Who's Who - Juri Gilsher

Juri Gilsher Juri Vladimirovich Gilsher achieved air ace status through service with the Imperial Russian Air Service from April to July 1917.

Born into nobility Gilsher received a civil engineering education before determining to enlist with the Nikoliavsky Cavalry school some five months after war was declared, in mid-December 1914.

Gilsher's spell in the cavalry however was brief; within eight months he had secured a transfer to the Imperial Russian Air Service, initially for flight training at Gatchina.  In November 1915 Gilsher was attached for service with the 4th Army Air Detachment, although an accident in December 1915 (a propeller wound to the arm) necessitated a period of recuperation.

Following his recovery Gilsher was enrolled for further flight training at Odessa, eventually arriving back at the Front in early April 1916.  Promoted to Cornet he was attached to the new 7th Fighter Detachment.  The following month Gilsher crash-landed a Sikorsky S-16 aircraft, a calamity which resulted in the amputation of his left leg.

Remarkably Gilsher resolved to remain with the air service and to resume combat missions.  Until this point he had not achieved any 'kills'.  With the aid of an artificial leg he amassed five air victories - thereby earning himself the designation of air ace - while flying Nieuport 21 aircraft.

His first two successes were scored in a single day, 13 April 1917, with subsequent victories following on 15 May, 17 and 20 July.  Having achieved his final success on 20 July in the skies above Tarnopol Gilsher came under enemy fire, in the course of which he was killed.  He was buried in Bugach in Galicia.

A "Brass Hat" was a high ranking officer.

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