The Aerodrome Home Page
Aces of WWI
Aircraft of WWI
Books and Videos
The Aerodrome Forum
Sign the Guestbook
Help
WWI Web Sites
Medals & Decorations
The Aerodrome News
Search The Aerodrome
Today in History




Name: Alfred Clayburn Atkey
Military Cross (MC) and Bar Alfred Atkey
Country: Canada
Rank: Captain
Service: Royal Flying Corps
Royal Air Force
Units: 18, 22
Victories: 38
Born: 16 August 1894
Place of Birth: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died: 10 February 1971
Place of Death: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Cemetery: Springcreek Cemetery, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada Image
 
 
The son of Alfred and Annie Evelyn (Shaw) Atkey, Alfred Clayburn Atkey's family left Toronto to pioneer western Canada in 1906. From Minebow, Saskatchewan, Atkey returned to Toronto as a journalist for the Toronto Evening Telegram. On 19 October 1916, he enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps as a probationary Second Lieutenant. By September 1917, he was a bomber pilot assigned to 18 Squadron, flying the D.H.4, and on his way to becoming the highest scoring two-seater pilot of World War I. In his fitness reports, he was described as an "expert in gunnery, bombing, photography, reconnaissance." In May 1918, Atkey assumed command of "A" flight in 22 Squadron. Abandoning the "Four," he began flying the Bristol F.2b. For his gunner and observer, he chose Lieutenant Charles Gass. Together, they were deadly, shooting down 29 enemy aircraft in less than one month. They were lucky too. On one occasion, their Bristol Fighter was so badly shot up that Gass had to crawl out onto the lower wing to counterbalance the aircraft so that Atkey could fly it back to base.

In an historic dogfight known as "Two Against Twenty," Atkey and Gass, together with John Gurdon and his observer, Anthony Thornton, encountered 20 German scouts during the evening of 7 May 1918. In the epic battle that followed, Atkey and Gass shot down 5 enemy aircraft while Gurdon and Thornton knocked down 3. Two days later, Atkey and Gass again shot down 5 enemy aircraft in one day.

Atkey emigrated to the United States in 1923. On 23 January 1924, at age 29 and employed as a writer in Los Angeles, California, he filed a Declaration of Intention to become an American citizen.

U.S. Naturalization Records, Declaration of Intention, Los Angeles, California, 23 January 1924
 
Military Cross (MC)
2nd Lt. Alfred Clayburn Atkey, R.F.C., Spec. Res.
   For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When engaged on reconnaissance and bombing work, he attacked four scouts, one of which he shot down in flames. Shortly afterwards he attacked four two-seater planes, one of which he brought down out of control. On two previous occasions his formation was attacked by superior numbers of the enemy, three of whom in all were shot down out of control. He has shown exceptional ability and initiative on all occasions.
 
Military Cross (MC) Bar
Lt. (T./Capt.) Alfred Clayburn Atkey, M.C., R.A.F.
   For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During recent operations he destroyed seven enemy machines. When engaged with enemy aircraft, often far superior in numbers, he proved himself a brilliant fighting pilot, and displayed dash and gallantry of a high order.
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 04 Feb 1918 1115 18 D.H.4 (A7798) 1 SS D.III (OOC) Messines
2 04 Feb 1918 1115 18 D.H.4 (A7798) 1 SS D.III (OOC) Messines
3 15 Mar 1918 1245 18 D.H.4 (A7798) 2 Pfalz D.III (OOC) Avelin
4 16 Mar 1918 1520 18 D.H.4 (A7770) 3 Albatros D.V (OOC) Fromelles
5 25 Mar 1918 1610 18 D.H.4 (A7833) 4 C (DESF) Bapaume-Flers
6 25 Mar 1918 1615 18 D.H.4 (A7833) 4 Albatros D.V (OOC) Bapaume
7 12 Apr 1918 1025 18 D.H.4 (A7998) 5 Pfalz D.III (DESF) Estaires
8 12 Apr 1918 1025 18 D.H.4 (A7998) 5 Pfalz D.III (OOC) 8 Estaires
9 21 Apr 1918 1400 18 D.H.4 (A8064) 6 Pfalz D.III (OOC) Aubers
10 07 May 1918 1845 22 Bristol F.2b (B1164) 7 D (DESF) NE of Arras
11 07 May 1918 1845 22 Bristol F.2b (B1164) 7 D (DESF) NE of Arras
12 07 May 1918 1845 22 Bristol F.2b (B1164) 7 D (DES) NE of Arras
13 07 May 1918 1850 22 Bristol F.2b (B1164) 7 D (DES) NE of Arras
14 07 May 1918 1850 22 Bristol F.2b (B1164) 7 D (DES) NE of Arras
15 09 May 1918 0940 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 D (DESF) Lille
16 09 May 1918 0940 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 D (OOC) Lille
17 09 May 1918 0940 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 D (OOC) Lille
18 09 May 1918 1840 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 Pfalz D.III (DES) N of Douai
19 09 May 1918 1840 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 Pfalz D.III (DESF) N of Douai
20 15 May 1918 1020 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 Pfalz D.III (OOC) NW of Lille
21 15 May 1918 1020 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 Pfalz D.III (OOC) NW of Lille
22 19 May 1918 1050 22 Bristol F.2b (C4747) 7 Albatros C (DES) S of Douai
23 19 May 1918 1845 22 Bristol F.2b (C4747) 7 LVG C (OOC) W of Lille
24 19 May 1918 1845 22 Bristol F.2b (C4747) 7 LVG C (OOC) W of Lille
25 20 May 1918 1045 22 Bristol F.2b (C4747) 7 Halberstadt C (OOC) Lille-Armentières
26 20 May 1918 1045 22 Bristol F.2b (C4747) 7 Halberstadt C (OOC) Lille-Armentières
27 20 May 1918 1045 22 Bristol F.2b (C4747) 7 Halberstadt C (OOC) Lille-Armentières
28 22 May 1918 1030 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 Albatros D.V (DES) SE of Arras
29 22 May 1918 1915 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 DFW C (OOC) Armentières
30 27 May 1918 2000 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 Pfalz D.III (DES) NE of Lens
31 27 May 1918 2000 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 Pfalz D.III (OOC) Meurchin
32 27 May 1918 2000 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 Pfalz D.III (OOC) NE of Lens
33 30 May 1918 1940 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 Pfalz D.III (DES) Armentières
34 30 May 1918 1940 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 Pfalz D.III (OOC) S of Armentières
35 31 May 1918 1030 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 Pfalz D.III (OOC) Armentières
36 31 May 1918 1030 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 Pfalz D.III (OOC) Armentières
37 02 Jun 1918 1015 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 C (OOC) NE of Lens
38 02 Jun 1918 1015 22 Bristol F.2b (B1253) 7 C (OOC) NE of Lens

1 Observer Lt C R H Ffolliott
2 Observer 2Lt L A Mayne
3 Observer Sgt MB Kilroy
4 Observer Lt J M Brisbane
5 Observer Sgt H Hammond
6 Observer Lt P Anderson
7 Observer Lt Charles Gass
8 Shared with Lt F J Morgan & Sgt M B Kilroy, 2Lt Herbert Gould & Capt M S E Archibald and Capt Albert Waller & 2Lt J Waugh
 
Aces · Aircraft · Books · Forum · Guests · Help · Links · Medals · News · Search · Today