Frederick C. Armstrong

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Frederick Carr Armstrong
Nickname(s) Army
Born (1895-06-13)13 June 1895
Toronto, Ontario
Died 25 March 1918(1918-03-25) (aged 22) (KIA)
South of Ervillers
Commemorated at Arras Flying Services Memorial
Allegiance United Kingdom[note 1]
Service/branch Royal Navy
Years of service 1915–1918
Rank Flight Commander
Unit No. 3 Wing RNAS
No. 3 Squadron RNAS
Commands held "C" Flight, No. 3 Squadron RNAS
Battles/wars World War I
 • Western Front

Flight Commander Frederick Carr Armstrong DSC (13 June 1895 – 25 March 1918) was a Canadian First World War flying ace, officially credited with 13 aerial victories.[2]

Early life and service[edit]

Armstrong was born in Toronto, Canada, the youngest son of Fred and Emily (née Owen) Armstrong, and was educated at Upper Canada College between 1909 and 1912.[2][3] He joined the Royal Naval Air Service, being commissioned as a probationary flight sub-lieutenant, for temporary service, on 1 December 1915.[4] After completing his basic flight training, he was granted the Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate No. 2675 on a Maurice Farman biplane at the Royal Naval Air Station, Chingford, on 3 April 1916.[2] In June 1916 his probationary period came to an end.[5]

Aerial service[edit]

Armstrong was first posted to No. 3 Wing RNAS, part of a joint Franco–British force formed to fly bombing raids on German industry. The British contingent was based at Luxeuil-les-Bains and flew a variety of aircraft, but principally the Sopwith 1½ Strutter, and flew its first mission on 30 July 1916. In January 1917 nine pilots from No. 3 Wing, of whom Armstrong was one, were selected to become the nucleus of the newly formed No. 3 (Naval) Squadron.[6]

Armstrong joined No. 3 (Naval), based at Dunkirk, in February 1917, to fly the Sopwith Pup single-seat fighter.[7] He scored his first victory on 6 April 1917, in Sopwith Pup serial no. N6178. Using this same aircraft, on 12 April, he shared his second victory with fellow ace Edmund Pierce.[2][7] In late April he was awarded the Croix de Guerre by France.[8]

His third win was shared with Pierce and Arthur Whealy on 2 May, when they set an Albatros reconnaissance aircraft ablaze. A fourth victory, four days later, an Albatros D.III sent down out of control over Bourlon Wood, was shared with Kerby.[2][7] Armstrong was promoted to flight lieutenant on 30 June,[9] and on 7 July, a splashed German seaplane six miles north of Ostend was worth a win apiece for Armstrong, Joseph Stewart Temple Fall, James Alpheus Glen, and Leonard Henry Rochford, and Armstrong became an ace. He then switched to the Sopwith Camel. Thus mounted, he scored two single-handed wins on 16 September 1917.[2][7]

Armstrong was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, which was gazetted on 27 November 1917. His citation read:

Acting Flight Commander Fred Carr Armstrong, R.N.A.S.
"In recognition of his services with a Wing of the R.N.A.S. at Dunkirk between February and September, 1917. He has destroyed several hostile machines, and has led his flight with very great skill and gallantry."[10]

On 31 December 1917 he was promoted to flight commander.[11] He resumed his victories on 24 January 1918. He went on to score five times in March 1918; the last win, on 24 March, seems to have been a squadron affair, with Armstrong, Pierce, Whealy, Edwin Hayne, Frederick Britnell, and three other pilots all being credited with a victory for driving an Albatros D.V down out of control.[2][7]

List of aerial victories[edit]

Combat record[2]
No. Date/Time Aircraft/
Serial No.
Opponent Result Location Notes
1 6 April 1917
@ 1020
Sopwith Pup
Halberstadt D.II Out of control Bourlon Wood
2 12 April 1917
@ 1030
Sopwith Pup
Albatros D.II Out of control Pronville Shared with Flight Sub-Lieutenant Edmund Pierce.
3 2 May 1917
@ 0700
Sopwith Pup
Albatros C Destroyed in flames Bourlon Wood Shared with Flight Sub-Lieutenants Edmund Pierce & Arthur Whealy.
4 6 May 1917
@ 1905
Sopwith Pup
Albatros D.III Out of control Bourlon Wood Shared with Flight Sub-Lieutenant Harold Kerby.
5 7 July 1917
@ 1110
Sopwith Pup
Seaplane Destroyed North of Ostend Shared with Flight Commander Joseph Fall, and Flight Sub-Lieutenants James Glen & Leonard Rochford.
6 16 September 1917
@ 1140–1145
Sopwith Camel
Albatros D.V Destroyed Thorout
7 Albatros D.V Out of control
8 29 January 1918
@ 1315
Sopwith Camel
Albatros D.V Out of control Roulers
9 11 March 1918
@ 1120
Sopwith Camel
Albatros D.V Destroyed Drocourt
10 21 March 1918
@ 1150
Sopwith Camel
Pfalz D.III Out of control Esquerchin
11 22 March 1918
@ 1300
Sopwith Camel
Albatros D.V Destroyed Marquion
12 23 March 1918
@ 1700
Sopwith Camel
Pfalz D.III Destroyed in flames VauxBeugnâtre
13 24 March 1918
@ 1530
Sopwith Camel
Albatros D.V Out of control Vaux Shared with Flight Commander Arthur Whealy, Flight Lieutenants Louis Bawlf, Edward Hayne, Edmund Pierce & S. Smith, and Flight Sub-Lieutenants Ronald Berlyn & Frederick Britnell.

Death in action[edit]

Armstrong on the Hawksdown Memorial.

Armstrong was shot down in flames south of Ervillers on 25 March 1918 while he was on Special Patrol,[2][7] and was listed as "Missing believed killed".[12] As one of the Commonwealth airmen killed the Western Front who have no known grave he is commemorated at the Arras Flying Services Memorial,[13] and there is also a memorial plaque to him in the Church of the Redeemer, Toronto.[3] He also appears (albeit misspelled as F G Armstrong) on the Hawksdown Aerodrome Memorial in Walmer, Kent.


  1. ^ Canadian airmen were required to complete an Attestation Paper in which they declared an oath of allegiance to King George the Fifth and agreed to serve in any arm of the service for the duration of the war between Great Britain and Germany.[1]


  1. ^ "Attestation Papers". The Aerodrome. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Frederick Carr Armstrong". The Aerodrome. 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Frederick Armstrong memorial". The Aerodrome. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "Royal Naval Air Service: Appointments". Flight. VII (365): 1003. 24 December 1915. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  5. ^ "No. 29625". The London Gazette. 16 June 1916. p. 5983. 
  6. ^ Peason, Bob. "...More Than Would Be Reasonably Anticipated: The Story of No. 3 Wing Royal Naval Air Service". Over the Front. League of World War One Aviation Historians. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Shores, Franks & Guest (1990), p. 52.
  8. ^ "Foreign Honours for the R.N.A.S.". Flight. IX (435): 389. 26 April 1917. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  9. ^ "No. 30156". The London Gazette. 29 June 1917. pp. 6413–6414. 
  10. ^ "No. 30408". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 November 1917. p. 12548. 
  11. ^ "Royal Naval Air Service". Flight. X (471): 6. 3 January 1918. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  12. ^ "The Roll of Honour: Missing (believed Killed)". Flight. X (484): 367. 4 April 1918. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  13. ^ "Casualty Details: Armstrong, Frederick Carr". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  • 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.