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Richard Bell-Davies

On this day 19 November 1915

Published: 19 Nov 2012

Squadron Commander Richard Bell-Davies is awarded the VC for landing behind enemy lines at Ferrijik to rescue a colleague who had been shot down.

Admiralty 1st January, 1916

The King has been graciously pleased to approve the grant of the Victoria Cross to Squadron Commander Richard Bell Davies DSO RN and the Distinguished Service Cross to Flight Sub-Lieutenant Gilbert Formby Smylie RN in recognition of their behaviour in the following circumstances.

On the 19th November these two officers carried out an air attack on Ferrijik Junction, Bulgaria. Flight Sub-Lieutenant Smylie's machine was received by very heavy fire and brought down. The pilot planed down over the station, releasing all his bombs, except one which failed to drop, simultaneously at the station from a very low attitude. Thence he continued his descent into the marsh.
On alighting he saw the one unexploded bomb, and set fire to his machine, knowing that the bomb would ensure its destruction. He then proceeded towards Turkish territory.
At this moment he perceived Squadron Commander Davies descending, and fearing that he would come down near the burning machine and thus risk destruction from the bomb, Flight Sub-Lieutenant Smylie ran back and from a short distance exploded the bomb by means of a pistol bullet. Squadron Commander Davies descended at a safe distance from the burning machine, took up Sub-Lieutenant Smylie, in spite of the near approach of a party of the enemy, and returned to the aerodrome, a feat of airmanship that can seldom have been equalled for skill and gallantry.

 Images copyright IWM and FAA Museum


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