Who's Who - Arthur Cobby

Arthur Cobby Arthur Henry Cobby (1894-1955) served with the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) during the First World War, and achieved 29 victories as a fighter pilot.

Born on 26 August 1894 in Melbourne Cobby worked as a bank clerk until he signed up with the AFC on 22 December 1916, thereafter serving with 4 and 71 Squadron on the Western Front.

Remarkably all of Cobby's 29 'kills' were achieved while in command of the Sopwith Camel.  His first recognised victory came on 21 March 1918, when he downed a German Albatross D.V south of Brebieres.  His 29th and final victory was attained a little over five months later on the morning of 4 September near Wattignies when he brought down a Fokker D.VII.  Five of his victories were comprised of observation balloons.

Although Australian's Robert Little and Roderic Dallas claimed a higher number of victories, Cobby was the highest-scoring member of the AFC (Little and Dallas both serving with the RNAS).

During the course of his war service Cobby was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with two bars and was mentioned in despatches.  He was later to receive the DSO and a CBE.

With the onset of World War Two Cobby returned to active serve in July 1940 as Director of Recruiting.  In the space of two years Cobby was appointed an Air Commodore and was operational commander of the RAAF in Western Australia.

Cobby was the recipient of the George Medal following his conduct during an incident in September 1943 where a Catalina flying boat in which he was travelling crashed on landing.  Cobby helped save additional survivors from drowning.

Later serving in command of the RAAF Staff College, Cobby was appointed to command of an operational group in the South West Pacific in July 1944.

Having retired from the RAF as an Air Commodore in 1946, Cobby chose to return to a career in civil aviation.  He died on 11 November 1955 at the age of 61.

"Beachy Bill" was the name given to one of the Turkish guns which regularly shelled Anzac Cove.

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