Royal Air force

Why Farrier Didn’t Parachute

It was very common during WWII for downed pilots to be treated with respect if they were caught. There have been many instances recorded where pilots from opposing sides would dine together, and the next day be shooting at each other in the skies. If the enemy saw a downed pilot, they would not be viewed as of large as a threat than just an unidentified man walking down the beach. The reason Farrier didn’t parachute out while he was still on his own side was because then he would run the risk of having the plane crash and hit someone. He could’ve parachuted after he’d passed over but then there was the chance he’d be shot out of the sky, or obtained on the beach without his plane. (referencing what I had said before about unidentified men being seen as a larger threat.)

May 7, 1917 - Top British Ace Albert Ball is Shot Down and Killed

Pictured - England’s late great ace. With 44 victories, he was the best British pilot at the time of his death, and the fourth-greatest at the end of the war.

Unlike the French and the Germans, Britain had not had any great airmen to laud so far in the war. This began to change in the summer of 1916, when an unassuming , nineteen-year old former infantryman named Albert Ball joined the Royal Flying Corps and began mounting victories. Born in Nottingham, Ball served with the Sherwood Foresters before taking flying lessons at his own expense and transferring to the RFC in May 1916. His squadron flew French Nieuport fighters.

In July, Ball made his first kill. He soon developed a strategy of approaching enemy planes from below and behind, unnoticed, and then using a Lewis gun angled on his top wing to rake the enemy full of bullets. Soon his score was rising, and although Ball was shy and introverted, the British press made a hero out of him. By October he was so beloved that the RFC brought him back to England to work as a flight instructor between publicity tours.

While at home, Ball met and fell in love with eighteen-year old Flora Young, after he impulsively asked her to fly with him and she impulsively accepted. Soon, though, Ball began to chafe from the inaction and the attention, and he requested to be sent back to the front. In March 1917 he joined No. 56 Squadron armed with new S.E. 5 scout planes. Ball disliked the plane and had his extensively modified, replacing the fixed-forward Vickers machine guns with Lewis guns that he could tilt up or down. He also retained a Nieuport for solo flying. Soon, however, he began to undertake riskier and riskier missions, often traveling far over German lines by himself even against orders.

On May 7, 1917, Ball led eleven S.E.5′s against the German ace squadron Jasta 11. Ball engaged in a dogfight with Lothar von Richtofen, the Red Baron’s younger brother and a very skilled pilot himself. In a running battle with the red German Albatross D.III, Ball was last seen entering a dark thundercloud behind von Richtofen. Afterwards, a German pilot saw his S.E.5 falling to the ground, upside-down, with the prop not moving. When they found the crash behind German lines, Ball was dead but no bullets had touched his machine. The press in Entente and neutral countries speculated whether Ball was dead or captured, but the Germans buried him in a grave marked “Fallen in air combat for his fatherland English pilot Captain Albert Ball.“ The King posthumously presented Ball’s parents with the Victoria Cross. He received no less a tribute from the Red Baron himself, who credited Ball as “England’s greatest flying man.” With 44 victories, Ball was the top RFC ace at the time of his death and the fourth-greatest of the war. 

James ‘Ginger’ Lacey brought down more German aircraft than anyone else during the Battle of Britain with a tally of 18. In July 1940 he was awarded a parachute and scarf in recognition of his actions in bringing down a Heinkel which had bombed Buckingham Palace. He is photographed wearing the parachute and scarf made specially for him. The scarf bore all the names of the workers in Australia who made the parachute for him.