Hugh Reilly

Hugh Reilly, from Hawke's Bay, was the first New Zealander to see action in the air during the First World War, flying reconnaissance missions in France in September 1914. Posted to Egypt, and then to Mesopotamia (Iraq) in April 1915, Reilly commanded the RFC’s Flight in Mesopotamia that later became No. 30 Squadron, supporting British and Indian forces trying to capture Baghdad from the Ottoman Turks. Captured in November 1915 after crash-landing his damaged aircraft, Reilly spent the rest of the war in an Ottoman prison camp. Awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and mentioned in despatches for his work in Mesopotamia, he served in the Royal Air Force until retirement in 1934, as a group captain, then served five years with the Air Ministry’s Directorate of Operations and Intelligence.

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