
Rank Captain
Unit No. 56 Squadron RFC
Awards Military Cross

Keith Muspratt was a doctor's son from Bournemouth, Hampshire.[1]

Learning to fly while still at Sherborne School, Muspratt joined the RFC and became an instructor before joining No. 56 Squadron in May 1917. During his service he was credited with eight victories ( 1 captured, 4 destroyed, 1 and 2 shared 'out of control'). His first claim was flying Sopwith-built SE.5 No. A4861, against an Albatros D.III that he helped to force down out of control on 24 May 1917. He added a second out-of-control victory on the 28th, while flying SE.5 No. A8913. On 17 July, he shared another OOC victory flying A8913.

He switched to SE.5 No. 8944, and scored decisively three times in August. Then, on 23 September, he participated in one of the epic air battles of World War I. Werner Voss fought patrols from No. 60 Squadron RFC, and B Flight of 56 Squadron, included Muspratt. During Voss's single-handed battle, he damaged two No. 60 squadron aircraft such that they withdrew from the fight. He also holed the radiator of Muspratt's plane and riddled the wings of another 56 aircraft. Voss finally succumbed to bullets from Arthur Rhys Davids.[2]

Muspratt destroyed two more German planes in October. After his final victory, he was withdrawn from battle and assigned to Home Establishment as a test pilot at Martlesham Heath.[3]

He was awarded the Military Cross on 7 March 1918. He held the rank of captain at the time of his death in a plane crash on 16 March 1918.[1][4]

Military Cross citation[edit]

T./2nd Lt. Keith Knox Muspratt, Gen. List and R.F.C.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He showed great initiative throughout the offensive operations, and seldom failed to become engaged with enemy aircraft when on offensive patrol. He destroyed several hostile machines. He took part in over forty offensive patrols, the majority of which entailed very severe fighting at low altitudes under heavy fire, and he set a magnificent example by his skill, gallantry, and initiative.

Supplement to the London Gazette, 7 March 1918(30561/2927)[5]

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