Entries from Lt. Mawle's Flight Log
29 May 1918, Wednesday
   I intend keeping a record of all patrols and flights made with this squadron so that I may refer to my various experiences and experiences of others — and so benefit by my mistakes or otherwise.
   It is now over a week since I arrived and I have already done nearly three times as much flying on S.Es. than I did before leaving England. By listening to the conversation between the other fellows I have gathered quite a lot of information without troubling to ask questions. On asking questions I have always found everyone very keen to help me, especially my flight commander — Saunders- a very keen South African, His chief advice being "keep quite good formation the whole time."
   I believe there are only three Englishmen here besides myself — the remainder being "coloured troops" — Canadian, American & South African. They all seem a splendid set of fellows.

19 June 1918, Wednesday
   I reached my squadron at 1.30 am after a very rotten journey by road in the rain. Am thanked for bringing such "dud" weather. Am told that I shall have to do about 10 hours before crossing the line — I now have 7 to my credit. I mean to take advantage of this time to gain a little knowledge of the surrounding country besides the machine. Before crossing the line I have to loop, roll, half-roll, split-ass, climbing turns, line patrol, formate, target practice etc etc. Looks like an interesting time. Have been allotted "O" machine, am informed it is rather "dud" and slow. In spite of the weather I managed to get a little flying in, also practice on the target. Did not go far from the ‘drome'. Find these Vipers quite a treat — much faster than I have been flying before. Landed quite O.K. Rather pleased for I know there were a few inquisitive eyes about.

20 June 1918, Thursday
   Another dud day. Managed to do a little flying. Flew up to the coast and back via the Somme and Abbeville and back to Amiens. Landed quote O.K.

21 June 1918, Friday
   Rather dud. Had a "scrap" with Watts, a new fellow. Felt quite confident but think I must have had a more superior bus. Did more target practice & changing drums. Found I forgot to load my Lewis after putting on a new drum. Landings all O.K.

22 June 1918, Saturday
   Dud again. Managed more target practice and did some stunting. Landing O.K.

23 June 1918, Sunday
   Came over dud when on a cross-country route. Landed at a "dud" aerodrome on losing my way. Landed at another aerodrome and burst my tyre. Found I was near St. Pol. Took off with burst tyre and flew back to 84 at 500 ft as clouds were low. Landed quite O.K.

24 June 1918, Monday
   "Skipper" returned from leave. Seems quite a decent fellow and keen. Has the M.C. and M.M. — is a South African. Sent me up to see what I was worth. Did everything O.K. except a spin. He seemed quite pleased with my half-rolls and dives. C.O. said I did things rather haphazard. In future I mean to do a half-roll with an object in view. Quite a good idea.

25 June 1918, Tuesday
   Today I quite enjoyed myself. Went up the lines with the C.O. Was totally lost with the maze of trenches and desolation of ground. I kept close to the C.O. Received my baptism of archie — a rotten sensation. On returning was told that my formation was quite good , and just to fire off a few more rounds and I shall then be a "service pilot".

26 June 1918, Wednesday
   Finished off all my firing — am now a service pilot and hope to go on tomorrow mornings early "show".

27 June 1918, Thursday
   "Skipper" thought it better for me not to go on this mornings show as it was likely to prove rather warm — and it did. Twelve of our machines attacked 50 huns. Rather mad I should imagine. Every machine was hit. One fellow badly wounded but reached our lines. The C.O's machine set on fire but reached our lines alright and escaped. Two other machines "written off." Am glad I was not there! Six huns were downed however. The squadron was given the day off, but I had to go to the "Pack" and get a new bus. Got back alright but wish the bus was for myself.

28 June 1918, Friday, 5:30 am
   My first patrol — early morning. Quite enjoyed it. Skipper's last words were, keep close to the formation. Of course my position was at the rear — just a one flight patrol. I kept a good lookout behind me! Went in the V formation — I flew in the right rear.

Lt. Mawle's Flight
(N.W.R. Mawle collection)
   I kept close, especially when I saw a few huns above. We flew to Abbeville for height and crossed the lines at about 13,000. Did not go far over. Dived on some 2-seaters, Skipper brought down one. The two hours went very quickly — felt rather cold in my fingers. Must get some silk gloves. Felt I was rather awkward at turning in formation, perhaps it is because my bus is rather slow. Must see what I can get done to it. We trench-strafed on the way home and finished up with a contour-chase. Skipper says I formatted quite well but did not dive quick enough on the huns. Must watch this.

28 June 1918, Friday, 7:30 pm
   Rather a late patrol and very difficult light for landing. I managed to pick up a little of the direction, position etc of the line. Kept in mind the whole time to steer for the sun in the event of any trouble. Archie was very good and nearly cut me off. Skipper say I lagged a little — must close up a little.

