LEST WE FORGET

Lieutenant Maxwell Hardwicke EDDIE 

Service No: 3255
Born: Invermay TAS, 1 July 1893
Enlisted in the Army: 8 February 1915
Unit: No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Died: Air Operations, France, 5 September 1918, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George Theophilus and Laura J. C. Eddie, of 193 Invermay Road, Launceston, Tasmania. Born at Invermay, Tasmania
Place of Association: Launceston TAS
Remembered: Arras Flying Services Memorial, Pas de Calais, France
Remembered: Panel 188, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

The afternoon of September 5th was marked by a very gallant fight by a patrol from No. 4 Squadron, which was defeated and almost destroyed.  Five machines, under Trescowthick (1), had been ordered to co-operate with two formations from other squadrons in a sweep of the Douai area. Through some unfortunate misunderstanding the intended co-operation did not take place, and Trescowthick’s patrol was attacked by three formations of Fokkers at 11,000 feet over Brebieres, south-west of Douai. Trescowthick, leading his force in the orthodox” V “-formation, was flying, therefore, ahead of and below the others. The enemy vastly outnumbered and also had the height of the Australians and attacked from two sides at once. Trescowthick, seeing no support at hand and realising that to accept combat was hopeless, gave the signal to avoid action and dived away, expecting his formation to folIow suit.  It did not.  The four remaining – Taplin (2), Eddie (3), Carter (4), and Lockley (5) – either did not see any signal to break off, or found themselves unable to do so.  At any rate they stayed and met an attack of overwhelming numbers. Lockley was seen by Trescowthick to stall and meet his first oncoming opponent, fire into it from underneath, and send it down out of control. That was the last clear view of the engagement; the four were fighting at a hopeless disadvantage of position, and none of them returned.  Subsequently news was received that all four were shot down, Taplin wounded and taken prisoner, the other three killed.

(1) Lieutenant Norman Charles Trescowthick DFC 1287; Born Clifton Hill VIC, 14 July 1895
(2) Lieutenant Leonard Thomas Eaton Taplin DFC 6994; Born Unley SA 16 December 1895, flying in Sopwith Camel aircraft E1407
(3) Sopwith Camel aircraft E778
(4) Sopwith Camel aircraft B7174
(5) Sopwith Camel aircraft D8136

Extract from Cutlack, F.M. (Frederic Morley) The Australian Flying Corps in the Western and Eastern Theatres of War 1914-8, Angus and Robertson Ltd Sydney, 1941 – Pages 356-7

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record B2455, EDDIE I M H

National Archives UK RAF Casualty Book AIR 1/969 page 192, 84485

Bibliography:

Richards, E.J. (Edward John) Australian Airmen: History of the 4th Squadron, publisher unknown, c1919

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