Richard Bell-Davies, VC, Rescues Gilbert Formby Smylie at Ferrijik Junction, Bulgaria, 19 November 1915

© the artist's estate. Image credit: Fleet Air Arm Museum

How you can use this image

This image can be used for non-commercial research or private study purposes, and other UK exceptions to copyright permitted to users based in the United Kingdom under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised. Any other type of use will need to be cleared with the rights holder(s).

Review the copyright credit lines that are located underneath the image, as these indicate who manages the copyright (©) within the artwork, and the photographic rights within the image.

The collection that owns the artwork may have more information on their own website about permitted uses and image licensing options.

Review our guidance pages which explain how you can reuse images, how to credit an image and how to find images in the public domain or with a Creative Commons licence available.


Add or edit a note on this artwork that only you can see. You can find notes again by going to the ‘Notes’ section of your account.

Richard Bell-Davies was the second naval airman to win the Victoria Cross in World War I. He had joined the Royal Navy in 1901 and would have remained a seaman officer had he not become captivated by aviation in 1910. Bell-Davies learned to fly at his own expense in 1911. At RNAS Eastchurch when the war broke out, he served in France and then Gallipoli. Returning from a bombing raid on Bulgarian targets on 19 November 1915, Bell-Davies saw that a fellow pilot, Flight Sub-Lieutenant Smylie, had been shot down behind enemy lines at Ferrijik. Under enemy fire, Bell-Davies landed, crammed Smylie into the fuselage of his single-seater aircraft and flew both of them back to base.

Fleet Air Arm Museum



Richard Bell-Davies, VC, Rescues Gilbert Formby Smylie at Ferrijik Junction, Bulgaria, 19 November 1915




oil on canvas


H 76.5 x W 102 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased from the artist, 1980

Work type



See a tag that’s incorrect or offensive? Challenge it and notify Art UK.

Help improve Art UK. Tag artworks and verify existing tags by joining the Tagger community.

Normally on display at

Fleet Air Arm Museum

RNAS Yeovilton, Ilchester, Somerset BA22 8HT England

This venue is open to the public. Not all artworks are on display. If you want to see a particular artwork, please contact the venue.
View venue