Personnel Index - Detail

Name
CURTIS
First Names
Alan Harper
Rank
Captain
Service
R A F
Crew Position
Pilot
Posting Details
Posted in 11/17 and out 6/18

 


 


 

The Association president has located a detailed document of an incident on 7th June 1918 when Captain Curtis was shot down.

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Curtiss story....Page 1

Curtiss story....Page 2

Curtiss story....Page 3
 

His personal description is given below:

"Emma" or DH.9 C.6114 was a faithful friend which I was loathe to part with until I had to on the 7th June, 1918.

We set out from Beauvais in an inverted V-formation of seven - fortunately a short bomb raid. We had just dropped our "eggs", when the Germans sent up an audible and very close triangle of anti-aircraft fire to show Hun pilots our position. I was the rear (right hand side) of the formation and, being an "old-timer", after the first two bursts - one on each side of me - guessed, correctly, that the third would be directly in front and so made a flat turn to the left; this was at about 13,000 feet.

My engine gave trouble since no motor likes a large lump of shrapnel through the radiator and it eventually seized solid. Later, my controls went funny (not the "ha-ha" sense) but supposing the u/c was not there or -worse still - perhaps one wheel had gone.

Everything else seemed to have been holed by Richthoven and his gang, so why not the u/c? It happened to be intact and we made a sort of landing, fortunately on our side. My Observer (on that occasion, Serg. A.W. Davies) had his gun put out of action so he fired a bluff shot with his Very pistol which probably saved our lives for it was probably misinterpreted as a signal to SE.5s, Sop. "Camels" or Bristol "Fighters" and the Hun did not like these aircraft one little bit; they all sheared off.
We happened to know that there were no such squadrons anywhere near.

My opposite number (on the left hand side) was hopelessly lost and mine was a right-off but our Observers bagged 5 Huns. Not bad for the much derided DH.9.
Anyone saying that German anti-aircraft fire (or "archie" as it was dubbed) was not accurate in WW.1 does not know what he is talking about.
I have seen a direct hit and experienced many bursts far too close and a damn site too audible.

I still have the rudder fabric bearing the number C.6114. It did not require much cutting off; Richthofen flying his red Fokker triplane and over forty of his boys had seen to that."



A whole cabinet dedicated to Allan Curtis is on display at the De Havilland Aircraft Museum in Hertfordshire.