In addition to the famous Capt. Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor VC, DSO, MC & bar, DFC, there was also another significant South African World War 1 flying ace, and this man came from Kimberley, Capt. Andrew Cameron Kiddie DFC, World War I flying ace and the local baker.
Andrew Cameron “Dixie” Kiddie was born in Kimberley on 7 November 1889, his father being Andrew Cameron Kiddie (Senior), a baker from Dundee, Scotland who came to South Africa in 1885. Kiddie Senior bought the bakery in Kimberley from a Mr Roy in 1895 after having worked there for some 9 years and changed the name to ‘Andrew Kiddie and Sons’.
Having served with the 18th South African Mounted Rifles in 1914/15, Andrew Kiddie went to England to join the Royal Flying Corps. as a 2nd Lieutenant, Kiddie received Royal Aero Club Aviator’s Certificate 3719 on a Maurice Farman biplane at military school, Brooklands on 17 October 1916. Posted to 32 Squadron in 1917, he scored his first victory flying a DH5. Later that year, he served as an instructor with the Home Establishment. Among his students was future ace Ira Jones.
In the spring of 1918, Kiddie was back in France flying the SE5a with 74 Squadron, the famed “Tigers”. On the morning of 8 May 1918, just days after scoring his second victory, Kiddie’s flight of six SE5As was pounced on by ten Fokker Tri-Planes. With a badly damaged aircraft, Kiddie was the only pilot to make it back to the aerodrome.
He went on to become a flight commander in the summer of 1918 and scored thirteen more victories by the end of the war. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the citation reading:
A gallant officer, who has proved himself resolute and courageous in aerial combats. He has to his credit six enemy machines and one balloon shot down in flames.
He was also awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre. After the war and his father’s death in 1920, Andrew Cameron “Dixie” Kiddie took over the local bakery in Kimberley.
He died in Kimberley on 27 June 1964 and is buried in the West End cemetery.
Although his parents and everyone in Kimberley knew him as “Cam”, in the RFC and the RAF he was known as “Dixie”.
Pictured is AC “Dixie” Kiddie, the 74 Squadron RAF badge, and senior pilots of 74 Squadron March-June 1918. Seated are: Edward “Mick” Mannock, Keith Caldwell, Everard (adj.), and Wilfred Young, while standing are Ben Roxburgh-Smith and Andrew Kiddie.
Another South African flying ace was to follow Kiddie as a ‘Flying Tiger’ and lead the “Tiger” (74) Squadron during World War 2, that was the famous ‘Sailor Malan’, but that’s another story and ironically he also rests today under a Kimberley sky.
Sources include Wikipedia, The Aerodrome, and the Diamond Fields Advertiser. Kimberley Calls and Recalls.