Captain Howard Kullberg

Born in 1896 in Massachusetts, Howard Kullberg joined the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto in August 1917, after being told that he was too short for the US Air Services. He trained in Canada and Texas, and was sent to the UK in January, 1918. No. 1 Squadron with their S.E.5a's, 1918

In May, 1918, with the war on the Western Front hanging in the balance, Kullberg was sent to join No.1 Squadron at St. Omer in France, flying SE5a fighters. Also on this squadron was another American, Duerson Knight from Chicago. After the German Spring Offensive had broken through the Allied lines in March, the Royal Air Force was heavily engaged not only fighting the German air forces, but also attacking ground targets to try and stem the enemy’s advances. Luckily for Kullberg, his arrival coincided with a lull in the fighting, allowing him to find his feet before being thrown into action.

On 27 May he made his first claims, for two two-seater aircraft, followed by two more the next day. His next victories were on 1 and 9 June, again for two aircraft each time, followed by an observation balloon on 15 June. On 9 July he single-handedly attacked seven Fokker DVIIs, claiming one as shot down. Fokker D.VII, 1918

From 8 August the tempo of operations increased as the Allies counter-attacked. The following day Kullberg claimed another Fokker DVII, followed by two more on 30 August while on escort duties on a bombing raid. Shortly after this, Kullberg was placed under arrest by the Military Police for possession of a camera, which was illegal for security reasons. However, his commanding officer managed to get him released, although the charges were not dropped, on the grounds of his good record, and the dire need for experienced pilots.

On 16 September, 1918, No.1 Squadron were escorting a formation of De Havilland D.H.4s when they were attacked by a large number of German aircraft. In the ensuing dogfight, Kullberg claimed one Fokker DVII, but, while going to the aid of another SE5a, was badly shot up and wounded three times in the leg. He managed to get his aircraft back to friendly territory before crash landing.

Kullberg spent six months in hospital recovering, although he received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions. He left the RAF in July, 1919, with a total of 18 enemy aircraft and one balloon to his credit.