The unique and exceptional Great War Reconnaissance and Artillery Observation ‘Harry Tate’ Pilot’s Quadruple Gallantry group awarded to Air Commodore A.W.F. Glenny, M.C. and Bar, D.F.C., Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force, formerly Army Service Corps, a native of Newry, County Down, Ireland. Glenny distinguished himself in numerous sorties in R.E.8 aircraft from October 1915 through to the end of the war, initially an Observer with 5 Squadron, he was a pilot from August 1916, and was one of the two most decorated Army Service Corps pilots to serve on secondment to the flying arm. Glenny won the first of his two Military Crosses during the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917 whilst with 7 Squadron, he having performed a number of distinguished sorties, one specifically stood out when during a gale of wind he successfully ranged three heavy batteries upon an enemy battery, which was completely obliterated. Glenny’s second award of the Military Cross, one of only 23 second bars awarded to the Royal Air Force, covered his actions during the early part of 1918, not least a sortie on 11th April, ‘when he led an offensive patrol under extremely bad weather conditions’, it being impossible to fly above 300 feet. After obtaining some valuable information, he was shot down by enemy machine gun fire from the ground on the lines near Armentieres but having successfully crashed landed his aircraft in No-Man’s Land, he was instrumental in conveying valuable information to Brigade H.Q. from the Battalion Commander. After this, he went under fire to a hostile machine which was crashed and brought back the German signals for communication between Aircraft, Artillery and Infantry.’ Glenny was then awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, he having been recommended for an immediate award of the Distinguished Service Order whilst a Flight Commander later on in 1918, he having rendered valuable and gallant service on many occasions when on photographic and other reconnaissances. On 16th May, he was attacked by twelve hostile scouts, his observer’s gun jammed, and he was driven down to 2,000 feet, but, handling his machine with great skill, he avoided serious damage, and after the scouts had been driven off he returned and carried on the shoot with successful results. In this flight, which lasted four hours, he succeeded in taking fifteen photographs over the corps’ counter-battery area. Glenny ended the war in command of “M” Flight, the Long Range Artillery Observation Flight which he had been tasked with forming. For his command of “M” Flight, he was twice unsuccessfully recommended for a Mention in Despatches, and was eventually awarded the Belgium Croix de Guerre. Continuing in the service post-war, Glenny was a Flight Commander out on the North West Frontier of India during the early 1920’s, a period in which he witnessed extensive action, he being one of only six RAF recipients of the India General Service Medal with three bars for his participating in the Mahsud 1919-20, Waziristan 1919-21, and Waziristan 1921-24 operations. Of this period and the Great War he wrote an account for the RAF Staff College, and amongst his comments on the bombing operations against the Mahsuds, he recounted that whilst ‘effective in France against civilised peoples’ it ‘was not against savages’. Glenny remained in the service in the inter-war years, mostly in staff appointments, and shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War he was appointed Officer Commanding No.1 (Indian) Group. Glenny was awarded a Mention in Despatches for gallant and distinguished services which was gazetted on 25th October 1940.
Group of 8: Military Cross, GVR Cypher, with Second Award Bar; Distinguished Flying Cross, GVR Cypher; 1914-1915 Star; (2.LIEUT. A.W.F. GLENNY. A.S.C.); British War Medal and Victory Medal; (CAPT. A.W.F. GLENNY. R.A.F.); India General Service Medal 1908-1935, 3 Clasps: Mahsud 1919-20, Waziristan 1919-21, Waziristan 1921-24; (F/LT. A.W.F. GLENNY. RAF.); Coronation Medal 1937; Belgium: Croix de Guerre 1914-1918. Mounted swing style as worn.
Condition: slight contact wear, about Good Very Fine.
Together with the following:
The book ‘Attack from the Air’ by Air Commodore A.W.F. Glenny, first edition 1943, hardback, as published by Todd Publishing Company in London. With remnants of original dust jacket.
The book ‘Mediterranean Air Power and the Second Front, by Air Commodore A.W.F. Glenny, first edition 1944, hardback, as published by The Conrad Press Ltd, London. Lacking dust jacket.
Recently copied and bound essay of Glenny’s ‘War Experiences 1915-1923’, 40 pages.
