KITS 09/2021

Capt. Henry R. Clay Jr, 41st Aero Squadron USAAS, Colombey-les-Belles, France, October 1918

Henry Robinson Clay was an American ace with eight victories, and a member of the first contingent of American pilots sent to gain experience in RFC service. He was assigned to No. 43 Sqn and claimed his first victory in its ranks, but it remained unconfirmed. He was then transferred to the 148th Aero Squadron and in the period from August 16 to September 27, 1918, achieved all of his eight victories, this time confirmed.

On six occasions his victim was a dangerous opponent, a Fokker D.VII. At the very end of the war, Clay was appointed commander of the 41st

Aero Squadron, where he flew this Camel of unknown serial number. The unit's emblem was a camel passing through a letter V. Upper and

side surfaces were PC10. Before he could lead his unit into combat for the first time, the war was over. But Clay never returned home to the

United States. He died in Coblenz, Germany, on February 17, 1919, during the third wave of the Spanish flu.

C6713, Capt. D´Urban Victor Armstrong, No. 151 Sqn RAF, Crécy-Estrées, France, April 1918

Captain Armstrong got his unusual first name after his hometown, Durban, South Africa. He joined the RFC ranks in 1915 and a year later was assigned to No. 60

Sqn. In its ranks he achieved his first victory on November 9, 1916. He was then sent back to the UK and served with units assigned to the home defence. Firstly

during 1917 in the ranks of No. 44(HD) Sqn, then he became a flight commander with No. 78(HD) Sqn. Shortly afterwards he returned to the front to No. 151 Sqn,

which became the first RAF night fighter unit in France. In its ranks he scored four kills, three of them at night (the first one occurred at 20:35 on June 29, so still

in daylight conditions). Armstrong became a renowned acrobat, and liked to perform his Camel at low altitudes, which later proved fatal to him. Just two days

after the end of the war, on November 13, 1918, he performed low-altitude aerobatics near Bouvincourt, crashed and died. His red Camel C6713 sported the name

Doris and flew in this form before being sent to the front and adapted for night missions by overpainting white fields in the wing cockades and deletion of the

fuselage cockades. Also, the lights were added. The C6713 was produced by British Caudron company and powered by a LeRhone 9J engine.

C1555, Capt. Francis L. Luxmoore, No. 78(HD) Sqn RFC, Hornchurch, Great Britain, January 1918

A pilot with three kills to his credit, Francis L. Luxmoore was an aviation enthusiast and wanted to join the RFC as soon as possible after its

formation. He did succeed in 1916, and from August that year served in the ranks of No. 46 Sqn. He had to wait until June 4, 1917 for his first

victory, when, after separating from the rest of the patrol, he was attacked by a trio of Albatroses and shot down one of them in the ensuing

battle. After being sent back to the Great Britain, he served with No. 78(HD) Sqn, flying this Camel equipped with lights for night flying. He then

returned to the front with No. 54 Sqn after a rest. In its ranks he shot down another Albatros on February 18, 1918 and scored a third kill on

March 13, 1918. Five days later he took part in a dogfight involving more than ninety aircraft, his Camel was damaged in the fight, Luxmoore had

to make an emergency landing and was taken POW. After the war, he remained in the RAF ranks until 1928 and stayed in touch with aviation industry. His Camel from the period of service with No. 78(HD) Sqn sported a coat of azure blue paint on the canvas fuselage parts and on upper

wing surfaces. Luxmoore did not achieve any kills with it. It was a Hooper production Camel and was powered by a LeRhone.

INFO Eduard - September 2021