top of page
  • Admin

British Airmen - Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

This cemetery has the greatest concentration of fliers in Belgium. There are nearly one hundred airmen buried here. I have listed a selection below.

Read more about Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery here

Grave V.A.25 Lieutenant Colonel Donald Swain Lewis DSO. CO 1st Squadron, 2nd Wing RFC. Age 30. KIA 10.4 16. Son of Captain. Ernest and Maria Jane Lewis, of Guildford. Husband of Margaret Maitland (formerly Lewis), of 72, Addison Road, West Kensington, London. He was the second highest ranking RFC/RAF officer to be killed in action. Grave V.A.26 Captain Arthur Witherby Gale DSO. 2nd Life Guards attached RFC. Age 41. KIA 10.4.16. CO 3rd Division Trench Mortar Batteries.

Ly Col D S Lewis DSO. Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

On 14 September 1914 Major Geoffrey Salmond, the commanding officer of No. 3 Squadron RFC, and Captain Donald Swain Lewis carried out a successful experiment with a Royal Artillery battery using a radio transmitter to communicate the fall of artillery shells. Lewis is also credited with creating the "grid square" map system which revolutionized British wartime cartography. This was probably not an Ordnance Survey style grid based on a system of mile or kilometre squaring, but a system based on squares identified by letters and numbers. In the Battle of the Aisne (September–October 1914), Lewis squared two copies of a 1:80,000 map, keeping one copy for himself for observing from the air, and giving a second copy to a battery commander with whom he was in wireless communication. On 15 September the British Third Corps assigned its RFC squadrons to support the divisional heavy and howitzer batteries. The radio-equipped aeroplanes successfully supported the artillery in taking out German positions during the offensive on the Aisne.

In April 1915 Lewis was appointed to command No. 3 Squadron, operating on the Western Front. He returned to duties in Great Britain during the winter of 1915–16 before returning to France in February 1916 to take up command the 2nd Wing, which was assigned to work with the Second Army in the Ypres Salient at that time. On 10 April 1916, flying a Moräne Parasol, east of Wytschaete, with Captain A. W. Gale, an officer of the Trench Mortars, as observer, he was brought down by a direct hit from the enemy's anti-aircraft guns.

German air attacks on the British rear areas and on British air fields was a regular occurrence and resulted in a steady flow of casualties. There are a number of casualties from 6 Squadron, who were based at Abeele, who subsequently died of their wounds at Lijssenthoek.

There are four ground crew casualties from 6 Squadron who died of their wounds received when the Germans bombed the Abeele airfield on 31 October 1917. Grave XXI.DD.12 20834 Air Mechanic 1st Class Myer Davies. 6 Squadron RFC. Son of Mr David Davies, 3 Back Benson Street, off North Street, Leeds. Grave XXI.DD.16A 51746 Air Mechanic 2nd Class G C Bradbury. Age 36. DoW 31.10.17. Son of Frederick George and Elizabeth Mary Bradbury. Husband of M. E. Bradbury, 22 Hockmore Street, Cowley, Oxford. Grave XXI.DD.16 50120 Private E D Stimpson. RAMC attached 6 Squadron RFC. Age 25. DoW 31.10.17. Son of Elijah and Sarah Elizabeth Stimpson, of 24 Upper Queen Street, North Shields. Born Willington, Co. Durham. Married with a child. Major A W H James, Commanding Officer, 6 Squadron recounted being made aware of Stimpson’s remains: ‘… a number of them (the men) were grouped at the end of one of the Nissens gazing at a curious lump which hung over the door on a piece of twisted corrugated iron. ‘what is that I asked’ as I reached them. ‘That sir, is the Medical Orderly’s insides.Grave XX1.DD.18 15998 Air Mechanic 2nd Class Wilfrid Edwin Gurnsey. Age 34. DoW 31.10.17. Son of Charles Richard and Elizabeth Martha Gurnsey, 85 Burnt Ash Hill, Lee, London.

