Robert Little was an aggressive WWI pilot, not scared to go in close, often as little as fifteen yards, to a German aircraft before firing. There was one occasion when his plane was out from underneath him and he was left with only a revolver to aim at the German scout. This incident was recorded in a Combat In The Air Report and the Communiques.
Robert Little's Combat In The Air Report for April 21st, 1918 read;
At 5-00pm I attacked the last machine of a formation of 12 and shot it down. I watched it fall for about 10,000 ft over VIEUX BEHQUIH(sp?), completely out of control.
I was then attacked by six other EA which drove me down through the formation below me. I spun but had my controls shot away and my machine dived. AT 100 feet from the ground it flattened out with a jerk breaking the fuselage just behind my seat. I undid the belt and when the machine struck the ground I was thrown clear.
The EA still fired at me while I was on the ground. I fired my revolver at one which came down to about 50 feet. They were driven off by rifle fire and machine fire from our troops.
He was in Sopwith Camel B6319 from No.203 Sqn RAF (the old Naval 3). The Communiques also record this for the 21st of April;
Capt. R.A. Little, 203 Squadron, attacked the rear machine of a formation of 12 enemy aircraft and watched it fall completely out of control. Capt. Little was then attacked by six enemy aircraft and was driven down through the formation below; he put his machine into a spin and his controls were shot away, causing his machine to dive within 100 feet of the ground when it flattened out with a jerk, breaking the fuselage just under the pilot's seat.
Capt. Little undid his belt and was thrown clear when the machine stuck the ground. The enemy aircraft continued to fire at him, but he opened fire with his revolver at one aircraft which came down to about 30 feet. The enemy aircraft were eventually driven off by our infantry and machine-gun fire.
Captain R. Sykes also wrote of this in his book "Golden Eagle";
The same day I had flown on an offensive patrol and later had ferried in a new Camel, but I was back in 203's mess when Little came in late and reported, saying that he had undone his belt as the Camel broke up otherwise he would not have been thrown clear when the Camel wing tip hit the ground. I made a rather tactless remark about his manure sodden clothes, not realising that he would have been bruised, sore and in no mood for humour. He told me at the first opportunity he would take me over the lines and give me a lesson in being brave, and he did.
Robert Little was Australia's leading ace in World War I.
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