Elwyn King

Elwyn King

Elwyn Roy "Bo" King DSO DFC (13 May 1894–28 November 1941) was an Australian fighter pilot and ace in World War I. He scored 26 aerial victories in combat during the war, making him the fourth best Australian pilot in terms of kills. King was also the highest scoring Sopwith Snipe pilot of the war, making seven kills while piloting it.

Elwyn King was the son of Elizabeth King, a native of Forbes, New South Wales, Australia. He was born in Bathurst, New South Wales. Before joining the service, he was an automotive mechanic. He was managing an automotive business in Forbes when hostilities broke out.

He initially joined the war effort under the name Roy King in July 1915 as a member of the 12th Light Horse in the AIF. He served initially in the Middle East, first in Cairo, Egypt, then in the Sinai Peninsula.

He transferred to the RFC in 1916 as a mechanic. He then attended aeronautical school in Oxford, beginning in January, 1917. He passed out of there to Hampshire for flight instruction. From there, King was posted to Shrewsbury, and subsequently to Market Drayton Aerodrome for gunnery training. He then attended fighter school in Ayr, and did well enough he was appointed an assistant instructor. Finally, King was commissioned in October, 1917.

He joined the Number 4 Squadron of the AFC in March, 1918. The AFC was a separate entity from the Royal Flying Corps, and 4 Squadron flew Sopwith Camels in support of Australian ground troops.

King opened his victory list on 20 May 1918 by driving down a [Pfalz D.III] out of control. On 19 June, he destroyed an observation balloon for the first of his three wins that month. His destruction of an LVG C model on 25 July made him an ace.

He scored another "kill" on 30 July. August saw him add seven triumphs to his tally and September another five. On 2 October 1918, he destroyed a balloon for his nineteenth victory. After a nearly month's lull, he returned to his winning ways flying a Sopwith Snipe. The Snipe, essentially an upgraded Camel, showed its merits in his hands. King scored with it on both 28 and 29 October. The next day, the 30th, he downed three Fokker D.VIIs within a minute. 4 November's destruction of two D.VIIs five minutes apart, with the latter one a flaming meteor of wreckage, capped Captain King's career.

King's final victory list consisted of five planes driven down out of control, 13 aircraft and four balloons destroyed, three other planes destroyed in shared wins with other pilots, and the D.VII burned. This made him both the second most successful ace of the eleven in 4 Squadron, as well the second most successful ace in the entire AFC.

Captain King was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in September 1918 (ironically, not for his aerial victories) and the Distinguished Service Order in 1919. He left the AFC in August 1919, and began to work as a mechanic in the early 1920s. He also flew mail and parcels commercially on Australia's east coast.

At the beginning of World War II in 1939, he joined the Royal Australian Air Force, initially as a Squadron Leader, with a later promotion to Group Captain. He was conducting training at several training bases. He died unexpectedly of cerebral oedema whilst training in Australia on 28 November 1941, and was cremated.


Distinguished Flying Cross

Lieutenant (Acting Captain) Roy King (Australian Flying Corps)(France)During operations in the early part of September this officer rendered gallant and valuable service in bombing and attacking with machine-gun fire enemy billets, trains, troops, etc. In carrying out these operations he ensures success by descending to low altitudes, disregarding personal danger incurred by so doing.

Supplement to the London Gazette, 3 December 1918 (31046/14323)

References/Outside Links

* [http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/australi/king2.php Elwyn Roy King - The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War I ] at www.theaerodrome.com

* http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/king.htm Accessed 6 September 2008.

* http://www.zoominfo.com/search/PersonDetail.aspx?PersonID=316647258 Accessed 6 September 2008.

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