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Thomas Falcon Hazell

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Thomas Falcon Hazell DSO, MC, DFC & Bar (7 August 1892 - 1946) was a fighter pilot for the Royal Air Force during World War I.

He is credited with forty-three aerial victories with the British Royal Flying Corps, making him the the fifth most successful British “flying ace” during the war, and the third most successful Irish-born pilot, behind Edward Mannock and George McElroy.

Hazell was born in Roundstone, County Galway on the west coast of Ireland, to Thomas Hazell and Cecile Buckley. He attended Tonbridge school until 1911.

Upon the outbreak of War in 1914, Hazell volunteered for service. He became a subaltern with the 7th battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, an infantry regiment of the British army.

Two years later, in 1916, Hazell transferred from the Fusiliers to the Royal Flying Corps. Surviving a bad crash in June 1916, and after completing his training, Hazell joined No. 1 Squadron on the Western Front later that year, flying Nieuport 17 scouts. After twenty victories by August 1917, Hazell received the Military Cross.

After a period as instructor at the Central Flying School, Upavon, Hazell took command of 'A' flight in No. 24 Squadron in June 1918, flying the SE-5a. Hazell became the 60th victory of Lt. Ernst Udet, the German badly damaging Hazell's aircraft in a low level chase across the lines.

Adding another twenty claims, he then took command of No. 203 squadron in October 1918. His final claim totals were 1 captured aircraft, 8 (and 2 shared) kite balloons, 17 (and 1 shared) aircraft destroyed, 11 (and 2 shared) 'down out of control'.

After the war had concluded, Hazell was given a permanent commission by the Royal Air Force as well as being decorated with both a Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). During the 1920’s Hazell was a commander of a series of Squadrons in the Middle East, most notably Iraq.

In 1944, at the age of 52, Hazell became the commander of "D" Company, 24th (Tettenhall) Battalion, South Staffordshire Home Guard during the later part of the Second World War.

1946. Two years later in Ireland, Thomas Falcon Hazell died at the age of 54.

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