2nd Lt. Francis Alexander Lewis R.F.C.

2nd Lt. Francis Alexander Lewis R.F.C.

Killed in action on 5th February 1918, he was the second son of Mr James Lewis and his wife Ada of The Priory, 34, Larkhall Rise, Clapham, London S.W..  He had served in the Royal Engineers and earned his 1914/15 Star on his entry to a theatre of war, France, on the 1st January 1915.

His Star is impressed: 30289. Cpl. F.A. Lewis R.E..  His War and Victory medals are named to: 2 Lieut. F.A. Lewis.  His mother applied for the medals in respect of her late son on 23rd January 1921.

In the Supplement to the London Gazette of 20th June 1917 he was 'gazetted' as a temporary 2/Lt, on probation to the General List of the RFC.

On the 18th December 2/Lt. F. A.Lewis and his observer Cpl. G. Holmes were operating out of Bailleul under the command of 2nd Wing, 2nd Brigade RFC, 9th Army Corps.  They had been tasked to take photographs at Gheluvelt and had an encounter with German machines when they were attacked by 10 Albatross Scouts, the observer claiming one enemy aeroplane 'out of control'.

At the time of his death he was a pilot with 53 Squadron RFC operating out of Abeele attached to the 22nd Army Corps for observation duties flying the RE 8 (Reconnaissance Experimental 8 or as it was also known as 'Harry Tate' a well known comedian of that era)

On the 5th February 2/Lt Lewis and his Observer Lt. T McHughes were both killed when their RE 8 B 6466 was hit by ground machine gun fire while they were taking photographs at low level.  This low work, now to become a regular feature of Squadron duties was to cost the unit many casualties.

He is interred in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.  On his headstone is marked: Dearly loved second son of James & Ada Lewis of Clapham. The inscription is right at the bottom of the stone and only just visible in the photograph.

Dated 11th November 1918 (Armistice Day) an original copy of The Kings Message To The Royal Air Force.  This congratulatory message was sent by King George 5th and addressed to the Right Hon. Lord Weir, Secretary of State and President of the Air Council.

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