Dennis Latimer

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Dennis Latimer
Born (1895-08-31)31 August 1895
Withington, Shropshire, England
Died 12 January 1976(1976-01-12) (aged 80)
Middlesex, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1917–1919
Rank Captain
Unit No. 20 Squadron RFC/RAF
Battles/wars World War I
 • Western Front
Awards Military Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross

Captain Dennis Latimer MC, DFC (31 August 1895 – 12 January 1976) was a British World War I flying ace notable for achieving twenty-eight aerial victories, all against enemy fighter aircraft.[1]

Early life[edit]

Latimer was born in Withington, Shropshire, to James Davies and Ida Lottie Latimer. By 1901 the family was residing in Towyn, Merionethshire, Wales, where his father was a hotel proprietor.[1]

World War I[edit]

Latimer was commissioned from cadet to temporary second lieutenant (on probation) for duty in the Royal Flying Corps on 26 January 1917,[2] and was appointed a flying officer on 27 April.[3] In early 1918 he was posted to No. 20 Squadron RFC to fly a Bristol F.2b two-seater fighter.[4] Latimer scored his first victory on 13 March with Lieutenant James Scaramanga as his observer/gunner, the only one he scored in the Royal Flying Corps.[1] On 1 April 1918, the Army's Royal Flying Corps was merged with the Royal Naval Air Service to form the Royal Air Force. Latimer was then paired with Lieutenant Tom Noel, gaining his second victory on 21 April. Latimer and Noel gained another 13 victories between 8 and 20 May,[1] and on 25 May Latimer was appointed a flight commander with the temporary rank of captain.[5] Latimer and Noel gained nine more victories in June and July, and in August Latimer and Sergeant Arthur Newland gained five more. However, on 22 August, Latimer was again flying with Noel, when they were shot down by Leutnant Willi Nebgen of Jasta 7. Noel was killed and Latimer captured.[1] Latimer's final total claimed in conjunction with his gunners was one aircraft captured, seventeen destroyed (including one shared), and ten 'out of control' wins (two shared),[6] making him the highest-scoring ace of No. 20 Squadron.[7]

Latimer was subsequently awarded the Military Cross which was gazetted on 13 September. His citation read:

Temporary Lieutenant Dennis Latimer, RAF.
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on offensive patrol. He and his observer in four days' fighting destroyed seven enemy machines and drove down three. They did magnificent service."[8]

A week later his award of the Distinguished Flying Cross was published, the citation reading:

Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Dennis Latimer, MC.
"When leading an offensive patrol this officer displayed great skill and bravery. Having shot down a scout in flames, he immediately engaged a second, which he destroyed after a short combat. In addition, he has accounted for four other machines."[9]

Latimer was eventually repatriated following the armistice, and was transferred to the RAF's unemployed list on 10 April 1919.[10]

List of aerial victories[edit]

Combat record[1]
No. Date/Time Aircraft/
Serial No.
Opponent Result Location Notes
1 13 March 1918
@ 1255
Bristol F.2b
(C4615)
Albatros D.V Out of control CominesWervicq Observer: 2nd Lt. James Scaramanga.
2 21 April 1918
@ 1110
Bristol F.2b
(B1232)
Albatros D.V Out of control North of Wervicq Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
3 8 May 1918
@ 1320
Bristol F.2b
(C856)
Albatros D.V Destroyed in flames South-east of Wervicq Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
4 8 May 1918
@ 1640
Bristol F.2b
(C856)
Fokker Dr.I Destroyed in flames Comines—Wervicq Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
5 Fokker Dr.I Out of control
6 Fokker Dr.I Out of control
7 14 May 1918
@ 1845–1850
Bristol F.2b
(C856)
Albatros D.V Destroyed Wervicq Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
8 Albatros D.V Captured Zillebeke
9 15 May 1918
@ 1045–1115
Bristol F.2b
(C856)
Pfalz D.III Out of control North-west of Lille Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
10 Fokker Dr.I Destroyed Comines—Ypres
11 18 May 1918
@ 0700
Bristol F.2b
(C856)
Pfalz D.III Destroyed Comines Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
12 18 May 1918
@ 1140
Bristol F.2b
(C856)
Pfalz D.III Destroyed North-east of Nieppe Forest Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
13 Pfalz D.III Out of control Merville
14 20 May 1918
@ 1130–1135
Bristol F.2b
(C856)
Albatros D.V Destroyed in flames North-east of Merville Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
15 Albatros D.V Destroyed Coucou Aerodrome
16 1 June 1918
@ 0630
Bristol F.2b
(C892)
Pfalz D.III Destroyed Comines Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
17 9 June 1918
@ 0915
Bristol F.2b
(C892)
Pfalz D.III Destroyed Comines Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
18 17 June 1918
@ 0745
Bristol F.2b
(C987)
Fokker D.VII Out of control Boesinghe Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
Shared with Lt. William Thomson & 2nd Lt. F. J. Ralphs.
19 30 June 1918
@ 0730
Bristol F.2b
(C987)
Pfalz D.III Destroyed Comines Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
20 1 July 1918
@ 1845
Bristol F.2b
(C987)
Fokker Dr.I Out of control Menin Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
21 14 July 1918
@ 0900
Bristol F.2b
(C987)
Fokker D.VII Out of control South-east of Ypres Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
22 Fokker D.VII Out of control Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
Shared with Lt. August Iaccaci & 2nd Lt. Ronald Turner.
23 19 July 1918
@ 0845
Bristol F.2b
(C987)
Fokker D.VII Destroyed North of Comines Observer: Lt. Tom Noel.
24 14 August 1918
@ 1800–1830
Bristol F.2b
(D7993)
Pfalz D.III Destroyed Dadizeele Observer: Sgt. Arthur Newland.
25 Pfalz D.III Destroyed
26 21 August 1918
@ 1910–1915
Bristol F.2b
(D7993)
Pfalz D.III Destroyed Menin Observer: Sgt. Arthur Newland.
27 Pfalz D.III Destroyed Dadizeele
28 Pfalz D.III Destroyed Gheluwe Observer: Sgt. Arthur Newland.
Shared with Capt. Horace Lale & 2nd Lt. F. J. Ralphs.

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f "Dennis Latimer". The Aerodrome. 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "(Supplement) no. 29929". The London Gazette. 2 February 1917. pp. 1244–1245. 
  3. ^ "(Supplement) no. 30073". The London Gazette. 15 May 1917. p. 4758. 
  4. ^ Guttman & Dempsey (2007), pp. 49–50.
  5. ^ "no. 30735". The London Gazette. 7 June 1918. p. 6800. 
  6. ^ Shores, Franks & Guest (1990), p. 233.
  7. ^ "20 Squadron". The Aerodrome. 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  8. ^ "(Supplement) no. 30901". The London Gazette. 13 September 1918. p. 10977. 
  9. ^ "(Supplement) no. 30913". The London Gazette. 20 September 1918. p. 11252. 
  10. ^ "no. 31463". The London Gazette. 18 July 1919. p. 9137. 
Bibliography
  • Guttman, Jon & Dempsey, Harry (2007). Bristol F2 Fighter Aces of World War I. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-201-1. 
  • Shores, Christopher F.; Franks, Norman & Guest, Russell F. (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 978-0-948817-19-9.