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John Edward Arnott RAF and Irish Air Corps


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#1 Airshipped

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 07:30 PM

Hi,

I've been recently having a closer look at some of the early Irish Air Corps pilots. Of these, John Edward Arnott is generally cited as the chap who was dismissed/who resigned when his service in the Auxiliaries became known. (Fitzmaurice refers to Arnott as having been chased out of Baldonnel at gunpoint - if I recall correctly Fitzmaurice's series of newspaper articles of the 1950s for the Irish Times).

However, the recent book by Lt Col Michael C O'Malley "Military Aviation in Ireland, 1921-1945" only makes passing reference to the incident.

I bought Arnott's AIR 76/11 but it's quite a scrawl of details overwritten several times over, eg he had a UK address in Darlington for next of kin, but then an address as "Talta", Silchester Rd, Glenageary, Co Dublin [dated 19/01/1922], but is also suggests that his first wife died in 1919 and that he remarried in 1922, so presumably the 1922 Irish address was the most relevant?

However, I was under the impression that the Auxiliary forces were to the police, not the Army, and that Arnott shouldn't still have a live RAF file in 1922 in that regard, but there is reference to service in West Africa, May 1919 to March 1920, a further reference to something illegible June 1920 to Dec 1920, then a reference of "Jan 21 to Nov 21, RIC Auxiliary Division".

This completely alters my understanding of these files: does it mean we can trace other Auxies from their previous military records? It's just I'm aware of a few other ex RFC/RNAS/RAF personnel with Irish connections and who ended up in Ireland during that counter-insurgency. I had always been told that they wouldn't have CWGC write-up etc, as they were not in military service, and thus I hadn't even begun to look at AIR files. Has anyone successfully tracked down any others?

(Btw the final entry to the Arnott file is "report of ex-officers' death in Perth, Australia. Dec '31").

#2 corisande

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 07:52 PM

He joined ADRIC 12 Jan 1921 with ADRIC number 1499 and was posted to I Coy at Castleblayney, Monaghan.

The position of men who joined ADRIC was complex.

Most of them had resigned their commissions and were not in the British forces when they signed up for ADRIC.

However there were a number of other categories an officer could be on in 1920 "unemployed list" (which appears to be him not being paid but available if something comes up with the regular forces), "half pay list" (I struggle to give you a definition of this as I do not understand the difference with "unemployed list, other than monitory)

If a man signed up for the Auxiliaries, as they were perfectly entitle to do, they had to inform the British forces that they had done so. Some continued to draw both half pay and the ADRIC pay, so that if they were involved in wounding or death, then the army found out and insisted on getting the over-payments back.

I have not found an authoritative write up of this anywhere, I have drawn that up from investigating a number of high-profile cases where it was clear from the files what had happened. For example Forde the only ADRIC man to survived Kilmichael, was on half pay list and had neglected to tell the Army Pay office and only came to light when he was injured at Kilmichael

I wouldn't mind having a look at that service record you have, if you can let me have it and you have enough posts, can you PM me for my email address.

#3 IPT

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 09:46 PM

Yes, he seems to have been picking up his pension in Perth;

http://recordsearch....arcode=30813495



Death
ARNOTT JOHN E Male PERTH 1893 1931

#4 Dolphin

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:15 PM

His funeral notice was in The West Australian of 8 December 1931:

ARNOTT. The Friends of the late Mr. John E. Arnott, of 248 St George's-terrace, Perth, are respectfully informed that his remains will be privately interred in the Roman Catholic Cemetery, Karrakatta, at 11.15 o'clock THIS (Tuesday) MORNING. BOWRA and O'DEA, Undertakers, 195 Pier- street, Perth. Tel. B4308. Private, B3376, B2938.

