Air Aces of World War One

Major Raymond Collishaw – Canadian Ace 1893 / 1976 – Part 3

In August 1917, Collishaw returned to Canada, for two months leave, he was at that time, The British Empire’s second highest scoring living ace, the first being fellow Canadian Billy Bishop, but whereas Bishop was lauded wherever he went , Collishaw remained the virtual unknown.

Returning to the war In late November, He was given command ofย  No.13 Naval Squadron which was stationed at Dunkirk doing escort duty with the channel patrol. His most amazing experience on that particular tour of duty was an air battle between his own Squadron and a Formation of German Scouts. After a lot of skirmishing and jockeying for position, not one shot was fired. Collishaw led the attack on the Germans only to find that his guns, and also those of his comrades were jammed due to the oil congealing in the intense cold. The Germans withdrew and headed for their own lines, it would appear with the same problem.

On the 23rd of January 1918, Collishaw returned to the Western front No.3 Naval Squadron which was equipped with Sopwith Camels. On the 1st of April 1918, The R.F.C and the R.N.A.S merged and became the Royal air Force. No.3 Naval became No.203 R.A.F. Collishaw was left in charge with the new rank of Major.

Collishaw had quite a few narrow escapes, the aircraft he flew were often hit by enemy fire, but Collishaw returned unscathed. His aircraft was shot down out of control several times but he always walked away from the debris. Once In dense fog, he accidently landed on an enemy Airfield, he was just taxiing to the tarmac when he recognised the German Insignia on the grounded planes and troops rushing to take him prisoner, he opened his throttle wide, took off and escaped with not a moment to lose

Collishaw’s victory score is as follows, A total of 60 Victories, comprising of 28Enemy aircraft destroyed ( including 1 shared ) 30 Enemy aircraft driven down out of control ( 2 shared ) and 2 Enemy aircraft driven down. As a matter of record all his victories were made whilst flying aircraft manufactured by the Sopwith Company.

For his heroic service Major Collishaw was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross D.S.C. Distinguished Flying Cross D.F.C. Distinguished Service Order and Bar. D.S.O.

He had many further exploits while a serving Officer In the Royal Air Force, but my articles are about World war One, so here I must end.

(C) Damian Grange 2018


10 thoughts on “Air Aces of World War One

  1. I have just began modelling the Aircraft so it is a subject that is dear to my heart, when you realise how small and flimsy some of the Aircraft were you realise the true courage of the early fighter pilots.


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