Historic Flypast Over CWGC Arras Memorial Commemorates WWI Aviators
13 August 2014
The ceremony has been organised by The Western Front Association
(WFA) with support from the Royal Air Force (RAF) and is part of a
series of events to commemorate the centenary of deployment of the
British Expeditionary Force to France in August 1914.
On 13 August 1914, twelve BE-2 observation aircraft of No.2
Squadron Royal Flying Corps flew from Swingate Down near Dover to
Amiens in France in support of the British Expeditionary Force. It
was the first-ever aerial deployment of an air force to a theatre
of war. The feat, in terms of airmanship, was unprecedented.
Peter Francis, the CWGC's Media Manager, said: "Over four years
of war, thousands of young airmen fought and died in the skies
above the Western Front. Today's event is a fitting tribute to
The CWGC's Arras Flying Services Memorial commemorates
almost 1,000 airmen of the Royal Naval Air Service, the Royal
Flying Corps, and the Royal Air Force, who were killed on the whole
Western Front and who have no known grave.
The replica BE-2c taking part in the flypast bears the
number of the aircraft piloted by Hubert Dunsterville Harvey-Kelly
DSO of the Royal Flying Corps. Affectionately known as "Bay",
Harvey-Kelly was the first British pilot to land in France in 1914
after war broke out.
Described by a fellow pilot as "the most likeable of men, famous
for his great sense of humour, a noted individualist", Harvey-Kelly
was shot down and killed on 29 April 1917 by Kurt Wolff of the Red
Baron's "Flying Circus" and is buried in the CWGC's Brown's Copse
Cemetery, Rouex. Members of his family are taking part in the
Following the flypast, 85 poppy wreaths, reflecting the
land and air units that made up the BEF, will be laid at the CWGC's
Arras Memorial. A CWGC display at the memorial will provide useful
information and advice to visitors.
For more information, contact: Peter Francis on 01628 507163 or
07766 255884 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors:
1. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (www.cwgc.org)
The CWGC maintains the graves of the 1.7 million Commonwealth
servicemen and women who died during the two world wars. It also
holds and updates an extensive and accessible records
The CWGC operates in over 23,000 locations in 153 countries across
all continents except for Antarctica.
14-18: A series of high-profile worldwide events will take place
to mark the centenary of the First World War, many of which will
take place at Commission sites. The Commission will ensure that
these sites are maintained to the highest standard and is
installing information panels at over 500 sites to enhance the
visitor experience. Smartphone users will also be able to access
additional information, including the personal stories of some of
those buried at the site.
The CWGC provides teachers and youth workers with a
comprehensive range of educational resources and support materials
so that future generations remain engaged in the work of the CWGC
and continue to remember those who died in the two world wars.