Gareth

#5 jdoyle

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 03:24 PM

However, the recent book by Lt Col Michael C O'Malley "Military Aviation in Ireland, 1921-1945" only makes passing reference to the incident.


ditto in Donal MacCarron's book A View From Above but he has him as Tom Arnott.

there are several family trees for him on Ancestry but none mention his service. One gives his marriage in Oct 1915 to Jane Swainston but no second marriage shown nor death in Australia. One child born in 1916 according to the birth records who appears to have emigrated to Rhodesia
http://boards.ancest...not/240/mb.ashx

His father, Hamilton Hudspith Arnott, was a "Clerk in Holy Orders"

His death cert can be ordered from Western Australian govt website
http://www.bdm.dotag...-2873-5779-1388

#6 corisande

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 03:31 PM

..and I am trying to decipher his service record. In particular

Posted Image


It looks as if he was a cadet and then an officer in naval merchant service before joining RFC

I have tried to get his naval stuff from TNA index but have been unsuccessful, someone else may have more luck

#7 corisande

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 03:57 PM

..and the second marriage is at Rathdown 1922 Jan/Mar.

#8 jdoyle

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 05:06 PM

..and I am trying to decipher his service record. In particular

Posted Image


It looks as if he was a cadet and then an officer in naval merchant service before joining RFC

1911 census has him as an apprentice sailor.

#9 corisande

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 05:32 PM

Yes, but I could not get him in any of the Naval service records on TNA. There always seem so many different sorts of sailor one can have!

Also I found
1922 Mar 23. J E Arnott is granted a short service commission as a Flying Officer. (F H W Guard is the next name on the commissions list)

1922 Sep 6. Flying Officer J. E. Arnott relinquishes his short service commn. on account of ill-health and is permitted to retain the rank of Lieut,


I am fairly sure that is him F H W Guard was the man who was no 2 in ADRIC at the end.

And
1924 John Arnott and his wife Annie of 10 Hume St, Dublin travel to Melbourne, Australia on SS Bendigo. He is a "clerk" and his wife is 2 years younger. They travel 3rd class.
Which is probably him, but we don't know his second wife was Annie

#10 corisande

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 06:14 PM

And question for JDoyle.

On another thread you put

"The Big Fella" chapter deals with Michael Collins and the start of the Irish Air Corps. Mentions ex-RAF men Charlie Russell and Jack McSweeney, the marching of ex-Auxiliary Captain Tom Arnott to the mailboat (he'd been lined up to test fly the plane acquired for Collins).

Do you have a date for that incident. The window has to be narrow between Arnott leaving the ADRIC in Nov 1921 and joining RAF in Mar 1922. Collins of course died in Aug 1922

And if I try to narrow it further I get
Irish military aviation began in 1922 when a single-engined biplane, a Martinsyde Type A mark II was bought to permit Gen Michael Collins to escape from London should the Treaty talks with Britain fail. The treaty was signed in London on 6 December 1921, so the aircraft must have flown to London by end Nov 1921, and Arnott only left ADRIC in Nov 1921. So my (perhaps flawed) logic is leading me to suppose Arnott walked straight from ADRIC to Irish Air Corps!

#11 IPT

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 09:57 PM

Is this our boy?

The West Australian - Tuesday 26 January 1932

EX-R.F.C. OFFICER'S DEATH.

Unaccountable Circumstances.

