Noel Webb (aviator)

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Noel William Ward Webb
Born (1896-12-12)12 December 1896
Margate, Kent, England
Died 16 August 1917(1917-08-16) (aged 20)
Vicinity of Polygon Wood
Memorial Arras Flying Services Memorial, Pas de Calais, France
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Aviation
Rank Captain
Unit No. 25 Squadron RFC, No. 70 Squadron RFC
Awards Military Cross with Bar

Captain Noel William Ward Webb was an early World War I flying ace credited with 14 aerial victories. He was the first pilot to use the Sopwith Camel to claim an enemy plane. He also claimed the life of German ace Leutnant Otto Brauneck for his ninth victory. [1] [2]

Private Noel William Webb (the form of name he used) was commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps as a Second Lieutenant on March 1916.[3] After completing pilot's training in June, he was assigned to 25 Squadron in France on 4 July.[4] Piloting a Royal Aircraft Factory FE.2b, he shot down one of the first fighters with a synchronized gun when he destroyed a Fokker Eindekker on 19 July 1916. During the next two months, he became one of the few FE.2 aces, winning four more times, with his fifth win on 15 September being another destruction of an Eindekker. Leslie Court was one of his observer gunners during these missions. His performance in an FE.2B was worth a Military Cross for Webb, accompanied by a promotion to Captain and withdrawal to Home Establishment to serve as an instructor.[5]

Webb was then reassigned to 70 Squadron as a Sopwith Camel pilot on 21 June 1917 for his return to combat. While test flying a new Camel on 12 July, he became the first pilot to score a victory in type by wounding the crew of a German two-seater and forcing it down onto a British airfield into captivity. On 17 July, he sent down two Albatros D.Vs out of control in separate actions; in one of these dogfights, he wounded German ace Leutnant Karl Meyer. On 26 July, he killed Leutnant Otto Brauneck while destroying his Albatros D.V. Webb scored twice more on the 28th, and wrapped up his victory list with a triple win on 13 August 1917. Three days later, near Polygon Wood, he dove off away from his patrol after two German aircraft. He fell under the guns of Werner Voss.[6]

Honors and awards[edit]

Captain Webb's Military Cross was gazetted 1 January 1917, without a copy of the award citation.[7]

Text to award for the Military Cross (MC) Bar (in lieu of a second award)

T./Capt. Noel William Webb, M.C., Gen. List and R.F.C.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in aerial combats. He has destroyed three hostile machines and driven down four others completely out of control. By his spirit and gallantry he has set a fine example which has inspired the pilots of his flight to successfully attack enemy formations many times more numerous than their own.[8]

References[edit]

  • Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915-1920 Christopher F. Shores, Norman L. R. Franks, Russell Guest. Grub Street, 1990. ISBN 0-948817-19-4, ISBN 978-0-948817-19-9.

Endnotes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/england/webb.php Retrieved on 11 June 2010.
  2. ^ Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915-1920. p. 378. 
  3. ^ (Supplement to The London Gazette, 28 March 1916. http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/29525/supplements/3391 Retrieved on 11 June 2010.
  4. ^ http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/england/webb.php Retrieved on 11 June 2010.
  5. ^ Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915-1920. p. 378. 
  6. ^ Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915-1920. p. 378. 
  7. ^ (The London Gazette, 9 January 1917) http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/29886/supplements/29 establishes award of Military Cross; http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/29886/supplements/29 denominates Webb. Retrieved on 11 June 2010.
  8. ^ (Supplement to the London Gazette, 9 January 1918) http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/30466/supplements/579 Retrieved on 11 June 2010.