Lieutenant Jacob Loupinsky

Biography of Lieutenant Jacob Loupinsky

Jacob Loupinsky was born on the 23rd of January 1895, in Nikolayev, Russia (now Ukraine). The Loupinsky family were Jewish. Over previous decades, the Russian Tsarist governments had become increasingly intolerant towards Jews, and had banned Russian Empire Jews from living East of the Dnieper River. Nikolayev lies west of the Dnieper, Jacob and his family were legally allowed to reside there. While this intolerance towards their religion undoubtedly would have made life hard for the family, living in Nikolayev did have one advantage. Jacob’s father – Isaac - was a merchant, so it is likely that he benefitted greatly from living in Nikolayev - the Russian Empire’s third largest port during this period.

Jacob joined the University of Glasgow in 1913, as an engineering student. In his first year, Jacob took classes in Chemistry, Natural Philosophy, Maths, and a Physics Laboratory class. Jacob matriculated for his second year in 1915, and studied Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Engineering Class II, and Drawing. Jacob should have been well on his way to graduating with a BSc in Engineering, however, he instead put his studies on hold to join the Royal Flying Corps. He was made a temporary 2nd Lieutenant of the Royal Flying Corps on the 13th November 1917.

Serving with the RFC was perilous. New recruits often received very little training, and could go from practicing in a wooden impersonation of a plane, to flying the real thing in a very short period. Jacob’s experiences during the First World War reflected the hazardous nature of the job. On the 5th February 1918, Jacob and his partner had been practicing taking photographs from the air when his plane struck a ditch and overturned in a field near Le Hamel. Shortly after joining the newly established Royal Air Force, on the 7th of May 1918, Jacob’s plane overshot the landing and ran into another machine after a road and rail recce. On the 7th June 1918, his plane landed heavily after being bombed. On the 10th July 1918, a photo recce lead to Jacob being wounded by the enemy and taken Prisoner of War in Bavaria.

Jacob was repatriated to Britain on the 13th December 1918. Despite his numerous near misses during the war, Jacob decided to stay with RAF after the Armistice. Jacob did not return to the University, and instead settled in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire. His accidental death at an RAF open day on the 26th of July 1919 was reported in the Lincolnshire Echo:

“A fatal accident marred the championship sports held at Doncaster on Saturday in connection with the Northern area of the RAF at which competitors were present from Scotland and as far south as Lincoln. A young Russian flying officer, Lieutenant Loupinsky, was starting up a machine for a colleague prior to himself flying back to Tadcaster, when he was struck on the head by the propeller and instantly killed.”

Jacob Loupinsky is buried at Doncaster (Hyde Park) Cemetery, and is remembered in the University of Glasgow Memorial Chapel, and on the war memorial plaque in the James Watt Building, which remembers engineering students who fell in the war.


Lieutenant Jacob Loupinsky
Rank: Lieutenant
Regiment: Royal Air Force
Degree: N/A
Awards: N/A
Comments: Prisoner of war. Later killed
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/515
Photo ID: N/A


University of Glasgow Registry Records: Matriculation slips 1913-14 and 1915-16 (R8/5/34/4 and R8/5/36/3)

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

British Newspaper Archive

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