The Acting-Coroner (Mr. T. 'Y. A. Lang, PJtf.), conducted an inquest in the City Courthouse yesterday into the death of John Edward Arnott (35), a commission agent, who was formerly an officer of the Royal Flying Corps. Evidence disclosed that death was due to arsenical poison ing, but the Acting-Coroner was unable to find how or when it was administered. Sergeant Lynes examined the witnesses. Mr. C. E. Stacey (Government Toxi cologist) said thnt the contents of de ceased's stomach, which were sent to him from the Perth Hospital, were found to contain 11.2 grains of arsenic. Two grains were sufficient to cause death. Dr. John William Horan said that he first met deceased about two years ago, when he was coming to the State from Melbourne aboard the Karoola. He had frequently received friendly calls from him since then, and, about nine months ago, he asked witness to guarantee the pay ment of interest contributions on a loan of 175. On the night of December 4 last, witness was called to a house in Ord street, West Perth, to prescribe treatment for deceased, who was suffering from vomiting attacks. - Deceased refused to go to hospital, so witness ordered him doses of chlorodyne. Witness was again called to see deceased the next morning. He then summoned two other doctors for a consultation, after which deceased was removed to the Perth' Hospital. Late in the afternoon, witness advised deceased to have his affairs fixed up, and deceased said something like, 'Am I as bad as all that?' Witness replied: 'You are very ill.' Mr. Mervyn McKnight, from whose home de ceased had been removed, was called to the hospital, and a will was drawn up. Later, witness heard that deceased had died. Witness had not the slightest idea that deceased was suffering from arsenical poisoning. The symptoms of this and pto maine poisoning were very much alike. Edward Clive Vickers, an indeit agent and business broker, said that he nad known deceased for about two years. Seven or eight months previously to his death, witness negotiated a loan of 175 for de ceased, which was to be repaid within two years, with interest at 20 per cent. Deceased said that he would be travelling about a good deal, so he appointed witness as his agent, with authority to receive war pension payments at the rate of about 42 a year. This money was sufficient to meet interest payments. No security was secured for the. loan, but deceased said that he had taken out an insurance policy for 250 owing to the fact that he was doing some flying. 'A Very Moody Man.' Miss Marjory McKnight, a school tea cher, residing in Ord-street, West Perth, said that deceased came to the State about two years ago, having been transferred from the Melbourne to the Perth office of T. M. Burke and Co., land agents. Owing to the depression, he lost his employment with the firm in April, 1930, and since then had only secured a few weeks work selling forestry bonds. He had visited the home of her people on many occasions. He was a very moody man. When his wife was on her way from the Eastern States to England, she called at deceased's request to see witness's people. His wife, de ceased had said, did not like living in Aus tralia. About 5.40 r-jn. on December 4. deceased called at the house and com plained of having been ill from vomiting attacks. He was asked to stay for tea, during which curried ejjgs were served, but he ate only a portion of bis meal. He mentioned . something about having had tinned salmon for lunch. During the even ing witness got a bottle of soda water for deceased to try to stop his vomiting, but the attacks continued. Deceased was very unwilling that a doctor should be called in, but this was done without his con currence. Dr. Horan prescribed treatment by chlorodyne. In the morning deceased could eat no breakfast and was eventually taken away to the Perth Hospital. Mervyn McKnight. solicitor, said that on two occasions after Dr. Horan's first visit, he endeavoured to administer chlo rodyne to deceased, according to the doc tor's directions, but deceased could not keep it down. On the following after noon, witness was called by Dr. Horan to the Perth Hospital, where he again saw deceased. Deceased said that he wan ted to draw up his will. He mentioned that he bad an equity in an insurance policy, and said that he wanted all his estate left to witness's sister. Doreen. Wit ness then drew up the will, which wassigned and witnessed by Dr. Horan. . 'I find,' said the Acting Coroner, in recording his finding, 'that deceased died on December 5 from arsenical poisoning, there being no evidence to show how the poison was administered.'









#12 corisande

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 06:28 AM

IPT

Congratulations, a most remarkable find :)

As you know, the lives of many of the men who joined ADRIC were "colourful".

I am sure that there should be more on this somewhere, and will have a look today

The circumstances of the supposed incident with Collins aircraft is far from clear to me. The timing is key. I am not sure where the aircraft that Collins had to get him out of London, if the Treaty talks went pear shaped, was based. In Nov or Dec 1921 I don't think it could have been based in Baldonnel as I assume that was held by British - but I could be wrong

If Arnott was "marched out of Baldonnel at gunpoint" the impression I get is that it was after the Irish had taken over the airfield, and the British had vacated it. Does anyone know that date. And at the other end of the scale has to be before Collins death in Aug 1922.

