Arthur Bradfield Fairclough

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Arthur Bradfield Fairclough
Born (1896-07-25)25 July 1896
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died 9 December 1968(1968-12-09) (aged 72)
Allegiance Dominion of Canada
United Kingdom
Service/branch Canadian Expeditionary Force
British Army
Royal Air Force
Rank Captain
Battles/wars First World War
Awards Military Cross

Arthur Bradfield Fairclough MC (25 July 1896 – 9 December 1968) was a Canadian First World War flying ace, officially credited with 19 aerial victories.[1]

Early life and background[edit]

Fairclough was born in Toronto, the son of Leonard and Ettie (née Carter) Fairclough,[1] and before the war worked as a clerk for the financiers Wood Gundy.[2]

Military service[edit]

On 7 February 1916 Fairclough was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 2nd Regiment, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada.[2] On 24 May he volunteered for overseas service, and was assigned to the 166th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force.[3] He sailed for England on 26 September, and on 6 October was placed on the General List, assigned to the Canadian Machine Gun Corps, and posted to the Canadian Training Depot. After completing his training at the Canadian Machine Gun School on 23 December, he was posted to the Canadian Machine Gun Depot on 31 January 1917.[2]

Fairclough then elected to serve in the Royal Flying Corps. His training began at the No 1 School of Military Aeronautics, in Reading, Berkshire, on 16 February 1917, and he was posted to No. 2 Reserve Squadron on 27 March for basic flight training. He was granted Royal Aero Club Aviators' Certificate No. 4597 on 24 April, and was posted to No. 42 Reserve Squadron on 30 April to complete his training.[2] He was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps on 22 May,[4] and appointed a flying officer the following day.[5] He was posted to No. 49 Squadron, then a training unit, serving as an instructor there from 28 August, and also briefly served in No. 40 and No. 56 Training Squadrons in October and November.[2] Fairclough was sent to France on 15 November, posted to No. 1 Aeroplane Supply Depot at Saint-Omer, then posted to No. 19 Squadron on 18 November to fly the SPAD S.VII single-seat fighter aircraft.[2]

Fairclough gained his first aerial victory in a SPAD on 6 December 1917, scoring steadily throughout the month, and had nine victories to his credit by the end of the year. His squadron converted to the Sopwith Dolphin in January 1918, and he scored five more victories between 17 March and 2 May,[1] by which time the Army's Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) had been merged to form the Royal Air Force.

He was awarded the Military Cross, which was gazetted on 10 May 1918. His citation read:

Lt. Arthur Bradfield Fairclough, Can. M.G. Co. and R.F.C.
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During four months he has destroyed four enemy machines, and has driven down two others completely out of control. When engaged with hostile aircraft he has at all times displayed the utmost dash and courage."[6]

Fairclough was transferred to No. 23 Squadron RAF on 4 May and appointed a flight commander with the temporary rank of captain.[7] Between 29 June and 5 July he gained five more victories, to bring his total to nineteen.[1] He was returned to the Home Establishment on 8 July, and was posted to back to Canada on 11 July. On 13 September he was assigned to RAF Canada's School of Special Flying (No. 43 Wing) at Armour Heights, where he was appointed an Examining Officer on 21 October,[2] to train flying instructors.[8]

On 14 April 1919 Lieutenant (Honorary Captain) Fairclough relinquished his Royal Air Force commission on ceasing to be employed.[9] and the following day was struck off the strength of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.[2]

List of aerial victories[edit]

Combat record[1]
No. Date/time Aircraft/
Serial No.
Opponent Result Location Notes
No. 19 Squadron RFC/RAF
1 6 December 1917
@ 15:42
C Driven down 'out of control' East of Roeselare Shared with Captain Oliver Bryson, Lieutenant R. G. Holt & Second Lieutenant Eric Olivier.
2 8 December 1917
@ 13:35
Rumpler C Driven down 'out of control' Tenbreilen-Wervik Shared with Captains Oliver Bryson & G. W. Taylor.
3 18 December 1917
@ 10:35
C Driven down 'out of control' Comines Shared with Captain Oliver Bryson.
4 18 December 1917
@ 12:50
Albatros D.V Destroyed Gheluvelt
5 19 December 1917
@ 08:05
C Driven down 'out of control' East of Hooglede
6 19 December 1917
@ 11:30
C Destroyed West of Passchendaele Shared with Captain Oliver Bryson.
7 22 December 1917
@ 14:20
Albatros D.III Destroyed in flames South of Le Quesnoy Shared with Major Albert D. Carter, Captains Oliver Bryson & G. W. Taylor, Lieutenants E. J. Blyth & H. E. Galer, and Second Lieutenant Eric Olivier.
8 29 December 1917
@ 10:10
Albatros D.V Driven down 'out of control' Houthulst Forest
9 29 December 1917
@ 10:15
Albatros D.V Destroyed in flames
10 17 March 1918
@ 12:15
Sopwith Dolphin
Albatros D.V Destroyed in flames North East of Menen Shared with Second Lieutenant Eric Olivier.
11 23 March 1918
@ 15:40
Sopwith Dolphin
C Destroyed in flames East of Lille Shared with Captain John Leacroft.
12 22 April 1918
@ 10:30
Sopwith Dolphin
Albatros D.V Driven down 'out of control' Bois du Biez
13 23 April 1918
@ 18:20
Sopwith Dolphin
Pfalz D.III Driven down 'out of control' North of La Bassée
14 2 May 1918
@ 17:45
Sopwith Dolphin
Albatros D.V Destroyed in flames South of Armentières Shared with Lieutenant Arthur Blake.
No. 23 Squadron RAF
15 29 June 1918
@ 10:30
Sopwith Dolphin
Fokker D.VII Destroyed in flames Hangard Shared with Lieutenants A. P. Pehrson, C. C. A. Sherwood, Harold A. White, Bentley, Adam and MacPherson.
16 29 June 1918
@ 18:30
Sopwith Dolphin
Fokker D.VII Driven down 'out of control' Hangard
17 1 July 1918
@ 20:40
Sopwith Dolphin
Albatros D.V Destroyed Hangest
18 4 July 1918
@ 10:20
Sopwith Dolphin
Pfalz D.III Destroyed Hamel
19 5 July 1918
@ 10:30
Sopwith Dolphin
Rumpler C Destroyed in flames South East of Mézières Shared with Lieutenant A. B. Sinclair.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Arthur Bradfield Fairclough". The Aerodrome. 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Fairclough, Lieutenant Arthur Bradfield". Royal Canadian Air Force Association. 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "Arthur Bradfield Fairclough's Attestation Paper". The Aerodrome. 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "No. 30163". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 July 1917. p. 6657. 
  5. ^ "No. 30134". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 1917. p. 5962. 
  6. ^ "No. 30681". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 May 1918. p. 5705. 
  7. ^ "No. 30708". The London Gazette. 28 May 1918. p. 6226. 
  8. ^ Sullivan, Alan (1919). Aviation in Canada, 1917-1918: Being a brief account of the work of the Royal Air Force, Canada, the Aviation Department of the Imperial Munitions Board, and the Canadian Aeroplanes Limited. Toronto. pp. 220–223. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "No. 31489". The London Gazette. 5 August 1919. p. 9963.