29 June 1918, Saturday
   Crossed the lines about 17000 ft. A squadron show — our flight was leading — hence bottom flight. Quite a feeling of safety with so many machines above. Feeling strong and safe of course there were no huns to be seen. Was told I was much better at formating but could still afford to come closer.

30 June 1918, Sunday
   Another squadron show — again we lead. We crossed the lines about 18,000 ft. Saw some huns below and chased them. Chased two 2-seaters well east when they got away.

1 July 1918, Monday, 7:35 pm
   Another late squadron show. Very hazy and very difficult for formation. Crossed the lines at 16,000 ft and climbed to 18,000. Nothing to be seen so went down for a little trench strafing. Rather good fun. "Archie" quite entertaining.

1 July 1918, Monday, 10:00 pm
   A squadron show. We were top flight. "C" flight middle flight and "A" flight leading. Didn't feel very comfortable. Several huns above us even though we were at 18,000 ft. I kept close to the formation. Manzer fell out so I had the tail to myself. Was told on landing that I kept quite good formation — who wouldn't.

2 July 1918, Tuesday. 9:00 am
   Duty was to escort bombers (DH9s) but we just met them returning. Carried on with a line patrol. We were middle flight. Thompson came back. Rather a slow show.

2 July 1918, Tuesday, 7:30 pm
   Very cloudy which made it difficult for formation but good for hun dodging. Saw some huns miles east. We were bottom flight. Did a little trench-strafing. It was nearly dark when we landed. No machines crashed fortunately. My bus seems slow but faithful. Am told I shall not get a new one until I crash it.

3 July 1918, Wednesday, 5:10 pm
   Rather cloudy and nothing seen. Returned after 1 hr 20 mins. Quite a farce patrol. 4 July 1918, Thursday, 4:30 am
A very exciting day in the air. Clouds were about 2,000 and we had to protect the low flying m/cs on "contact" work during the "Hamel" push. Found great difficulty in keeping formation as we were diving in and out of the clouds. I lost all sense of direction. Saw 5 huns pass immediately beneath us in break of clouds, but was afraid to leave formation although a half-roll would have put me right on their tails. Don't think Skipper could have seen them, although it is very unusual for him to miss anything. The barrage was very interesting and we came down low to see the show well. Several times I found myself bumped in the wash of shells. Finished with trench-strafing.

4 July 1918, Thursday, 11:30 am
   The same stunt only this time we carried bombs and did more trench-strafing. Clouds still very low.

4 July 1918, Thursday, 5:30 pm
   Did more trench-strafing and bombing. Quite expected the hun would counter-attack but he did not. My m/c was rather badly shot up — cannot say I like the game. I prefer pushing the ceiling out.

5 July 1918, Friday, 11:30 am
   Visibility quite good. Climbed to 17,000. Saw 5 huns. As soon as we moved in their direction they put their noses down and raced east. Wish I could have a scrap with a soft one!

5 July 1918, Friday, 7:30 pm
   The midnight frolic patrol. Nothing seen but great excitement in landing it was practically dark. Am told that I am quite good in formation. Of course, I am ticked off regularly by two of the fellows in the flight but I only take notice of my skipper.

6 July 1918, Saturday, 11:30 am
   Escorted bombers to Bray but saw no E.A. Quite an interesting outing though. Saw one direct hit — archie was pretty good.

7 July 1918, Sunday, 5:15 am
   Visibility was very good. I like the early morning patrols better than the later ones in spite of the sun. Quite a number of balloons about — we drove down three of them but did not get a flamer. More trench strafing.

9 July 1918, Tuesday, 11:30 am
   Visibility quite good. Climbed to 19,000. Chased a two-seater right down to the carpet south of the Villers Bretnaux Rd.

10 July 1918, Wednesday, 6:50 am
   Only balloons to be seen. We drove one balloon down but it did not flame. Cannot understand it for we were firing point blank into it. Will get some buckingham put in my Vickers and more in my Lewis. Lent my m/c to a new pilot and he crashed it. I shall have to have a new m/c now — hope it is faster, I hate having the throttle full out the whole time.

13 July 1918, Sunday, 6:15 am
   Very cloudy — nothing seen. I lost the formation in a cloud but managed to pick them up later up the line. Impossible to get over 10,000 ft. This is my first patrol with my new bus — she is a peach. Has to be held back and is very sensitive on the controls.

15 July 1918, Tuesday, 11:15 am
   Nothing seen. Very cloudy and impossible to get above 10,000 ft.

16 July 1918, Wednesday, 12:30 pm
   A squadron show. Escort to camels bombing Foucaucourt aerodrome. I fired 300 rounds into the drome from under 3,000 ft — it is about 10 miles over the lines. Several direct hits were seen from the bombs. We dived on one balloon which we sent down in flames. A jolly interesting outing. No E.A. seen up.

