Flying glove : Flying Officer W H Fysh, 1 Squadron AFC

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Palestine
Accession Number REL/01352
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Personal Equipment
Physical description Brass, Leather, Wool fleece
Maker Unknown
Place made France
Date made c 1916-1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

One only flying glove of soft brown leather, stamped internally 32 and 8 1/2, fitted with a wide gauntlet and constructed with an fleece-lined integral mitten with an external opening at its lower inner edge which can be pulled over the main glove to provide the wearer with extra warmth. The top rear of the mitten and the lower rear of the gauntlet are fitted with a French-made press stud fitting (one impressed 'GR Made in France; the other 'DAC CF Co'), allowing the mitten to be folded back and secured. The rear of the mitten is reinforced with three double rows of stitching. The palm of the glove shows distinct signs of use, being stained and rubbed, and retains the wearer's palm shape. A faded maker's ink stamp on the inside of the gauntlet contains an indistinct pattern number and the words 'Made under license'.

History / Summary

Sir Wilmot Hudson Fysh was born in Launceston, Tasmania on 7 January 1895. He was educated at Launceston Grammar School and Geelong Church of England Grammar School. Fysh had already served as a cadet with the 70th Infantry Militia and had volunteered with the Tasmanian 26th Light Horse when war was declared. He enlisted on 25 August 1914 with 3 Light Horse Regiment (3LHR), as did most of Tasmania's Mounted Infantry, at the training camp at Pontville, Tasmania. 415 Trooper Fysh embarked from Hobart aboard HMAT Geelong on 20 October 1914, trained in Egypt and served at Gallipoli from May 1915 until the evacuation. He served in Sinai and Palestine with ‘C' Squadron, 3LHR, until 17 July 1916, when he transferred to 1 Light Horse Brigade Machine Gun Squadron where he was soon promoted to corporal, and, by January 1917, to lieutenant. In early July 1917 he applied for a transfer to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and was assigned to 67 Squadron (later 1 Squadron Australian Flying Corps), and had qualified as a gunner/observer by October 1917. Flying Officer Fysh was recommended for the Distinguished Flying Cross on 8 January 1919. His citation reads 'For gallantry in air combat and in attacking ground objectives. On 31 August 1918 this officer, acting as Observer to Lieutenant McGuiness, DCM, attacked and destroyed two hostile two-seater aeroplanes ... On previous occasions (23rd June and 3rd August 1918) this Officer has engaged in combats, resulting in the destruction of enemy aircraft as well as forcing enemy machines to land ... He has always shewn great skill and gallantry on these and other occasions.' Fysh's application for pilot training was accepted, but the war ended before his graduation at Heliopolis, Egypt, in February 1919. After returning to Australia in March 1919, Fysh was employed to survey the Longreach to Darwin leg of the proposed air route from England to Australia. This knowledge assisted him when, in 1920, he helped to found the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd (QANTAS). By 1923 he was both managing director and chief pilot of the airline, which he led until his retirement in 1955. Hudson Fysh was knighted in 1953, and died in Sydney in 1974.