Thomas Sharpe (RAF officer)

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Thomas Sydney Sharpe
Born(1887-02-24)24 February 1887
Gloucester, England
Died Unknown
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1915–1920
Rank Captain
Unit Gloucestershire Regiment
No. 24 Squadron RFC
No. 73 Squadron RFC
Battles/wars World War I
  Western Front
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross

Captain Thomas Sydney Sharpe DFC (born 24 February 1887; date of death unknown) was a British World War I flying ace credited with six aerial victories. [1]

Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom) military decoration of the United Kingdom

The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers, and since 1993 to other ranks, of the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and other services, and formerly to officers of other Commonwealth countries, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy".

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Flying ace distinction given to fighter pilots

A flying ace, fighter ace or air ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an ace has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more.

Military service

Sharpe was commissioned as a second lieutenant (on probation) in the 3rd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, on 17 April 1915. [2] He later trained as a pilot, being granted Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate No. 2471 on 19 February 1916. [1] He was confirmed in his rank on 22 March, [3] and was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps and appointed a flying officer on 21 April. [4]

Gloucestershire Regiment

The Gloucestershire Regiment, commonly referred to as the Glosters, was a line infantry regiment of the British Army from 1881 until 1994. It traced its origins to Colonel Gibson's Regiment of Foot raised in 1694, which later became the 28th Regiment of Foot. The regiment was formed by the merger of the 28th Regiment with the 61st Regiment of Foot. It inherited the unique privilege in the British Army of wearing a badge on the back of its headdress as well as the front, an honour won by the 28th Regiment when it fought in two ranks back to back at the Battle of Alexandria in 1801. At its formation the regiment comprised two regular, two militia and two volunteer battalions, and saw its first action during the Second Boer War.

Royal Flying Corps former air warfare service of the British Army

The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the air arm of the British Army before and during the First World War, until it merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on 1 April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force. During the early part of the war, the RFC supported the British Army by artillery co-operation and photographic reconnaissance. This work gradually led RFC pilots into aerial battles with German pilots and later in the war included the strafing of enemy infantry and emplacements, the bombing of German military airfields and later the strategic bombing of German industrial and transport facilities.

Sharpe flew with No. 24 Squadron from May to July 1916. [5] On 1 February 1917 he was appointed a flight commander with the acting rank of captain. [6]

Flight commander air force position

A flight commander is the leader of a constituent portion of an aerial squadron in aerial operations, often into combat. That constituent portion is known as a flight, and usually contains six or fewer aircraft, with three or four being a common number. The tactical need for commonality in performance characteristics of aircraft usually insures that all aircraft under a flight commander's command and control in air operations are the same or very similar types.

He was later posted to No. 73 Squadron as a flight commander, [5] to fly the Sopwith Camel single-seat fighter. On 11 March 1918 he destroyed a Fokker Dr.I triplane, then an Albatros D.V and two LVG reconnaissance aircraft on 22 March, and a pair of D.Vs two days later. Three days later, on 27 March, he was shot down and wounded. The identity of his conqueror is debatable. It has been credited to Hans Kirschstein, [5] or as the 71st victory of Manfred von Richthofen; Sharpe himself claimed to have been hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire. [1]

Sopwith Camel British First World War single-seat biplane fighter

The Sopwith Camel was a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter aircraft introduced on the Western Front in 1917. It was developed by the Sopwith Aviation Company as a successor to the earlier Sopwith Pup and became one of the best known fighter aircraft of the war.

Fokker Dr.I fighter aircraft

The Fokker Dr.I, often known simply as the Fokker Triplane, was a World War I fighter aircraft built by Fokker-Flugzeugwerke. The Dr.I saw widespread service in the spring of 1918. It became famous as the aircraft in which Manfred von Richthofen gained his last 19 victories, and in which he was killed on 21 April 1918.

Albatros D.V fighter aircraft

The Albatros D.V was a fighter aircraft built by the Albatros Flugzeugwerke and used by the Luftstreitkräfte during World War I. The D.V was the final development of the Albatros D.I family and the last Albatros fighter to see operational service. Despite its well-known shortcomings and general obsolescence, approximately 900 D.V and 1,612 D.Va aircraft were built before production halted in early 1918. The D.Va continued in operational service until the end of the war.

Sharpe was promoted to lieutenant on 1 July 1918, while a prisoner of war, [7] and his award of the Distinguished Flying Cross was gazetted on 20 September 1918. His citation read:

Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Thomas Sydney Sharpe (Gloucestershire Regiment).
"A gallant officer who has always led his patrol with marked skill and judgment. On one occasion he chased down an Albatross scout and caused it to crash. He afterwards attacked five enemy machines, destroying two. On the following day, encountering four Albatross scouts, he engaged one, which crashed. Proceeding on his patrol, he met a formation of enemy scouts; he chased one and destroyed it." [8]

Sharpe was repatriated on 25 December 1918, [1] and transferred to the RAF's unemployed list on 5 March 1919. [9] He remained in the army until resigning his commission on 1 April 1920. [10]

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References

Notes
  1. 1 2 3 4 "Thomas Sydney Sharpe". The Aerodrome. 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  2. "No. 29133". The London Gazette. 16 April 1915. p. 3729.
  3. "No. 29517". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 March 1916. p. 3156.
  4. "No. 29575". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 May 1916. p. 4646.
  5. 1 2 3 Shores, Franks & Guest (1990), p. 336.
  6. "No. 29958". The London Gazette. 23 February 1917. p. 1881.
  7. "No. 30553". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 March 1918. p. 2706.
  8. "No. 30913". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 September 1918. p. 11254.
  9. "No. 31271". The London Gazette. 4 April 1919. p. 4421.
  10. "No. 31887". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 May 1920. p. 5194.
Bibliography