Saturday, 30 January 2016

Captain Henry Thornbury Fox-Russell M.C.

Captain Henry Thornbury Fox-Russell M.C

In March of 1917 he was seconded to the 64th or 41st Squadron Royal Flying Corps (R.F.C.), during his service with the R.F.C. he was awarded the Military Cross (M.C.) for bravery in the air, and also for rescuing a downed pilot, who was seriously wounded - Lieutenant James Alexander Vazeille Boddy - who had been shot down by the The Red Baron, Manfred von Richtofen.

The Red Baron

The Citation for his Military Cross reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He formed one of a patrol which silenced an enemy battery. He dropped bombs on two of the guns, silenced others with his machine gun and then engaged transport on the road. This operation was carried out under heavy fire and very difficult weather conditions. On another occasion he dropped bombs and fired 300 rounds on enemy trenches from a height of 100 feet. His machine was then hit by a shell and crashed in front of our advanced position. He reached the front line, and while there saw another of our machines brought down. He went to the assistance of the pilot, who was badly wounded, extricated him under heavy fire and brought him to safety. He showed splendid courage and initiative.

In February 1918 Henry was promoted to Captain and Flight Commander, and he was stationed at Hooton Park in Cheshire, as a flight instructor with 4 Squadron, and he actually survived the war.

Just days after the Armistice (11th November), on the 18th of November 1918, Henry climbed aboard a Sopwith Camel aircraft and took off for a solo flight. Henry and his aircraft had climbed to approximately 900 feet when something catastrophic must have happened as the aircraft went into a spin and crashed to the ground. Henry was dead aged just 21.

Henry was brought home to Holyhead, where he was interred at St Seiriol’s Churchyard. His parent’s were later buried in a grave just a few of feet from their sons.


James Alexander Boddy survived the war and married Marjorie D. Ewen in 1920. They had a daughter named Sheila in 1926. In 1952 Sheila M.V. Boddy married Alan B. Harker, and they subsequently had three children, two daughters and a son.

James Boddy passed away in 1954 aged 59.

The Royal Air Force formed on the 1st April 1918

209 Squadron Badge, with the Red Eagle falling – Symbolising the fall of the Red Baron

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