Posted 22 January 2011 - 07:52 AM
I came across the following report in a Nottingham local newspaper of the burial of two men who were killed in the Zeebrugge raid on 23rd April 1918:
"DIED AT ZEEBRUGGE
“NOTTINGHAM HEROES BURIED AT BASFORD
“Two local heroes of the Zeebrugge operations on St. George’s Day were laid to rest on Monday in the quiet cemetery at Basford – George Smith (Royal Marines) and Ernest Charles Pool (Royal Naval Air Service).
Smith, who had served 15 years in the Marines, was a native of Hyson Green, his home being in Carver-street. He succumbed to wounds sustained in action.
Pool was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Pool, of Milner-road, Sherwood. Twenty years of age, he was educated at High-pavement Secondary School, of whose staff his father is a well-known member. On leaving school he entered the employment of Messrs. Boots Ltd., and acquiring a knowledge of chemistry went into a scientific branch of the R.N.A.S. He was killed by a shell, and his parents received the following letter from his commanding officer:- “The officers and men are proud of the part played by your son in the now famous action against the Belgian coast and hope the knowledge that he volunteered for so gallant an action will be a source of comfort to you in your loss.”
“By desire of Mr. and Mrs. Pool there was no military honours at their son’s internment. A number of High-pavement teachers (including Miss A. Swann, Miss Tinsley, Miss G. Tinsley, Mr. H. Evans, Mr. C. Coggins, M. Jiordan) were present, as well as some of the scholars.
“Full military honours were bestowed on Smith’s internment. Among those present were the Mayor and Sheriff (Mr. J.G. Small and Mr. H. Offiler); the firing party came from the 2nd Battalion of the Notts. Volunteer Regiment; representatives of the Royal Marines followed the cortege; and the roads to the cemetery were lined by a sympathetic crowd. The coffin, borne on a gun-carriage, was covered with the Union Jack and four beautiful wreaths of lilies, narcissi, and pinks. The ceremony was conducted by the Rev. C.D. Gordon, vicar of St. Stephen’s Church, Bobbers Mill-road.”
(‘Nottinghamshire Weekly Express’, 3rd May 1918.)
It struck me as odd that Pool was still shown as a member of the Royal Naval Air Service after the creation of the Royal Air Force earlier in the month. But I attributed that to a journalistic error. However, a check with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission gave the following result:
F/12787 Air Mechanic 1st Class Ernest Charles Pool, Royal Naval Air Service, H.M.S. "President II", died 23rd April 1918. Aged 20. Son of Thomas and Edith Marian Pool, of 13, Milner Rd., Sherwood, Nottingham. Buried Nottingham (New Basford) Cemetery.
(For information, Smith's details are: PLY/11530 Private George Charles Smith, (RMR./B/965). 4th R.M. Bn. H.M.S. "Vindictive", died 23rd April 1918. Aged 33. Son of Mrs. Rebecca Smith, of 18, Carver St., Hyson Green, Nottingham, and the late John Smith. Buried Nottingham (New Basford) Cemetery).
My question is this, if the R.N.A.S. and Royal Flying Corps had merged to form the Royal Air Force on 1st April 1918, why is an individual still shown as a member of one of the defunct organisations? Was it simply that it was too early after the establishment of the R.A.F. to ascribe a new nomenclature to each and every sub-unit and individual? That is as far as my thinking goes - but does anyone have a better idea?