2nd Lieutenant Edgar Bissett - 6 Squadron Royal Air Force

 

2nd Lt Edgar George William Bissett was born at Inverurie on 30 July 1896. He was educated at Peterhead Academy and attended Aberdeen University in 1914, studying Medicine. In his second year at University he joined the Officers Training Corps, and when it was decided that all first and second year medical students should join up, he obtained a commission in the 5th Gordon Highlanders in December 1915. After training at various camps in England, he was sent to France on 1 July 1916, and went through the first Battle of the Somme. In October of that year he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as an observer and after initial training in the UK, joined ‘A’ Flight of 6 Squadron at Abeele on the Western Front in January 1917. Sadly, his active service in WW1 was cut short within a week. On the 7th January 1917, whilst flying over the Ypres salient at 4,000 feet on an artillery observation mission (viz. using wireless to range batteries on to enemy targets), Lt Bissett and his pilot Lt A J C E Phillippo were attacked by a Halberstadt scout at mid-day. Their aircraft, Royal Aircraft Factory BE2g Serial No: 6238 was extensively damaged as a result with the rear fuel tank hit. Lt Phillippo was fortunate enough to evade the enemy scout and successfully force-land on the allied side of the lines. At the outset of the engagement, Lt Bissett was shot in the head and quickly succumbed to his wounds. At the young age of 20, 2nd Lt Bissett was buried at the Mendringhem Military cemetery (Plot 1, Row C, Grave 1), only a few kilometres north-east of 6 Squadron’s base at Abeele.

One of the pilots in 'A' Flight (2nd Lt N W Scoles - acting as temporary Flight Commander) wrote to Bissett's father shortly after the engagement to inform him of his son's death. Richard Knight, who 100 years later has possession of this letter, has kindly given me permission to reproduce it here.

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