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He was commissioned in July 1917 and qualified for service in the Royal Flying Corps in September, before being posted to France and joining 49 Squadron in July 1918."Lt.

Spurling then observed some 30 machines of the same type, heavily camouflaged; with great gallantry he dived through the centre of the formation, shooting down one machine in flames; two others were seen to be in a spin."Five of them then closed on his machine, but by skilful manoeuvring, Lt.

Realizing now that he was over an enemy aerodrome, he dived towards the first group of German squadrons, both he and his observer firing on every machine upon which they could get their guns to bear.

The enemy pilots appeared too bewildered by the outstanding audacity of the British airmen to attack them effectively at first, and their own tremendous numerical superiority seemed further to confuse them.

Their attempt to cross the Atlantic came just a decade years after the first modern dirigible was launched and seven years after the Wright Brothers motorized glider sputtered into the air at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.