Adrian Tonks

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Adrian James Boswell Tonks
Born 10 May 1898
Solihull, England
Died 14 July 1919
Plot B.158, Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Alexandria, Egypt
Allegiance England
Service/branch Aviation
Years of service 1916–1919
Rank Captain
Unit No. 204 Squadron RAF
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross

Captain Adrian James Boswell Tonks was a British World War I flying ace. He was credited with 12 official aerial victories, and won a Distinguished Flying Cross for his successes. He also won a second DFC for his valor in pressing home bombing assaults on the enemy.

World War I[edit]

On 13 August 1916, Tonks was appointed a probationary Flight Sub-Lieutenant.[1]

Tonks was posted to 4 Naval Squadron as a Sopwith Camel pilot. He scored his first aerial victories on 22 August 1917, when he sent down two German Albatros D.V fighter planes out of control southeast of Ostend. On 9 November, it was a DFW reconnaissance two-seater that he put down out of control north of Pervijze, Belgium. On 23 November 1917, he scored another "out of control" victory east of Keiem, over another Albatros D.V.[2]

Tonks would be promoted from Flight Sub-Lieutenant to Flight Lieutenant on 1 January 1918.[3][4] He resumed scoring on 30 June 1918, driving down a Fokker D.VII out of control over Zeebrugge. On both 10 and 13 August, he drove down another Fokker D.VII. On 15 August, he sent down three Fokker D.VIIs out of control east of Ypres. On 28 September 1918, he destroyed a Fokker D.VII over Werken, and sent another down out of control. He then turned to bombing missions.

Tonks won two Distinguished Flying Crosses in quick succession. The first one, awarded 2 November 1918, was granted for his valor in aerial combat. Its accompanying citation read:

"A brave and determined airman who has destroyed four enemy aeroplanes and driven down six out of control. In a recent engagement with twelve enemy scouts he destroyed one and drove off others who were attacking some pilots in his flight. In these combats he expended all his ammunition, but seeing three enemy machines attacking one of ours, he, with great gallantry, dived amongst them with a view to distracting their attention...."[5]

He received the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross in lieu of a second award on 3 December 1918. As its text related:

"Since 28 September this officer has led eleven low bombing raids, displaying conspicuous courage and skill, and inflicting serious damage on enemy from low altitudes. During bombing raids Captain Tonks has destroyed two enemy machines, proving himself a bold and daring fighter." [6]

Post World War I[edit]

On 3 January 1919, Tonks was confirmed in his rank as captain.[7] He died and was buried in plot B.158 in Alexandria's Hadra War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.[8]


  1. ^ (Flight, 17 August 1916) Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  2. ^ Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  3. ^ (Supplement to the London Gazette, 1 January 1918) Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  4. ^ (Flight, 3 January 1918) Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  5. ^ (Supplement to the London Gazette, 2 November 1918) Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  6. ^ (Supplement to the London Gazette, 3 December 1918) Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  7. ^ (The London Gazette, 3 January 1919) Retrieved 3 January 1919.
  8. ^ Retrieved 4 March 2011.