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Adrian Roberts

Hayes men

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Adrian Roberts

Could anyone please add any extra info on the following, whose names are on the memorial in Hayes (Kent) church, near where I live?

FGW Marchant, 2/Lt QORWK attached RFC. CWGC website suggests this would be Francis George Wake Marchant, dod 22/10/16, 3 sqn RFC (parents lived in Hayes)

J S Holroyde, 2/Lt E Yorks, attached RFC, CWGC says dod 10/5/17 and buried Solesmes, France, but no unit given, or link to Hayes. Apparently Solesmes Cemetery was in German hands in May 1917 so it does suggest that Holroyde died in action despite no unit being given.

W Legge - this could be Lt W H Legge RFC, dod 11/2/17, no unit or Hayes link given, buried Chingford Mount Cemetery Essex; or it could be Lt William Legge, 55 sqdn RAF, dod 13/6/18 aged 23, buried Cologne (so a POW?) - but his parents were from Edinburgh so a Kent link seems unlikely.

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Dolphin

Adrian

2Lt Francis George Wake Marchant of No 3 Sqn, formerly Royal West Kent Regiment, was killed in action aged 19 while flying Morane P A247 with 2Lt Cecil Colins Hann on 22 October 1916. They were shot down by Oblt Hans Berr of Jasta 5; it was the sixth of his eventual ten victories.

2Lt John Sheffield Holroyde of No 55 Sqn, formerly Kent Cyclist Bn, 14th Bn London Regt and 3rd Bn East Yorkshire Regt, was killed in action aged 18 on 10 May 1917. He was the observer in DH 4 A7416 flown by 2Lt Bevan William Pitt, who was also killed. They were on a bombing mission when shot down by Vzfw F Krebs of Jasta 6; it was the first of his eventual 8 victories.

Lt Walter Holden Legge of No 55 Reserve Sqn, formerly Royal Naval Division, died of injuries aged 34 on 11 February 1917. On 10 February he was flying DH 4 A2143 when the aeroplane crashed. He was originally a Canadian, from Okanagan Lake, British Columbia.

Lt William Legge of No 55 Sqn, Independent Force, RAF was killed in action on aged 23 on 13 June 1918. He was the pilot of DH 4 A7466, with 2Lt Alexander McKenzie as observer, on a bombing raid to Treves when shot down after combat with enemy aircraft - both airmen were killed. Vzfw Kurt Handrock of Kest 2 was credited with a victory; it was his first and only victory.

I hope that this is useful.

Gareth

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Jonathan Saunders

The TIMES 27 Oct 1916:

Second Lieutenant Francis George Wake Marchant, R. West Kent Regiment and R.F.C., killed on October 22, aged 19, was the only son of Mr and Mrs Frank Marchant, of Woodside, Hayes Common, Kent. He was educated at Eton and Sandhurst, and received his commission in the R. West Kent Regiment on October 19, 1915, but joined the R.F.C. the same week. He went overseas on March 30 last.

I would be interested if you find out anything further on Marchant.

Regards,

Jonathan S

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Peter Zieminski

Not a great deal more to add - Francis qualified as a pilot on the 22nd November 1915 at the Military School Farnborough he was sent to France on the 31st March 1916 as a member of 3 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. At 11am on the 22nd October 1916 while he was piloting a Morane-Saulnier Parasol L, Serial Number A247 with 2nd Lieutenant Cecil Collins Hann as his observer, having taken off from the Squadron’s base at Lahoussoye, Francis was attacked by a Fokker Eindecker piloted by Oberleutnant Hans Berr of Jasta 5 over Sailly in the Somme. Their machine was brought down. He is buried next to 2nd Lieutenant Hann at Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L’Abbe. He is commemorated on the War Memorial just up the road from where I live at Keston and also his name appears on the Courteenhall War Memorial which is situated opposite the gates of Courteenhall House, Courteenhall, Northampton as one of the “Men of Courteenhall” this connection my be due to the family textile business.

Francis:

post-9943-1277034865.jpg

Hans Berr:

post-9943-1277035046.jpg

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Peter Zieminski

Further to my last ...

Francis's Qualification Card:

post-9943-1277036488.jpg

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Peter Zieminski

And finally his MIC:

post-9943-1277036869.jpg

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Jonathan Saunders

Peter - excellent photo of Marchant!

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Adrian Roberts

Thanks, Gareth, Peter, Jonathan for your answers and interest.

Peter - we must be nearly neighbours; I live in West Wickham! I'm sure I've seen the photo of Francis Marchant before; he must have been discussed already on the Forum. Do you know if his parents' house is still standing? - presumably if he went to Eton it must have been a large one! He must have been a contemporary of Cecil Lewis in 3 Sqdn, but my copy of "Sagitarious Rising" doesn't have an index and a quick skim through the relevant chapter doesn't mention the name (though I wouldn't take Lewis too literally). They must have been the same age as well; but one died aged 19 and the other aged 98.

