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LtColSki USMC0302

RNAS

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Hello,

Just received a rather nice trio in the mail. The 1914/15 Star is named up to an AM2 in the RNAS.

Pulled the available record off the NA web site and have been attempting to decipher it. He is noted as having enlisted in November 1914 with initial service at Pembroke II, then listed as President II in April 1915 and what appears to be Dunkirk Wing No 1 with a paranthetical notation that looks like Somme. The date on that is Feb 1917. He is then listed as Daedalus (Dunkirk) where he is noted as transfering to the RAF, with a follow-on note of President II, No 4 Wing 11 Squadron.

He was rated as an AM II, then AM I and was transfered to the RAF as a Cpl. On PRO document AIRI/819/204/4/1316, which came with the trio, his RNAS trade classification is noted as Engineer, remustered to Fitter (A.E.) in the RAF. That document also notes him as a Leading Mech remustered to Cpl Mech. The term of enlistment is noted as O.E. In the Badges section he is noted as qualifying for Badge No G.1. on 23-11-17.

A few questions for the group:

- Anyone have any idea on what these Wings/Squadrons did, e.g. what type AC they operated?

- What does O.E. stand for in relation to term of enlistment?

- What is Badge G.1.?

Any help and/or guidance on further research appreciated. Thanks.

~Dan

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Hi Dan

What a great group!

Also at Kew (not online) will be his RAF service record in Air 79.

Badge G1 is his 1st good conduct badge.

Pembroke II was RNAS Eastchurch on Sheppy. Its hard to keep track of his movements from the service record as they were kept on card indexes that have been weeded.

1 wing was complicated (the RNAS were like that), by 1917 it was operating Sopwith triplanes, 1 1/2 strutters and pups.

11sqn became 211 sqn RAF, it was formed and disbanded a few times so the exact date he was in it alters things completely. 1917/18 it was a fighter sqn after March 18 it had DH4s and DH9s.

Fred

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Great stuff! Thanks Fred. It really is a nice group, each medal in its packet, in the original box of issue and all three contained in a red box. I've never seen a box like that? I'm assuming it is an "after-market" box but then I'm not exactly an expert on boxes of issue. :D Anyway, I'm quite pleased. Hopefully, there will be more to his records at the NA than what I was able to get on-line. Thanks again for the information.

Cheers,

~Dan

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Dan

The first 11 Sqn RNAS was formed at Dunkerque 8/3/17 moving to Hondschoote 11/7/17 & disbanded 27/8/17

then

10/03/18 reformed @ Petit Synthe as 11 (Naval) Sqn RNAS

01/04/18 redisignated as 211 Sqn RAF

24/10/18 to Iris Farm

03/12/18 to Thuilles

15/03/19 to Wyton as cadre

24/0619 disbanded

Equipment

DH 4 3/18 - 4/18

DH 9 3/18 - 3/19

All The Best

Chris

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Thanks for the information Chris. Nice looking aircraft. Can you recommend a good book to give me some background on RNAS operations in this theater?

Thanks again,

~Dan

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Dan

If I come across any book on RNAS ops I'll let you know - my info is from a book listing movements of RAF sqns of which all RNAS sqns became on 1 Apr 1918.

All The Best

Chris

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Can you recommend a good book to give me some background on RNAS operations in this theater?

I would hesitate to blow my own trumpet, but damn it, I need the royalties!

"A history of No.10 Squadron RNAS in WW1" from Schiffer, available from Bushwood Books in the UK. ISBN 0-7643-2055-6.

Whilst primarily a history of a specific squadron, there is background information relating to the RNAS Wing Structure at Dunkerque in 1916 and 1917.

A better soution to your problem would be a book covering the RNAS fortnightly Summaries and Communiques. These give a chatty outline of the work done by the Dunkerque Wings. I did approach Grub Street with a proposal for such a book which would fit very well with the existing books relating to the RFC Communiques, but was told in no uncertain terms that there was no demand for such a book.

