Vic­to­ria Cross fly­ing ace who served his coun­try in two wars

Pilot who won the mil­i­tary’s high­est hon­our in 1915 went on

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Winning Visit - By Suz Elvey

A First World War fly­ing ace who es­caped from mul­ti­ple pris­oner of war camps and was awarded the Vic­to­ria Cross spent part of his life liv­ing near Ash­ford.

Group Cap­tain Gil­bert Start Martin In­sall and var­i­ous mem­bers of his fam­ily lived in Im­ber, an old tim­ber house in Cheese­man’s Green Lane, Sev­ing­ton, for a num­ber of years.

Cap­tain In­sall named the house af­ter a Wilt­shire vil­lage that was req­ui­si­tioned by the Army for use as a train­ing ground dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

His only sur­viv­ing son, David, who now lives in the Arab state of Oman, said: “My fa­ther named Im­ber af­ter the vil­lage on Sal­is­bury Plain that was va­cated to make an ur­ban war­fare train­ing cen­tre.

“He was very sad about it as he was sta­tioned nearby, var­i­ously com­mand­ing RAF Upavon and RAF Nether­avon in the 1920s and 1930s, and knew the vil­lage.”

In­sall was awarded the Vic­to­ria Cross (VC), the high­est mil­i­tary dec­o­ra­tion, for “con­spic­u­ous brav­ery, skill and de­ter­mi­na­tion” on Novem­ber 7 1915.

He was fly­ing a Vick­ers FB5 Gun­bus with air me­chanic TH Don­ald as gunner when they be­came caught up in an air bat­tle with a Ger­man plane.

In­sall, at the time a sec­ond lieu­tenant, forced the en­emy pilot to make an emer­gency land­ing.

Then, as the Ger­man crew got out and pre­pared to fire, he dived down to 500 feet, al­low­ing his gunner to open fire.

The Ger­mans fled and In­sall bombed the downed Avi­atik, but his plane was hit by en­emy fire on the way back to base and

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.