Arthur Willoughby Falls Glenny was born on 2nd March 1897 in Newry, County Down, Ireland, but by 1911 was at school and living with his mother and old sister in Bedford. With the outbreak of the Great War, Glenny applied for a commission into the British Army, and was duly commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the Army Service Corps on 13th January 1915, this being his unit of choice, he having put the Connaught Rangers as his second option, and the Royal Irish Rifles as his third. His home address was then given as Glenville, in Newry, County Down.
Appointed to the 3rd Divisional Train, Glenny saw service out on the Western Front from soon after, but was then seconded to fly as an Observer with the Royal Flying Corps from 16th October 1915, and found himself posted to No.5 Squadron operating on Army Co-Operation work, a role he performed through to May 1916 when he went forward for pilot training. Glenny would be promoted to temporary Lieutenant and Flying Officer (Observer) in 2nd February 1916. While with No.5 Squadron,
Glenny flew in B.E.2.c aircraft, and whilst an observer in the aircraft flown by a 2nd Lieutenant Cooper, he was involved in an aerial combat that is recorded as having occurring over Elverdinghe at around 10.15 am on 19th December 1915 at 8,000 feet during a counter battery patrol. His pilot detailing the following in the combat report: ‘Several hostile machines appeared coming from the south about 10.15 am at a great altitude. I kept them in sight until they manoeuvred so as to get between us and the sun, which was very strong. I was unable to locate them again until they opened fire at close range, and I immediately turned sharply to engage the one on my left hand side. My Observer was trying to cover the machine on the right hand side which had turned and overtaken us. Both machines which I think were Aviatik’s (or L.V.G.’s) were very much faster then ours. In trying to manoeuvre for a shot my machine “side slipped” and nose dived. Almost before we recovered the enemy were firing on us again, and there appeared to be two machines, above and below us. I dived on one but my gun for some reason would not fire, so I turned to give my Observer a chance. At that moment our top petrol tank was pierced and we were forced to land. We were then about 8,000 feet up, and unable to reach the Aerodrome.’
Presumably his aircraft made it back behind Allied lines, and despite the impromptu landing outside the aerodrome, all was well. Glenny is recored as having fired his Lewis gun during the engagement. The Royal Flying Corps Communique No.25 incorrectly details Glenny as flying with No.6 Squadron on this occasion.
Posted back to England for pilot training, Glenny gained his Royal Aero Club Certificate No.3205 for his pilots licence through the Military School at Brooklands on 1st July 1916, and gained his pilot’s wings on 4th August 1916, he being still on secondment to the Royal Flying Corps. Glenny was posted as a pilot to No.50 Squadron, a BE2c equipped Home Defence unit operating out of Dover. On the night of 23rd to 24th September 1916, Germany Zeppelins approached Dover, and 50 Squadron put up four aircraft in total to counter the raid. Glenny’s aircraft flew on the early patrol, but the other three aircraft were not airborne till the two Zeppelins had flown well beyond Dover and these three aircraft then covered an area many miles to the east of the enemy’s actual route. This was the first time that a patrol was flown from the squadron’s new aerodrome at Bekesbourne, a village near Canterbury in Kent.
Glenny then transferred to No.52 Squadron back out on the Western Front from November 1916 where it operated as a Corps Reconnaissance Squadron flying in R.E.8 aircraft as part of No.111 Wing. The R.E.8 aircraft were nicknamed ‘Harry Tate’ by the airmen. During an artillery observation patrol near Combles on 28th January 1916 with a Lieutenant H.G. Nicholls as his observer, his aircraft suffered an engine failure and crash landed one mile south of Maurepas, the pilot and observer being fortunately unhurt, though the machine and its engine were completely wrecked. On 24th March 1917 with a Lieutenant Richardson as his observer, and flying in a B.E.2.c aircraft in the locality of Muislans at 2,500 feet, his aircraft was attacked by a single seater Halberstadter Scout with its gun firing through the propellor. The enemy aircraft dived down from above and to the right front of Glenny’s aircraft ‘firing continuously through his propellor’ and Glenny immediately put his aircraft into a steep spiral and his observer opened fire at the enemy machine about 100 feet away, when opportunity offered. The German machine being by then unable to take aim at Glenny’s aircraft whilst it was in a spiral then flew off in an easterly direction. The combat ended at a height of 2,000 feet.
On 25th May 1917 Glenny was appointed to temporary Captain and transferred to No.9 Squadron, flying once again in R.E.8 aircraft, and joined the squadron when it period of operations during the Second Battle of Arras was coming to an end.