I am at present considering releasing these myself in pdf format on a CD ROM with copious end notes, but in the interim, you will find the original documents at the National Archive at Kew. You will find lots of details of anti-submarine patrols, escort missions, fighter patrols, bombing raids and reconnaissance missions. The only problem is that often you will need some background information to know which Wing and/or squadron is being mentioned.

A visit to the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton would also be worthwhile, the research room has a couple of very nice photograph albums relating to No.1 Wing. The visit would have to be "by appointment".

If you have any specific questions about 1 Wing or No.11 Squadron please ask. I don't think you will find much about No.11 Squadron written anywhere, but I do have a complete copy of their 1917 daily records.

Mike

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Here are some others:

NAVAL AVIATION IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR: Its Impact and Influence

R.D. Layman

FIRST NAVAL AIR WAR

Terry C. Treadwell

THE WAR IN THE AIR, the Official History

Sir Walter Raleigh and H Jones

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Belay that last suggestion.

Whilst "NAVAL AVIATION IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR: Its Impact and Influence by

R.D. Layman" is an excellent book that I would recommend to any student of the RNAS and is available remarkably cheaply, it is not concerned with the RNAS presence at Dunkerque and will tell you nothing about 1 Wing.

"FIRST NAVAL AIR WAR by Terry C. Treadwell" is not recommended at all. It is mostly a "lightweight" picture book with generally inaccurate captions.

"THE WAR IN THE AIR, the Official History by Sir Walter Raleigh and H Jones" this is a 5 Volume set - it does have snippets relating to the RNAS at Dunkerque and in Flanders but won't tell you what you want to know. The books are available in paperback form as an IWM imprint (is that the right terminology?) and can be obtained from Naval & Military Press at about £18.50 each.

A thought does cross my mind, Mike O'Connor's "Battleground Europe" series is going to be expanded with a book covering the North Sea Coast - this will give you most of the background information that you need. When I last spoke to Mike in April he was well into the work - I suspect the book might hit the shelves within the next 6 months to a year. Mike's books are published in paperback by Pen & Sword and are very reasonably priced indeed.

Mike

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A better soution to your problem would be a book covering the RNAS fortnightly Summaries and Communiques. These give a chatty outline of the work done by the Dunkerque Wings. I did approach Grub Street with a proposal for such a book which would fit very well with the existing books relating to the RFC Communiques, but was told in no uncertain terms that there was no demand for such a book.

I am at present considering releasing these myself in pdf format on a CD ROM with copious end notes, but in the interim, you will find the original documents at the National Archive at Kew. You will find lots of details of anti-submarine patrols, escort missions, fighter patrols, bombing raids and reconnaissance missions. The only problem is that often you will need some background information to know which Wing and/or squadron is being mentioned.

As I was writing before my computer crashed...

The only fitting response to the comment from Grub Street is spherical and in the plural! The RNAS have been sadly neglected in the way of books and the communiqués would, as you say, be a good complement to the RFC ones. I look forward to reading your book.

Now I'll also add: thank you for the critique of the other books, they are on my list of getting around to buy and it’s interesting to read an expert review.

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Thanks for the information and the various opinions. As always, it's nice to be the beneficiary of others expertise in an area in which I must admit I'm somewhat lacking. :)

Don't know if the man in question would have had his named mentioned in any of the reports which you have access to Mike, but I'd appreciate it if you would keep the name in mind, in case you ever do come across it.

The man I'm researching is F2226 F.V. Conway, RNAS. Subsequently promoted and transferred to the RAF as 20226 Sgt Conway, RAF although it would appear that his first name changed as his initials in the RAF were V.G.

As noted above he was a fitter / leading mechanic. I'm basically trying to get an idea of what he would have been doing and the aircraft he would have worked on (got some great stuff already thanks to you guys).

Anyway, once again, I appreciate the effort by all of you in getting me started. Thanks and please keep it coming should you think of anything else.

Cheers,

~Dan

P.S.

