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Biplanes collide

First World War Audio Archive

It just had broke daylight. Two of our planes were coming over,

Hill 62 Memorial Belgium.

the observation planes, with a pilot and an observer in the back, two. And we were watching them, and they’re up about, oh, they

Courtrai Memorial Belgium.

were up about the level of the observation balloons and there was

Le Quesnel Memorial Belgium.

no balloons up, but that’s about the height that they were flying It must have been four thousand, five thousand feet, something

Gueudecourt Memorial France.

like that. It was a nice clear morning. The sun was, the sun,

Dury Memorial France.

we just happened, the sun was rising, we happened, we heard the plane, we looked back to see and my God, look at that.

Monchy Memorial France.

Them two buggers are going to collide, for sure, and they sure did. Tore off the two inside, the left and the right wing off the, the right wing off of the left wing of the one further

Passchendaele Memorial Belgium.

over. Whoop together. They were those biplanes, two deckers as we called them. There were no parachutes in World War One,

Masnières memorial France.

not as far as, far as the fliers. There were parachutes for those

Bourion Wood Memorial France.

fellows in the balloons, but I never saw anybody bail out of a plane. You had to go down with it. No, that’s true, that’s right,

Courcelette Memorial France.

no parachutes. This one fella was coming out, you know, his hands were stretched out. He was spreadeagled himself,

Beaumont-Hamel Memorial France.

you know, in the air and he started rolling over. We heard

St. Julien Memorial Belgium.

afterwards that they were all killed. We were in the battle of the Somme then. They were doing the observation work as to how far, I guess, the Germans had backed up or what, and they

Canadian National Vimy Memorial France.

were looking for... I don’t know how many, there must have been thousands of troops seen that.

Mr. MacLeod describes a mid-air collision between two Allied observation aircraft, and seeing one airman tumbling to earth without a parachute.

James Neil MacLeod

James Neil MacLeod was born on November 12, 1899. Left school to enlist in Sherbrooke, Quebec, on December 10, 1915. Mr. MacLeod was a member of the 117th Battalion in Canada and England, joining the 24th Battalion for his tour of duty in Europe. He participated in many major battles: Arras, Vimy, Amiens, Somme and Michael Offensive. He was wounded in the elbow August 27, 1918. After his discharge, Mr. MacLeod lived in Quebec, moved to New York state to work for the New York Central Railroad. Married Mae R. Mulvaney in 1927. Mr. MacLeod died June 8, 1981.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
James Neil MacLeod
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
117th Battalion

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce


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