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Category: Army History/Flying Corps

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4 Squadron AFC 
Formed: October 1916
Disbanded: 28 February 1919
Aircraft: Sopwith 1/2 Strutter, BE2e, BE12, Camel, Snipe
Aces: Arthur Henry Cobby
Elwyn Roy King
Edgar James Kingston McCloughry
Herbert Gillis Watson
Thomas Charles Richmond Baker
Leonard Thomas Eaton Taplin
Thomas Henry Barkell
George Jones
A J Palliser
A E Robertson
Norman Charles Trescowthick
Garnet Francis Malley
Stationed: Point Cook: October 1916 - January 1917
Castle Bromwich: April - December 1917
Bruay: December 1917 - April 1918
Clairmarais: April - June 1918
Reclinghem: June - September 1918
Serny: September - October 1918
Auchel: October 1918
Grand Ennetieres: October - December 1918
Euskirchen: December 1918
Birkendorf: December 1918 - February 1919
4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps was formed in Australia at point Cook on October 25 1916. It's first commander was Captain A Lang.

It became operational in January 1918 when it was transferred to Bruay, France. The first kill for the Squadron was on the 24th January when Captain A H O'Hara-Wood shot down a DFW two seater.

4 AFC were the last of the AFC combat squadrons to reach the western front in 1917. Originally flying D.H 5's and then Camels they predominantly flew in the Ypres sector supporting Australian Infantry with their patrols into enemy territory.

In late 1918 4AFC was re-equipped with Sopwith Snipes and they were flown until the end of the war. Elwyn King was the top scorer in Snipes of the Commonwealth and Allied forces.

4AFC produced numerous Aces including Arthur Cobby ( 29 ) who was the AFC's top scorer , Elwyn King ( 26 ) , Edgar McCloughry ( 21 ) and the new Zealander Herbert Watson ( 14 ). Like 2AFC , 4AFC sported the boomerang insignia until April 1918 when their markings was changed to a white bar at the wing root.

After the war 4AFC did a tour in occupied Germany until February 1919 when they were demobilised.

4 Squadron AFC

4 Squadron, the last Australian Flying Corp (AFC) Squadron to be formed during the First World War, was established at Point Cook, Victoria, in late October 1916. Fully mobilised by 10 January 1917, the unit embarked for England on 17 January, arriving at Plymouth on 27 March, and was sent for training to Castle Bromwich, near Birmingham. After familiarisation with a variety of aircraft, the squadron was equipped with Sopwith Camel fighters. In the United Kingdom the squadron was designated 71 (Australian) Squadron, Royal Flying Corps (RFC), and would retain this designation until it reverted to its original title on 19 January 1918.

The squadron arrived in France on 18 December 1917 and established itself at Buay. It was assigned to the 10th Wing of the Royal Flying Corps, and operated in support of the British 1st Army, undertaking offensive patrols and escorting reconnaissance machines. The unit’s first patrol over German lines took place on 9 January 1918, and its first air combat action occurred on 13 January 1918.

Towards the end of February 1918 the squadron was increased from 18 to 24 machines, considerably enhancing its capacity for offensive operations. March 1918 saw an increase in the squadron’s ground attacks and offensive patrols, including a notable engagement with elements of Manfred von Richthofen’s “Flying Circus” on 21 March, during which five enemy machines were downed in an attack led by Captain Arthur Henry Cobby.

During the German spring offensive, the squadron was heavily involved in strafing and bombing operations in support of the retreating Allied ground forces. Threatened by the German advance the Squadron moved from Buay to Clairmarais North on 28 April 1918 and joined 11th Wing, part of the British 2nd Army.

Due to repeated enemy bombing attacks on the Clairmarais North airfield, the Squadron moved to Reclinghem on 30 June, where it shared the aerodrome with 2 Squadron AFC. Both squadrons formed part of 80th Wing under the British 5th Army. In July, the squadron was heavily involved in offensive patrols and also provided escorts for bombing and reconnaissance missions. 4 Squadron maintained a high operational tempo throughout the great Allied offensive launched in early August 1918.

At the end September 1918, 4 Squadron moved to Serny and in early October was re-equipped with Sopwith Snipe fighters; it was only the second unit in France to be equipped with these advanced machines. The squadron was relocated several times during the last month of the war, and following the Armistice was assigned to the British Army of Occupation. It moved to Bickendorf, near Cologne on 17 December 1918. In March 1919 the unit returned to the United Kingdom and on 6 May embarked on RMS Kaisar-i-Hind for the return voyage to Australia. 4 Squadron arrived in Melbourne 16 June 1919 and was subsequently disbanded. Text from AWM

  • 35 killed, 16 wounded
  • Decorations

    • 3 DSO
    • 3 MC
    • 9 DFC, 3 bars
    • 1 MSM

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