Maenwhile Arnott was a serving RAF officer 23 Mar 1922 to 6 Sep 1922

#13 jdoyle

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 08:07 AM

surprised that he didn't join the RNAS given his maritime service. Can't see any naval records for him on TNA.

Possibly him
http://www.london-ga...es/752/page.pdf

A Jane Arnott died in Newry in Q4 1920. Dob circa 1884 which ties in with the birth year of Jane Swainston. Not too far from his Castleblayney posting but timing doesn't match.

#14 corisande

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 08:16 AM

Yes, the fact I could not find any naval records surprised me - he must have been a Merchant Navy officer before joining the RAF

What he is looking like to me now is click this link

There are a lot of details to cross-check, but it gives a working hypothesis. I have had a contact from the family now, but have to ascertain what they know.

#15 jdoyle

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 06:58 AM

And question for JDoyle.

On another thread you put

"The Big Fella" chapter deals with Michael Collins and the start of the Irish Air Corps. Mentions ex-RAF men Charlie Russell and Jack McSweeney, the marching of ex-Auxiliary Captain Tom Arnott to the mailboat (he'd been lined up to test fly the plane acquired for Collins).

Do you have a date for that incident. The window has to be narrow between Arnott leaving the ADRIC in Nov 1921 and joining RAF in Mar 1922. Collins of course died in Aug 1922

And if I try to narrow it further I get
Irish military aviation began in 1922 when a single-engined biplane, a Martinsyde Type A mark II was bought to permit Gen Michael Collins to escape from London should the Treaty talks with Britain fail. The treaty was signed in London on 6 December 1921, so the aircraft must have flown to London by end Nov 1921, and Arnott only left ADRIC in Nov 1921. So my (perhaps flawed) logic is leading me to suppose Arnott walked straight from ADRIC to Irish Air Corps!

there is mention of the aircraft being shipped to Ireland in June 1922, being assembled and finished in silver dope by October 1922 with the national colours applied to the tail and "The Big Fella" painted on the nose. At that point the info re Arnott being lined up for the test flight and discovered to be ex-auxie kicks in.





#16 corisande

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 07:09 AM

Thanks for that. As you say it fits together.

I have Arnott's dates with Irish Air Corps now, and the time line is this

1922 Sep 6. Flying Officer J. E. Arnott relinquishes his short service commn. on account of ill-health and is permitted to retain the rank of Lieut,

1922 Sep 15.
Arnott joins the Irish Air Corps. This is only 9 days after resigning from the RAF on health grounds. One could speculate that Arnott wouldn't have left the RAF unless the position offered in the Irish air service entailed a better offer than he had with the RAF, plus he had a new Irish wife. There were no advertisements for the early Irish aviation jobs: instead suitable candidates were sourced by word of mouth, which suggests that Arnott's background would have been known.

1922 Dec 21. Leaves Irish Air Corps. Apparently after being forced to resign because of his ADRIC connection, but I have yet to substantiate this. He may have been frog marched to the docks, he may have resigned for ill heath, or he may have resigned for any reason unknown.

1924 Jan. I don't know what he did for the next year, but he takes the boat to Australia a year after this in Jan 1924

I am open to be convinced either way. O'Malley seems the only person to have tried to substantiate what happened and does not seem to have been able to. O'Malley says in his book. "Air Corps folklore reflects the popular belief that Captain John Arnott, the seventh ex-RAF pilot recruited, (on 15 September 1922), was lucky to escape with his life when 'dismissed' on or about 21 December the same year. Allegedly he had been identified as a former Auxiliary and was requested at gunpoint to take the mail boat to Britain - and did so!"

#17 gaelgoir

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 08:21 PM

The Irish Air Corps by Joe Maxwell says:

Martinsyde went into liquidation in 1921.........assets acquired by Airdisco..........plane purchased....flew for first time 24-11-1921.....kept at readiness near London until Treaty signed 21-12-1921. Three days later plane flown to croydon to await delivery to Ireland. Delivered in crates to dublin 16-6-1922 used for instructional airframe after October 1927 Scrapped 1936.