Lt Walbanke Ashby Pritt MC,

1897 Oct 31. Born Warwickshire

1901 census at Leamington Spa.

1911 census. A boarder at St Olaves, York. His RFC flight records indicate as a civilian he attended St Peter's School in York from September 1909 to February 1916 and then attended the Civilian School of Flight from March–September 1916. Walbanke passed his entrance exams for Sandhurst in February 1916 but was rejected as being too small.

1916 Sep 16 Gains Aviators Cert no 3564

He was accepted by the RFC for flying training at the Cadet School at Denham, the 2 School of Military Aeronautics at Oxford, 41 Reserve Squadron, and 15 Reserve Squadron where he gained his RFC wings

RAF Record

1917 Jun 2. He was appointed a Flying Officer, 2nd Lt on probation.. He was then posted to 40 Reserve Squadron

1917 Jul 4. Posted to France where he joined 66 Squadron. His flying career lasted from 1916-1920 as a civilian, RFC and finally a RAF pilot after the war. Lt Pritt gained his fame during a five-month period, 4 July to 14 November 1917, while flying Sopwith Pups with No. 66 Squadron. During this period he became an ace

1917 Aug 13. Sopwith Pup B1710 returned to 1 AD by 2/Lt W A Pritt.

1917 Aug 15. Lt. Walbanke Ashby Pritt flew a Sopwith Pup to Marcke aerodrome in the dark and dropped a bomb from 100ft in the middle of a group of machines. He then dropped another on a road, one into the machines again and the fourth onto the Herelbout siding which was full of troops. As he was doing this he noticed an Albatross scout taking off from Marcke, so he attacked it, causing it to crash into the houses at the north-east end of the Drome. Another scout attempted to get airborne, which Pritt attacked and caused it to crash on the aerodrome. Finally he attacked a machine gun post as he left the area to return home. He earned the Military Cross. The citation is dated 24 August 1917. Citation reads "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in attacking a hostile aerodrome with exceptional dash and determination. Having reached his objective and dropped bombs from a very low altitude, he then attacked and destroyed two hostile machines almost as soon as they had left the ground. A machine-gun then opened upon him from the aerodrome, which he immediately attacked. Both on his outward and homeward journey he was under very heavy machine-gun and anti-aircraft fire. On another occasion he attacked a motor-car, and shot one of the occupants from about 50 feet, afterwards attacking infantry on the march and inflicting severe casualties upon them. He has at all times shown constant gallantry and fine offensive spirit."

1917 Sep 5 Sopwith Pup A672, collected from 1 AD by 2/LT WA Pritt.

1917 Sep 20 Tone led a patrol with H.K. Boysen, W.A. Pritt, L.B. May, D.M. Paton, and W.H. Kelly (also spelt Kelley). The next day he led Kelly, May, Pritt, Paton and Boysen on a patrol, Boysen had engine trouble and returned, collected another machine and made for the patrol.

1917 Sep 24. A patrol consisting off Bayetto, Kelly, Paton, Pritt, Gore, May were attacked by the enemy and Paton was shot down and killed in B1826.

1917 Sep 26. A patrol consisting of Bayetto, Erskine, Boysen, Pritt, Dore and May was uneventful

1917 Sep 30. Tone in B2168 whilst on patrol with 2/Lt Joseph G. Warter in B2185 and James W. Boumphrey in B1768, Howard K Boysen in B2176, Ralph Erskine in B2189, Lancelot May in B2221 and Walabanke A Pritt in B2162. The patrol was engaged by 15 enemy aircraft from above near the Menin-Roulers Road, one of the e.a. positioned behind Bayetto, but he was able to evade the attack, he then closed on another e.a who was on the tail of one of the patrol Pups, Bayetto was unable to fire on this e.a. and it shot down the Pup in flames this was either Warter who was killed in the action or Pritt who crashed near the lines.

He is officially credited with five kills; but there is evidence of a possible sixth victory. During his career he flew with several squadrons (44, 153, 76, 141 and 25) in addition to 66 Squadron. His flight records also show he flew several different aircraft (Maurice Farman Short Horn MFSH, Aircos, Be2a, c7e, Be12, Sopwith Pups & Camels, D.H.6’s, and Caudrons).

Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 28 Jul 1917 1835-2100 66 Sopwith Pup (B1762) Albatros D.III (DES) E of Roulers
2 16 Aug 1917 0515 66 Sopwith Pup (B1762) Albatros D.V (DES) Marcke
3 16 Aug 1917 0515 66 Sopwith Pup (B1762) Albatros D.V (DES) Marcke
4 21 Aug 1917 1145 66 Sopwith Pup (B1762) Aviatik C (DES) SW of Roulers
5 30 Sep 1917 1000-1200 66 Sopwith Pup (B2162) Albatros D.V (DES)  

1918 Feb 15. Lt Pritt was injured while flying a 44 Squadron Sopwith Camel (B7332); he had an engine failure at 500 feet over Hainault Farm, UK, flying downwind he stalled and spun in. Returned to UK injured

1920 Apr 19. he was granted a Short Service Commission by the RAF at the rank of Lieutenant. During August 1920, he failed the RAF Flight Instructor Course at the Central Flying School. Accompanying note states "did not take exams, absent sick, CFS cat B, graded unsuitable as instructor at present".

1920 Aug 12. He resigned his RAF commission and was denied permission to retain his rank because of "unsatisfactory dealings with cheques".

1921 Joined ADRIC with service no 1586. Posted to O Coy

1921 Feb 4. Posted to M Coy

1921 Feb 9. Permitted to resign

1921 Jul. Army record says. Resigned his commission and permitted to retain the rank of Lt.

1926 Jan/Mar Married in York to Daphne C M Evans. There is no record of any children and his wife was still referred to as Mrs. Pritt until her death in 1965. Records indicate Lt Pritt was a commercial artist and poultry farmer until his death

1928 Jan 27 Died at the age of 31 in an automobile accident near Bagby in North Yorkshire.

 

ADRIC