INDENTSecond Lieutenant Phillip Oliphant Ray, born 1893, Fife, Scotland, educated Glasgow University and was a member of their O.T.C., joined the 6th Bn.Cameron Highlanders September, 1914 and served in France and Flanders from July 1915; was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Black Watch August 1916 and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps January 1917. At dawn 13 April 1917 he took off in an R.E.8 as Observer with five other similar aircraft to photograph the enemy trenches at Etaing - two planes were to take photographs and the other two aircraft were to act as 'cover'. A fighter escort was scheduled to meet the flight to provide 'top cover' but some took off 20 minutes late and others got lost in cloud - they never found the R.E.s - but Jasta 11, Von Richtofen's crack squadron was more fortunate. The uneven fight began at 8.58 a.m. with Richtofen sending an R.E.8 (piloted by Lieutenant Wood) spinning down out of control into high tension wires. All the British aircraft were destroyed and ten airmen, including Lieutenant Ray, were killed - Von Richtofen combined his breakfast with an early lunch and by 11.30am the Prussian Ace was back in his Albatros and on the way to his 43rd victory. (See Lot 336).
April 1917, 'Bloody April' was the month in which British military aviation suffered its most tragic losses - approximately 150 aircraft and over 300 airman were lost during those four weeks.