Capt John Herbert Towne Letts

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Reference WMO/267631


The Royal Memorial Chapel

Chapel Square

Royal Military Acadamy Sandhurst


GU15 4NR


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Status: On original site
Type: Non freestanding
Location: Internal
Setting: Inside a building - public/private
Description: Seating
  • Timber Oak
Lettering: Incised
  • First World War (1914-1918)
About the memorial: Memorial to Captain John Herbert Towne Letts, Lincolnshire Regiment and Royal Air Force. A British First World War flying ace credited with thirteen confirmed victories. The only child of Walter John Letts (a railway superintendent) and Charlotte Helen Letts of Steep Hill House, Lincoln. Educated at Aldeburgh Lodge, Suffolk; Roydon Hall, Norfolk and Lancing College, Sussex. Gentleman Cadet at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Commissioned into the Lincolnshire Regiment on 26 Jan 1916. He was immediately seconded to the Royal Flying Corps, and posted to No 1 Reserve Squadron at RAF Gosport to begin his flying training. Gained his Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate on 24 Mar 1916, flying a Maurice Farman biplane at the Military School in Farnborough. Appointed a Flying Officer on 4 May 1916. Trained at the Central Flying School, Upavon, Wiltshire. On 15 Jun 1916 he was posted to 27 Sqn RFC in France, to fly the Martinsyde G.100 fighter-bomber. He was invalided back to England on 11 Aug 1916 with an injured knee, and on 19 Oct was posted to 47 Reserve Sqn at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, to serve as an instructor. He was reassigned to 48 Sqn RFC, flying the new two-seater Bristol F2b fighter, on 12 Feb 1917, and in March the squadron was sent to France. On 5 Apr 1917 he was appointed a flight commander with the rank of temporary captain. He was awarded the Military Cross (London Gazette dated 16 Aug 1917) "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He attacked four large two-seaters, driving two down out of control and forcing the remaining two down. He has helped to destroy eight machines, and throughout has set a splendid example". He returned to England on 19 Sep 1917, briefly serving at the Aeroplane Experimental Station at Martlesham Heath, and then as an instructor at the School of Air Fighting from Oct 1917. He eventually returned to front-line service at his own request, being posted to 42 Training Depot Squadron on 1 Oct 1918, before returning to France on 10 Oct to serve as a flight commander in 64 Sqn RAF. However, on arrival he was as ordered to join 87 Sqn RAF to fly the Sopwith Dolphin. The following day Letts borrowed an SE.5a from 32 Sqn RAF. Shortly after taking off from Belle Vue Aerodrome, Warlincourt-lès-Pas, the aircraft rolled, then plunged to earth killing him instantly aged 21 years. He is buried in grave VI.A.30 of Bac-du-Sud British Cemetery, Bailleulval, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.
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John Herbert Towne Letts, MC, Capt Royal Air Force and Lincolnshire Regt. Killed accidentally at Belle Vue, France 11th October 1918 aged 21. "Per Ardua ad Astra".

John Herbert Towne Letts

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