I should add that Mike's book idea sounds like a pretty good thing to me. :D

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Dan,

unless your man flew as a gunlayer (bomb aimer, rear gunner) or as one of the incredibly few non-commissioned RNAS pilots he is unlikely to be mentioned. it's a great shame that the infrastructure of the RNAS and indeed the RFC is hardly ever mentioned.

Mike

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He’s not mentioned in R Sturtivant & G Page, 'Royal Navy Aircraft Serials and Units.'

Just to confirm his number, in the RAF was 202226?

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No mention in his record (what I was able to download anyway) of him doing anything other than turning wrenches, or should I say spanners. :D

His number was indeed 20226 in the RAF. He stared out as F2226 in the RNAS.

Cheers,

~Dan

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Just to jump in here - what records are available from the NA website on RNAS men? I have been having a look but struggling to find anything, I have a pair of paybooks (one Army type and one Navy type) to an Edmund William Browning 13749 who was also RNAS Dunkerque, he was with 214 Squadron after his transfer (as 213587) to the RAF but I dont know if that had been an RNAS squadron.

Thanks

Alistair

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Just to jump in here - what records are available from the NA website on RNAS men? I have been having a look but struggling to find anything, I have a pair of paybooks (one Army type and one Navy type) to an Edmund William Browning 13749 who was also RNAS Dunkerque, he was with 214 Squadron after his transfer (as 213587) to the RAF but I dont know if that had been an RNAS squadron.

Thanks

Alistair

Alistair,

Not sure what the actual document is called, but it is basically a service history listing ships and stations served on, period of service and character and ability. I put my man's name and number into the NA "seamen's papers" part of the WW1 documents and this is what turned up. I'll try and give you a more coherent answer once I get home and can get at my copy of Williamson.

Cheers,

~Dan

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there is a book printed in 1969 called "the naval air service 1908-1918" by the navy records society approx 700 pages which contains a vast amount of background information concerning the RNAS regards John :)

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there is a book printed in 1969 called "the naval air service 1908-1918"  by the navy records society approx 700 pages which contains a vast amount of background information concerning the RNAS regards John :)

Browning's correct RNAS number is F13587, I don't know where you got 13749, but that may be a ships book number, although the number seems very high. I know that Brownung was at Dunkirk prior to 16th November 1917 on which date he was sent back to UK and admitted to the Brool War Hospital, Woolwich. I can't seem to find the info on what his problem was at this time but I should have it somewhere.

Clearly he must have returned to Dunkirk at some later date but I have no info on this.

Regards Duncan

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214 Sqn RAF was 14 Sqn RNAS and operated Handley Page bombers.

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214 Sqn RAF was 14 Sqn RNAS and operated Handley Page bombers.

Sorry for my typos above. He is of course Browning and the hospital was the Brook War Hospital. Perhaps I've been drinking too much - tea that is!

Regards Duncan

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Hi,

The number 13749 is noted in his navy pay book (the earlier of the 2 books) it is in the space marked official number although the official has been scored out and SB written above - so I guess it may be a ships book number (is this different from his RNAS number?) - this book was started on 1 Dec 16, and the first mention of 214 sqn comes on 1 Apr 18, prior to that I now see it does mention No 14 Sqn and before that (til 1 Dec 17) it has 7 asq. The second book doesnt open until 12 Nov 18 and has him as 214 Sqn RAF with terms of service "hostilities only ex-RNAS". Their is also a RNAS pass for him to proceed back to Dunkirk 28 Nov 17 which I guess is his return after his hospital spell - and 13 Nov 17 has mention of Trafalgar House as his place in the pay section.

Thanks and sorry for diverting this thread from the original serviceman

Alistair

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"FIRST NAVAL AIR WAR by Terry C. Treadwell" is not recommended at all. It is mostly a "lightweight" picture book with generally inaccurate captions.

