Early in 1918, after four years of war the impetus to overcome the enemy was being hampered by a lack of government money to replace the weapons needed.
Following the financial success of 'Tank Week' in early February 1918 which captured the imagination of the people of Dundee and Perth, both cities being visited by a tank called Julian,
the Scottish War Savings Committee decided to hold a War Weapons Week. This took place 8th to 13th April. Each community was encouraged to buy war bonds and savings certificates at £2.10s.
a head, to raise money for a specific weapon and the local Parish Council wanted Dunning's money to go towards an aeroplane. The result was that our village raised the staggering sum of £7145.
The Sopwith Camel was the best known fighter of WW1. Having first been used in 1917, it replaced the Sopwith Pup and was heavier, more powerful and faster. Our 'Dunning' plane was one of a batch
of fifty manufactured by Clayton and Shuttleworth of Lincoln. Its number was E4374 (Apparently, Dunblane had E4375 and Sherrifmuir E4376) It was delivered on 3rd June 1918 went to 203 Squadron in France,
arriving on 1st August. (The RAF had only been established in April 1918, amalgamating the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. Many of the pilots in 203 Squadron were Canadian).
Our 'Dunning' plane was piloted by Donald Hogarth Woodhouse. Born in 1897, at the outbreak of war he had been a bank clerk in the Midland Bank in Morecambe before enlisting in the
Royal Lancashire Regiment in September 1914. He survived the first three years of the war and in early 1917 was given leave to train for a commission in the Royal Flying Corps.
His commission came through at the end of August 1917 and following further training, including with 67 Squadron at Queensferry, he arrived in France in mid July 1918,
joining the British and Canadian pilots of 203 Squadron.
Our plane with its pilot saw action together in August 1918. They were based firstly near Arras and then from 14th August at Allonville, which is 5 miles north east of Amiens.
The squadron at this time was involved in pushing back the Germans after their spring offensive had run out of steam. Much of the air action in support of the Allies took place east
of Amiens over the Somme area, where Donald Woodhouse and our 'Dunning' plane were involved in low flying missions combined with offensive patrols and some escorts (of bombers).
It was while returning from one of these missions that our Sopwith Camel E4374 was shot down, very close to the River Somme and just inside the allies' front line.
The formal report records the following: 'E4374 crashed badly on the front line under shellfire after struck over Peronne on a special low flying mission. 2nd Lieut.
Woodhouse slightly injured'. Unsurprisingly, our 'Dunning' plane was a write off. Donald Woodhouse continued to serve in 203 Squadron in a different plane.
He survived the war and returned to the Morecambe area and the Midland Bank. He died in 1977.