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In June 1916, No. 1 Squadron Australian Flying Corps consisting of 12 aircraft began operations against the Ottoman Empire and Senussi Arab forces in Egypt and Palestine. They remained in the Middle East until the end of the war flying reconnaissance and close air support operations. The squadron flew a large array of aircraft. These included Maurice Farmans , BE2a's , BE2c's , BE2e's , BE12's , RE 8's , Bristol Scouts , Vickers Gunbuses , Bristol Fighters , SE5a's , a Handley Page 0/100 and a captured Albatroswhichwasflownfromtimetotime.
AFC in the Middle East - Bristol Fighter F2b.
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In May 1918 R T “Dick” Challinor and his pilot Fred Haige were captured following a daring rescue attempt after landing their Bristol Fighter “Magpie” alongside another Bristol that had been forced down with a damaged engine after a dogfight with a German fighter. Haigh apparently had asked Challinor whether they should attempt a rescue – Challinor yelled “No, we’re sure to crash”. With the engine roaring, Haigh thought he said “Ok, let’s give it a bash”!! They landed well, the other pilot and observer held on to the wing struts, whilst taking off, they hit some rocks and all 4 ended up being captured by the Turkish cavalry.Left: An early colorised photo of a 1st Squadron AFC Bristol Fighter.