During an artillery patrol between 1020 and 1250 on 18th June 1917 with Lieutenant Bathurst as his observer, his aircraft spotted a hostile balloon at 11 am, and enemy batteries firing on positions, all of which information was ‘sent down by area call’. At 11.27 rounds were seen bursting in response to the enemy artillery fire and a correction to the aim was made by Glenny’s aircraft. During this patrol observation was very difficult owing to very heavy mist. His aircraft also reported that one motor lorry or car was seen entering Langemarck, and two heavy transport wagons were seen going north on another road, with a suspected battery position being also served. All observations as recorded as having been made personally by Glenny in his position as the pilot. Then on 24th June in an artillery observation patrol over Elverdinghe at 8,000 feet with 2nd Lieutenant F.J.A. Wodehouse as his observer, Glenny attacked an Albatros two-seater and forced it back over the line.
Glenny was promoted to Lieutenant on 1st July 1917, and flew another photo reconnaissance patrol recorded on the 2nd July with a Lieutenant Rickle as his observer, and then another with the same observer on 3rd July, when his aircraft took 33 photographs over the Corps front from a height of 10,000 feet. A further 36 photographs were taken on 7th July, and during an artillery patrol on the 12th July he dropped bombs on an ammunition dump, and also directed artillery fire. During this patrol his aircraft experienced hostile anti-aircraft fire over Woesten at 5,000 feet which was fairly accurate. During an artillery patrol on 13th July, he dropped bombs and directed shelling on the Chateau des Trois Tours, and reported a suspected enemy gun position. This time his observer was a Sergeant Roberts. During an artillery patrol on the 17th July his aircraft observed a train with its steam up, and a gun fire call was sent down though no action was observed in response to this. He however reported a large explosion in an area which was being heavily shelled, but was then forced to return owing to a broken rocker arm. His observer on this occasion was a Lieutenant Woodhouse.
With a Lieutenant Dumbell as his observer he flew another artillery observation patrol and conducted a shoot in conjunction with the 140th Siege Battery on 19th July in which some 700 rounds were fired and an enemy battery position which Glenny duly reported as having all its pits apparently destroyed and the whole position very severely damaged. He subsequently sent some corrections to a shoot conducted by the 2nd/1st Lancashire Heavy Battery later in the patrol. It is believed to have been specifically for this patrol that Glenny was subsequently awarded the Military Cross.
Glenny was involved in another crash landing during a test flight on 23rd July, this being owing to the undercarriage wire having snapped. He walked away again. Later that same day with Sergeant Roberts one again his observer, he directed the 345th Siege Battery in a shoot on an enemy gun position in which one gun put was observed ‘believed destroyed’ whilst another was believed to have been damaged. His aircraft then dropped a phosphorus bomb and a 20 lb bomb on other positions, with the phosphorus bomb exploding about 1000 yards from a hostile balloon. On 24th July with Air Mechanic 2nd Class Roberts as his observer, possibly the same as the Sergeant mentioned above, though this information is taken from a different reference, Glenny during an artillery observation patrol over Pilken at 7,500 feet, was attacked by six Albatros Scouts and, separately, by four Fokker Triplanes, which were all driven off.
On 27th July with Roberts as his observer, he was flying during an artillery observation patrol of the Elverdinghe / Ypres area when his aircraft was attacked by two enemy two-seater aircraft, both being driven off, one with smoke pouring from the engine.
On 28th July with a Sergeant Corson as his observer, Glenny flew a “S” Special Counter Battery Programme artillery observation patrol noting shooting being very good in all cases though corrections were made. He also observed a fire having been started ar Mamgelaere and an enemy balloon up. A large explosion was also caused by a shell fired from the 152nd Siege Battery. He flew another patrol that day with Roberts, and was attacked over Pilken at 7,500 feet by three Albatros Scouts which were all driven off by his observer.
Another patrol occurred with Corson on the 31st July, and on the evening of the 7th August Glenny reported no less than 11 active enemy batteries by zone call, but bad visibility prevented his observing artillery engagements, except in one instance. In a patrol on the 8th August resulted in his aircraft observing four Albatross Scouts patrolling 1000 yards east of Langemark. Then on the 13th August with Corson still as his observer, whilst performing and artillery observation patrol at 5,000 feet over Boesinghe, he fired at an enemy two-seater aircraft which tuned back. By now he was involved in patrols during the Third Battle of Ypres, a period in which his squadron suffered some 57 casualties.
