INDENTLieutenant Joseph Lamont Bamford of Kilrea, Northern Ireland, serving his apprenticeship as a motor engineer in Belfast when the war broke out, joined Commander Locker Lampson's Armoured Car Squadron in 1915 and served in France and Belgium. Commissioned into the Royal Scots Fusiliers he later transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and proceeded to Salonika as a Scout pilot. Twice Mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Croix de Guerre (London Gazette 1.5.1917), he was partner to Lieutenant Wilkinson (see previous lot) in a serious mid-air collision. A Coleraine newspaper report states:
"...Since receiving the French honour, 2 Lt. Bamford has had a marvellous escape from death through another aeroplane crashing into his at an altitude of 11,600 feet and sending it to earth. He is now recuperating in Egypt having, to use his own words, escaped 'with a few bruises and two splendid black eyes'. After remarking that in the collision the tail had been cut off his machine, the intrepid young airman describes his thrilling experience thus:- 'I fell like a stone in a spinning nose dive for about 6,000 feet and, having to hold on with both hands, I could not get my engine shut off. Eventually I managed to do it and the machine then turned upside down and started gliding at a more respectable pace, I being held in by my belt, which did its duty nobly. I had a vertical gun going straight up above my head (and in this instance it was pointing straight down) which I thought would be better out of the way when I hit, so I undid the fastenings and let it drop overboard. It was a jolly good thing that I did, as the mounts were knocked to bits. The only control I had was lateral, viz., making one wing go up and the other down, and just before I hit I yanked it right over and I made the right wing strike the ground first, breaking the fall considerably. I was a bit shaken up but was not by any means insensible. 2 Lt. Bamford adds that the luck which he had could be judged from the fact that the only thing on the machine worth saving after the crash were two instruments. He hoped soon to be back at the aerodrome, as he felt none the worse for his experience, which had not hurt his nerves a bit. The fellow in the other machine was all right, his plane having escaped with slight damage. They shook hands afterwards and congratulated each other that their respective Guardian Angels were abroad. On the day before the accident, Second Lieut. Bamford drove a Hun airman down in his own lines."
Lieutenant Bamford was killed in a bombing raid 20 August 1917 in Salonika; after a short and gallant flight he spun down and was reported by the enemy as being killed (for further details of the collision and Bamford's last action refer to "Over the Balkans and South Russia" - H.A. Jones)