16 July 1918, Wednesday, 5.30 pm
   Escort to bombers over Bray. "Archie" was rather good. No E.A. seen.

17 July 1918, Thursday, 9:40 am
   The squadron patrol took off without me as I had trouble starting owing to magneto trouble and oil in air valve. I went up the line to try my luck at balloon strafing on my own — it looked easy enough. I sent one down in flames at Proyart. I then attacked N. of Proyart but they took it down too quickly. I then attacked one south of Fricourt which I sent down in flames. I was badly archied and my machine was badly hit with m.g. bullets — but it was well worth it. I must have another shot at these. They were only 2,000 ft up — the latter only just over 1,000 ft.

20 July 1918, Saturday, 7:30 am
   Escort to bombers at Rogieres(?). A squadron show. Saw 7 E.A. which I attacked with "Skipper." Had quite a good duel with one of them. He had the height but I climbed and got on his tail and sent him down (confirmed by archie) Skipper also got one. Sent a balloon down in flames on my way back. Have got to take all the buckingham out of my Vickers as I have shot my prop. Am having 2 drums of Lewis with 8 to 1 buckingham.

18 July 1918, Friday, 7:15 am ( entry out of order in log )
   Took bombs and dropped them on Mericourt. I was so badly archied I forgot to drop mine so I went back and dropped them and so got archied worse than ever. On my way back I saw the S.O.S. sent up in our trenches. I went down and saw the hun raiding. I emptied all my ammunition except a few rounds which I kept owing to stoppages. Quite an interesting show.

18 July 1918, Friday, 10:40 am
   Squadron patrol — no E.A. seen. Did a little trench strafing.

21 July 1918, Sunday, 6:15 am
   Returned from patrol with a badly vibrating engine and a broken oil pipe. This the first time I have had to return from a patrol. 22 July 1918, Monday, 12:00 pm
Returned with a broken conn-rod. Hope I am not going to have bad luck with engines now. However, I shall have to have a new engine. I landed in the aerodrome without my engine froma height of 14,000 ft over the lines.

22 July 1918, Monday, 5.45 pm
   Flew the C.O.s bus No E.A. seen. Fired about 200 rounds into Bayonvillers. Rather a dud patrol.

24 July 1918, Wednesday, 9:40 am

   My first patrol with my new engine. I am now flying with "C" flight as "deputy leader." We dived on 7 Fokker biplanes. I had an indecisive combat with one m/c and shot the wing off another. Had trouble with my guns.

25 July 1918, Thursday, 5:30 (am or pm?)
    was fired at by a 2 seater with French markings. My right plane was hit. I immediately opened fire and got under the two seaters tail and forced it to land. The French apparently made a mistake. Captain Ralston brought down a balloon but was wounded but reached our lines. I am now to carry on as flight commander. When Ralston went down on the balloon I could see huns east, above and below. I'll take good care never to attack a balloon when huns are around.

26 July 1918, Friday, 6:30 pm
   My first patrol as leader. Climber up to the clouds which were about 14,600. It came on so dud that I returned after 1 hr.

28 July 1918, Sunday, 7:45 am
   A squadron show. I saw no huns but had trouble with new pilots who fell out and I had to escort them over the lines. I cannot say I like the job of flight commander.

29 July 1918, Monday, 7:00 am
   I attacked a two seater with Lobley. He immediately dived and we followed pouring lead into it. We saw it crash just off a road. Cannot understand why it did not flame for I had a good sighting at a very close range. It was an L.V.G. I afterwards attacked a balloon but did not get it to flame. I must get my sights tested for I have had some bad landings just lately.

29 July 1918, Monday, 7.20pm
   Did a line patrol but saw nothing.

30 July 1918, Tuesday, 8:40 am
   I saw some 7 E.A. well east and above me. I was then about 16,000. I turned west and climbed fast the E.A. also flying west. I then turned east and saw the E.A. dive on a D.H.4. I immediately dived on them with the flight and followed one down until I sent him down out of control. I then found there was another on my tail. I immediately half-rolled and spit-assed on to his tail and fired into him and saw him dive. I then found I was being fired on from behind. I saw two m/cs behind me, and then a third. I tried to shake them off and succeeded by doing 2 turns of a spin during which my windscreen was shot away and I was hit in the face. I then saw one m/c flying east and two m/cs descending locked together, afterwards falling to pieces, having collided. The flight returned and reported me as "shot down." It will be a long time before I follow one m/c down like that again. My bottom plane was written off. My deputy leader also got a Fokker Biplane. They were confirmed by D.H.4s who phoned up thanking us for our effort.

