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Avro 504B
Avro 504B being winched aboard

On this day 17 May 1915

Published: 17 May 2013

On this day 17 May 1915 Zeppelin LZ39 attacked in the air at night

Flight Commander Arthur Wellesley Bigsworth in Avro 504B No. 1009 attacked the Zeppelin LZ39 over Ostend. He managed to cripple the airship by dropping four 20lb bombs damaging five of her gas cells, although the airship managed to regain its base. For this feat Bigsworth was awarded the DSO. This was the first night-time attack on a Zeppelin.

Bigsworth trained as a Mercantile Marine officer, later joining the Royal Naval Reserve as a Sub-Lieutenant, being promoted to Lieutenant on 19 January 1913. He attended the first course at the Central Flying School, gaining his Aviator's Certicate no. 396 on 21 January 1913. He transferred to the Royal Navy at this rank with effect from 1 April 1913, achieving the rank of Wing Commander in the Royal Naval Air Service on 31 December 1916. After the RNAS and RFC combined to form the RAF, Bigsworth went on to reach the rank of Air Commodore.

Link to IWM image of Bigsworth beside the Avro 504B he flew in this attack.


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