Grouse shooting in mesopotamia
The remarkable story of James Stanley Beatty’s sporting experiences during the First World War. Compiled with the assistance of his grandson David Mills.
a truly remarkable sporting tale of Captain James stanley Beatty RFC’S derring- do in No Man’s Land towards the end of the First World War. Compiled with the assistance of his grandson David Mills.
My grandfather, James Stanley Beatty, was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. With the beginning of the First World War he enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) on June 15, 1915, as a lieutenant. He was initially part of the RFC’S Number 1 Squadron, and is included in a Squadron photograph taken on December 25, 1916, with Canada’s flying ace Billy Bishop. Stan served in Bailleul, France, and was then posted to Mesopotamia and Egypt where he served most of the war as a captain. He returned to Canada in July 1919. On July 15, 1919, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), one of I believe only 30 Canadians to receive this honour.
Stan was an avid shooter and hunter, both before and after the First World War. He also sought opportunities to hunt during his training overseas in England, where he wrote many letters home describing his shooting adventures, and, in one memorable instance, shooting grouse and partridge in no-man’s land between the English and Turkish battle lines in Mesopotamia. Any avid shooter will enjoy the lengths to which he went to obtain his shotguns and ammunition, and how he managed to convince officers, drivers and others to enable him to shoot birds in a very dangerous area. The story is typical of Stan’s audacity, spirit, and love of adventure.
His DFC was awarded, not for these shooting exploits, but rather for the following: “During operations near Sheroat, Egypt, 24th to 30th October, 1918, he rendered gallant service in harassing the enemy by machine gun fire from very low altitudes, being vigorously fired upon the whole time. Captain Beatty has always been conspicuous for gallantry and devotion to duty. On 21st April, 1918, he destroyed one enemy machine and brought down another out of control.”
James Stanley "Stan" Beatty, who serves most of the war as a captain in the Royal Flying Corps.