Michael Gonne

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Michael Edward Gonne
Born 1899
Died c. 8 August 1918 (aged 19)
Villers-Carbonnel, France
Buried at Heath Cemetery, Harbonnières, France
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1916–1918
Rank Captain
Unit Royal Fusiliers
No. 54 Squadron RFC/RAF
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Military Cross

Captain Michael Edward Gonne was a World War I flying ace credited with five aerial victories.[1]

Biography[edit]

Gonne was the younger son of Henry and Grace Staveley Gonne, of Ringwood, Hampshire.[2] He was educated at Westminster School,[3] and then attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, as a cadet. On 27 October 1916 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Fusiliers.[4] He was soon seconded to the Royal Flying Corps, being appointed a flying officer on 23 May 1917.[5]

Gonne was assigned to No. 54 Squadron, and flew Sopwith Pup no. A6215 to victory on 25 September and 18 October 1917, destroying Albatros D.IIIs on both occasions. His third victory came on 5 January 1918, driving down an enemy aircraft 'out of control'.[1] On 9 January Gonne was appointed a flight commander with the acting rank of captain.[6] His fourth and fifth victories both came on 25 January, driving down a Albatros D.V, and sending a Rumpler C down in flames. His final tally was three enemy aircraft destroyed, two driven down out of control.[1][7] Gonne was awarded the Military Cross on 1 March,[8] and promoted to lieutenant on 27 April.[9]

After some months on home service, he returned to France at his own request to take part in the Allied offensive. Gonne was reported as missing on 8 August 1918; having last been seen flying over the Somme River at Brie, some 15 miles behind the German front lines. In The Times of 12 December 1918 it was reported that he had died in a German field hospital at Villers-Carbonnel.[3] He is buried in Heath Cemetery in Harbonnières, France.[2]

Honours and awards[edit]

Military Cross
Second Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Michael Edward Gonne, Royal Fusiliers and Royal Flying Corps.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He is a daring and skilful leader of patrols, and has led his flight throughout a large amount of fighting, often against superior numbers, far over the enemy's lines. He has destroyed five enemy machines.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Michael Gonne". The Aerodrome. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Casualty Details: Gonne, Michael Edward". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Captain Gonne MC, Michael Edward". New Forest Military Archive. 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "No. 29803". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 October 1916. p. 10406. 
  5. ^ "No. 30195". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 July 1917. p. 7430. 
  6. ^ "No. 30517". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 February 1918. p. 1878. 
  7. ^ 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. Grub Street. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-948817-19-9. 
  8. ^ "No. 30555". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 March 1918. p. 2728. 
  9. ^ "No. 30737". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 June 1918. p. 6883. 
  10. ^ "No. 30845". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 August 1918. pp. 9564–9565.