We now have a Kent link for Holroyde, as he started out in a Kent Cyclist Battalion. He must have been shifted around units pretty rapidly, as he died aged only 18.

We're still none the wiser as the which W Legge is on the Hayes memorial - one appears to be from Canada, and one from Scotland. Walter Legge must have been one of the earliest casaulties of the DH4; it must have been barely introduced to service in Feb 1917. Was 55 Reserve Squadron the same unit that became 55 sqdn (front-line unit)? If so we have three casualties from the same unit.

Adrian

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Dolphin

Adrian

No 55 Sqn RFC was formed at Castle Bromwich on 8 June 1916 from No 34 Sqn and No 5 Reserve Sqn.

Another look at Lt W H Legge's entry in Airmen Died shows that he is listed as 'Native of Okanagan Lake, BC and London'. So perhaps he moved to London before the War and settled there (he was aged 34 in 1917, so he had time).

I hope that this is useful.

Gareth

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Peter Zieminski

Hi Adrian

We are indeed near neighbours - The War Memorial at Keston is a very short distance from where I live and just down the road from you at West Wickham (I take it you are familar with Joyce Walker's excellent volume - West Wickham and the Great War).

I tried in vain to locate the site of Francis' parents house which is listed as Woodside, Hayes Common, Kent. I looked up the period OS map at Bromley Local History Archive but couldn't find any reference to the house - I will take a look in Kelly's Directory for the period when I'm next at the library as it lists substantial properties, which like you, I suspect Woodside was given the family background - If I find out anything useful I will post it on this thread.

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RobL

If you haven't already got it, I can highly recomend the 'Chronicles of 55 Squadron' book reprinted by the Naval and Military Press - a very interesting and at times funny history of the amazing service of this Squadron

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Adrian Roberts

Some more thoughts re this:

Peter:

I tried in vain to locate the site of Francis' parents house which is listed as Woodside, Hayes Common, Kent.....If I find out anything useful I will post it on this thread.

Thanks, let us know if you find anything. Of course, Hayes Common covers quite a large area and I don't think think there is an actual road called that, not now anyway.

Francis was attacked by a Fokker Eindecker piloted by Oberleutnant Hans Berr of Jasta 5 over Sailly in the Somme

22/10/16 was quite late for Fokker Eindeckers to be active. How sure are you that Berr was flying one? I have Norman Frank's book Sharks among Minnows, but Marchant isn't mentioned in the index (confusingly there is a Marchand but he was a Frenchman). Franks gets a lot less detailed in his accounts towards the end of the book, but on page 147 he says "by 3rd November [1916] Berr had raised his score to ten... so rapid were the last few victories". So whether he was flying a Fokker E or something else isn't specified.

Gareth

Quote: "No 55 Sqn RFC was formed at Castle Bromwich on 8 June 1916 from No 34 Sqn and No 5 Reserve Sqn"

So if 55 Sqn was not formed from 55 Reserve Sqdn, was the latter formed as a kind of feeder unit for the former (given that they were both equipped with DH4s)? Or is the number 55 a coincidence?

Adrian

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Dolphin

Adrian

I think that the numbers were just a coincidence, though I'm happy to be corrected. As I understand it, Reserve Squadrons were re-designated as Training Squadrons in May 1917 and sometimes duplicated the numbers of Service Squadrons (the ordinary RFC squadrons on active service) though there was no link between the two units.

In July 1917 No 55 Training Squadron provided the nucleus for No 94 Sqn which eventually went to France equipped with the SE5a on 31 October 1918, being the last RAF squadron to deploy to the Western Front. It was about to fly its first operational mission when the Armistice came into effect.

Regards

Gareth

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Peter Zieminski

Adrian

Thanks for the challenge! I have made an incorrect assumption - My source was from:

http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/germany/berr.php

Having read it properly it says that Berr scored his first two victories flying an Eindecker (which were on the 8th March 1916 and 14th March 1916 flying with KEK Avillers) - By the autumn he was given command of Jasta 5 and on the 22nd October 1916 shot down Francis's Morane - well spotted - Any idea what aeroplanes Jasta 5 were equipped with?

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Adrian Roberts

Jasta 5 was certainly famous for Albatrosses by early 1917, with aces such as Rumey, Mai and Konnecke. But without more detailed information I couldn't swear that they were using Albatrosses in October 1916; many units and their commanders tried out other types such as the Halberstadt and Fokker D-types before the Albatros became more or less standard.

[and I know Albatros has one 's' in German, but I'm not sure how to spell the plural! ]

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