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Curphey, William George Sellar

Captain William George Sellar Curphey, M.C., R.F.C., was the son of W. S. Curphey, Esq., of 87 Canfield Gardens, N.W.6. He was educated at the Glasgow Academy, and at the University College School, proceeding thence to King's. He joined the Forces in 1914 and was posted to the Royal Berkshire Regiment. In 1916 he was transferred to the R.F.C., and received the Military Cross in the October of that year. "The Times" thus describes the gallant deed for which this award was made: "He brought down an enemy machine, and two days later attacked and brought down another. He has frequently attacked formations of hostile aircraft and driven them down." In February, 1917, he was awarded a bar to his M.C. for the following exploit, as recorded by The Times "He, with a patrol of four machines, attacked a hostile formation of ten machines. After a prolonged fight he drove one enemy machine down. Later, although wounded, he again led another attack on a hostile machine and succeeded in bringing it down. He has on many previous occasions done fine work." About the same time his Commanding Officer wrote concerning him: "He is cool, brave and reliable, and the finest influence on all the others in the squadron. He is now my senior Flight Commander, and he is one of those people one knows one can trust with any job." On the day of his death, he, with two lieutenants, had driven down three hostile balloons, and, when returning to the English lines, they were encountered by six enemy machines, In the fight which ensued, Captain Curphey's machine was damaged and when about twenty feet from the ground it caught fire. He never lost control, and it was expected that unless he had been injured he would get himself clear. But information was subsequently received from the "Comite International de la Croix-Rouge" that he had died on May 15th in a German field hospital at Bouchain. His Commanding Officer wrote "He s a very great loss to the squadron in which he was absolutely adored by officers and men alike, and the R.F.C. loses one of its most capable, gallant and valuable members." He was twenty-one years of age. King's College Review, Dec. 1917

Biographical

Surname(s)Curphey
First name(s)William George Sellar
Date of birth1885
Family detailsSon of Mr & Mrs W S Curphey of 37 Canfield Gardens, Hampstead
Previous educationGlasgow Academy; University College School;
CollegeKing's College London and/or King's College London Hospital
Dates at college1914-1915
Dept / courseFaculty Science, Science and Engineering
Military unitRoyal Berkshire Regt. then Royal Flying Corps 32nd Squadron
Date enlisted1914
War / conflictWorld War One (1914-1918)
Decorations / medalsM C with bar
Citation(s)M.C He brought down an enemy machine, and two days later attacked and brought down another. He has frequently attacked formations of hostile aircraft and brought them down. Bar to M.C. "He, with a patrol of four machines, attacked a hostile formation of 10 machines. After a prolonged fight he drove one enemy machine down. Later, although wounded, he again led another attack on a hostile machine and succeeded in bringing it down. He has on many previous occasions done fine work.
Date of death15 May 1917
Rank at deathCaptain
Place of deathBouchain
Cause of deathShot down in air fight, died in German field hospital
Burial placeCabaret-Rouge British Cemetery Souchez
Commemoration(s)King's College Chapel
NotesHaving shot down 6 enemy planes he qualified as an Air Ace.
SourcesKing's College London Archives; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; London Gazette

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Curphey, William George Sellar
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