LEST WE FORGET

Lieutenant Percy James SIMS

Service No: 6262
Born: Springhurst VIC, 1 January 1896
Enlisted in the Army: 28 July 1915
Unit: No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Died: Air Operations, France, 29 October 1918, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Albert James and Elizabeth Sims. Born at Springhurst, Victoria
Place of Association: Springhurst VIC
Remembered: Arras Flying Services Memorial, Arras, Nord Pas de Calais, France
Remembered: Panel 188, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Three machines led by G. Jones (1) at 11,000 feet were the first in action, when, climbing to meet fifteen Fokkers just above them, they saw ten of this formation dive towards the British two-seaters. Jones’s force at once attacked the ten, and at the same moment six Snipes under Ross (2) entered the fight with a swarm of fresh Fokkers. Jones in his dive destroyed two of the enemy in quick succession; one crashed north-east of Tournai, and the other burst into flames.  Almost simultaneously Palliser (3) set another Fokker on fire. He turned at once to attack a second which whizzed past him on the tail of a Snipe, and destroyed that enemy also. Then four Fokkers in turn attacked him, and he was obliged to spin away to escape them.  The air was so thick with German machines that, high or low, in every direction, a machine leaving the ruck of a fight could not fail to meet them. So Palliser, diving for safety, found another enemy lower down in his path, and this, too, he shot down out of control with a burst of eighty rounds ripped into the enemy as he dropped. Jones’s patrol of three completely dispersed that particular body of Fokkers, but lost Sims.  Sims (4) was seen by Palliser to destroy one Fokker in flames, but shortly afterwards was himself shot down and killed.

(1) Air Marshal Sir George Jones KBE CB DFC, Chief of the Air Staff May 1942 – 1952; Born Rushworth VIC, 22 November 1896; Died Melbourne VIC, 24 August 1992
(2) Lieutenant Hector William Ross DFC; Born Darlington NSW, 1895
(3) Lieutenant Arthur John Palliser; Killed on Air Operations: 4 November 1918
(4) Sopwith Snipe aircraft E8070

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 378

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, SIMS PERCY JAMES
National Archives UK RAF Casualty Book AIR 1/969 page 418, 259157

Bibliography:

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

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