A thought does cross my mind, Mike O'Connor's "Battleground Europe" series is going to be expanded with a book covering the North Sea Coast - this will give you most of the background information that you need. When I last spoke to Mike in April he was well into the work - I suspect the book might hit the shelves within the next 6 months to a year. Mike's books are published in paperback by Pen & Sword and are very reasonably priced indeed.

Mike

Having just read Treadwell's 'The First Air War' (with Alan C Wood) I understand where you are coming from.

As for Mike O'Connor's book I see, from the Pen & Sword web site, that the book you allude to is probably 'Airfields and Airmen of the Channel Coast' in the Battleground WW1 series which can be reserved.

My interest in this period is part family and part research for an article I intend writing for the Fleet Air Arm Association (FAAA) Journal 'The Airey Fairey' :rolleyes: of which I am the editor. This article will be on Henry Allingham, our oldest FAAA member whom I had the greatest pleasure, and honor, in meeting recently. I know that Henry was with Naval 12 Squadron used largely for training, I think.

I have just finished reading 'In the Teeth of the Wind' which is the diary of Squadron Leader C P O Bartlett DSC and brought into print by his son Nick (Lt Cdr. RN Retired) under the Leo Cooper imprint of Pen & Sword Books ISBN 0-85052-318-4.

Sqdn. Ldr. Bartlett flew with Naval 5 operating from Couderkerque and Petite-Synthe which makes this book worth a read for those interested in RNAS operations of this period.

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PetrolPigeon,

I prefer Bartlett's original book "Bomber Pilot 1916 -18" which has different photographs which are more accurately captioned. Both Bomber Pilot (second hand) and "In the teeth of the wind" (new) are very cheap and as you found, will not dissapoint.

Mike O'Connor's books cover RNAS, RFC and RAF and are absolute bargains. They are superb and such good value I cannot praise them highly enough.

Naval 12 was effectively a "Pilot's Pool" but pilots were sometimes called on to fly operational patrols, usually high cover to discourage 2-seaters from encroaching on Dunkerque. I cannot recall any combats but several pilots were lost to enemy action.

The squadron flew Nieuport 11s, Nieuport 17Bis, Sopwith Pup, Sopwith Triplane, Sopwith Camel and DH4s. Usually, when a new pilot arrived fresh from Dover he would get a chance at most machines but quickly be put onto a specific type, Nieport 17Bis if he was destined for Naval 6, or Pup if he was intended for Naval 3, Naval 4 or Naval 9, Triplane if he was heading to Naval 1, 8, 9 or 10.

Once Camels became available the pilots could be trained up for Naval 4 and Naval 6 initially, with the others following as they converted.

The DH4s arrived in 1918 for pilots destined for the reformed Naval 6 and Naval 11 bomber squarons.

It's interesting that the squadron employed Sopwith Triplanes right to the end, mostly for a newbies' initial flights, but one of the instructors kept a Triplane as his personal machine and flew it in preference to the Camels.

Mike

p.s. I thought the FAAM journal was called "Jabberwock", how long ago did it change to the Airey Fairey?

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Thanks for the info Mike and the PM. Sorry I hadn't picked up on your reply sooner but broadband slow and suffers drop outs at weekends and I was having a good look around other places here in this excellent forum.

PetrolPigeon,

p.s. I thought the FAAM journal was called "Jabberwock", how long ago did it change to the Airey Fairey?

Ah! 'Jabberwock' is published by The Society of Friends of the Fleet Air Arm Museum, along with a Newsletter. 'The Airey Fairey' is the Journal of the Fleet Air Arm Association which is open to all ranks veterans and to those still serving.

Just to confuse further, The Fleet Air Arm Officers' Association publish, 'Fly Navy', The Journal of the Fleet Air Arm Officers Association.

BTW Henry Allingham appears in today's Observer with a piece discussing the arguments for and against State Funerals for each of the 11 still surviving veterans when they, as we say, 'cross the bar'. I tend to agree with the views of Henry, the First World War Veterans Association and the Royal British Legion on this.

Worth a thread here somewhere perhaps but under which sub-group and heading?

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