|Thomas Sinclair Harrison|
|Born||8 January 1898|
King William Town, South Africa
|Service/|| South African Army|
Royal Air Force
|Unit||No. 29 Squadron RAF|
|Battles/wars|| World War I|
• Western Front
World War II
• East African Campaign
|Awards|| Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar |
Croix de guerre (Belgium)
Major Thomas Sinclair Harrison DFC* (born 8 January 1898 in South Africa) was a World War I fighter ace credited with 22 aerial victories. He was a balloon buster, as he destroyed two enemy observation balloons. This made him the fourth highest scoring South African.
Major is a military rank of commissioned officer status, with corresponding ranks existing in many military forces throughout the world.
South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (White), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.
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.
Harrison originally served with an artillery regiment in German East Africa. He then joined the Royal Flying Corps in April 1917. From cadet he was commissioned as a temporary second lieutenant (on probation) on 12 August 1917,and was confirmed in his rank and appointed a flying officer on 12 March 1918.
German East Africa (GEA) was a German colony in the African Great Lakes region, which included present-day Burundi, Rwanda, and the mainland part of Tanzania. GEA's area was 994,996 square kilometres (384,170 sq mi), which was nearly three times the area of present-day Germany, and double the area of metropolitan Germany then.
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.
In May he was assigned to No. 29 Squadron RAF. His timing was impeccable; the squadron was newly equipped with brand new RAF SE.5as.Beginning his victories the following month, he became the squadron's leading ace out of 26. While his 22 triumphs did not make up an overpowering part of the squadron's 385 victories, he was a steady scorer.
No. 29 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was first raised as a unit of the Royal Flying Corps in 1915, and is one of the world's oldest fighter squadrons. The second British squadron to receive the Eurofighter Typhoon, it is currently the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) for the Typhoon.
His first victory was on 27 June 1918, when he flamed a Halberstadt C, using RAF SE.5a serial 8859 to deadly effect. He destroyed a Hannover C on 1 July. On 4 July, he was flying a signals intelligence sortie of "wireless interception duty," in SE.5a serial 3915.He destroyed the LVG carrying the airborne radio, and burned one of its pair of escort Pfalz D.IIIs. He was awarded his Distinguished Flying Cross for this mission.
Halberstadt is a town in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, the capital of Harz district. Located north of the Harz mountain range, it is known for its old town centre that was severely damaged in World War II and rebuilt in the following decades.
Luftverkehrsgesellschaft m.b.H. was a German aircraft manufacturer based in Berlin-Johannisthal, which began constructing aircraft in 1912, building Farman-type aircraft. The company constructed many reconnaissance and light bomber biplanes during World War I.
The Pfalz D.III was a fighter aircraft used by the Luftstreitkräfte during the First World War. The D.III was the first major original design from Pfalz Flugzeugwerke. Though generally considered inferior to contemporary Albatros and Fokker fighters, the D.III was widely used by the Jagdstaffeln from late 1917 to mid-1918. It continued to serve as a training aircraft until the end of the war.
On 8 July, he became an ace. By the middle of August, he was a double ace, scoring his tenth win on 13 August 1918. Two of these victories were over balloons. He ended August at an even dozen.
By now, he had a favourite plane, serial number E5947. He would run off a series of seven victories in it, with the last being his 13th win on 6 September 1918.A squadron-mate then ruined it with a fast hard landing.
In four different aircraft, Harrison scored six times in October,before being appointed a flight commander with the acting-rank of captain on the 29th, and three more times in November, his last on the 10th, the day before the armistice.
His 22 victories tallied 13 enemy aircraft destroyed single-handed, four of which burned; two destroyed in conjunction with another pilot; four planes driven down out of control; two balloons destroyed single-handed.
Harrison was awarded the Belgian Croix de guerre in July 1919.
Harrison returned to military service during World War II as an intelligence officer in the South African Air Force,serving in Air Headquarters East Africa during the East African Campaign in 1941.
Andrew Frederick Weatherby (Anthony) Beauchamp-Proctor, was a South African airman and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was South Africa's leading ace of the First World War, being credited with 54 aerial victories.
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