Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

MRAF Sir John Slessor action in Sudan

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

MRAF Sir John Slessor action in Sudan

Old 30th Jul 2019, 22:47
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Cheltenham
Posts: 28
MRAF Sir John Slessor action in Sudan

On May 23 1916, Lt (later MRAF) John Slessor of 17 Sqn was in action in the Sudan and was wounded in the thigh. He managed to return to base and the offending bullet was recovered. It is mounted on a small wooden base marked with his initials (JCS), place, date and aircraft number. It also bears the initials WFF. Does anyone know what or to whom this refers?


Bratman91 is offline  
Old 30th Jul 2019, 22:56
  #2 (permalink)  

Champagne anyone...?
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: EGDL
Age: 51
Posts: 1,416
The Western Frontier Force. Some background reading here: WFF and here
StopStart is offline  
Old 30th Jul 2019, 23:06
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South of the M4
Posts: 1,541
Probably the Western Frontier Force (WFF) organised by Sir Reginald Wingate, British commander of the Egyptian Army in 1915 for a British offensive against the Sultanate of Dafur to the west of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.
Warmtoast is offline  
Old 31st Jul 2019, 02:58
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Somewhere Sunny
Posts: 1,561
Diameter of bullet

This might sound a bit macabre, but what is the diameter of the bullet? From what I can see in the photo, it looks quite large - possibly 600/1000" Minie-style round used by rifled muskets and early breachloaders such as the Snider Enfield .577 or similar sized Martini-Enfields (both which were abundance in that region in that time)

If so, it means that Sir John Slessor was hit by a black powder musket round whilst flying a then state of the art aircraft! That would be a rare, possibly unique, event, akin to, say, a Typhoon pilot being taken out by a single SLR round.
Whenurhappy is offline  
Old 31st Jul 2019, 13:15
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Manchester
Posts: 82
Shades of the opening scene to Air America (1990).
Peter G-W is offline  
Old 31st Jul 2019, 13:19
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: UK
Age: 38
Posts: 377
Originally Posted by Peter G-W View Post
Shades of the opening scene to Air America (1990).
Flight Of The Intruder? Right seater shot with Rifle.
unmanned_droid is offline  
Old 31st Jul 2019, 19:04
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South of the M4
Posts: 1,541
I'd forgotten I'd already done a piece here om PPRuNe way back in 2016 about Slessor's flying in the Sudan, including a contemporary press cutting from The Times about his wounding in Sudan.
It can be read here:
Marshal of the RAF Sir John Slessor
Warmtoast is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2019, 22:52
  #8 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Cheltenham
Posts: 28
Originally Posted by Whenurhappy View Post
This might sound a bit macabre, but what is the diameter of the bullet? From what I can see in the photo, it looks quite large - possibly 600/1000" Minie-style round used by rifled muskets and early breachloaders such as the Snider Enfield .577 or similar sized Martini-Enfields (both which were abundance in that region in that time)

If so, it means that Sir John Slessor was hit by a black powder musket round whilst flying a then state of the art aircraft! That would be a rare, possibly unique, event, akin to, say, a Typhoon pilot being taken out by a single SLR round.
I last saw the bullet about 5 years ago and, from memory, it was around .5 inch diameter. Sir John was bombing a fairly large force of Darfur soldiers and was flying low enough to recognise their leader and blow him and his camel to bits. Actually, it turned out that it wasn’t the leader but Sir John must have been pretty low and I imagine that large numbers of troops were firing at him, so it is not surprising that at least one round hit the aircraft. The bullet was recovered from Sir John’s thigh, which probably indicates a poor propellant like black powder.

Last edited by Bratman91; 1st Aug 2019 at 22:55. Reason: Typo
Bratman91 is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2019, 22:58
  #9 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Cheltenham
Posts: 28
Originally Posted by StopStart View Post
The Western Frontier Force. Some background reading here: WFF and here
Many thanks, that is certainly the answer. Thanks also for the links which my searches had not discovered.
Bratman91 is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2019, 23:08
  #10 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Cheltenham
Posts: 28
Originally Posted by Warmtoast View Post
Probably the Western Frontier Force (WFF) organised by Sir Reginald Wingate, British commander of the Egyptian Army in 1915 for a British offensive against the Sultanate of Dafur to the west of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.
Thank you for the reply - you and others are certainly correct about WFF. My interest in the Darfur event is that, until their recent deaths, the son and daughter-in-law of Sir John were close neighbours and good friends. The bullet was one of a number of artefacts of Sir John. I found your previous (and very informative) post some months ago when researching Sir Johnís life and career in order to put together a talk to some aviation history buffs at my local RAFA Branch.
Bratman91 is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2019, 04:48
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Somewhere Sunny
Posts: 1,561
Originally Posted by Bratman91 View Post


I last saw the bullet about 5 years ago and, from memory, it was around .5 inch diameter. Sir John was bombing a fairly large force of Darfur soldiers and was flying low enough to recognise their leader and blow him and his camel to bits. Actually, it turned out that it wasnít the leader but Sir John must have been pretty low and I imagine that large numbers of troops were firing at him, so it is not surprising that at least one round hit the aircraft. The bullet was recovered from Sir Johnís thigh, which probably indicates a poor propellant like black powder.
thanks. An interesting story.
Whenurhappy is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.