Giles Blennerhasset

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Giles Noble Blennerhassett
Born (1895-04-16)16 April 1895
Leoville, Sligo, Ireland
Died 4 December 1978(1978-12-04) (aged 83)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1916–1921
Rank Flying Officer
Battles/wars World War I
 • Western Front
Awards Military Cross

Flying Officer Giles Noble Blennerhassett MC (16 April 1895 – 4 December 1978) was an Irish World War I flying ace credited with eight aerial victories while serving as an observer/gunner in No. 18 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps.[1]

Early life and background[edit]

Blennerhassett was born in Leoville, County Sligo, the eldest, and only son, of the four children born to James Blennerhassett of Gortatlea, Co. Kerry, and his first wife Selina Harriet (née Noble) of Collooney, Co. Sligo. His father was the bookkeeper/accountant at the Henry Lyons & Co. department store in Sligo, later becoming the managing director. The young Blennerhassett was educated at Sligo Grammar School.[2]

World War I[edit]

Blennerhassett trained in the Inns of Court Officers Training Corps, before being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 4th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers on 2 June 1916.[3] He was eventually seconded to the Royal Flying Corps, being appointed a flying officer (observer) on 24 March 1917, with seniority from 31 December 1916.[4]

Posted to No. 18 Squadron RFC to fly in F.E.2b two-seaters, he gained his first aerial victory on 4 February 1917, driving down out of control an Albatros D.II fighter. He drove down two more on 5 April, and destroyed another the following day. He gained his fifth to become an ace on 16 April, and then accounted for three Albatros D.IIIs, one on 3 May and two more on 23 May, to bring his total to eight.[1]

Blennerhasset was posted to the Home Establishment on 19 July, and was awarded the Military Cross five days later. His citation read:

Second Lieutenant Giles Noble Blennerhassett, Royal Irish Fusiliers, Special Reserve, and Royal Flying Corps.
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He has shown great skill and courage when, acting as escort in attacking hostile formations. On one occasion he attacked two hostile machines, driving down both out of control. Later, he forced three other machines down."[5]

He subsequently qualified as a pilot, being promoted to lieutenant on 2 December 1917,[6] and appointed a flying officer the next day.[7] and then serving in No.'s 78, 112, 153 and 39 Home Defence squadrons.[8]

On 1 April 1918, the Army's Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) were merged to form the Royal Air Force, and Blennerhassett relinquished his commission in the Royal Irish Fusiliers that day.[9]

On 11 November 1918 he was appointed an acting captain.[10]

List of aerial victories[edit]

Combat record[1]
No. Date/Time Aircraft/
Serial No.
Opponent Result Location Notes
1 4 February 1917
@ 1600
Albatros D.II Out of control North of Le Sars Pilot: Second Lieutenant Robert Farquhar.
2 5 April 1917
@ 1200
Albatros D.II Out of control Inchy Pilot: Second Lieutenant Victor Huston.
3 Albatros D.II Out of control
4 6 April 1917
@ 1000
Albatros D.II Destroyed BeaumetzBeugny Pilot: Second Lieutenant Reid. Shared with Second Lieutenant C. Parkinson and Second Lieutenant Power.
5 16 April 1917
@ 0830
Albatros D.II Out of control Cagnicourt Pilot: Second Lieutenant S. J. Young.
6 3 May 1917
@ 1830
Albatros D.III Out of control Bourlon Wood Pilot: Captain W. H. Tolhurst.
7 23 May 1917
@ 1325
Albatros D.III Destroyed East of Eswars Pilot: Second Lieutenant D. Marshall.
8 Albatros D.III Out of control

Post war career[edit]

On 24 October 1919 Blennerhassett was granted short service commission in the RAF with the rank of flying officer.[11] He served in No. 48 Squadron RAF in India,[8] before resigning his commission on 19 January 1922.[12]

Personal life[edit]

As a lay representative of the Church of Ireland he donated the Bishop's Throne to St John the Baptist Cathedral, Sligo, in memory of his father. He married twice; first to Kathleen Maud Curry of Newbridge, Co. Kildare at Aldershot, Hampshire on 8 January 1918, and secondly to Dorothy Margaret Pinnock in 1932.[2]

Blennerhassett died on 4 December 1978, and is commemorated on the Great War Roll of Honour in Sligo Cathedral.[2][13]


  1. ^ a b c "Giles Noble Blennerhasset". The Aerodrome. 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Jehan, Bill (December 2013). "The Blennerhassett Family of Ash Hill, Gortatlea, Blackbriar, Glenageenty, Rathanny, Ballymacelligott & Beaufort in Co. Kerry" (PDF). Blennerhassett Family Tree. Retrieved 7 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "No. 29605". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 May 1916. p. 5442. 
  4. ^ "No. 30021". The London Gazette. 13 April 1917. pp. 3572–3573. 
  5. ^ "No. 30204". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 July 1917. p. 7623. 
  6. ^ "No. 30553". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 March 1918. p. 2709. 
  7. ^ "No. 30454". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1918. p. 226. 
  8. ^ a b Guttman & Dempsey (2009), p. 73.
  9. ^ "No. 32559". The London Gazette. 23 December 1921. p. 10568. 
  10. ^ "No. 31032". The London Gazette. 26 November 1918. p. 13920. 
  11. ^ "No. 31616". The London Gazette. 24 October 1919. pp. 13032–13033. 
  12. ^ "No. 32202". The London Gazette. 21 January 1921. p. 589. 
  13. ^ Pegum, Michael (2 August 2010). "War Memorial Sligo Great War Roll of Honour in Sligo, Cathedral of St. Mary and St. John, Sligo". Irish War Memorials. Retrieved 7 May 2016.