Military Cross Gazetted 22 June 1918:
"T./Capt. Roy Williamson Chappell, R.F.C. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He showed the greatest skill and courage in leading patrols, with the result that during four days' operations the formations which he led destroyed 19 enemy aeroplanes and drove down several others, the fate of which was not observed, owing to the intensity of the fighting. He has destroyed altogether five enemy machines, and has driven down seven others out of control."
The original recommendation, from which the above was taken, varies a little and notes 12 enemy aircraft accounted for by 6th April 1918 (the date of the recommendation). It its also more specific a time period, which was for the German ‘March Offensive’, an incredibly confused and chaotic period on both land an air;
‘For continued Gallantry and good service in the field, especially during the recent operations.
From March 21st to March 25th 1918, whilst on offensive patrols, this Officer has led his formations with the greatest skill and Gallantry. As a result of these patrols Capt. Chappell’s formations destroyed 18 EA, whilst he personally drove down two EA out of control at Sailly on March 24th and crashed another at the same place on March 25th. Owing to the intensity of the fighting it was impossible to ascertain the fate of several other EA driven down by himself, and his formation.
Whilst serving with No.41 Squadron Capt Chappell has led 30 offensive patrols.
The total number of EA accounted for by this officers is 12. 4 crashed, one in flames, and seven driven down out of control.’
Roy Williamson Chappell was born on 31 Dec 1896 in Cheddleton, Leek, Cheshire and moved to South Africa in 1913, enlisting into Hartigan's Horse cavalry unit in Dec 1915 and serving during the campaign in German South West Africa before returning to the UK to train as a pilot. Receiving his Royal Aero Club pilot's certificate on 17th July 1916 , he was commissioned Flying Officer of the Royal Flying Corps on 24th August 1916. Cleary a natural pilot, he was immediately selected as a fighter pilot and posted to 27 Squadron Here. Chappell flew the Martinsyde G100 Elephant’s; a single seat fighter aircraft renowned for its immobility and ungainliness. Despite this, Chappell was one of the few pilots to score 2 victories with this machine………………….
Accompanied by a wealth of Chappell's WWI R.F.C and later ephemera, including 2 photo albums of original photographs. Content of the albums very mixed with a large number of WW1 aviation, civilian/family and photos of his service in the early 1920’s in Iraq and the UK. Of most interest are the numerous photos from 41 squadron; Chappell with other squadron members, SE5a’s, several of a captured Albatros DV and in particular 3 close up shots of fighter pilots in the cockpit’s of their SE5a’s. Also included are original newspaper cuttings and a selection of 8 named diplomatic invitational cards, aerial derby programmes, and a few loose photos, including a photo of him with Minoru Genda and other Japanese Naval Officers.
Condition of the medals is GVF. The cover missing from one the albums and both are a little worn in places. Please note, this group was sold though Spink auctions a number of years ago and was incorrectly described as ‘Rank officially corrected on Victory’. The Victory medal actually has no correction on it.
All in all this is a quite superb group to a high scoring fighter Ace in one of the top SE5a squadron’s during WW1 and had a highly interesting service post War and into WWII. The above is only a briefly outlines Chappell’s service but the group comes with a very large file of research, including various articles on Chappell and his squadrons, combat reports, RFC/RAF Communiqués, MIC, copy photos, Army service records, copy MC recommendation etc etc