Ypres Salient, Battlefields Belgium, WW1, Flanders
Authors image. Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

Grave X.D.6 11459 Air Mechanic 2nd Class Hubert Payne. 41 Squadron. Age 21. DoW 4.1.17. Son of James and Rosa Payne, 18 Park Road, Hounslow, Middlesex. 41 Squadrons first casualty. His brother Walter was serving with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

Grave X.A.13 Captain The Hon. Eric Fox Pitt Lubbock. 45 Squadron RFC. Age 23. KIA 11.3.17. Son of the late Lord Avebury and Lady Avebury. His brother The Hon. Harold Fox Pitt Lubbock was also killed. Grave X.A.16 Lieutenant John Thompson. Observer (RNVR) attached 45 Squadron RFC. Age 22. KIA 11.3.17 He was from South Shields, County Durham. On the 6 March they were on patrol over Langemarck and were shot up and had engine damage however, they managed to land ok. On 11 March they were on patrol flying in a Sopwith Strutter, A1082, when they were shot down over Railway Wood by Leutnant Paul Strahle of Jasta 18.

Leutnant Paul Strahle - He originally served in the infantry after joining the German army on 1 October 1913. He transferred to aviation and was appointed to pilot training in 1915. He first flew in an artillery cooperation unit, being posted to Flieger-Abteilung (Artillerie) 213 on 15 July 1916. Beginning 5 September, he trained on fighters.

He was then assigned to Jagdstaffel 18 on 27 October 1916. He scored his first aerial victory on 14 February 1917. He received the Iron Cross 1st Class on 17 March 1917. He continued his victory streak, flying an Albatros D.V in the squadron colours of blue and scarlet with his personal album of a white battle axe painted on its side. He flew with Jagdstaffel 18 until 26 May 1917, when he won his seventh victory. He was awarded the Knights Cross with Swords of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern on 9 August 1917.

Strahle was then appointed to command a new squadron just forming; Jagdstaffel 57 was founded at Koenigsberg on 6 January 1918, and moved to the Sixth Army front on the 24th. He took his Albatros fighter with him from Jasta 18. After a lapse of almost a year, he had a victory on 17 April 1918. Eight more victories ended with a double victory on 29 August 1918. He was wounded in action on 27 September 1918, and did not score after that. He was credited with 15 victories.

After the war Strahle stayed in aviation. He acquired at least one Halberstadt CL.IV rigged for aerial photography and ran an aerial photography business venture from 1919. By 14 July 1921, he was reported to be running a pioneering air mail service between Stuttgart and Constance, using three of the Halberstadts, one of which could also carry passengers, under the name Luftverkehr Strahle. He died in 1985

Grave X.A.14 Lieutenant Horace George Cecil Bowden. 45 Squadron RFC. Pilot. Age 20. KIA 11.3.17. Son of Ada Crouch Bowden, 55 Ladbroke Road, Red Hill, Surrey & of the late George Henry Bowden. Grave X.A.15 2nd Lieutenant Douglas Baptist Stevenson. Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry attached to 45 Squadron RFC. Observer. Age 21. KIA 11.3.17. Son of Alex and Louise Stevenson, 4 Vanburgh Park Road, Blackheath, London. Born in Colombo, Ceylon They were on patrol flying in a Sopwith Strutter, A1071,when shot down and fell in Ypres Moat.

Grave XVI.A.10 2nd Lieutenant Geoffrey S Nicholson. 6 Squadron RFC. Age 23. DoW 22.8.17. Flying an RE8. He was wounded in action on 21 August 1917 & DoW on 22 Aug. Son of Joseph Shield Nicholson (Prof Edin University) & Jeanie Walmsley Nicholson, 3 Belford Park, Edinburgh. Grave XVII.K.19A 7140 Private Frank Lankshear. RAOC attached 6 Squadron RFC. Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Lankshear, 13 Poyser Street, Cambridge Heath, London. He arrived in France on 15 Aug 1914. Observer & gunner to Nicholson. They were flying in an R.E.8 on photographic reconnaissance when they were shot down near Ypres.

Grave V.A.4 Lieutenant George Edmund Heygate Fincham. 6 Squadron RFC. Age 25. KIA 9.3.16. Son of the late Lt. Col. G. H. Fincham (Royal Army Ordnance Dept.) and Mrs. Fincham, of London. Grave V.A.5 2nd Lieutenant Graham Price. 6 Squadron RFC. Age 29. DoW 9.3.16. Son of James and Martha Price, of 22, Bishopthorpe Road, Sydenham, London. They were flying in an BE2c, 4181, undertaking artillery registration when they got into combat with a Fokker near Kruisstraat. They crash landed and Fincham was killed in the crash and Price died of his wounds.

Lijssenthoek Miliary Cemetery. Ypres Salient, Battlefields Belgium, Flanders
Authors image. Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

Grave XXV.E.II Lieutenant Charles Sinclair Hickie. Equipment Officer 6 Squadron RFC. DoW 1.10.17.

5 views0 comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page