Who's Who - Tom Hazell

Tom Hazell Tom Falcon Hazell (1892-1946) scored 43 victories with the British Royal Flying Corps as an Irish airman between March 1917 and October 1918.

Born in County Galway on 7 August 1892 Hazell volunteered for military service upon the outbreak of war in Europe in August 1914, as a 2nd Lieutenant with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.  Hazell remained with 'The Skins' until the summer of 1916 and his successful transfer to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

Despite a severe crash incurred during flight training in Kent at the end of June 1916 Hazell went on to join 1 Squadron on the Western Front towards the close of the year.

His inaugural aerial victory saw him fly a Nieuport 17 in bringing down an enemy German HA aircraft over Westhoek.  Prior to his return to England as a flight instructor in Upavon in August 1917 Hazell went on to score some 20 victories.  At this point he was the recipient of the Military Cross for his success as a combat flyer.

Returning to the Western Front the following June - now as commander of 24 Squadron's 'A' Flight, Hazell amassed a further 23 aerial successes while flying S.E.5a aircraft, bringing his overall tally to 43.  10 of his final 23 victories comprised observation balloons - Hazell thus established himself as a late blooming 'balloon buster'.  His final two victories were achieved on 4 October.

In mid-October 1918 Hazell was promoted to the rank of Major and moved to 203 Squadron (which flew Sopwith Camels) with whom he remained beyond the armistice until April 1919 and was thereafter given a permanent Royal Air Force (RAF) commission.

Hazell, who was also awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar (DFC), died in Ireland in 1946.

Flak was a term used to describe anti-aircraft fire.

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