Awdry Vaucour

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Awdry Morris Vaucour
Nickname(s) Bunny
Born (1890-03-08)8 March 1890
Topcliffe, Yorkshire, England
Died 16 July 1918(1918-07-16) (aged 28)
Vicinity of Monastier di Treviso, Italy
Buried at Montecchio Precalcino Communal Cemetery Extension, Montecchio Precalcino, Italy (45°39′59″N 11°33′28″E / 45.6665°N 11.5578°E / 45.6665; 11.5578Coordinates: 45°39′59″N 11°33′28″E / 45.6665°N 11.5578°E / 45.6665; 11.5578)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1914–1918
Rank Major
Unit Royal Field Artillery
No. 10 Squadron RFC
No. 70 Squadron RFC
No. 45 Squadron RAF
Battles/wars World War I
 • Western Front
 • Italian Front
Awards Military Cross & Bar
Distinguished Flying Cross
Medal of Military Valor (Italy)

Major Awdry Morris Vaucour MC*, DFC (8 March 1890 – 16 July 1918) was a First World War flying ace credited with seven aerial victories. For part of his career he flew with observer/gunner Alan Bott, who would go on to become an ace in his own right. Valcour was killed in Italy in a "friendly fire" incident, when he was shot down by an Italian Hanriot pilot.[1]

Biography[edit]

Vaucour, having served as a cadet in the University of London Officers' Training Corps,[2] was commissioned as a temporary second lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery on 1 September 1914,[3] soon after the outbreak of the First World War.

On 28 September 1915 Vaucour flew on a reconnaissance mission over Valenciennes and Douai, piloted by Captain Euan Rabagliati, completing the mission despite thick cloud and heavy anti-aircraft fire over the objective. Both men were subsequently awarded the Military Cross. Soon after, on 22 November, Vaucour was officially appointed a flying officer (observer) in the Royal Flying Corps.[4][5] Vaucour, still listed as a member of the Royal Field Artillery, also received a mention in despatches from Field Marshal Sir John French on 30 November, "for gallant and distinguished service in the field".[6]

Vaucour then trained as a pilot, being granted Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate No. 2765 after flying a Maurice Farman biplane at the Military Flying School at Catterick Bridge on 10 April 1916.[1] He was posted to No. 70 Squadron RFC, flying the Sopwith 1½ Strutter. On 24 August, he and his observer, Lieutenant Alan Bott, were shot up and forced to land by Leopold Reimann of Jasta 1. However, on 2 September, he and Bott destroyed a Fokker E over Bourlon Wood, and twenty minutes later, drove down another out of control. They also destroyed a Fokker E over Hendicourt on 15 September,[1] the same day that Vaucour was appointed a flight commander with the acting rank of captain.[7] Within a month he had been awarded a bar to his Military Cross.

Vaucour returned to England and was for a short time posted to No. 28 Reserve Squadron[8] based at Castle Bromwich, before being appointed an instructor at the Central Flying School at Upavon on 23 January 1917.[9] He remained there until 22 August.[10]

He then returned to combat in Italy, and having been appointed a squadron commander with the acting rank of major,[11] became Commanding Officer of No. 45 Squadron on 24 August. On 24 September he was promoted to lieutenant in the Royal Artillery, though remaining seconded to the RFC with his acting rank.[12]

On 27 February 1918, flying a Sopwith Camel, he accounted for two Albatros D.IIIs over OderzoPonte di Piave.[1] On 18 April he received a second mention in despatches for "distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty", from General Herbert Plumer,[13] and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in the King's Birthday Honours on 3 June.[14] He went on to destroy two further enemy aircraft on 19 and 25 June.[1]

Vaucour was killed in action on 16 July 1918,[15] when he was mistakenly shot down by an Hanriot HD.1 from the Italian 78a Squadriglia near Monastier di Treviso.[1][16] He was buried in the Montecchio Precalcino Communal Cemetery Extension,[17] and is commemorated on the war memorial at St Mary Magdalene's Roman Catholic Church in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex.[18] He was posthumously awarded the Italian Medaglia d'Argento al Valore Militare ("Silver Medal of Military Valor") in November 1918.[19]

Awards and citations[edit]

Military Cross
Temporary Second Lieutenant Awdry Morris Vaucour, Royal Field Artillery and Royal Flying Corps.
"For conspicuous gallantry and skill on 28th September, 1915, when, accompanied by Captain Rabagliati, they carried out a reconnaissance over Valenciennes and Douai. They had to fly in thick cloud for nearly the whole distance, and several times their aeroplane got into a "spin." The pilot, however, succeeded each time in righting his machine, and they reached their objective and carried out the reconnaissance at 2,800 feet under very heavy fire".[20]
Bar to the Military Cross
Second Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Awdry Morris Vaucour, MC, Royal Field Artillery.
"For conspicuous gallantry in action. He attacked 10 hostile machines and completely scattered their formation. Previously, while returning with a perforated petrol tank, he shot down an enemy machine. Later, he shot down a hostile machine, being engaged with eight altogether. On another occasion he and his observer shot down two hostile machines."[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Awdry Morris Vaucour". The Aerodrome. 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  2. ^ University of London Officers Training Corps, Roll of War Service, 1914-1919. London: Forgotten Books. 2013 [1919]. p. 189. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "No. 28885". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 August 1914. pp. 6889–6890. 
  4. ^ "No. 29401". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 December 1915. p. 12420. 
  5. ^ "No. 29563". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 April 1916. p. 4328. 
  6. ^ "No. 29422". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1915. p. 12. 
  7. ^ "No. 29771". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 September 1916. p. 9534. 
  8. ^ "RFC and RAF men in Warwickshire". Midland Aircraft Recovery Group. 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "No. 30239". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 August 1917. p. 8538. 
  10. ^ "No. 30279". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 September 1917. p. 9415. 
  11. ^ "No. 30235". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 August 1917. p. 8437. 
  12. ^ "No. 30594". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 March 1918. p. 3711. 
  13. ^ "No. 30711". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 May 1918. p. 6327. 
  14. ^ "No. 30722". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 May 1918. pp. 6519–6520. 
  15. ^ "Casualties". Flight. X (502): 888. 8 August 1918. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  16. ^ Barrass, M. B. (2015). "Casualties 1918 (V)". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  17. ^ "Casualty Details: Vaucour, Awdry Morris". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  18. ^ Graves, Janet; Edwards, Martin; Comber, Chris (2014). "War Memorial at St Mary Magdalene's Church, Bexhill". Roll of Honour. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  19. ^ "No. 30989". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 November 1918. p. 12978. 
  20. ^ "No. 29351". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 November 1915. p. 10894. 
  21. ^ "No. 13017". The Edinburgh Gazette. 27 November 1916. pp. 2214–2215.