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66 Squadron, RFC & RAF, 1916 to 1919


Bayetto, Tone Hippolyte Paul

Introduction

Tone Bayetto was born in London on 28 May 1892 at St Martin in the Fields, London, the second son of Hyppolyte and Rosalie. Hyppolyte Paul Bayettos was born in Torino, Italy in 1864 and he came to England in August 1886.

In 1914 Hyppolyte decided to apply for British citizenship, the application states that he was working at the Carlton Hotel in the Haymarket as a Headwaiter and been employed by the hotel for 12 years. In April 1889 he married a Rosalie Lemere a Belgian in London at Church of Notre Dame de France, Leicester Square. They had two boys Claude and Hyppolyte (Tone). The family had lived in the Clapham and Fulham area of London from 1901 and then moved out of London to Eastcote, Middlesex.

Not much is known about Tone's early days. His employment prior to enlistment is noted as racing driver and motor engineer for Fiat motors, located in Wembley during 1910-11. On the 20 January 1911 he boarded the P & O Company S.S. Arabia bound for Bombay travelling 2nd Class, where it is thought worked for the Bombay & Motor Carriage Co in Bombay during the period 1912-13. The Arabia was sunk by a U-boat near Cape Matapan in 1916.

Early Flying Days

Tone who by now had changed the spelling of his Christian and surname took up flying in 1913 at the Graham White School Hendon, where he gained his Royal Aero Club ticket number 488, on 22 May 1913. He is noted on his record as an Engineer. On 26 April 1915 Tone enlisted in the RFC at South Farnborough. The next day he was given the rank of Sgt. On the 16 July 1915 as a Sgt he was at first graded as a 2nd class flyer and later on 6 August 1915 re-graded as a 1st Class flyer. He was sent to 1 RAS at Gosport by 16 July 1915. Tone was sent to France on 21 September 1915, and was serving with 1 Squadron, who were then based at Bailleul under the command of Major Philip Bennet Joubert de la Ferte. 1 Squadron were flying a mixture of Moranes at the time, but Bayetto did not stay long with 1 Squadron, as he was posted to 3 Squadron as Sgt. 4808 on 27 November.

Whilst with 3 Sqn he flew at least one patrol with Sgt. James McCudden who he had met when with 1 Squadron. On 5 January 1916, in Morane LA 5081 they were escorting a BE2c near Douai when they were attacked by two Fokker monoplanes, one behind the BE2c and one behind the Morane. The rear gunner of the BE and McCudden opened fire on one Fokker forcing it to dive away. Meanwhile the Fokker behind the Morane dived away and pursued another BE2c, which out-manoeuvred the attacker. On 2 March 1916 2/Lt. Bayetto was flying Morane N 5067 as escort to Charles W. Palmer and Herbert F. Birdwood, who were flying Morane BB 5137. Palmer and Birdwood became Max Immelmann's ninth victims, Birdwood was killed in the combat and fell out of the Morane, Palmer was wounded but succumbed to his wounds on 29 March 1916. Bayetto claimed a Fokker DDOC the same day. He served with 3 Squadron from 18 June to 30 August 1916, although he was detached to 24 Sqn along with Frank Goodrich in late May 1916, to bolster the squadron in preparation for the Somme offensive.

Bayetto and Morane NThey operated with 24 Squadron, who at the time were using DH2s and commanded by Major Lanoe Hawker at Bertangles. On the 28 May, Tone and Frank Goodrich flew patrols in Morane's 5195 and 5180. On 18 June Tone attacked two Albatri over Bois d Avluy. The Albatri were flying at 6500 ft, Tone dived from 13500, the Albatri split up when attacked and Tone was forced to cut short the chase because he did not have much fuel. A few days later on the 25 June he attacked two Fokkers near Boursies, both of which landed on an enemy aerodrome. Tone was then shot at by German anti-aircraft fire and he made his escape. Later the same day he saw two LVG s near Bois de Logeast whilst on patrol.

The Battle of the Somme

On the 1 July an offensive patrol was mounted by 24 Sqn from 1230 am until 1430 pm. Taking part were Lt. Purdon in Bristol C Scout 5134, Lt. Bayetto in Morane N Scout 5195, Lt. Wilson in DH 2 5198, Lt. Morgan in 6011, Lt. Sibley in 5990, Lt. Wood in 5967 and Lt. Knight in 5931. They met some FE2bs over Bapaume and escorted them back to the lines. Three enemy aircraft were seen over Biefvillers and were attacked by Tone and Knight, Tone forced the aircraft he attacked down and Knight gave up the chase over Bapaume. The next day he twice attacked a balloon near Flers, forcing it to be hauled down. During the second attack he was hit by "archie," damaging his propeller and one valve rocker, bending and twisting others. The engine cowl was torn off and one warping wire was shot away, he was thrown into a side-slip, but regained control and climbed to 2500 ft. Tones motor was only developing 7-800 revs and vibrating badly, he landed on the British side of the lines near Carnox, and arranged for the machine to be moved across fields one and a half miles for collection by squadron transport. Tone was back in action by the 19 July when flying Morane A178 he was attacked by three German biplanes, thought to have been Roland’s, and managed to escape by diving away. Whilst in the dive the Morane inverted and the tail dropped and started to spiral. Tone was then forced to flatten out before making his way back.

