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Today in History

Name: Eric John Stephens
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Eric John Stephens
Country: Australia
Rank: Captain
Service: Royal Flying Corps
Royal Air Force
Unit: 41
Victories: 13
Born: 13 September 1895
Place of Birth: Bendigo, Victoria
Died: 25 January 1967
Place of Death: Lae, Papua New Guinea
   Abandoning his university studies, Stephens enlisted in the Australian Army in July 1915 at Perth. He embarked from Alexandria for Marseilles in June 1916; entrained to the Northern Front, Ypres area, for some weeks front line service; then by road to R. Somme Offensive area for front line service with the 4th Machine Gun Company of the 12th Brigade; became a 2nd Lieutenant; in September he returned to the Northern Front. There he answered a call for volunteers to join the Royal Flying Corps.
   Stephens served as an instructor before being posted to 41 Squadron on 16 March 1918. Flying the S.E.5a, he shared his first victory with Fred McCall on 28 June 1918. By the end of the war, he scored twelve more victories and became a flight commander. In the 1930's, Stephens was a commercial pilot for Qantas and was also a pilot for the Kingsford Smith, Charles Ulm company (the original) Australian National Airways until it closed down.
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 28 Jun 1918 1150 41 S.E.5a (D5961) Rumpler C (DES) 1 Belloy en Santerre
2 30 Jun 1918 0815 41 S.E.5a (D5961) Pfalz D.III (OOC) Bray-Péronne
3 03 Jul 1918 1915 41 S.E.5a (C5359) Pfalz D.III (OOC) E of Lamotte
4 29 Aug 1918 0850 41 S.E.5a (C8868) Fokker D.VII (OOC) S of Armentières
5 29 Aug 1918 0930 41 S.E.5a (C8868) Fokker D.VII (DES) E of Comines
6 03 Sep 1918 1845 41 S.E.5a (E1344) Fokker D.VII (OOC) S of Vitry
7 29 Sep 1918 1145 41 S.E.5a (F5519) Fokker D.VII (DES) NE of Roulers
8 01 Oct 1918 1110 41 S.E.5a (F5519) Fokker D.VII (OOC) SW of Roulers
9 01 Oct 1918 1510 41 S.E.5a (F5519) Fokker D.VII (OOC) SE of Armentières
10 08 Oct 1918 1233 41 S.E.5a (F5469) DFW C (DES) Ledeghem
11 14 Oct 1918 0855 41 S.E.5a (F5469) Fokker D.VII (OOC) W of Roulers
12 28 Oct 1918 1530 41 S.E.5a (F912) Fokker D.VII (DES) W of Audenaarde
13 01 Nov 1918 1520 41 S.E.5a (F912) Fokker D.VII (OOC) E of Tournai

1 Shared with Capt Frederick McCall
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