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Thomas Sinclair Harrison
Born (1898-01-08)8 January 1898
Died Unknown
Place of birth King William Town, South Africa
Allegiance Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Service/branch Artillery, Aviation
Rank Major
Unit No. 29 Squadron RAF
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar
Croix de guerre (Belgium)
Other work Intelligence officer in World War II

Major Thomas Sinclair Harrison DFC & Bar (born 8 January 1898 in South Africa) was a World War I fighter ace credited with 22 victories. He was a balloon buster, as he destroyed two enemy observation balloons.[1]

Military serviceEdit

Harrison originally served with an artillery regiment in German East Africa. He then joined the Royal Flying Corps in April 1917. In May 1918, he was assigned to No. 29 Squadron RAF. His timing was impeccable; the squadron was newly equipped with brand new RAF SE.5as.[1][2] Beginning his victories the following month, he became the squadron's leading ace out of 26. While his 22 triumphs did not make up an overpowering part of the squadron's 385 victories,[2] he was a steady scorer.[1]

Shuttleworth SE5a01

A surviving SE5a, such as Harrison flew, in flight.

His first victory was on 27 June 1918, when he flamed a Halberstadt C, using RAF SE.5a serial 8859 to deadly effect. He destroyed a Hannover C on 1 July. On 4 July, he was flying a signals intelligence sortie of "wireless interception duty," in SE.5a serial 3915.[1] He destroyed the LVG carrying the airborne radio, and burned one of its pair of escort Pfalz D.IIIs. He was awarded his Distinguished Flying Cross for this mission.[3]

On 8 July, he became an ace. By the middle of August, he was a double ace, scoring his tenth win on 13 August 1918. Two of these victories were over balloons. He ended August at an even dozen.[1]

By now, he had a favorite plane, serial number E5947. He would run off a series of seven victories in it, with the last being his 13th win on 6 September 1917.[1] A squadron-mate then ruined it with a fast hard landing.[3]

Harrison then scored six times in October and three in November, in four different aircraft. His last triumph came on 10 November, the day before the war ended.[1]

His 22 victories tallied 13 enemy aircraft destroyed singlehanded, four of which burned; two destroyed in conjunction with another pilot; four planes driven down out of control; two balloons destroyed singlehanded.[1]

World War II serviceEdit

Harrison returned to service as a major, serving in intelligence for the South African Air Force.[4]

Honors and awardsEdit

Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)

Lieut. Thomas Sinclair Harrison.

When on wireless interception duty this officer engaged three enemy machines, shooting down one in flames. He was then attacked by three scouts and a two-seater; the latter he shot down. During the last few weeks he has further accounted for three hostile aeroplanes and a balloon, displaying vigour and gallantry in attack.

Supplement to the London Gazette, 21 September 1918 (30913/11251)[5]

Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Bar

Lieut. Thomas Sinclair Harrison. D.F.C. (FRANCE.)

Bold in attack, skilful in manoeuvre, this officer never hesitates to engage the enemy, however superior in numbers. On 2 October he, with three other machines, took part in an engagement with eight Fokkers; four of these were destroyed, Lieut. Harrison accounting for one. On another occasion he, in company with four others, engaged fa large formation of Fokkers; three of these were destroyed, one by this officer. In all he has destroyed twenty enemy machines.

Supplement to the London Gazette, 3 December 1918 (31046/14316)[6]

ReferencesEdit

  • Franks, Norman (2007). SE 5/5a Aces of World War I. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-180-9. 

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