LEST WE FORGET

Second Lieutenant Francis Cunningham SHAPIRA 

Service No: 1258
Born: Stepney, England, 30 July 1889
Enlisted in the Army: 2 March 1915
Unit: No. 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Died: Aircraft Accident, Kent, 21 August 1917, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Brookwood Military Cemetery, Pirbright, Surrey
CWGC Additional Information: Son of the Rev. A.W. and Theresa Shapira, of Lake Margaret Power Station, Queenstown, Tasmania. Native of London, England
Place of Association: Wallendbeen NSW
Remembered: Panel 188, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Wallendbeen Memorial Obelisk, Wallendbeen NSW
Remembered: Baulkham Hills World War I Memorial, William Thompson Masonic Schools, Baulkham Hills NSW

The honour of being the first Australian flying unit to arrive in France belongs to No. 3 Squadron. Leaving observers, transport personnel, and other details to go by water, the three flights (each of six machines) left South Carlton by air on the 24th August, 1917, under Major Blake and flew to Lympne in Kent, the first stage.  Each pilot carried an air mechanic in the observer’s seat.  One machine (1), which was forced to land in Kent before reaching Lympne, crashed on taking off again, and both occupants, Lieutenant F. C. Shapira and Air-Mechanic W. D. Sloane were killed.

(1) RE8 aircraft B3421

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 177

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, SHAPIRA FRANCIS CUNNINGHAM
National Archives UK RAF Casualty Card 284994, 254830
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Bibliography:

Muller, P. (Peter) and Hutchinson, J. (John) Secrets Revealed: a brief history of No. 3 Squadron RAAF, Lutheran Publishing House Adelaide SA 5000, 1991
Wrigley, H.N. (Henry Neilsen) (6) The Battle Below: Being the history of No. 3 Squadron AFC, Errol G. Knox Sydney NSW, 1935

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