Recog­ni­tion ‘for most con­spic­u­ous brav­ery, skill and de­ter­mi­na­tion’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Winning Visit -

The ci­ta­tion for Cap­tain Gil­bert In­sall’s Vic­to­ria Cross, which would have ap­peared in the Lon­don Gazette at the time, reads: “For most con­spic­u­ous brav­ery, skill and de­ter­mi­na­tion, on 7 Novem­ber 1915, in France.

“He was pa­trolling in a Vick­ers Fight­ing Ma­chine, with First Class Air Me­chanic TH Don­ald as gunner, when a Ger­man ma­chine was sighted, pur­sued, and at­tacked near Achiet.

“The Ger­man pilot led the Vick­ers ma­chine over a rocket bat­tery, but with great skill Lieu­tenant In­sall dived and got to close range, when Don­ald fired a drum of car­tridges into the Ger­man ma­chine, stop­ping its en­gine.

“The Ger­man pilot then dived through a cloud, fol­lowed by Lieu­tenant In­sall.

“Fire was again opened, and the Ger­man ma­chine was brought down heav­ily in a ploughed field four miles south-east of Ar­ras.

“On see­ing the Ger­mans scram­ble out of their ma­chine and pre­pare to fire, Lieu­tenant In­sall dived to 500 feet, thus en­abling Don­ald to open heavy fire on them.

“The Ger­mans then fled, one help­ing the other, who was ap­par­ently wounded.

“Other Ger­mans then com­menced heavy fire, but in spite of this, Lieu­tenant In­sall turned again, and an in­cen­di­ary bomb was dropped on the Ger­man ma­chine, which was last seen wreathed in smoke.

“Lieu­tenant In­sall then headed west in or­der to get back over the Ger­man trenches, but as he was at only 2,000 feet al­ti­tude he dived across them for greater speed, Don­ald fir­ing into the trenches as he passed over.

“The Ger­man fire, how­ever, dam­aged the petrol tank, and, with great cool­ness, Lieu­tenant In­sall landed un­der cover of a wood 500 yards in­side our lines.

“The Ger­mans fired some 150 shells at our ma­chine on the ground, but with­out caus­ing ma­te­rial dam­age.

“Much dam­age had, how­ever, been caused by ri­fle fire, but dur­ing the night it was re­paired be­hind screened lights, and at dawn Lieu­tenant In­sall flew his ma­chine home with First Class Air Me­chanic TH Don­ald as a pas­sen­ger.”

A pic­ture of Gil­bert In­sall, and nephew Christo­pher In­sall, in the Na­tional Portrait Gallery’s Great War in por­traits ex­hi­bi­tion

Cap­tain In­sall pic­tured be­fore his Vic­to­ria Cross in­vesti­ture

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