The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Sunday, July 3, 2022

How Royal Flying Corps watch consigned for auction brings WW1 pilot's tragic end to light 103 years later
A Royal Flying Corps pocket watch with the case back marked C49011 E. D.Asbury. RFC, for Captain Edward Dannett Asbury, who was killed in action aged 19 on September 24 1918. The estimate is £120-160 at Ewbank’s Jewellery, Watches and Coins sale on December 1. Image courtesy of Ewbank’s.

WOKING.- When RAF pilot Captain Edward Dannett Asbury was killed in France on September 24, 1918, he was 19 years old and had been in post on active service for just 17 days. His Observer, Second Lieutenant B.T. Gilman, had been in post for just six days.

Their tragic story has come to light after more than 100 years thanks to the consignment of Asbury’s Royal Flying Corps pocket watch for auction at Ewbank’s in Surrey.

Asbury was the epitome of gilded youth; born in June 1899 the son of a P&O ship’s captain, he had attended Malvern School from 1913-16, where he had paraded with the Officers’ Training Corps (OTC) before signing up for service with the Royal Flying Corps two weeks after his 18th birthday in 1917.

In less than two months he was passed fit as a pilot, joining the General List as a Second Lieutenant three months later.

Having studied engineering, he served as an instructor for six months before applying for active service abroad and was sent to France in April 1918. He was promoted to Captain on September 13 and posted to 49 Squadron of what had by then become the Royal Air Force after merging with the Royal Naval Air Service.

In early August, the Hundred Days Offensive began, one of the bloodiest battles of the entire conflict and the one that finally ended the First Word War.

Overwhelmed by a force of fifty enemy aircraft

Asbury was flying an Airco DH9, a single-engined biplane bomber – a poorly rated machine because of its lack of power – one of 12 planes dispatched on an operation on September 24. On its return to base the flight came under attack by an overwhelming force of fifty enemy aircraft. Asbury’s plane was seen going down under control and he was at first reported as missing. However, it was later confirmed that both he and his Observer had been killed.

He was one of 462 former pupils of Malvern who died in the First World War.

Both Asbury and Gilman are listed on the Arras Flying Memorial.

Despite his relatively short service, by the time he was killed Asbury had flown not just the DH9, but also the DH6, its predecessor, the reconnaissance and light bomber BE2E Martinsyde, a plane disliked for its lack of manoeuvrability, and an RE8, another reconnaissance and bomber with a reputation for being unsafe and difficult to fly.

“He was a boy of adventurous spirit, well fitted by his temperament and his technical knowledge for service in the R.A.F., in which he was given a commission last year,” the school magazine noted, while his commanding officer wrote to his parents: “Your son has done wonderful work with his squadron, and his fine leadership and his cheeriness are sadly missed.”

On October 19, 2018, his mother wrote a letter to Asbury’s commanding officer, asking for her son’s effects to be forwarded. It is likely that among those effects was the Royal Flying Corps pocket watch offered for sale as part of Ewbank’s Antique & Collectors’ Auction on November 10 with an estimate is £120-160. The case is inscribed with Asbury’s name and rank.

It is consigned to Ewbank’s December 1 sale of Jewellery, Watches and Coins among a collection of RFC watches, which were developed for operational purposes. Pilots at the time had no means of direct verbal communication, which meant that these watches played a vital part in co-ordinating raids, becoming chronometric instruments fitted to the instrument panel during flight.

“First-hand memories of the 1914-18 conflict have now gone, and while the horror and sacrifice still loom large in our collective psyche today, that may not always remain the case,” says Ewbank’s specialist Nick Orringe. “That’s why mementoes like these watches are so important, especially at this time of year. They remind us not just of the selfless heroism of those who gave their lives for others, but also of the futility and waste of war and the fact that these people were individuals – some of them extremely young, like Captain Asbury – whose lost futures also blighted the lives of their loved ones.”

Today's News

November 3, 2021

Late Monet masterpiece to star in Sotheby's Modern Evening Auction this November

Exhibition at Gladstone Gallery presents a selection of Elizabeth Murray's monumental canvases

As Earth warms, human history is melting away

Bonhams Pop x Culture sale bursts into London this November

Female power at Rijksmuseum Schiphol

Stunning studio furniture & ceramics to be among Hindman's Modern Design Auction Highlights

Shutting down historical debate, China makes it a crime to mock heroes

Jill Newhouse Gallery opens an exhibition on Pointillism and its influence on art of the 20th and 21st centuries

How Royal Flying Corps watch consigned for auction brings WW1 pilot's tragic end to light 103 years later

Mudam exhibits a selection of pieces by nine designers from Europe and Asia

Trophy-level lots boost Heritage Auctions' video games event beyond $8.1 million

Ingram Prize 2021 finalists announced

India jumps on NFT craze with Bollywood star Bachchan's auction

Tupac Shakur touring exhibition opens in January

Freida Mitchell appointed events manager for Reynolda House and Reynolda Gardens

Vancouver Art Gallery announces appointment of Dr. Richard W. Hill as Smith Jarislowsky Senior Curator of Canadian Art

H&H Classics to offer 1957 Mercedes-Benz 190SL

Iconic Syrian singer Sabah Fakhri dies in Damascus

Salon des Refusés, the alternative Archibald, comes to Adelaide for the first time in its 30 year history

ProjectArt appoints Claire Breukel as new Executive Director

Changing of the guard at Williamstown Theater Festival

National Gallery of Victoria reopens with Indigenous contemporary art, queer art, speculative design and more

Clark Art Institute opens 'Anne Thompson: Trail Signs'

Pat Martino, jazz guitarist who overcame amnesia, dies at 77

Why are job applications ignored nowadays?


How to Pick out the Perfect Necklace for Him or Her

How to Build an Optimistic and Happy Work Environment

Interpreting And Translation Services For People With Disability

Winning Strategies for Slots

How to Fix a Cracked Kitchen Sink

How to Remove Dried Paint from Porcelain Sink

Covid-19's Forcing Australians into Reckless Online Gambling

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful