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Bermudian Aviators-Help Wanted


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#1 aodhdubh

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 11:37 AM

Hallo, all.

I'd greatly appreciate any information or help on filling in details behind the names of these aervicemen, all Bermudians who became, or sought to become, naval or military aircrew during the Great War. I've some articles on a few, a number of photos, but, other than Major Montgomery-Moore, who's service began in the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps, and who became OC of the Bermuda Volunteer Engineers between the Wars, a position he remained in through WWII, and whose life was well-documented in the book, "That's My Bloody Plane", information is a little scarce. There's not easy access to records, from Bermuda (though, I've been living in Glasgow for six months, and might better be able to follow leads I'm given, now).

Anyway, i'd like to fill in my records, and put more detail on my web site. any help given, I'd appreciate.

Sean

http://www.geocities...in/warvets.html

Lieutenant Bernard V.S. Smith
Lieutenant Willard M.B. Skinner
2 Lieutenant Cyril Nelmes
2 Lieutenant Stanley Stone
2 Lieutenant Harry C. Curtis (RNAS/RAF)
Squadron Leader A. Rowe Spurling, DFC
H. Martin Godet
Major Cecil Montgomery-Moore, DFC*
2 Lieutenant Bernard Logier Wilkinson**
Flt. Cadet Reuben M. Dickinson ( 2/LT, 15/2/19)
Sgt. C.H. Young (Transf. RFC, 2 Aug., 1916)
Reginald Darrell (RFC Canada)
Robert V. Darrell (RFC Canada)
Herman Leseur (RFC Canada)
A.E. Roberts (RFC Canada)

KILLED IN ACTION
2 Lieutenant Joseph Watlington
2 Lieutenant Ewart C. Brown
2 Lieutenant Lennock de Graaf Godet

NOTED JOINING CANADIAN AIR SERVICE IN 1918
Harold Hutchings
Norman Frith



*Served after Great War and through WW2 as OC Bermuda Volunteer Engineers, and CO of Bermuda Flying School during WW2.
**Served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.

#2 Dolphin

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 01:15 PM

Sean

Lt W M B Skinner, of No 7 Sqn RFC, was flying RE 8 B5040 with Lt C E Prescott on a Contact Patrol over the Ypres battlefield when they were shot up and forced to land on 12 October 1917.

2Lt H J Watlington, of No 70 Sqn RFC, was killed in action with AMII Edward Gilchrist on 6 July 1917 while flying in Sopwith 1 Strutter B714 on a photo reconnaisance mission. Ltn Hans Klein of Jasta 4 was credited with a victory over a Sopwith 2 seater over Ypres-Zonnebeke; it was the 14th of his eventual 22 victories.

Lt E C Brown of No 48 Training Squadron RFC, (formerly 38th Bn Canadian Infantry) was killed in an accident while flying Maurice Farman Shorthorn B4657 on 14 August 1917.

Lt L deG Godet of No 55 Sqn RAF was killed in action with 2Lt Arthur Haley (formerly 3rd Bn, Essex Regiment) on 1 June 1918 while flying DH 4 A7482. The airmen were on a bombing raid over Metz when their aircraft broke up in the air. A victory was credited to Ltn Georg Weiner of Kest 3; it was the fourth of his eventual nine victories.

Lt Godet had a bad landing in DH 4 A2145 of No 55 Sqn on 26 August 1917; the aircraft was sent away to be repaired and then issued to No 25 Sqn on 15 October. A7482, the aeroplane in which Lt Godet was killed, had served with No 25 Sqn before being transferred to No 55 Sqn - a photograph of the machine while with No 25 Sqn appears in The DH 4/DH 9 File.

I hope this helps.

Gareth

#3 aodhdubh

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 07:07 PM

Thank you, again, Gareth,

Actually, I've got a lot of material on Watlington. His family is a notable, old one, in Bermuda, and three of his nephews were pilots in the RAF, or RCAF during WW2. Watlington was also a member of the First Contingent of the BVRC, sent to 1 Lincolns in the Spring of 1915. He was given a commission, and chose to take it in the RFC (as did A.R. Spurling). His family privately published a Family Narratives, and his letters home, during the War, were a prominent chapter. The indication given there, however, was that the cause of his crash was mysterious, and that engine failure was suspected, so what you've told me here, about him, still manages to be news, to me. The aeroplane, as I recall, crashed behind German lines. The Germans recovered his crewman's body, and gave him a military burial. Watlington's body was pinned beneath wreckage and, due to being under fire, the Germans were unable to recover it. He has no known grave.

I don't have much on Godet, except a couple of period articles in the press, basically noting his death. One records that further information was sought by his father from a friend in Switzerland, who gained an official statement from the German Air Ministry, via Count Zeppelin.

