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Today in History

Name: Wilfred Austin Curtis
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) and Bar Photo courtesy of Mike Westrop
Country: Canada
Rank: Flight Commander
Service: Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Air Force
Units: 6N, 10N
Victories: 13
Born: 21 August 1893
Place of Birth: Havelock, Ontario, Canada
Died: 07 August 1977
Place of Death: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Flying the Sopwith Camel, Wilfred Austin Curtis scored 13 victories with 10 Naval Squadron in France. Post-war, he went into the insurance business in Toronto but joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1939. The last World War I veteran to sit as one of the Canadian chiefs of staff, Air Marshal Curtis, Chief of the Air Staff and popular father of Canada's revitalized air force, retired on 31 January 1953. A former chancellor of York University from 1959 to 1968, he died at 83 and was inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1984.
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
Flt. Sub-Lieut. (act. Flt. Lieut.) Wilfred Austin Curtis, R.N.A.S.
   For conspicuous gallantry and, devotion to duty. He has on many occasions destroyed and driven down out of control enemy machines. On the 21st October, 1917, in a combined attack with two other pilots, he sent down an enemy machine in flames, and twenty minutes later he followed another enemy scout from 10,000 to 2,000 feet, and sent it down in a vertical dive, which ended in a crash.
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Bar
Flt. Lieut. (act. Flt. Cdr.) Wilfrid Austin Curtis, D.S.C., R.N.A.S.
   For continuous skill and courage as a fighting pilot. On the 23rd January, 1918, whilst on offensive patrol, he followed three two-seater enemy machines and an enemy scout through the clouds. The enemy were then joined by five other scouts. He dived and fired into an enemy two-seater from about 40 feet behind. The enemy machine fell over on its side and started to spin, and was observed by another pilot to break up in the air while spinning down.
    Since the award of the Distinguished Service Cross this officer has destroyed several enemy machines and driven down others absolutely out of control.
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 06 Sep 1917 0800 10N Sopwith Camel (N6342) Albatros D.V (OOC) SE of Dixmude
2 27 Sep 1917 1605 10N Sopwith Camel (B6244) Albatros D.V (OOC) NE of Westroosebeke
3 01 Oct 1917 1415 10N Sopwith Camel (B6444) Albatros D.V (OOC) NE of Passchendaele
4 15 Oct 1917 1345 10N Sopwith Camel (B6202) C (OOC) SE of Zarren
5 21 Oct 1917 1330 10N Sopwith Camel (B6202) C (DESF) 1 Dixmude
6 21 Oct 1917 1331 10N Sopwith Camel (B6202) Albatros D.V (DES) 2 NE of Dixmude
7 27 Oct 1917 1320 10N Sopwith Camel (B6202) Albatros D.V (OOC) 3 NE of Dixmude
8 04 Nov 1917 1505 10N Sopwith Camel (B6202) Albatros D.V (OOC) N of Dixmude
9 04 Nov 1917 1505 10N Sopwith Camel (B6202) Albatros D.V (OOC) N of Dixmude
10 15 Nov 1917 1245 10N Sopwith Camel (B6202) Albatros D.V (OOC) Keyem
11 05 Dec 1917 1535 10N Sopwith Camel (B5663) Albatros D.V (DES) 4 Keyem-Leke
12 14 Jan 1918 1135 10N Sopwith Camel (B6450) Albatros D.V (OOC) E of Houthoulst Wood
13 23 Jan 1918 1450 10N Sopwith Camel (B6450) C (DES) Staden

1 Shared with FSL H L Nelson (B6289), FSL H J Emery (B6203)
2 Shared with FSL H J Emery (B6203)
3 Shared with FSL K V Stratton (B6225)
4 Shared with FSL Frederick Hall
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