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Today in History

Name: Gerald Joseph Constable Maxwell
Military Cross (MC)
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Air Force Cross (AFC)
Gerald Maxwell
Country: Scotland
Rank: Major
Service: Royal Flying Corps
Units: 56
Victories: 26
Born: 08 September 1895
Place of Birth: Inverness, Inverness-shire, Scotland
Died: 18 December 1959
Place of Death: Winchester, Hampshire, England
The nephew of Lord Lovat, Gerald Joseph Constable Maxwell was commissioned at the beginning of World War I. He fought at Gallipoli and served in Egypt before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps in September 1916. During pilot training that year, he received only 22 minutes of dual instruction before he soloed for the first time on 11 December. Posted to 56 Squadron in March 1917, he was assigned to A Flight under Albert Ball, scoring his first victory during his first patrol over the lines on 24 April 1917. Flying the S.E.5a, Maxwell scored 20 victories before returning to England on 21 October 1917. After serving as an instructor at Turnberry, he rejoined 56 Squadron in the summer of 1918, scoring 6 more victories during June and July. When the war was over, he joined the Stock Exchange but returned to service during World War II, commanding a night fighter squadron and attaining the rank of Wing Commander in the Royal Air Force. Wing Commander Gerald Maxwell died at the age of 60 in 1959.

Gerald Maxwell's younger brother Michael also served in the RAF during World War II and became an ace. On 2 July 1933, Maxwell received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 11234 on a Gypsy Moth at the Brooklands Flying Club.
Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificates, 1910-1950
British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
Military Cross (MC)
Capt. Gerald Joseph Constable Maxwell, Yeo. and R.F.C.
   For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on many occasions. He has taken part in forty-three offensive patrols, in fourteen of which he acted as leader. He has destroyed at least three enemy aircraft, and driven down nine others completely out of control. He has consistently shown great skill in aerial combats, and his fearlessness and fine offensive spirit have been a splendid example to others.
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Capt. Gerald Joseph Constable Maxwell, M.C.
   This officer has at all times shown exceptional skill and gallantry, and on numerous occasions has fought against greatly superior numbers. During the last six weeks he has brought down five enemy aeroplanes. Recently, he approached unobserved to within ten yards of three Fokker triplanes, one of which he shot down. He was chased for about nine miles by the remaining two until he met a formation of six Camels; these he led to attack some enemy aircraft, although he had only twenty-five minutes petrol left.
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 24 Apr 1917 1515 56 S.E.5 (A4863) Albatros D.II (OOC) 1 Hamel
2 04 May 1917 1850-2000 56 S.E.5 (A8902) Albatros D.II (OOC) Souchy Lestree
3 11 May 1917 0600-0810 56 S.E.5 (A8902) Albatros D.III (OOC) 2 Pont a Vendin
4 12 May 1917 0845 56 S.E.5 (A8902) Albatros D.III (OOC) 3 E of Lens
5 15 Jun 1917 1315 56 S.E.5 (A8921) Albatros C (DES) 4 Fort Carnot
6 20 Jul 1917 1915-1945 56 S.E.5a (B502) Albatros D.V (OOC) Houthoulst Forest-Roulers
7 20 Jul 1917 1915-1945 56 S.E.5a (B502) Albatros D.V (OOC) Houthoulst Forest-Roulers
8 26 Jul 1917 1930-2030 56 S.E.5a (B502) C (OOC) NE of Ypres
9 14 Aug 1917 1730-1830 56 S.E.5a (B502) C (OOC) 5 E of Westroosebeke
10 18 Aug 1917 0630-0710 56 S.E.5a (B502) Albatros D.V (OOC) Menin
11 18 Aug 1917 0630-0710 56 S.E.5a (B502) Albatros D.V (OOC) 6 Menin
12 21 Aug 1917 1830-1900 56 S.E.5a (B502) Albatros D.V (DES) N of Thorout
13 22 Aug 1917 0615-0715 56 S.E.5a (B502) Albatros D.V (DES) E of Houthoulst Forest
14 22 Aug 1917 0615-0715 56 S.E.5a (B502) Albatros D.V (DES) E of Houthoulst Forest
15 11 Sep 1917 0700-0815 56 S.E.5a (B527) C (OOC) E of Houthoulst Forest
16 20 Sep 1917 1115-1200 56 S.E.5a (B502) C (OOC) E of Ypres
17 21 Sep 1917 0845-0900 56 S.E.5a (B502) C (DES) Verlinghem
18 29 Sep 1917 1750-1810 56 S.E.5a (B2) Albatros D.V (DES) Staden
19 29 Sep 1917 1750-1810 56 S.E.5a (B2) Albatros D.V (OOC) 7 Staden
20 30 Sep 1917 1730-1800 56 S.E.5a (B502) Albatros D.V (OOC) Comines
21 16 Jun 1918 0520 56 S.E.5a (B8402) C (DES) Hamlincourt
22 16 Jun 1918 0730 56 S.E.5a (B8402) C (DES) Wancourt
23 27 Jun 1918 1945 56 S.E.5a (D6126) Fokker DR.I (OOC) Péronne
24 28 Jun 1918 2010 56 S.E.5a (D6126) Fokker D.VII (DES) Dompierre
25 01 Jul 1918 0540 56 S.E.5a (D6126) Fokker DR.I (DES) 8 NE of Albert
26 05 Jul 1918 2030 56 S.E.5a (D6126) Fokker D.VII (DES) Dompierre

1 Shared with Lt C R W Knight (A4855)
2 Shared with Lt Cecil Lewis
3 Shared with Capt Edric Broadberry, Lt E A Lloyd
4 Shared with Capt Phillip Prothero
5 Shared with 2Lt Robert Sloley
6 Shared with Lt E L L Turnbull (A8946), Lt D S Wilkinson (B521), 2Lt Robert Sloley, 2Lt W J Potts (B4857), Capt H M Rushworth (B517)
7 Shared with Lt Robert Sloley, Lt H A Johnston (B12), Lt Charles Jeffs, Lt R W Young (A8946), Lt R J Preston-Cobb (B527)
8 Shared with Capt Cyril Crowe
The Vivid Air
Gerald and Michael Constable Maxwell; fighting pilots in Both World Wars; Alex Revell / Unknown Binding / Kimber
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