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Name: Leonard Thomas Eaton Taplin
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Country: Australia
Rank: Lieutenant
Service: Australian Flying Corps
Units: 1 (AFC), 4 (AFC)
67 (RFC)
Victories: 12
Born: 16 December 1895
Place of Birth: Adelaide, South Australia
Died:  
Place of Death:  
 
 
An electical engineer from Sydney, Taplin enlisted in the Australian Army Engineers in 1914. Transferring to the Australian Flying Corps, he was posted to Palestine in 1917, serving with 67 Squadron as a reconnaissance pilot. In July 1918, he joined 4 Squadron in France as a Sopwith Camel pilot. Nine days after he scored his first victory, Taplin was very nearly killed in a flying accident on 26 July 1918. That day, his bomb ladened Camel crashed during take off and he was blown clear, unhurt. On 5 September 1918, Taplin's flight of four Camels was overwhelmed and shot down by Fokker D.VIIs of Jasta 26 and 27. Badly wounded, he scored his final victory and was the only Allied pilot to survive the dogfight. Shot down by Christian Mesch, Taplin was captured and remained a prisoner until the end of the war.
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 17 Jul 1918 0620 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (C8226) Albatros C (DES) SW of Estaires
2 30 Jul 1918 2005 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1407) Fokker D.VII (OOC) N of Armentières
3 31 Jul 1918 1135 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1407) Fokker D.VII (DES) S of Lestrem
4 31 Jul 1918 1135 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1407) Fokker D.VII (OOC) SW of Estaires
5 07 Aug 1918 1405 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1407) Albatros D.V (DESF) S of Laventie
6 09 Aug 1918 1050 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D9432) Hannover C (DES) N of Marquillies
7 01 Sep 1918 0740 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1407) Balloon (DES) Fromelles
8 02 Sep 1918 1900 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1407) Halberstadt C (DES) E of Aubers
9 03 Sep 1918 0705 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1407) Balloon (DES) Le Plouich
10 03 Sep 1918 1900 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1407) Balloon (DES) Herlies
11 05 Sep 1918 0630 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1407) Balloon (DES) Perenchies
12 05 Sep 1918 abt 1800 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1407) Fokker D.VII (OOC) Brebieres
 
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