Bristol F2b Fighter D8051
Whilst researching the services history of Edwin Ffoulkes-Jones, a man who served with the Royal Air Force in both WW1 and WW2, I came across an incident that took place in October 1920 which involved [then] Flying Officer Ffoulkes-Jones. Whilst flying Bristol F2b Serial No: D8051 on an operation over Kufa on the 19th October, 170 km south of Baghdad, he was caught in a sandstorm and crashed. Though Ffoulkes-Jones was uninjured, his aircraft was destroyed. The following day, Flying Officer A H Beach left 6 Squadron's base at Hinaidi (near Baghdad), flying another F2b Serial No: D7844, and flew to the crash site to pick up Ffoulkes-Jones and take him back to the squadron, sitting in the observer's cockpit. Having covered less than half the distance (53 km north of Kufa and over the village of Hillah), the engine cut out and the aircraft crashed. The pilot was uninjured but Ffoulkes-Jones received a deep laceration to his left knee. D7844 was later recovered and rebuilt, remaining in service with 6 Squadron until the 31st May 1922 when it crashed on landing at Sulermanejeh (144 km from the railhead at Kyri - 288 km NNE Baghdad). The aircraft was destroyed, its pilot Flt Lt F N Hudson died of his injuries and his observer Flt Lt E Drudge seriously injured. To demonstrate how dangerous it was to fly in peacetime RAF, this accident happened only two weeks after a 6 Squadron F2b (Serial No: D7845) suffered engine failure on take-off and stalled into the ground when the pilot attempted to turn back at 100 feet. The aircraft burst into flames and both pilot (Flying Officer L C Hooton) and observer (AC2 G C Butler) were killed outright. Shown below is a 6 Squadron line-up of Bristol F2b fighters, the photograph taken most likely at Hinaidi in early October 1920. The third F2b from the left is D8051, the aircraft that FO Ffoulkes-Jones crashed whilst flying an a sandstorm.