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: William Earle "Moley" Molesworth
Military Cross (MC) and bar
silver medal for military valor [italy]
William Molesworth
Country: Ireland
Rank: Major
Service: Royal Flying Corps
Royal Air Force
Units: 29, 60
Victories: 18
Born: 14 March 1894
Place of Birth: Andaman Islands, Indian Ocean
Died: 1955
Place of Death:
 
 
William Earle Molesworth was the son of Colonel Molesworth, C.I.E., C.B.E., of the Indian Army Medical Service. He attended Marlborough College in Wiltshire, England from 1908 to 1912 followed by four years at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst from 1912 to 1914. Receiving a regular commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Munster Fusiliers on 8 August 1914, Molesworth served on the Western Front from October 1914 to March 1916, being wounded in December 1914. In March 1916, he received a temporary commission in the Royal Flying Corps and completed his training at the Central Flying School at Upavon in February 1917. He was then posted to 60 Squadron in France where he served under Captain Albert Ball. Promoted to flight commander in April 1917, Molesworth assumed command of A Flight. Flying the Nieuport 17 and the S.E.5a, he flamed one balloon and scored five victories during several fights with Manfred von Richthofen's Flying Circus. Returning to the England in August, Molesworth was ordered to Dover where he assumed command of a training flight before being reassigned to the Gosport Special School for Advanced Flying. On 20 October 1917, he returned to France, this time joining 29 Squadron under Captain James McCudden. Flying Nieuports again, Molesworth scored twelve more victories. On 17 March 1918, he was posted back to the Home Establishment where he served as an instructor at the Central Flying School. In April, with the creation of the Royal Air Force, Molesworth became responsible for the formation of 158 Squadron at Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire. He served as this squadron's first commanding officer until October 1918. In November 1918, following the signing of the Armistice, Molesworth transferred back to the Royal Munster Fusiliers.

Several of William Molesworth's letters home from the war were published in Flypast magazine during 1979 and 1980.

 
Military Cross (MC)
Capt. William Earle Molesworth, R. Muns. Fus. and R.F.C.
   For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on offensive patrol. He has frequently led his patrol against superior numbers of the enemy, destroying some and dispersing others. He has also brought down two balloons and has proved himself to be a dashing and fearless pilot of great skill and determination.
 
Military Cross (MC) Bar
Capt. William Earle Molesworth, M.C., R. Muns. Fus. and R.F.C.
   For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He has done excellent work as patrol leader, handling his formations with great skill and courage. He has destroyed four enemy machines and driven several down out of control.
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 22 Apr 1917 1720 60 Nieuport (B1569) Albatros D.III (OOC) Vitry
2 24 Apr 1917 1040 60 Nieuport (B1569) Balloon (DES) Boiry Notre Dame
3 29 Jun 1917 1800 60 Nieuport (B1652) Albatros D.III (DES) Douai-Estrées
4 11 Jul 1917 1410 60 Nieuport (B1652) Albatros D.III (OOC) Queant
5 05 Aug 1917 2000 60 S.E.5a (A4851) Albatros D.III (DESF) 1 Hendecourt
6 09 Aug 1917 0700 60 S.E.5a (A8932) Albatros D.V (DES) Cagnicourt
7 08 Nov 1917 1515 29 Nieuport (B6812) Albatros D.V (DESF) E of Westroosebeke
8 08 Nov 1917 1600 29 Nieuport (B6812) C (DESF) Houthoulst Forest
9 26 Nov 1917 1450 29 Nieuport (B6820) Albatros D.V (OOC) SE of Houthoulst
10 03 Jan 1918 1530 29 Nieuport (B6812) Albatros D.V (OOC) S of Moorslede
11 22 Jan 1918 1235 29 Nieuport (B6812) Albatros D.V (DES) NE of Staden
12 24 Jan 1918 1200 29 Nieuport (B6812) C (DES) NE of Roulers
13 24 Jan 1918 1310 29 Nieuport (B6812) C (DES) N of Roulers
14 29 Jan 1918 1255 29 Nieuport (B6797) Albatros D.V (DESF) E of Moorslede
15 05 Feb 1918 1020 29 Nieuport (B6812) C (OOC) Moorslede-Roulers
16 21 Feb 1918 1410 29 Nieuport (B6812) C (CAP) Ypres-Zonnebeke
17 26 Feb 1918 1100 29 Nieuport (B6812) C (DES) SE of Becelaere
18 18 Mar 1918 1145 29 Nieuport (B6812) Pfalz D.III (DES) SE of Rumbeke

1 Shared with Lt Spencer Horn
 
Aces · Aircraft · Books · Forum · Guests · Help · Links · Medals · News · Search · Today