Friday, June 1, 2018

Gallant Airman Killed -- June 1, 2018

Sydney Mirror, 21-June-1918
Roderic Stanley Dallas was the second highest-scoring Australian ace in World War One.  His score was either 32 or 39.  100 years ago today, on 01-June-1918, he was killed in a fight with three Fokker triplanes.  


(Special to The Mirror.)
MT. MORGAN (Q.), June 14. The news of the death (killed in action) of Squadron-Commander Roderick Stanley Dallas, R.F.C., cast a gloom over Mt. Morgan, the town that claimed him as its foremost soldier. That he held an airman's record of 32 enemy machines brought down, and fought down, and that he had been awarded the D.S.O. -— in addition to mention many times in despatch, did not modify the grief of the mining town, in which, on receipt of the news, flags were flown at half-mast as the visible sign of sorrow of the people of the place in which the gallant aviator had spent some of the days of his boyhood. The bare official announcement is that he was killed in action on May 30.


The late hero of so many air fights was an Australian of the type that has filled the eye of the British and foreign admirer of the splendid young manhood of our country. He was 24 years old when he left for England (in 1915) over 6ft. in height and modelled on fine athletic lines. He was born at Mt. Stanley, near the Esk, in Queensland, the son of Mr. Peter Dallas, an underground boss of the big mine at Mt. Morgan, and Mrs. Dallas, of Taringa, near Brisbane. He was educated at The Mount, and after leaving school went into the assay office of the company, and afterwards went underground at Iron Island. In those days he was smitten with the flying fever, and made numerous models of aeroplanes and air machines. When he saw his opportunity he left the mine, paid his passage to England, and intended to get into the Aviation Corps.


He met with disappointment everywhere, and had despaired of getting into British service — he had arranged to cross to the United States — when he met Sidney Pickles, a Sydney airman, who advised him to sit for the examination for Royal Naval Air Service. He passed with the greatest credit, highest in a field of 84 competitors, secured honors in examination, and was appointed to Service. From the time he entered he was marked by the men who knew as one to do great things. And he made good. He added record to record in the air, was mentioned many times for gallant work, was awarded the D.S.C., D.S.O., and added two bars by subsequent acts of gallantry on duty, received the Croix de Guerre, and became Squadron Commander of the station in which he joined as junior among the flying fighters. He was Commander of No. 40 Squadron R.F.C., when he flew his last flight and put up his last fight, (the R.N.A.S. and R.F.C. are now under one command, with the title of the Royal Air Service).


One of his exploits is mentioned in the Gazette of Sept. 6, 1916: 'This officer (Sub-Lieut, Dallas) was brought to notice by the Vice-Admiral, for the specially gallant manner in which he had carried out reconnaissances and fighting patrols since December of the previous year. On one occasion he sighted at least 12 hostile machines, which had been bombing Dunkirk, He attacked one, at a height of 7000ft,, and then attacked another close to him. By this time his ammunition had been expended, but he immediately came down, reloaded, and then climbed to 10,000ft,, and attacked a large hostile two-seater machine off Westends. The machine took fire, and nose-dived seaward, Another enemy machine then appeared, and was promptly engaged and chased to the shore; but Sub-Lieut. Dallas had to abandon the pursuit, owing to his ammunition being exhausted. For the determination shown in this fourfold contest, and on other occasions, he was awarded the D.S.C, on Sept, 6, 1916.

He was a gallant, modest Australian — and has joined up with the Grand Army of our Splendid Dead.

Sydney Mirror, 21-June-1918

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