Percy Jack Clayson

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Percy Jack Clayson
Nickname(s) Pip
Born (1896-06-07)7 June 1896
Deptford, London, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Navy
British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1914–1929
1941-1954
Rank Flight Lieutenant
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Military Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross

Percy Jack Clayson MCDFC (b. 7 June 1896) was a British flying ace in the First World War credited with 29 victories.[1]

Biography[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Clayson was born in Deptford, London[2][3] on 7 June 1896. In the 1910 Census of Watford, he is listed as a 14-year-old pupil at the Royal Masonic School for Boys at Bushey.[2]

First World War[edit]

Clayson joined the Royal Naval Air Service at the outbreak of war and served in France from December 1914. He then transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, being appointed a probationary temporary second lieutenant on the General List on 19 July 1917,[4] and was confirmed in the rank on 28 September.[5] On 30 September 1917 he was awarded his Royal Aero Club Aviators License (No. 5617) after flying a Curtiss Biplane at the Military School at Beverley.[6] He joined No. 1 Squadron on 31 October 1917.[7]

Clayson gained his first victory on 16 February 1918.[1] He was awarded the Military Cross on 9 April, and on 8 May was appointed a flight commander with the rank of acting captain.[8] On 12 June 1918, he was cited for the Distinguished Flying Cross[9] and by 14 July had achieved a total of 29 credited victories; 1 shared destroyed balloon, 1 (and 1 shared) aircraft captured, 9 (and 9 shared) aircraft destroyed, and 5 (and 3 shared) aircraft 'out of control'.[1]

He was invested with his DFC on 24 July 1919 by The King at Buckingham Palace.[10] Clayson was posted to Home Establishment on 3 August 1918, ending his involvement in direct engagement with the enemy.[7]

Later military service[edit]

On 24 October 1919 he was granted a short service commission in the Royal Air Force with the rank of flying officer.[11] He served during the 1920s with Nos. 6 and 70 Squadrons. On 1 July 1925 he was promoted to flight lieutenant,[12] and on 9 July was posted to No. 23 Squadron at RAF Henlow.[13] On 21 September 1926 he was posted to the Aircraft Depot, Iraq,[14] finally returning to the UK to serve at the RAF Depot at RAF Uxbridge from 14 November 1928.[15] He was placed on the retired list due to ill health on 16 April 1929.[16]

On 7 September 1929, at Our Lady of Victories Church, Kensington, he married Kathleen Thornton of Kelvingrove, Glasgow.[17] In 1936 Clayson was the Chief Ground Instructor at the Civil Training Flying School operated by the Bristol Aeroplane Company at Yatesbury.[18]

During World War II Clayson returned to active service in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve being appointed a flying officer in the Administrative and Special Duties Branch on 20 December 1941.[19] He was promoted to flight lieutenant on 1 January 1944.[20] Clayson remained in the Air Force Reserve of Officers until finally relinquishing his commission on 10 February 1954.[21]

Honours and awards[edit]

  • Temporary 2nd Lieutenant Percy Jack Clayson, General List and RFC, is awarded the Military Cross:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When on low-flying offensive patrol, he engaged an enemy scout and shot it down, with the result it crashed to earth. He has brought down several hostile machines, one of which was forced to land in our lines, and has engaged massed enemy troops and transport from a very low altitudes with machine-gun fire, inflicting heavy casualties. He has displayed the most marked determination, courage and skill.

—London Gazette, 22 June 1918[22]

A patrol leader of great skill, and a skilful marksman, whose personal fighting successes have proved of much value to his squadron. Captain Clayson's patrol frequently encountered enemy formations in superior numbers, but invariably succeeded in inflicting serious losses.

—London Gazette, 3 August 1918[23]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c "Percy Jack Clayson". The Aerodrome. 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  2. ^ a b 1910 Census of Watford, RG14/7698, Percy Jack Clayson, Royal Masonic School, The Avenue, Bushey, Hertfordshire.
  3. ^ General Register Office Index of Births registered in July, August, September, 1896. Name: Clayson, Percy Jack. District: Greenwich. Volume: 1D. Page: 1077.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30221. pp. 8096–8097. 7 August 1917.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30342. p. 10742. 16 October 1917.
  6. ^ Royal Aero Club Aviators Certificate Record Card No. 5617 Clayson, Percy Jack
  7. ^ a b Shores et.al. (1997), p.107.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 30702. p. 6110. 24 May 1918.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30775. p. 7746. 28 June 1918.
  10. ^ "Court Circular" The Times (London). Friday, 25 July 1919. (42161), col B, p. 15.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 31616. p. 13033. 24 October 1919.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33063. p. 4456. 3 July 1925.
  13. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight XVII (874): 621. 24 September 1925. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  14. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XVIII (929): 681. 14 October 1926. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  15. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight XXI (1046): 16. 3 January 1929. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  16. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33488. p. 14. 23 April 1929.
  17. ^ "Personals: Married". Flight XXI (1083): 1064. 27 September 1929. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  18. ^ "Yatesbury sets the Pace". Flight XXX (1456). 12 November 1936. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  19. ^ The London Gazette: no. 35476. p. 1020. 3 March 1942.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36340. pp. 412–414. 18 January 1944.
  21. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 40528. pp. 3878–3879. 1 July 1955.
  22. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30761. p. 7406. 22 June 1918.
  23. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30827. p. 9199. 3 August 1918.
Bibliography
  • Shores, Christopher F.; Franks, Norman & Guest, Russell (1990). Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915–1920. London, UK: Grub Street. ISBN 0-948817-19-4.