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Leonard Arthur Christian
Nickname "Leo"
Born (1889-05-09)May 9, 1889
Died January 24, 1955(1955-01-24) (aged 65)
Place of birth Near Armstrong, British Columbia, Canada
Place of death Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Mountain View Cemetery and Crematorium Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Aviation
Rank Lieutenant
Unit No. 206 Squadron RAF
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross
Other work Served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II

Lieutenant Leonard Arthur Christian was a Canadian World War I flying ace credited with nine aerial victories scored while he flew as an observer/gunner on Airco DH.9 bombers.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Christian was born on a farm near Armstrong, British Columbia, Canada[1] on 9 May 1889.[2] HIs parents were Josephine E. and Joseph W. Christian.[3] He was a bachelor[4] horse breeder until he joined the military for World War I.[5]

World War I[edit | edit source]

Christian underwent pilot's training and graduated as a probationary Flying Officer in Bloody April 1917. However, because he was phobic about heights, he volunteered to serve as an aerial observer instead. He was posted to 6 Naval Squadron as an observer/gunner in Airco DH.9s and remained in the unit as it transformed into 206 Squadron of the Royal Air Force. Four months later, he began the victory tally that would run through 1 August 1918. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his defensive valor during the 47 bombing raids that he flew.[6]

His Distinguished Flying Cross was gazetted on 21 September 1918:

Lieutenant Leonard Arthur Christian (late R.N.A.S.)

"Since joining his squadron this officer has taken part in forty-seven bomb raids, displaying at all times keenness and determination, and rendering his pilot most valuable support. He has accounted for four enemy aeroplanes, destroying two, and driving down two out of control."[7]

List of aerial victories[edit | edit source]

Although trained as a pilot, Christian scored all his victories as an observer/gunner on a bomber.

No. Date/time Aircraft Foe Result Location Notes
1 19 May 1918 @ 1940 hours Airco DH.9 serial number C6240 Albatros D.V Driven down out of control Geluwe Christian's pilot: Captain G L E Stevens
2 7 June 1918 @ 1200 hours Airco DH.9 s/n C1181 Fokker Triplane Set on fire; destroyed Bac-St.-Maur Christian's pilot: Captain G L E Stevens
3 12 June 1918 @ 1232 hours Airco DH.9 s/n C6240 Pfalz D.III Destroyed Zonnebeke Christian's pilot: Captain G L E Stevens
4 1 July 1918 @ 2015 hours Airco DH.9 s/n B7596 Pfalz D.III Set afire; destroyed Houthem Christian's pilot: Captain G L E Stevens. Shared victory.
5 29 July 1918 @ 1920 hours Airco DH.9 s/n B7596 Fokker D.VII Set afire; destroyed North of Menen Christian's pilot: Leslie Reginald Warren
6 29 July 1918 @ 1922 hours Airco DH.9 s/n B7596 Fokker D.VII Set afire; destroyed North of Menen Christian's pilot: Leslie Reginald Warren
7 29 July 1918 @ 1930 hours Airco DH.9 s/n B7596 Fokker D.VII Destroyed West of Courtrai Christian's pilot: Leslie Reginald Warren
8 1 August 1918 @ 0830 hours Airco DH.9 s/n B7598 Fokker D.VII Driven down out of control Between Menen and Wervicq Christian's pilot: Leslie Reginald Warren
9 1 August 1918 @ 0830 hours Airco DH.9 s/n B7598 Fokker D.VII Destroyed Between Menin and Wervicq Christian's pilot: Leslie Reginald Warren[8]

See also Aerial victory standards of World War I

Post World War I[edit | edit source]

On 23 August 1919, Christian was placed on the Royal Air Force's unemployed list.[9] He returned to his horse farm to breed race horses. He returned to service in the Royal Canadian Air Force for World War II.[10]

Leonard Arthur Christian died on 23 January 1955 and is interred in Mountain View Cemetery and Crematorium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.[11]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Franks, Norman; Guest, Russell; Alegi, Gregory. Above the War Fronts: the British Two-seater Bomber Pilot and Observer Aces, the British Two-seater Fighter Observer Aces, and the Belgian, Italian, Austro-Hungarian and Russian Fighter Aces, 1914-1918: Volume 4 of Fighting Airmen of WWI Series: Volume 4 of Air Aces of WWI. Grub Street, 1997. ISBN 1-898697-56-6, ISBN 978-1-898697-56-5.

Endnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. Franks, et al, p. 82.
  2. http://canadiangreatwarproject.com/Searches/soldierDetail.asp?ID=97462 Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  3. http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/canada/christian.php Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  4. http://canadiangreatwarproject.com/Searches/soldierDetail.asp?ID=97462 Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  5. Franks, et al, p. 82.
  6. Franks, et al, p. 82.
  7. (Supplement to the London Gazette," 21 September 1918, p. 11250.) http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/30913/supplements/11250 Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  8. List compiled from http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/canada/christian.php Retrieved 25 June 2011; Franks, et al, p. 82.
  9. (The London Gazette, 12 September 1919, p. 11472) http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/31548/pages/11472 Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  10. Franks, et al, p. 82.
  11. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=christian&GSfn=L&GSbyrel=all&GSdy=1955&GSdyrel=in&GScntry=10&GSob=n&GRid=26275082&df=all& Retrieved 3 July 2011.

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