LEST WE FORGET

Lieutenant Harold Alexander LETCH MC 

Service No: Not Assigned
Born: Donnybrook VIC, May 1894
Enlisted in the Army: 19 August 1914
Unit: No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Awarded the Military Cross (MC)
Died: Air Operations (No. 1 Squadron Bristol Fighter aircraft B1222), Palestine, 22 August 1918, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Ramleh War Cemetery, Ramla, Israel
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William James and Elizabeth Ann Letch, of Littlewood St., Hampton, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Place of Association: Hampton VIC
Remembered: Panel 188, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

An L.V.G. two-seater was shot down near Ramleh next day by Brown (1) and Finlay (2), and its occupants taken prisoner, but the fight was marred by the loss of Lieutenant John Mercer Walker and Letch, who were patrolling with Brown.  The enemy crossed the lines at a great height, and the Australians climbed to cut him off. The whole squadron saw the fight from the aerodrome floor. The L.V.G. turned for home and Walker took the grave risk of attacking from above and behind in full sight of the German’s rear gun.  In a few seconds Walker’s machine (3) was seen to fall and burst into flames Brown, who had manoeuvred in front of the L.V.G., gave Finlay the shooting. Finlay’s guns, however, fell out of their mounting, and Brown then attacked the L.V.G. head-on and drove it down to a bad landing near the Ramleh aerodrome.

(1) Captain Alan Runciman Brown DFC; No 1 Squadron (previously Artillery), Draper, of Launceston, TAS; born Launceston, 24 April, 1895, World War II RAAF Service (No: 290871)
(2) Lieutenant Garfield Finlay DFC; No 1 Squadron (previously Light Horse), Woolclasser; of Glebe, NSW and West Perth WA; born Glebe, 7 September 1893
(3) Bristol Fighter aircraft B1222

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 – Page 144

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, LETCH HAROLD ALEXANDER
National Archives UK RAF Casualty Information Line 168314

Bibliography:

Lax, M. (Mark) (editor) One Man’s War: Aircraft Mechanic Joe Bull’s Personal diaries 1916-9, Banner Books, Maryborough QLD 4650, 1997
Roberts, E.G.  (Eric Glendower) (250197) Box Kites and Beyond, The Hawthorn Press Melbourne VIC 3000, 1976
Sutherland, L. W. (Leslie) Aces and Kings, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1935
Williams, Sir R. (Richard) (1) These are Facts: the Autobiography of Air Marshal Sir Richard Williams KBE, CB, DSO, Australian War Memorial and Australian Government Publishing Service, 1977 – Chapters 3-9

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