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28 June. After receiving medical attention in both Alexandria,
Egypt and London UK, Rutherford returned to the 5th Light
Horse in April 1916 and soon transferred to the Australian
Flying Corps (AFC), qualifying as an Observer in August 1916.
After promotion to Captain in November 1916, Rutherford
commenced pilot training with the 5th School of Military
Aeronautics at Aboukir, Egypt, and by January 1917 had
returned to No.1 Squadron AFC as a qualified pilot.
On his third operational mission on 20 March 1917,
Rutherford, flying a BE2c reconnaissance aircraft, was in one
of four aircraft detailed to attack Turkish railway lines in order
to interrupt the enemy’s supply lines. He was forced down
behind enemy lines by ground fire soon after attacking the
target and Lieutenant Frank McNamara, flying a Martinsyde
G100 scout aircraft, landed alongside to rescue the stricken
aviator. With Rutherford standing on the wing of his single-seat
machine, McNamara crashed during take off, by which time
the approaching Turkish forces were within rifle range and,
under fire, the two men returned to Rutherford’s machine.
Although damaged during the forced landing the two men
managed to re-start Rutherford’s engine and, with the
wounded McNamara as pilot, the two men narrowly avoided
capture. McNamara was awarded the Victoria Cross for his
Eight days after this lucky escape, Rutherford was again in
action and was wounded in the first air combat fought by
No.1 Squadron. After two months recovering from his
wounds, Rutherford briefly returned to No.1 Squadron, before
returning to Australia on leave in late 1917. By January 1918
Rutherford was back with No.1 Squadron. However, it
seemed that his bad luck would continue because on 1 May
1918, Rutherford, his observer and one other crew were
forced down in the Amman area, and captured by the Turks.
He was imprisoned for six months in Constantinople.
Rutherford returned to Australia in December 1918, and
spent a short time associated with his local militia regiment in
Queensland, following his repatriation.
As mentioned earlier, Lieutenant King, later Group Captain Roy
King DSO DFC MID will be featuring in the Western Front
display. Elwyn Roy King was born on 13 May 1894 at
Bathurst, New South Wales. At the start of WW1 he was a
mechanic and motor salesman and in July 1915 at the age of
21 he enlisted in the Australian Light Horse. By February 1916
Trooper King was a member of the 12th Light Horse at the
Suez Canal. It was while he was attached to the 2nd Light
Horse Training Regiment in Egypt, that No.1 Squadron
Australian Flying Corps (AFC), flying in support of British
Forces opposing the Turkish advance from Palestine,
attracted King’s attention.
King transferred as an Air Mechanic to No.1 Squadron and
transferred to the UK for training. In the UK Corporal King was
recommended for pilot training and promoted to 2nd
Lieutenant in May 1916 and began flying instruction at No.5
(Training) Squadron AFC, at Shawbury. He then moved to No.6
(Training) Squadron AFC at Yatesbury for training on more
advanced machines, flying the Sopwith Camel fighting scout
biplane. On 24 March 1918, King was posted to No.4
Squadron AFC, operating from Bruay on the Western Front.
No.4 Squadron ‘A’ Flight formed a close knit group whose
cohesion and experience made it a formidable fighting unit.
King became an outstanding member of this team,
interchangeable with Cobby, sometimes leading the Flight. The
élan and camaraderie between Harry Cobby, Roy King and the
other pilots was exceptional. They developed a team with a
high degree of tactical skill and daring in attacking enemy
ground targets at low level as well as close combat aerial
warfare. Cobby and King would also on occasion, drop into
enemy aerodromes, wheels running along the ground, firing
their machine guns at the aircraft inside the hangars.
On 20 June 1918, King gained his first victory in aerial
combat. By the Armistice, King became the third highest
scoring AFC ace with 22.5 aircraft downed in addition to four
German observation balloons. He was the highest scoring
fighter ace of WW1 with the Sopwith Snipe and one of 19 AFC
personnel awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
After the war, King joined HJ Larkin in the Sopwith-Larkin
Aircraft Company, making a number of significant early
commercial flights around southern Australia, including the
earliest carriage of mail, newspapers and photographs for the
press. Later, King joined former Royal Air Force officer
Thomas Shipman, forming Shipman, King and Company of
Port Melbourne and Sydney manufacturing and importing
machinery. After the outbreak of WWII in 1939 he joined the
RAAF as a pilot but in 1940, at the age of 46, transferred to
the Administrative Branch. As Group Captain he commanded
the large training base of Point Cook. He was serving in this
position when he died suddenly on 28 November 1941.
On 11 November, the RAAF Museum partnered with Military
History and Heritage Victoria to hold a one day conference.
Incorporated in the conference was a special Remembrance
Service held in the Technical hangar along with the
conference. This was a fitting place for the Minute’s Silence to
LT Roy King’s AFC Pilot’s Logbook showing his total time of 94
hours 50 minutes on Sopwith Pups
LT (later GPCAPT) Roy King’s medals
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