In an historic dogfight known as "Two Against Twenty," John Everard Gurdon and his observer, Anthony Thornton, together with Alfred Atkey and his observer, Charles Gass, encountered 20 German scouts during the evening of 7 May 1918. In the epic battle that followed, Atkey and Gass shot down five enemy aircraft while Gurdon and Thornton knocked down three. Gurdon and Atkey were both flying the Bristol F.2b.
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Lt. John Everard Gurdon.
This officer is a brilliant fighting pilot who on all occasions shows great determination with entire disregard of personal danger. He has personally destroyed nine enemy machines. On a recent date when on offensive patrol with another Bristol fighter he attacked a formation of seven enemy machines; one of these he shot down in flames. The enemy were then reinforced by two other formations, which brought their number up to twenty. Fighting continued for about half an hour when the Bristols broke off the engagement, their ammunition being exhausted. Only seven enemy machines remained, many having been seen to spin away, and one was shot down by this officer.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 3 August 1918 (30827/9200)