Airfields & Airmen Arras (Battleground Europe) by Jack Sheldon

By Jack Sheldon

The most recent quantity within the Airfields and Airmen sequence covers the Arras region. It incorporates a stopover at to the grave of Albert Ball VC and the graves of Waterfall and Bayly, the 1st British fliers killed in motion. there's a stopover at to the aerodrome from which Alan McLeod took off from to earn his VC and to the grave of Viscount Glentworth, killed whereas flying with 32 Squadron. The German part is definitely lined with visits to their cemeteries and aerodromes. This good researched booklet relives the lethal thrills of conflict within the air over the battlefields of the Western entrance.

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On it the visitor will see inscribed: To the loving memory of Captain Albert Ball, VC, DSO, Two Bars, MC, Croix de Chevalier Legion d’Honneur, Order of Saint George, Russia, Hon Freeman of the City of Nottingham. One of England’s Famous Airmen who fell on this spot fighting gloriously May 7th, 1917. Aged 20 years. On the rear of the stone is carved: This plot of land is given for the use of French soldiers by Sir Albert Ball on condition that this stone is protected. Continue ahead to the cross roads and turn left on the D39 to Annouellin.

For a fuller account of Roy’s life I recommend an article by Somnath Sapru in Cross and Cockade Great Britain, volume five, page thirteen. Return to the N17. Continue north east and then follow the D919 to Seclin. This becomes the D925. At the roundabout take the first right, the D62, to Phalempin. After entering Phalempin turn left into the Rue de Plouick and park. On the other side of the road is an alleyway between two houses, which gives access to the aerodrome. Phalempin Aerodrome The German aerodrome here was based on the farm at 85 Rue J B Lebas, which is still owned by the same family today.

In maintaining the offensive policy British casualties were dreadful and the month became known to the RFC as Bloody April. In March 1917 the Germans withdrew to a new prepared position, known to the British as the Hindenburg Line, in order to shorten their line and conserve resources. This had the effect of upsetting the French plans. In the event, the Nivelle Second Aisne offensive failed and the loss of morale in the French army resulted in mutinies. Compared to the Somme movement of the front line in this area was quite small and Vimy Ridge, together with Arras, remained a bastion of the British line and was to withstand the German onslaught of March 1918.

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