31 July 1918, Wednesday, 7:10 pm
   Nothing seen — too dud. Quite a farce. Only up 1 hr 30 mins. Find that time goes much quicker as flight commander.
1 August 1918, Thursday, 8.30 am
   Dived on 7 E.A. but was also dived on, but managed to get away by turning into them when they cleared off in spite of the fact that they outnumbered us and we were about 6 miles their side of the lines.

3 August 1918, Saturday, 7:00 am
   Started on a two flight show but it was too dud. Clouds were about 2000 ft so returned with flight and went up the line by myself to look for something soft but saw nothing.

4 August 1918, Sunday, 4.30 pm
   Clicked for dawn show. Went straight to the line, keeping an eye on the weather as it looked rather dud. Saw nothing this side so climbed up through clouds about 10,000. Went about 12 miles over the lines at about 16,000. Fired into Fricourt aerodrome. Dived through clouds into Proyart and saw a balloon about 500 ft up. It was pulled down very quickly when fired on but I fired on it right to the carpet and made it flame. The observer jumped out. The whole flight was badly archied and fired on but none hit. Fried to get another balloon south of the split-as road, but my throttle jambed( sic ) so had to leave it. Saw one E.A. miles east and on the carpet.

4 August 1918, Sunday, 6.30 am
   A two flight show for escort to D.H.9s. Manzer was leading but missed the D.H.9s. I took my flight with the D.H.9s and met them returning. Afterwards I saw several m/cs splitassing about and a light fired. Thought it was a dog fight so dived down and found it was only those damn Dolphins amusing themselves. Saw 2 E.A. going east hard. Returned early as it was so misty.
Transcribed by Norman Mawle's grandson, Guy W. Mawle, of Aspen House, Twyn-y-sheriff, Usk, Mons, UK NP15 2HT. e-mail: [email protected]
Additional Notes
1. He was wounded in the arm and stomach on 8 August. His son, John Mawle gave the following account on 21 January 2001 of his father's last patrol, as he recalls being told about it:

He was proud to have been given a roving commission for a dawn patrol. Free to go where he liked. He was the lead plane of two. 8 August 1918 was the date of the start of the last and ultimately successful allied offensive. He said he was flying over lines manned by the Australian Division and that he could see them in their trenches waiting to go over the top. He said he could also see German machine gun posts waiting for them. It was in strafing these that he said he was wounded. "The third was waiting for me."


Recovering from his wounds. Lt. Mawle is third from left, arm in sling. (N.W.R. Mawle collection)

2. His squadron commander at 84 Squadron was Sholto Douglas and his flight commander was "Dingbat" Saunders. Both rose to the top of the R.A.F. and Lord Douglas became Chairman of British European Airways.

3. Lt. N.W.R. Mawle is credited with 13 victories in three separate publications:

‘Scores of Aces of the Great War 1914-1918' in ‘Heroes & Aeroplanes of the Great War 1914-1918.' by Joseph Phelan published Arthur Barker Limited, London (1966).

‘British Aces of the Air' (in) Air Stories. Aerial Adventure in Fact and Fiction. May 1938 Vol. 6. No. 5. Page 437. Published by George Newnes Ltd, London.

Also according to his son, John Mawle in:

‘Air aces of the 1914-1918 War' published in 1959.

John Mawle recalls his father saying that shooting down balloons was regarded as particularly hazardous and each credited as 1.5 victories.


An observation balloon with S.E.5 above it (N.W.R. Mawle collection)



A "flamer" (N.W.R. Mawle collection)

4. Throughout his period in France he flew a S.E.5, rather than an S.E.5a. He is seen here in his plane.

Norman Mawle
(From N.W.R. Mawle collection)

5. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross on 2 November 1918. He was promoted to Group Captain, pursued a successful career in business and received the O.B.E.

6.
He had served in France in the army before becoming a pilot. From an account by his son, John Mawle: ‘He volunteered for the army in the spring of 1916, received officer training with the Inns of Court Regiment and was commissioned into, and sent to France with the London Regiment. They had a section of the line in the area of Ypres and Hill 60. It was an ‘all quiet' phase. They rotated periods in the line with periods resting behind the lines. Their main task was countering enemy patrols and sending out patrols of their own to harass the enemy and try to get a prisoner for intelligence. It was on one such three-man patrol in the spring of 1917 that he was wounded by a rifle bullet in the left shoulder. He was sent back to England. When he recovered he volunteered for the Royal Flying Corps "to avoid having to go back into the trenches".

7. From a note to his grandson in 1967, he made his first flight in a B.E.2C as an observer in December 1916. His first solo flight was made in November 1917 at 49 T.S. in a Maurice Farman Short Horn.

8. He died of a heart attack on 28 December 1971 in Leicester after watching Leicester Tigers play the Barbarians. He had been a keen rugby player after the war.
Contributed by G.W. Mawle, 04 January 2004



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