Wallace Jamieson

One of Jamieson's prized Great War keepsakes was a souvenir 77mm German shell, engraved and embellished with copper and silver.

Watch the video

Pilot Wallace “Wally” Jamieson helped Lawrence of Arabia defeat Turkish forces at Wadi el Fara during the Battle of Megiddo in September 1918. But, based on these photos, he was lucky he didn't have his wings clipped by his commanding officer; that’s his crashed plane sitting on a hangar roof. He certainly has a sense of humour: on one photo he wrote in the margin, “A perfect landing!”

In a conversation with his stepson, Russ Brown, Jamieson explained how his plane crashed into the hangar. Brown recalls, "In air combat success must be witnessed by accredited observers, such as a fellow pilot, or confirmed by examination of wreckage. Wally had several successful dog fights but as none could be confirmed he claimed only “aircraft damaged” or “probably shot down.” His fight with Rathowith occurred near to Wally's home base and Rathowith managed to get in the first licks wounding Wally in the leg. Wally said to me that it really angered him and made him think, "I'm the Command Gunnery Officer, I can't be shot down! " After a few moments Wally prevailed and shot down Rathowith who was injured in the crash and captured. Wally said that he had lost a lot of blood and was in considerable pain and as a result missed his landing attempt and went around to try again. He passed out and stalled his aircraft and crashed into the roof of a hangar. Had he hit the ground he certainly would have been killed. He and Rathowith ended up in the same hospital and as soon as he could Wally visited Rathowith with treats, fruit, nuts and flowers. Officers had Batmen, enlisted men who took care of his officer's kit and quarters to ensure that he was as well rested as possible and prepared for combat. As Rathowith was in hospital in enemy territory Wally hired and paid a young Arab boy to care for Rathowith in hospital and in prison camp until the war ended and Rathowith returned to Austria. They even corresponded for awhile after they were both home with their families."

Jamieson, of Camborne, Ontario, was a bank clerk at the time of his enlistment in the Royal Flying Corps, later renamed the Royal Air Force. He took part in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign against the Ottoman Empire. British officer T.E. Lawrence, famed for his role in aiding the Arab revolt against the Turks, credited the RAF for helping win the fight for Wadi el Fara: “It was the RAF which converted the retreat into a rout, which had abolished their telephone and telegraph connections, had blocked their lorry columns and scattered their infantry unit.”

One of Jamieson’s prized Great War keepsakes was a souvenir 77mm German shell, engraved and embellished with copper and silver—a gift from Lawrence for Jamieson’s role in the battle. After the war, Jamieson worked as a bank manager in Ontario. He died in 1965.

Do you have an ancestor who served in the Great War? Submit their story and it could be included on this Great War Album website.