On the 20 July he engaged a hostile which was being chased by a Nieuport. He saw his Buckingham enter the fuselage and right wing. The hostile dived for cloud cover and was not seen to recover below the cloud base. The next day Tone engaged hostiles twice but on both occasions he was forced to withdraw after his gun jammed. After the loan period with 24 squadron Tone was given leave and returned to Home Establishment on 31 August 1916.

After a period of leave he was posted to 1 Reserve Squadron at Fort Grange, Gosport as fighting Instructor, he also spent some time with the Central Flying School in the same role, whilst with the CFS he was presented with a silver topped inscribed conductors baton’ on the August 24 1917by members of the orchestra.

Combat with 66 Squadron in France

Tone joined 66 Squadron on 10 September 1917 as a flight commander, whilst the squadron was based at Liettres under the command of GLP Henderson MC. The squadron was heavily engaged in the Battle of Ypres, flying Sopwith Pups, although he was posted to the squadron on 10 September he did not lead a patrol until the 20th when he led, H.K. Boysen, W.A. Pritt, L.B. May, D.M. Paton, and W.H. Kelly (also spelt Kelley). The next day he led Kelly, May, Pritt, Paton and Boysen on a patrol, Boysen had engine trouble and returned, collected another machine and made for the patrol. On the 24 September a patrol consisting off Bayetto, Kelly, Paton, Pritt, Gore, May were attacked by the enemy and Paton was shot down and killed in B1826. The next day Tone test flew B1760 Lt T.V. Hunters regular aeroplane and crashed near the aerodrome. Another patrol on 26 September consisting of Bayetto, Erskine, Boysen, Pritt, Dore and May was uneventful. But Tone was not to remain with the squadron much longer.

On 30 September Tone in B2168 whilst on patrol with 2/Lt Joseph G. Warter in B2185 and James W. Boumphrey in B1768, Howard K Boysen in B2176, Ralph Erskine in B2189, Lancelot May in B2221 and Walabanke A Pritt in B2162. The patrol was engaged by 15 enemy aircraft from above near the Menin-Roulers Road, one of the e.a. positioned behind Bayetto, but he was able to evade the attack, he then closed on another e.a who was on the tail of one of the patrol Pups, Bayetto was unable to fire on this e.a. and it shot down the Pup in flames this was either Warter who was killed in the action or Pritt who crashed near the lines. He saw another Pup with two e.a. on its tail, diving towards the group, he closed to within 30 feet and fired on the enemy, he watched the tracer entering the fuselage just behind the pilot, the pilot looked behind and saw Bayetto, the pilot then slumped over the side of the cockpit, the e.a. machine started to descend and signs of smoke were observed. Tone levelled out at 8000 feet, hearing machine guns he looked around to find another e.a. diving on him, Tone performed an Immelmann, getting behind the e.a. he fired a short burst into the machine, the propeller was seen to stop and the e.a. started to make for the east, at the same time a two seater opened fire on Tone from underneath the Pup shooting away one of his cylinders and tearing away his cowling, piercing his petrol tank and shooting two blades off his propeller, he was then attacked by another Albatross, who shot him up his left rear spar, which resulted in the spar and several wing ribs breaking. In one of his accounts of the action, he says that the patrol was attacked by 26 enemy machines. He was shot about and flew the aeroplane upside down and attempted to right the craft shortly before landing the aircraft, which in another account is said to have pan caked the machine from 20 feet in amongst shell holes, as he crashed Tone's face hit the windscreen and Lewis gun butt, the fuselage compressed the cockpit and the undercarriage collapsed the machine overturned on its nose. He was unconscious for about 20 minutes before being rescued, his sustained impact wounds to his face and back, he was unconscious for a while and bled from his left ear, nose and mouth, he was later found to be suffering from a fractured skull and suffered severe bruising, not surprisingly he also suffered from headaches, hearing and eyesight problems for a while. He was sent back down the lines and was admitted to 7 General Hospital in St Omer before he returned to Home Establishment via Calais and Dover on 18 October.

Home Establishment

He was admitted to Endsleigh Palace Hospital, a medical board at Caxton Hall, London on 14 November assessed him as unfit General Service for four months, a place was to be found for him at an Auxiliary Hospital and by 24 November he was in the care of Mrs Mulliner’s Hospital at Clifton Court, Rugby. A further assessment on 16 January 1918 confirmed he was unfit G.S. four months. On the 8 March 1918 he wrote from his family home in Pinner Middlesex to the Air Ministry noting that he had been passed fit for Home Service at his last medical Board in Birmingham and after three weeks leave he was reporting for duty. On the 7 March he was posted to 1 Training Squadron at Beaulieu and then on 31 March to 70 T.S. located at Weston on the Green. 70 T.S. disbanded on the 27 July, the same day that 29 Training Depot Squadron was formed. Tone was posted to 29 TDS Exhibition Flight. He was killed on 28 July 1918 whilst flying Sopwith Dolphin E4449. The accident happened when wings folded back at 200 feet and he dived into the ground at 7:50pm. Tone is buried in the family grave in the grounds of St Martin, Ruislip, Middlesex along with his mother and father.

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