It was for his flying operations during the Third Battle of Ypres that Glenny received the first of his two Military Crosses, the award being published in the London Gazette for 17th September 1917. The citation reads as follows: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in co-operation with our artillery. By dint of great perseverance, skill and very gallant flying he has accomplished splendid work under very difficult circumstances. On one occasion, during a gale of wind, he successfully ranged three of our heavy batteries upon an enemy battery, which was completely obliterated. He consistently set a very fine example to his squadron.’ Glenny was subsequently presented with his insignia of the Military Cross by His Majesty King George V at Buckingham Palace in the spring of 1918.
Glenny was promoted to Captain on 13th January 1918, and then saw service as a Flight Commander with 7 Squadron and continued his work as a reconnaissance and artillery observation pilot. And then began the period of operations which led to his award of a Second Award Bar to the Military Cross. The recommendation for which gives some indication of his work.
On 15th March 1918, Glenny ‘observed 230 rounds on an enemy battery remaining on the line through a period of bad visibility and completing a period of bad visibility and completing a valuable reconnaissance and hostile batteries and train movement’. This was flown in the area of Wifjwegen to Westroosbbeke. Then on 16th March ‘when, on H.V. Guns being reported in Staden, he, on his own initiative, obtained 3 photographs of their positions enabling excellent stereos to be made from which valuable information was obtained.’ On 17th March ‘when he observed 200 rounds on a hostile battery near Westroosebeke’, and on 24th March ‘when he observed 200 rounds on a hostile battery near Wifjwegen in spite of difficulties in observation, and completed a valuable reconnaissance.’ On 26th March ‘when he completed an extremely valuable reconnaissance of train movement and hostile battery activity’ in the Hooglede area. On 1st April ‘when he ranged a battery for a successful shoot on a hostile battery position, and completed a good reconnaissance of train movements and hostile battery activity’ in the Hooglede area. Then finally and specifically on 11th April ‘when he led an offensive patrol under extremely bad weather conditions, it being impossible to fly above 300 feet. After obtaining some valuable information, he was shot down on the lines near Armentieres but was instrumental in conveying valuable information to Brigade H.Q. from the Battalion Commander. After this, he went under fire to a hostile machine which was crashed and brought back the German signals for communication between Aircraft, Artillery and Infantry.’
Glenny’s aircraft, a ‘Harry Tate’, was brought down after it was hit by machine gun fire from the ground, and he successfully made a force landing between the lines near Nieppe, with both Glenny and his Observer, 2nd Lieutenant J.P. Bosman, being unhurt. The guns were removed and saved, and the two airmen then made their way to the British lines to pass on the valuable information they had gleaned during the patrol, with the aircraft being then subsequently burnt by British infantry to prevent its capture. It was specially for this sortie that Glenny gained the Second Award Bar to his Military Cross, the award being published in the London Gazette for 26th July 1918, with the citation reading as follows: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty, both in reconnaissance and as an Artillery Observer. On one occasion, although shot down, he brought in valuable information. On several occasions, he conducted several knock-out shoots wth various batteries, obtained excellent photographs, and did much work of a very high standard.’
As of 1st April 1918 Glenny had transferred into the newly formed Royal Air Force, and his award of a Second Award Bar to the Military Cross is one of 23 such made to men of the Royal Air Force during the Great War.
Glenny then continued his work as a Flight Commander with No.7 Squadron, and was recommended for an ‘immediate’ award on 22nd July, and then an award on 26th September, before being recommended again, this time successfully, for an award on 30th September 1918. On this occasion two recommendation were made, one being compiled by the commanding officer of No.7 Squadron, and the other being the commanding officer of the 2nd Wing, of which No.7 Squadron formed a part. The Wing leaders recommendation which was for Glenny’s work on sorties between 25th April and 29th September 1918 he being put forward for an ‘immediate award’ of the Distinguished Service Order ‘for continuous gallantry and skill when flying in active operations against the enemy, in Counter Battery work, Photography and Reconnaissance. In addition to his excellent work in the air this officer has performed all his duties on the ground in a highly efficient and painstaking manner. Through his exertions all the Officers in his flight obtained a high standard of training. I would draw attention to the excellent performance of this officer on 16th May 1918’.
