Back to 1911-20

Previous

Next

Biography

Home

 

 

Eugene Gerrard
1. Name Eugene Louis GERRARD
2. Date Commissioned 1 September 1900
3. Date retired Transferred to R.A.F. 1 August 1919
4. Rank Major (Act. Brigadier General) R.M.L.I.
Air Commodore C.M.G, D.S.O, R.A.F.
5. Awarded wings 2 May 1911 (Certificate No. 76)
6. Flying schools Eastchurch 1911
Central Flying School, Upavon (as Instructor) 1912
7. Aircraft types flown Short Biplane (Gnome), Maurice Farman, BE2.
Nieuport Monoplane, Henri Farman 412, Short Tractor 413 etc.
8. Decorations D.S.O. 22 June 1916. Gallipoli. (T/Lt - Col)
"In recognition of his services in command of a Wing of the RNAS in the Eastern Mediterranean. The present efficiency of this Wing is due largely to Wing Commander Gerrard, whose personal example and the manner in which he has encouraged the younger officers under his command are all that can be desired."
Chevalier of the Order of Leopold ( Belgium) 22 February 1918
Chevalier of the Order of Leopold ( Belgium) 16 September 1918
C.M.G. 1-1-19 (Col A/Brig Gen)
1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
9. General Lieut Gerrard was originally detailed for duty with the first Naval Airship, Rigid Naval Airship No.1, popularly known as the "Mayfly", in 1910. In February 1911 Mr. Frank K. McClean, a pioneer of the Royal Aero Club, offered the Navy the free use of two Short Biplanes for traIlling pilots at Eastchurch. A George Cockburn offered to act as flying instuctor. Out of 200 Naval Officers who applied, four were selected of which one was Lt. G.V. Wildman-Lushington RM. Unfortunately he went sick in March and his place was taken by E.L Gerrard and he qualified for his pilots certificate on 2nd May 1911.

From then until June 1912 there is no record but it is likely that the pilots went ahead gaining experience whilst other pilots obtained their R.A.C. brevets at civilian schools and at Eastchurch - a refund of £75 was made by the Admiralty. Eastchurch came into being as the first Naval Air Station on 11 Oct 1911 when a permanent staff of twelve naval ratings was attached.

On 13 April 1912 the R.F.C was constituted by Royal Warrant with a Naval and a Military Wing. On 19 June 1912 the Central Flying School was formed at Upavon and one of the first Instructors was Gerrard. He arrived in August 1912 in his own Nieuport Monoplane which had been granted him by the Admiralty. The first course included three R.M. Officers, Lieuts. G.V. Wildman-Lushington and I.T. Courtney, and Capt C.E. Risk.

R.F.C. Flying Certificates dated 5-12-12 were awarded to graduates of this course and that of Wildman-Lushington is on display in the RM. Museum at Eastney. After the outbreak of W.W.I. Courtney was in command of the No.1 Squadron, Antwerp and Dunkirk, which made the first offensive missions against Germany by air on 22 September 1914. This was the raid led by Lieut. Collet against the Zeppelin sheds at Dusseldorf. Raids were also made against similar targets at Cologne and Friedrichshaven. He then commanded No.2 Wing at Dunkirk. In March 1915 the Wing moved to the Dardanelles and covered the landings at Helles. For his work here he was awarded the D.S.C. (see citation).

According to his record of Service he destroyed Zeppelin L 12 off Ostend by bombing on 1 Aug 15 but this has not been traced in any history. One official history credits him with a Mention in Despatches but this is not on his records.

On return to U.K. he then commanded the Eastbourne Air Station as a Wing Commander from 22 May 1916 until 31 July 1919 after which he transferred to the RAF. In the R.A.F. he commanded No.1 Group from 1923 to 24 and then was in Command RAF Palestine in 1924.

He held three civillian flying records in the early days:
a. Duration for aviator and passenger. 16 August 1911.
b. Distance cross country.
c. Height for pilot and two passengers 1914.

He retired as an Air Commodore on 15 November 1929 and died on 7 February 1963.

10. R.A.F. Ranks Not recorded, but in the list or decorations awarded in the Great War he is mentioned as Colonel (Act Brig General), Wing Cdr. R.N.A.S.
Gerrard Certificate