Author Topic: 48 RFC battery  (Read 393 times)

Offline Doug Mace

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48 RFC battery
« on: March 09, 2018, 01:35:05 PM »
Reading one of the better compendiums inre the RFC; A Brief History of the Royal Flying Corps in World War I by Ralph Barker, there's a chapter entitled The Pranks of Sibley and Shone...(sounds like a dance hall duo)...Capt. Samuel Sibley, Flight Commander and his observer PNM Shone, nicknames Squibs and Puggy respectively...(reverse that and it really sounds like a dance hall act, don't it). Anyway, they had a great rapport in the air with a working system or two well established and a shared sense of humor that led them to become fast chums in general. So... 48 Squadron being stationed in Belgium, (Flez?) in the summer of '17, one dud day, Puggy and Squibs nipped into nearby Dunkirk for lunch and some shopping and happening by a fruit stall, Sibley stopped and said " Look, Puggy, I've got an idea. All those blasted Huns who sit on the promenade at Ostend with their girlfriends - I really don't think we can allow that to go on.' It was a scene they had glimpsed many times as they photographed the coastline. "Let's get a big bag of oranges and one day when we've got some broken cloud on the way back from a show, we'll come down nice and low over Ostend and throw these oranges at them. What do you think?" Shone said, "Squibs, it's a brilliant idea."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           And so a few days later, the conditions were just right to perpetrate their citrus attack with the oranges being a bit over-ripe by now, flying over Ostend, the dipped down to about 50 feet off the deck swooping over the promenade where rows of Germans were hanging out with their lady friends, happily socializing etc when Puggy stood up and started chucking rotting oranges as fast as he could at one and all below. Shone said later " We watched these chaps falling off their chairs, jumping up and rushing into the cafes behind them with their girlfriends in pursuit, convinced they were the victims of some frightful new weapon. Why we didn't crash because we were laughing so much, I really don't know."  Later they performed another escapade on a German aerodrome...the got hold of an old football, painted it bright red and attached long streamers to it, and with some cloud cover, got down to 500 feet and dropped it on a line of Albatos scouts, some with engines running. Their aim was accurate, the football behaved like a bouncing bomb heading right at them and there was a gorgeous moment of chaos as mechanics bolted for cover and pilots tried to taxi their ships clear of the area. They said it would have been easy enough to let loose  a few rounds with the Lewis but felt it would have spoiled the joke to fire on them. ..........................Absolutely marvelous stuff. What wonderful fellows...both survived the war. Would love to do my new WNW Biff with those guys markings. But can find absolutely nothing else about them. Bugger.
" 'One man's owl is another man's nightingale!' says the Rittmeister ".  - Lt Karl Bodenschatz, March 21, 1918

Offline lcarroll

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Re: 48 RFC battery
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2018, 11:38:39 AM »
    I was just browsing through some older threads when I stumbled on this, don't know how I missed it three weeks back but I'm glad I found it. Lo and behold, a quick glance at my book shelves and there it was, I bought the book about a year ago and completely forgot about it. I just read the chapter about Sibley and Shone, what a pair but tragically not immune to the stresses of air combat! The book has been moved to my night table, I'm looking very much forward to a good read and thanks so much for this post!