The sorties for which he was specifically recommended began when on 25th April he successfully oversaw 44 ranging rounds in 60 minutes. Then on 28th April he flew a ‘very good flash reconnaissance’ with ‘several flashes seen and zone calls sent. On 29th April he achieved a ‘very good flash reconnaissance’ with ‘several flashes seen and zone calls sent’. On 2nd May he flew a reconnaissance with ’several battery positions reconnoitred and pits located. Three other batteries picked up.’ On 5th May he flew a reconnaissance sortie with ’24 plates exposed over Counter Battery Area. Zone call sent on AA battery - MOK sent.’ On 8th May he conducted ’47 ranging rounds in 50 minutes’ and ’27 re-ranging rounds in 50 minutes’ with the ‘whole position badly damaged’. On 11th May he conducted ’50 ranging rounds’ with ‘first observed round direct hit on a pit’ and ‘4 direct hits observed. Only 2 rounds observed to burst outside “B” circle.’ The sortie of the 16th May was the one for which he was specifically recommended, this being a photographic mission in which ’15 plates’ were ‘exposed over Corps Counter Battery Area. ANF call sent on 3 gun battery. 34 ranging rounds in 40 minutes’ and ’19 re-ranging rounds’. In ‘the middle of this flight he was attacked by 12 enemy scouts. His Observer’s gun jammed and they were driven down to 2000 feet, but any extremely skilful handling of his machine, Captain Glenny avoided serious damage. After the scouts had been driven off, he returned immediately and carried on with the shoot. The Army Commander sent a special message of congratulation through 2nd Brigade for this performance which was witnessed and reported to him by several people on the ground. The whole flight lasted 4 hours 20 minutes’ and ‘in addition to the flight and successful shoot he took 15 photographs over the Counter Battery area.’ On 21st May Glenny flew a ‘very good Flash Reconnaissance’ with ‘several flashes located and zone calls sent’. On 11th June he oversaw 24 ranging rounds in 29 minutes’ and ’17 re-ranging rounds in 16 minutes’ and observed ‘1 small explosion’ before going on to conduct ’41 ranging rounds in 53 minutes’ and ’18 re-ranging rounds in 23 minutes’ with ‘2 small explosions caused’. On 18th June he oversaw ’43 ranging rounds in 45 minutes’ and ’28 re-ranging rounds in 27 minutes’ with the rounds observed to hit 4 gun pits, with 3 explosions and 3 fires caused, and the enemy battery caught on fire. On 8th July he oversaw ’45 ranging rounds in 46 minutes’ and on 9th July when operating ‘with a French battery’ he oversaw 40 ranging rounds in 53 minutes’ with ‘one fire and explosion caused’. On 10th July he was operating with the forward section when he oversaw ’47 ranging rounds in 63 minutes’ and 19 re-ranging rounds in 26 minutes’ that resulted in a fire and two large explosions caused. Then when operating with the rear section, he oversaw ’42 ranging rounds in 54 minutes’ and ’36 re-ranging rounds in 54 minutes’ in a flight duration of 4 hours and 5 minutes. On 25th July he oversaw 50 ranging rounds in 41 minutes’ from which a large fire and explosion was caused. On 26th September ‘on the occasion of the Vox Vrie being shelled he immediately made a reconnaissance on his own initiative and located the long range enemy gun in spite of low clouds and indifferent visibility. During the same flight he located two other active batteries and in one case established shelling connection.’ On 28th September ’he carried out a valuable reconnaissance from 1.45 p.m to 5.20 p.m. locating the positions of our own troops and Belgian Army from Passchendaele to Gheluvelt. Locations were obtained in fourteen places.’ This was his second sortie of the day. Finally on 29th September, ‘from 9.15 a.m. to 11.40 a.m. he located our troops at 12 places during the attack on Terhand flying at a height of 500 feet and bringing back accurate information of a situation which was then obscure.’
Glenny’s squadron commander had on the same date also recommended Glenny for an ‘immediate award’ in conjunction with an award to a Lieutenant A.E. Chittenden. For Glenny the squadron commander picks out the flight of 26th September, as well as those of the 28th and 29th September, and he further states of both Chittenden and Glenny along with a Lieutenant I Welby M.C. and a Lieutenant W.W. Saunders that he attributes ‘most of the successful counter battery work during the last few months. In spite of the fact that owing to bad weather few or no locations were obtained from Sound Rangers and other sources for 10 days or so before the battle the hostile shelling was practically negligible and at once dealt with. Hostile batteries being in nearly all cases previously known and immediately answered.’
