First World War flying corps pilot’s story told by his grandson at Little Gaddesden

2nd Lt C.E. Gregory
2nd Lt C.E. Gregory

Unsung heroes of the First World War will be subject of a talk in Little Gaddesden.

Andrew Sheard, who lives in the village, will be looking at the role of the Royal Flying Corps in its hazardous work of providing artillery support, through the story of his grandfather, 2nd Lt C.E. Gregory RFC/RAF (Greg).

He was a pilot on the Western Front aged 19 and in June 1918 he joined 42 Squadron, one of the so-called ‘corps’ squadrons of the RAF, flying RE8s. The work of these squadrons also included general reconnaissance and photography work. All this involved many hours of precision flying in an aircraft not noted for its nimble handling, often exposed to enemy ground fire and under constant potential threat from the skies.

Andrew said: “I am doing my bit to try to restore the work of the corps squadrons to its proper place in public perception. I have launched a blog - https://gregswar.com - that recounts, 100 years to the day later, the events in my grandfather’s life as he trained in England from March to May 1918 and subsequently saw active service in a corps squadron in France and, briefly, Belgium, advancing eastwards as the line pushed forward during the Allies’ Final Offensive of the last 100 days of the war.

“The blog is based primarily on Greg’s pilot’s log book and diary of active service, as well as his collection of photos and memorabilia. His experiences stand as one example of those many RFC/RAF pilots and observers who served in this relatively unsung but hugely important way.”

The talk for the Gaddesden Society entitled ‘Greg’s War: an RFC/RAF Pilot’s Life 100 Years Ago’, will be at at Little Gaddesden Village Hall, on Thursday, April 26 at 8.15pm. All are welcome and admission is £1 on the door. Any enquiries to admin@gregswar.com