|Wing Commander Arthur Bruce GASKELL DSC|
30 (Bombing) Squadron, Royal Air Force
Date of birth: 11th September 1888
Date of death: 15th September 1927
Killed on active service aged 39
Commemorated at St Edmund's Church, Crickhowell, Breconshire
|Arthur Bruce Gaskell was born at Guestling, Hastings in Sussex on the 11th of September 1888 the only son of Charles Bruce Gaskell, a gentleman, and Evelyn Frances Caroline (nee Davies) Gaskell of 6 Mortimer Road, Clifton in Gloucester.
He was educated at Lancing College where won an Exhibition and was in Olds House from September 1902 to April 1903. On leaving school he entered the Royal Naval College Britannia on the 15th of May 1903 and passed out in July 1904.
He was appointed as a Naval Cadet on the 15th of September 1904 and as a Midshipman on the 30th of October 1904. He was posted to the battleship HMS London on the 15th of September 1904 and saw service in the Mediterranean. He was promoted to Sub Lieutenant on the 30th of December 1904 and served on the battleship HMS Africa from the 16th of November 1908. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 30th of June 1910 and on the 4th of October 1910 he was posted to the cruiser HMS Gloucester.
He obtained his Aero Club Certificate at the Central Flying School, Upavon in Wiltshire on the 2nd of June 1913 while flying a Maurice Farman Biplane and served at the Isle of Grain Naval Air Station from the 13th of August 1913 with the rank of Flying Officer in the Royal Naval Air Service. He was appointed as a Flight Lieutenant on the 1st of July 1914 and to Flight Commander on the 26th of September 1914 being posted the same month to the seaplane tender HMS Engadine. On the 25th of December 1914 he took part in the raid on the Zeppelin sheds at Cuxhaven. He was flying Folder aircraft No. 122 that morning, which was recalled to the ship shortly after takeoff. He was commended by the Admiralty in February 1915 for his work in attacks on the enemy at Ostend, Zeebrugge and at Bruges. From March 1915 he served at the Naval Flying School at Eastchurch. Later in 1915 he commanded A Flight, 2 Squadron based at Westgate.
He was married to Dorothy (nee Davies) at Crickhowell, Breconshire in 1915, had two daughters and lived at 201 Richmond Road, Kingston-Upon-Thames in Surrey.
He was promoted to Squadron Commander on the 1st of January 1916 and in 1916 and 1917 he commanded the Royal Naval Air Station at Gibraltar, later commanding the Naval Air Station at Thermi-Mytilini on the Aegean island of Lesbos. From here he led attacks on German and Turkish shipping as well as becoming one of the first anti submarine aviators.
In October 1917 the airfield came under sustained attack and Arthur Gaskell was ordered to arrange its evacuation which he achieved without suffering any casualties among his men or loss of stores.
For his actions he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross which was announced in the London Gazette of the 26th of April 1918. The citation read:-
"In recognition of his services on the occasion of the evacuation of the Thermi aerodrome on the 9th to 15th October 1917, under continuous bombardment from the enemy."
He became a Major in the Royal Air Force on its formation on the 1st of April 1918 and was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy on the 30th of June 1918. He was granted a permanent commission in the Royal Air Force with the rank of Squadron Leader in August 1919 and was promoted to Wing Commander on the 1st of January 1924. In 1924 and 1925 he attended the Royal Air Force Staff College and in 1926 he was posted to the staff of Air Vice Marshall Sir Edward Ellington, Air Officer Commanding Iraq where he was involved in training duties.
On the 15th of September 1927 he took off in Bristol F2B Fighter H1632 for a training flight when the aircraft crashed at Hinaidi in Iraq. Arthur Gaskell was killed instantly while his passenger, Leading Aircraftsman William Ronald Kittow-Roberts, died of his injuries.