Glenny’s recommendation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order was however changed to that of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the award being published in the London Gazette for 3rd December 1918, with the citation reading as follows: ‘This officer has rendered valuable and gallant service on many occasions when on photographic and other reconnaissances. On 16th May, he was attacked by twelve hostile scouts, his observer’s gun jammed, and he was driven down to 2,000 feet, but, handling his machine with great skill, he avoided serious damage; after the scouts had been driven off he returned and carried on the shoot with successful results. In this flight, which lasted four hours, he succeeded in taking fifteen photographs over corps’ counter-battery area’.
Glenny was posted out of No.7 Squadron in October 1918 to form and command “M” Flight, the Long Range Artillery Observation Flight, which was employed to observe for long range artillery and for this purpose was to be equipped with Sunbeam Arab Bristol aircraft. Despite considerable success having been achieved by other long range units in other sectors in Glenny’s own words: ‘from the first conditions were against M. Flight and we never carried out any really good work’. The Flight was based at St Omer, which was miles behind the batteries with whom it was supposed to co-operate, and the Sunbeam’s engine was most unreliable. With the Armistice, “M” Flight was at Menin and was then moved up to the Rhine area as part of the B British Army of Occupation. Glenny would late state that he always wondered whether to move to Germany of so many R.A.F squadrons was really necessary, as ‘the railways were practically out of working order and the roads were occupied by large bodies of troops whom it was difficult to keep supplied on account of the distances separating them from bases.’ He felt the Army found them an unwanted strain, and that the Royal Air Force’s own staff seemed to have deserted them, and ‘I invariably had to forage round myself for billets, quarters, petrol, transport etc., for our forward moves and we had to buy food for the men and ourselves.’ Initially stationed at Elsenborn, the Flight was later moved to Cologne and finally Bonn.
Nevertheless and in contradiction to Glenny’s personal opinion of the work of “M” Flight, he was twice recommended for a Mention in Despatches for his work with “M” Flight by the commanding officer of No.2 Wing, the first time on 18th November 1918, the recommendation reading as follows: ‘This Officer was placed in charge of “M” Flight on formation on 6th October 1918, a few days before the battle started. He showed the greatest energy and keenness in commanding this Flight and I consider it is largely due to his efforts that the Flight carried on without machine and engine troubles as is not the case with other Bristol Flights. He has maintained the right offensive spirit in his flight and all his officers showed the greatest energy and dispatch in their work.’ on 18th January 1919, the recommendation reading as follows: ‘This officer has done excellent work in maintaining a high standard of efficiency in “M” Flight since 11th November 1918. This efficiency has been severely tested and I consider his command has acquitted itself.’
Neither recommendation however came to fruition, however he was awarded the Belgium Croix de Guerre in the London Gazette for 15th July 1919, this being confirmed for his work with “M” Flight, and which in many ways brought more distinction than a Mention in Despatches. It also relatively scarce to a flying recipient.
Glenny had relinquished his command of “M” Flight in March 1919, and having resigned his wartime commission, was then appointed to a permanent commission in the post-war Royal Air Force on 1st August 1919, this being confirmed in the London Gazette of 17th December 1920, around which time he converted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant, the Royal Air Force’s equivalent of a Captain.
Glenny was then posted to join No.20 Squadron from September 1919, and was sent out to India to join the squadron where he assumed command of the Flight at Risalpur.
After the initial difficulties of adapting to the climate, operations on the North West Frontier loomed, and as soon as the weather had cooled, the who squadron concentrated at Bannu in preparation for the winter’s operations. The aim was for a military force to assemble at Dardoni, and to march some forty miles up the Tochi river, to re-establish posts which had been forced to abandon earlier in the year, and receive submission from the Wazirs living in the Tochi valley who had been hostile during the Third Afghanistan War. No.20 Squadron was to co-operate with the column and to commence operations against the larger, more influential and more hostile tribe in the area, namely the Mahsuds. The Tochi Column was successful in its mission, but when the Mahsuds were then called upon to submit to the British terms, they refused and the Derajat Column then advanced with Glenny’s flight being called upon to co-operate with it from Tank, whilst the rest of the squadron remained behind at Bannu, also during this period Glenny found himself during the latter part of the Mahsud operations attached to General Skeen’s Derajat Column as a Liaison Officer from March to May 1920 when the operations ended. Unexpectedly heavy resistance was encountered, and bombing demonstrations of Mahsud villages were authorised, as well as the dropping of pamphlets. Glenny took part in several squadron raids on Mahsud villages, though he would state that ‘I never felt certain that we were bombing the right village as the maps were so bad. The bombs were sighted by judgement and as the targets were so small I do not think we attained many hits. Nevertheless judging by the smoke and dust and machine gun fire we should have done enough to frighten a Western Community out of their wits. We learnt afterwards that the Mahsuds left their villages as soon as we were sighted or heard and did not return until they were safe in assuming we would not come back.
