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Neville John Forbes: Wednesday 17th February 1918

Lt (T) Neville was killed in action alongside 2nd Lt Charles Frank Berry on 17 July, flying an Armstrong Whitworth FK8, serial number D5088. The crash report stated “Landed downwind and hit two trees at Sh20S8b63 after getting lost on special night recce. Lt NJ Forbes/Prob 2nd Lt Charles Frank Berry”. He was buried at Esquelbecq Military Cemetery, Nord, France. 

Neville John was born in Johannesburg on 24 November 1898.  He and his parents, Mr & Mrs F A Forbes, came to England on a Union Castle liner from Cape Town to Southampton in August 1903. He enlisted into the Royal Flying Corp. as Airman (79854) on the 3 May 1917 and was aged 18 Years 6 Months. His qualifications state “Misc Aviator”, and his occupation is given as Wharehouse Assistant. His father’s address is 25 Saunders Street, Yeovil, Johannesburg, S.A. He is discharged from service as an Airman after only 129 days, having received a temporary commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. 

On the 9 August 1917, he is put on General List (R.F.C.) and is Gazetted as a Pilot Officer (2nd Lt). He started his training on the 15 December, and completed Wireless School on the 18 Jan 1917, attaining the rank of A.W. Pilot Officer. He became a Flying Office (2nd Lt) in March 1918, after which his service is recorded in his Officer’s Service Papers, starting on 1 April 1918 when he was promoted Lt (T). His father’s address is given as Houghton Court, 61 Houghton Drive, Houghton State, Johannesburg, S.A. On the 8 April, he joins 10 Squadron, which was responsible for spotting and bombing missions, and passed his Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificate on the 1 July 1918. The last entry states that “Service considered for the grant of war medals” but there doesn’t seem to be an associated Medal Index Card.