Anyway, thanks again. You're proving to be a quick source of arcane information.

Sean Pol

#4 aodhdubh

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 07:12 PM

I might add that Sgt C.H. Young also went to France with the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps. As an enlisted man, I'm not sure how he managed a transfer to the RFC, or whether he was aircrew, or not.

Stanley Stone was also a member of the First BVRC Contingent.

Willard Skinner was in the USA at the start of the War, and went to Scotland to enlist. He was commissioned into the Bedfordshires before joining the RFC. He was reported as having been made a Despatch Flyer, or a Communications Pilot, in March, 1918, in the 'Royal air Corps' [sic] at General Headquarters.

Harry curtiss had been sent to school in the US, and was about to begin studying medicine when WWI began. He returned to Bermuda, then attended an OTC at Toronto University. He was recorded as leaving there in Dec. 1917, with a group of 100 volunteers for the 'Royal Canadian Air Service'. (was there such an organisation?). He was sent to England to train at RNC Greenwich, for three months, then completed his training at air stations at Fairlop, and Chingford, Essex. He may never have served at the Front. In August, 1918, while a 2 Lieut, in the RAF, and still in England, he was injured in a crash while competing for a trophy in some sort of competition.

Cyril Nelmes died on 31 August, 1931, back in Bermuda, but in the crash of an HS2 flying boat. he had evidently bought this, surplus, in Canada, bringing it home to Bermuda. On the fateful day, he was flying over the Great Sound, with a pair of American pilots as passengers. The three decided on a spot of 'barnstorming'. the two Americans climbed out onto the wings, and Nelmes stunted low, in view of 500 passengers on a cruise ship tender. The aeroplane flew into the seascape, killing Nelmes, though both Americans survived.

B.V.S. Smith served in 27 Sqn, RFC, in 1916, receiving the MC.

If any of that helps anyone in helping me, I'll be glad for it.

Sean

#5 aodhdubh

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 09:02 PM



Sqn Ldr Arthur Rowe Spurling, DFC.



#6 aodhdubh

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 09:28 PM

I've started an album in the galleries. I'll tack a few more images there, but here's one of Lennock DeGraaf Godet.

I can't find that DH9 photo, though, Gareth. Do you have a link?



Sean

#7 Dolphin

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 11:54 PM

He was recorded as leaving there in Dec. 1917, with a group of 100 volunteers for the 'Royal Canadian Air Service'. (was there such an organisation?).

Sean

There was an RCNAS, and the story of its creation is a bit complex, but essentially it was formed at about the time of the creation of the RAF - which was to have a very large Canadian contingent - was being discussed. The essential idea behind the RCNAS was to establish a Canadian controlled flying service so that Canadians could operate together (in the same way that many Australians flew and fought in the AFC).

Establishment of the RCNAS eventually resulted in the decision by the Canadian Military and the RAF to have two dedicated Canadian RAF squadrons (No 93 Sqn [later re-numbered as No 81 Sqn] with Sopwith Dolphins and No 123 Sqn with DH 9s). The two units were subsequently re-designated as Nos 1 and 2 Sqns, Canadian Air Force. Hence, by the Armistice, there were two Canadian flying services, though neither was operational.

For more information on a quite complicated story, see S F Wise's Canadian Airmen and the First World War ISBN 0 8020 2379 7.

I hope this helps.

Gareth

#8 aodhdubh

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Posted 08 May 2005 - 01:37 AM

Again, that's helpful Gareth.
Thanks. I've never gotten the early history of Canadian military aviation squared, and I hadn't realised there was a Canadian naval aviation element at all.

Sean

#9 aodhdubh

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Posted 08 May 2005 - 03:02 AM


I had to reduce this to a tenth to upload it! And, of course, the captions and titles I added in the album were cut short, without allowing me to edit them. If you want to squint, you'll find:

S.S. Stone, Rear row, third from the right.
H.J. Watlington, fourth row, sixth from the left.
A.R. Spurling, front row, second from the left.

the photo was taken in Bermuda, probably at Warwick Camp, in the Winter of 1914/15.

#10 aodhdubh

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 05:14 PM

If this thread is interesting to anyone, it was building off of an exchange that began here...

http://1914-1918.inv...showtopic=28991

#11 aodhdubh

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 01:20 PM

QUOTE (aodhdubh @ Oct 28 2005, 06:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If this thread is interesting to anyone, it was building off of an exchange that began here...

http://1914-1918.inv...showtopic=28991



This week, I'm particularly curious about B.L. Wilkinson... in what capacity did he serve the RCAF in WW2. Anyone have any clues?