This period of operations and Glenny’ summing up of them would in many ways reflect all of the North West Frontier aerial operations of the period. ‘There was, however, no organised intelligence service and no one seemed to know much of the habits or life of the Mahsuds and for some time we continued the policy of bombing villages mainly with a view to material damage. The reports brought in of the raids were inconclusive and awe did not realise the actual extent of the damage caused, which on inspection some months later turned out to be very limited. After all, it was natural to assume, on the scanty information available, that bombing which had been effective in France against civilised peoples would be equally if not more successful against savages. The Mahsuds, however, were in a truculent frame of mind as the result of our withdrawal from Waziristan in the Afghan War and held out against the bombing bay repairing the damage in quick time, and taking refuge in caves. We had, without realising it, taken on more than we could manage and to make matters worse the shortage of spares and bad repair and maintenance facilities began to reduce the number of aeroplanes serviceable so that instead of being able to sustain the bombing it actually dropped off in intensity. The maps difficulty was also a factor against success in that so called “friendly” sections living close to “hostiles” came in for attack and thinking they were being unfairly treated threw in their lot against us.’
This was the aerial side of the Mahsud operations which lasted from 18th December 1919 through to 8th April 1920, and in this same role Glenny also saw service during the operations in Waziristan which lasted from 1st October 1919 to 20th December 1921. Back as a Flight Commander and Pilot with No.20 Squadron from May to November 1920, for the further Waziristan operations he was attached to the Wana Column as a Liaison Officer from November 1920 to April 1921, before being posted to the Air Staff Headquarters of R.A.F. India from April 1921 to July 1922, and having then been promoted to Squadron Leader and appointed the Squadron Commander of No.28 Squadron, an Army Co-Operation unit in July 1922, he saw service in this role through to December 1923, incorporating service at some stage during operations on the North West Frontier of India in Waziristan in the period between 21st December 1921 and 31st March 1924.
Further and more detailed aspects of Glenny’s career between 1915 and 1923 can be found in his essay that was submitted to the R.A.F. Staff College, a 40 page bound copy of which is included with the group, the original being housed in the Air Historical Branch Records at the Public Record Office at Kew. Glenny is one of only six Royal Air Force recipient’s of the India General Service Medal 1908 with the three clasp combination of Mahsud 1919-20, Waziristan 1919-21, and Waziristan 1921-24.
Glenny was back home in England and stationed at Old Sarum in Wiltshire when he married Alice Noel Boyes at Saint George’s Church in Hanover Square, London, on 29th April 1925. He would subsequently remarry at Agnes E. Dawkins in Westminster, London in 1937.
In the meantime having seen service at the Army School of Co-Operation at Old Sarum from 1924, he attended the RAF Staff College at Cranwell from 1926, and was then appointed a Staff Officer with the Headquarters of the Wessex Bombing Area in 1927, before being appointed the Senior Royal Air Force Officer aboard the aircraft carrier Hermes in 1930. Promoted to Wing Commander in 1931, he attended the Senior Officers War Course in 1933, and then attended the Imperial Defence College in 1934, before being appointed Staff Officer at the Headquarters of No.22 Group and Staff Officer with the Deputy Directorate of Equipment with the Supply and Movement Branch in 1935. Glenny was then appointed Deputy Director of Staff Duties in 1936, and in the same year appointed to Acting Group Captain, before being posted out to the Aircraft Depot in India in 1938, and appointed Officer Commanding No.1 (Indian) Group in that year. With the outbreak of the Second World War he attained the rank of Acting Air Commodore, and was awarded a Mention in Despatches for gallant and distinguished services in the London Gazette of 25th October 1940. Having then been promoted to Air Commodore, he retired from the Royal Air Force due to ill health and died shortly afterwards of tuberculosis at Davos in Switzerland in 1947. His medals are mounted as worn by Glenny, and any Second World War campaign medals along with the MID emblem would almost certainly have never been claimed due to his death soon after the end of the war.