Thomas Frederick Stephenson
|Intro||British flying ace|
|Birth||1894, Rowley Regis|
|Death||20 November 1917 (aged 23 years)|
Sergeant Thomas Frederick Stephenson DCM (1894 – 20 November 1917) was a British World War I flying ace credited with five aerial victories.
He was born in Eastfield, Peterborough, the son of George Frederick Stephenson and his wife Annie Georgina. He joined the Royal Flying Corps on 7 July 1913, and was sent to France on 12 August 1914.
By 1917 Stephenson was a sergeant pilot in No. 11 Squadron RFC. He was teamed with Air Mechanic 1st Class Sydney Platel as his observer/gunner in a Bristol F.2 Fighter. The duo garnered five victories together between 23 September and 31 October 1917, all against Albatros D.Vs. After destroying two enemy aircraft on 31 October, they in turn fell under the guns of Oberleutnant Hans Bethge. They survived this, though Platel lost a toe.
On 20 November 1917, the first day of the Battle of Cambrai, Stephenson and his observer Lieutenant William Morse set off on a reconnaissance mission over the German lines, but their aircraft was shot down, apparently a victim of ground fire. Stephenson was listed as missing, presumed killed, but Morse survived, although wounded, and was captured.
On 4 March 1918 he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. His citation read:
As an air casualty of the Western Front with no known grave, he is commemorated at the Arras Flying Services Memorial, and also on the Peterborough War Memorial.
List of aerial victories
|1||23 September 1917
|Albatros D.V||Out of control||Vitry|
|2||20 October 1917
|Bristol Fighter||Albatros D.V||Out of control||North-west of Cambrai|
|3||Albatros D.V||Out of control|
|4||31 October 1917
|Albatros D.V||Destroyed in flames||Fresse|