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Monday, May 23, 2016

Lieutenant Stanley Winther Caws, Royal Flying Corps

Lieut. Stanley Caws, RFC
Lieut.Stanley Caws is considered to be "the First Canadian Airman Killed in Action" during the war. 

Born March 22, 1879 St. Helens, Island of Wight to a well off family headed by father, Douglas Caws, he was a veteran of the Boer War serving in the elite 19th Paget's Horse, Imperial Yeomanry. He later emigrated to Edmonton, Alberta in 1903 with careers in the North-West Mounted Police, as a prospector, farmer and later joining the 19th Alberta Dragoons in 1913. 

He attested September 23, 1914 to the CEF's 1st Divisional Calvary, service #1908, as an acting member of The Legion of Frontiersmen, however on arriving Shorncliffe February 1915, England transferred to the fledgling Royal Air Force. graduating as a pilot in May, he joined 10 Squadron at Choques, France flying two-seater BE2Cs. On September 21, during a reconnaissance flight over Laiman, Caws and his observer, Lieut. W.H. Sugden-Wilson, were attacked by three German Fokker fighters, led by famous German ace Lieut. Max Immelmann, in a fight that lasted fifteen minutes they kept their assailants at bay until they had expended all they ammunition. Then, completely defenseless, Lieut.Caws was killed instantly by machine-gun fire; his observer, though wounded in the leg, managed to glide the aircraft down behind enemy lines, where he was taken prisoner. KIA Venay, France (near Lens) September 21, 1915.
Night fighter BE2c

There is much. much, material to be found on Lieut. Stanley Caws and his demise, on the Internet. Although his observer managed to land the aircraft and survived as a POW, Caws was killed instantly and apparently "burnt to a cinder" on landing. Lieut. Caws was given a full military burial by the Germans Willerval, east of Neuville.

The full account can be found here:

Over the years, the grave of Lieut. Stanley Winther Caws has either been lost and/or destroyed. Thus his name is perpetuated on the Arras Flying Service Memorial as having no know grave.

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