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William Jenkins - RFC Personnel


Lynne Storry
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Hi,

It has been suggested by one of the guys on another section of the Forum that I put this post with you. As you can see from the picture of him, he was in the RFC. He was born in 1900 but enlisted in Birmingham when he was underage, but we don't know when. The other Forum members seem to think that his uniform was about 1919, but my Mother thinks that he was discharged in 1918, but wasn't in the RFC long anyway. Can you help me find out how to trace RFC personnel and/or any other information you might be able to give me.

Regards

Lynne

post-43735-1235060909.jpg

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Hi Lynne

There are two William Jenkins on Ancestry with an RFC connection:

a. William Jenkins, 3/AM [3rd Air Mechanic?] 89915, Enlisted 24/06/1916, Joined [RFC?] 28/07/1917, Discharged 06/02/1918.

b. William Edwin Jenkins, Lieut East Surrey Regiment then RFC, Killed in Action 23/11/1917. Of Poplar Hall, Fen Ditton, Cambs.

Based on your family info [ie discharged 1918, only in RFC for short period, 7 months looking at record], man 'a' could be the one you are after.

Regards

LIT

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Hi Lynne

There are two William Jenkins on Ancestry with an RFC connection:

a. William Jenkins, 3/AM [3rd Air Mechanic?] 89915, Enlisted 24/06/1916, Joined [RFC?] 28/07/1917, Discharged 06/02/1918.

b. William Edwin Jenkins, Lieut East Surrey Regiment then RFC, Killed in Action 23/11/1917. Of Poplar Hall, Fen Ditton, Cambs.

Based on your family info [ie discharged 1918, only in RFC for short period, 7 months looking at record], man 'a' could be the one you are after.

Regards

LIT

Hi LIT,

Yes, I tend to agree. Any ideas how I can find out what regiment he was in before the RFC? My goodness I have just realised he was only 16 years old when he enlisted. Would he have asked for a transfer or been transferred by the forces that be? Do the medals on his tunic, tie up with what is on his card?

Regards

Lynne

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Hi Lynne,

There is so much to unravel between your two postings. Your mother thinks, but does not know that he was discharged from the RFC in 1918. Until you can be sure when he was discharged it might or might not have been before 31st March 1918, when the Royal Flying Corps ceased to exist; you do not know for certain.

The RFC was an army unit, men could enter it directly, they did not have to be in another regiment beforehand however; they could be transferred to the RFC if they had useful skills.

On 1st April 1918 the Royal Air Force was formed combining the RFC and Royal Naval Air Service. If men opted to join the RAF, the transfers happened automatically and new records were created from scratch for them in the RAF. To find an RAF service record you need his WWI service number, as they are stored in service number order. To find that there is an incomplete alphabetical index in AIR 78 offline at Kew.

To qualify for the medals on his tunic, he had to have served in a theatre of war.

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The service number for man 'a' falls into the range that was given to civilians who joined the RFC 7/1917 to 8/1917. This suggests that this man didn't serve in a unit overseas before joining the RFC.

The card on Ancestry doesn't mention any medals just the info I gave before. However it does list a discharge code. Perhaps this might give a clue as to why this particular man was discharged. The code is: a.o. 265/17 Para d.s.

Can anyone shed light on this code?

The only other info on the card is under 'Action Taken' where it states 'List RFC 208.' Not sure what this means.

Regards

LIT

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a. William Jenkins, 3/AM [3rd Air Mechanic?] 89915, Enlisted 24/06/1916, Joined [RFC?] 28/07/1917, Discharged 06/02/1918.

Based on your family info [ie discharged 1918, only in RFC for short period, 7 months looking at record], man 'a' could be the one you are after.

Regards

LIT

The man in the image is in the RAF and wearing a cap badge not introduced until May 1919...

Furthermore: Army Order 265/17 regarding discharge criteria goes thus:

Under the amended conditions the badge will, subject in every case to the approval of the Army Council, be issued only to the individuals specified below, who have served with the military forces subsequent to the 4th August, 1914:

(a) Those who, having served as officers and being still of military age, have retired, resigned or relinquished their commissions:

(i) After service overseas in the armed Forces of the Crown, on account of disablement or ill-health caused otherwise than by misconduct,

(ii) After service at Home, and have been medically examined and finally discharged from liability to further military service under sub-section (5) of Section 1 of the Military Service (Review of Exception) Act, 1917, as permanently and totally disabled, otherwise than from misconduct.

(b.) Those who, having served as soldiers and being still of military age, have been discharged under the conditions set forth at (i) and (ii) in (a).

(c.) Those who, having served as officers and being now over military age, have retired, resigned or relinquished their commissions.

(d) Those who, have served as soldiers and being now over military age, have been discharged otherwise than for misconduct.

(e) Civilians who have served with the Royal Army Medical Corps under a fixed agreement for a period of service, or who have been employed with the army overseas (provided such employment received official sanction), who have resigned their military employment on account of wounds or sickness, and who, if of military age, have received a final discharge under sub-section (5) of section 1 of the said Act.

(f) Nurses and members of Voluntary Aid Detachments who have been discharged on account of old age, wounds, or sickness, such as would render them permanently unfit for further service.

Best wishes,

GT.

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Here's a copy of something I posted earlier:

On 1st April 1918 the Royal Air Force was formed combining the RFC and Royal Naval Air Service. If men opted to join the RAF, the transfers happened automatically and new records were created from scratch for them in the RAF. The RAF service records are offline at the UK National Archives, Kew in their series AIR79; they were stored separately to army records and have survived intact. To find an RAF service record you need his WWI service number, as they are stored in service number order. To find that there is an incomplete alphabetical index in AIR 78 offline at Kew.

He is wearing ribbons for the British War and Victory Medals, both of which were only authorised in 1919. So as he is wearing them in uniform that suggests that he was still serving in 1919 at least. The medals themselves were issued in the 1920s, but I do not knot know when the ribbons became available to wear on their own. To qualify for the Victory Medal, he had to have served in a designated theatre of war, outside the UK. Only a tiny percentage of members of the RFC or RAF have online Medal Index Cards; these show army awards and the bulk are for the Stars (they rarely show a trio as the Air Ministry issued the pairs) and gallantry medals. The RAF Medal Index Cards have not been released to the public however; for other ranks the British War and Victory Medals are usually shown on their service record. The Air Ministry issued these medals to all recipients as far as I know.

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The man in the image is in the RAF and wearing a cap badge not introduced until May 1919...

And wearing ribbons medals that were not authorised until after that.

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Applying some lateral thinking: have you, or whoever is direct next of kin, asked the MOD about his WW2 service? They should have a note of both that and a cross reference to his WWI number. It may be his service record is not available anyway as he had service after the cut off period for release of records.

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I have just realised he was only 16 years old when he enlisted.

This would not have been a problem if he had joined the Navy, with parental consent. He could have been at sea at 16, in a major battle and won the Victoria Cross before he was 161/2 and no one would have said that he was under age. John Travers Cornwell did just that!

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