Rees, Dudley Carruthers
Son of Mrs Beatrice E Rees, of 98b Whiteladies Road. Father in the civil service, Johannesburg. Younger brother of Vera P.
Rees was born on 24/11/1894, and attended the School from 1906-1911. He served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the RAF, with the Royal Air Force. Rees sadly lost his life on 30/09/1918, as a result of the War.
Rees is buried in Le Cateau Military Cemetery, France, reference IV. C. 33.
Armoured Aeroplane (BGS Chronicle April 1915)
"Sergeant D.C. Rees (O.B.), now serving with the Transvaal Scottish, has been having a stirring time. Writing home on Christmas Eve to his mother, who resides in Clifton, he says: 'We haven't seen much of the German forces yet, but just at dawn we are often annoyed by an armoured aeroplane which drops bombs. The latter was responsible for the finest sight I have yet seen. It was just at dawn when we got a bugle warning to scatter, and as we cleared out of the camp we could hear the drone of an approaching monoplane. Soon we picked her up in the clear sunlight coming vigh high up from over the German Outposts. there was a loud boom, and then another, followed by the scream of shell. Then a couple of white puffs of smoke, where the shrapnel was bursting in front and below the machine. More guns followed, and soon the plane seemed surrounded by white puffs of smoke, and the air was full of detonations. Very quickly, however, the range was estimated, and upon the bursting of a shell just overhear the airmen thought discretion the better part of valour, and made a detour around instead of coming right overhead and trying to do damage by bombs.' "
An Account of Service (Dix Noonan Webb Ltd)
Footnotes from the sale of his medals, 11th December 2014, lot 840:
Dudley Carruthers Rees was born in Truro, Cornwall, in November 1894, the son of George Arthur Rees, afterwards Controller for the G.P.O. in Johannesburg. Himself employed by the Victoria Falls and Transvaal Power Company Ltd. prior to the Great War, Dudley enlisted in the Transvaal Scottish on the outbreak of hostilities, and served in German South-West Africa.
Having also served briefly in the S.A.M.C., he re-enlisted in the South African Overseas Expeditionary Force in August 1915, and was attached to a signalling company, R.E. Arriving in France in April 1916, he was evacuated to England on being wounded in the ribs that October, but he rejoined his unit in the Field March 1917.
Transferring to the Royal Flying Corps toward the year’s end, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in January 1918 and, on graduating as a Flying Officer in July, was posted to No. 84 Squadron, an S.E. 5a unit, in the following month. Over the coming weeks he saw extensive action, his fellow pilots including Captain A. F. W. Beauchamp-Proctor, M.C. D.F.C., who would shortly add the V.C. and D.S.O. to his accolades, the former in respect of operations in the very period Rees was on the unit’s books.
On 14 September, Rees ‘cut-adrift’ a balloon, his combat report stating: ‘When, near Bantouzelle my Flight Commander dived on three balloons. I myself dived on one, opening fire from 200 yards. When about 100 yards away and before I had time to fire my Lewis, I was surprised to see the balloon start to rise very rapidly, far faster than I could climb. It soon reached 10,000 feet and I concluded I must have cut the cable. It was last seen drifting at 15,000 feet.’
As reported in the Squadron’s war diary, Rees next drove down a balloon on the morning of 18 September and then made a valuable reconnaissance along the St. Quentin-Fresnoy Road at 300 feet - ‘He returned with his machine badly shot about.’
21 September, he shared in the destruction of a Fokker DVIII, his combat report stating: ‘At 5.45 p.m. when N.N.E. of St. Quentin, my patrol leader sighted four Fokker Biplanes following a flight of no. 24 Squadron. He worked around into the sun and from a height of 15,000 feet, leapt down upon them: they were at a height of 12,000 feet. My leader dived down to the nearest Fokker’s nose, while I dived down on his tail. We were firing all the time. The Fokker noticed my patrol leader, and turned East, putting his nose down. This enabled me to get right on his tail and fire right into him. He zoomed up out of his dive, crossing my path, and I again followed him round, getting a good burst from both guns into him at very close range. He then dived straight down to earth and crashed N.E. of St. Quentin.’
On 24 September, Rees took out another enemy kite balloon N.E. of Gouy, his combat report stating: ‘While flying with ‘C’ Flight, my leader signalled to the flight to attack a number of balloons. I dived down on one and opened fire at a long range with my Vickers. Thereupon the Observer jumped out. At a range of 75 yards, I opened fire with my Lewis gun. The balloon commenced to smoulder and as I pulled out of my dive I observed it burst into flames. I was then at 800 feet, so contour-chased home.’
This balloon victory was confirmed in Beauchamp-Proctor’s own combat report, who stated ‘within minutes I saw two other balloons go down in flames, having been shot down by 2nd Lieutenants Rees and Highwood.’
On 29 September, however, Rees’ promising career came to an end when he was reported missing on an offensive patrol in the Bellicourt-St. Quentin area - but not before he had claimed another balloon over Beaurevoir - as witnessed by fellow pilot 2nd Lieutenant S. W. Highwood. Probably a victim of Viefeldwebel Oskar Hennrich of Jasta 46, Rees was reported to have died of wounds by the Germans on the same date. He was buried in Le Cateau Military Cemetery.
Dudley Carruthers Rees
Born: 24 November 1894
School dates: 1906 - 1911
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Regiment: Royal Air Force
Died: 30 September 1918
Remembered: Le Cateau Military Cemetery, France
Reference: IV. C. 33.
Cemetery Site Map (CWGC)
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