Air Aces of World War One

Major Lanoe George Hawker V.C. England’s 1st Ace 1890/1916

Returning to 6 Squadron after hospitalisation, the Squadron now had received several single- seat scouts and some early F.E.2 Pushers. One of the aircraft received was a Bristol Scout C, with RFC s/no. 1609, it was this aircraft that Hawker with the help of air Mechanic Ernest Elton ( who later became an Ace in his own right ) equipped with their own design of Lewis Gun Mount, this enabling the machine gun to fire forward obliquely at an acute horizontal angle to the axis of flight, thereby missing the propeller arc.

Whilst serving with No.6 Squadron in 1915, Captain Hawker was a comrade of Captain Louis Strange. The squadron became pioneers in many aspects of Military Aviation at the time, Driven largely by the imagination of Strange and the engineering talent of Hawker. Their combined talents led to various mountings for Lewis guns. One of which won Hawker the Victoria Cross, and the other which nearly cost strange his life.

Hawker’s innovative idea’s at this time, were of great benefit to the still fledgling RFC. He helped to develop the Prideaux disintegrating link machine gun belt feed and also initiated the practice of putting fabric protective coverings on the wing tips of propellors. he also designed a primitive rocking fuselage for target practice on the ground. In 1916, he also developed with W.L. French, the increased capacity, 97-round double drum for the Lewis machine gun, it was issued for trials in July and after some modifications was issued generally to the R.F.C and R.N.A.S

To Be Continued……

(c) Damian Grange 2018

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