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Remembered Today:

Lt Philippe de Fontenay RFC


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First post ever on any forum by the way

I have been researching this officer for my friend Gordon Andre de Fontenay who is this fellows son .He never knew him as he died 8 months after Gordon was born.

All Gordon had originally was a letter from a friend of Philippes saying that he had been a veteran of 2 world wars Progress was slow at first but he paid tthe £30 to get records from Cranwell and these duly arrived but they only mentioned his ww2 service as a flight trainer. Then after checking different forums i tried the london gazette and found interesting stuff from between the wars.Then one day I came upon the aerodrome website and did a search and was amazed to find him listed in the aces. Its been a very interesting journey of discovery and I will share with you what ive learnt .We have only managed to find one photo of him in Nieuport Aces of WW1 this was the first time he had seen a picture of his dad!

PHILIPPE AUGUSTE ANDRE CADET DE FONTENAY

BORN - 1897 30 NOVEMBER PLAINES WILHEM MAURITIUS (RAF RECORDS CRANWELL)

STUDIED AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY AT ROYAL COLLEGE MAURITIUS (RAF RECORDS CRANWELL)

SERVED WITH FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION FOR FIVE MONTHS (NIEUPORT ACES OF WW1)

1916 JUNE ENLISTED 28TH LONDON REG ~(ARTISTS RIFLES) FOR DURATION OF WAR (RAF RECORDS CRANWELL)

1916 STARTED TRAINING AT DENHAM OXFORD ( RAF RECORDS CRANWELL)

1917 3/2 JOINED RFC AS LEIUTENANT 28TH LONDON REGIMENT(ARTISTS RIFLES) (ARTISTS RIFLES ROLL OF HONOUR)

1917 13/2 STARTED RFC TRAINING AT NETHERAVON (RAF RECORDS CRANWELL)

1917 26/4 TRAINED WITH 68 SQN ( HUNSTANTON ?) "

1917 10/6 POSTED TO BEF 40 SQN "

1917 13/7 POSTED TO 29 SQN AT POPERINGHE "

VICTORYS-AS NOTED IN THE AERODROME ACES OF WW1 AND ABOVE THE TRENCHES

1 20 Sep 1917 1030 29 Nieuport 17 (B1618) C (DES) St. Julien

2 12 Nov 1917 1440 29 Nieuport 17 (B3578) Albatros C (OOC) Houthoulst Forest

3 15 Dec 1917 1400 29 Nieuport 17 (B3625) Albatros D.V (OOC) 1 Westroosebeke (shared)

4 24 Jan 1918 1230 29 Nieuport 17 Albatros D.V (DES) NE of Roulers

5 28 Jan 1918 1200 29 Nieuport 27 (B6826) C (OOC) Staden

1918 JAN 30 POSTED TO HOME ESTABLISHMENT 6TH BGDE (ABOVE THE TRENCHES)

1918 AWARDED VICTORY MEDAL AND BRITISH WAR MEDAL ( TNA MEDAL CARD )

1919 JUNE TRANSFERRED TO RAF DEPOT UXBRIDGE (RAF RECORDS CRANWELL)

1920 JULY TRANSFERRED TO UNEMPLOYED LIST (LG)

1920 DECEMBER JOINED RAF AS FLYING OFFICER( FOR FOUR YEARS ON THE ACTIVE LIST ) (LG)

1921 JAN -OCT UNDERWENT VARIOUS COURSES TT AND WITH 24 SQN ON BRISTOL FIGHTERS (RAF RECORDS CRANWELL)

1921 NOV POSTED TO 31 SQUADRON AMBALA ( AIR FORCE LIST)

1922 NOV TEMP TRANSFER TO 28 SQN (RAF RECORDS CRANWELL)

1923 JUNE TRANSFERRED BACK TO 31 SQN (RAF RECORDS CRANWELL)

1924 MAY AWARDED DFC FOR ACTIONS WITH THE WAZIRISTAN FORCES BETWEEN MAY 1922 DEC 1923 (LG)

1924 JULY PROMOTED TO LIEUTENANT (LG)

1924 DEC TRANSFERRED TO RESERVE CLASS C (LG)

1925 MAR MARRIED TO PATRICIA CLAUDINE(HAMILTON) IN AMBALA INDIA (RAF RECORDS CRANWELL)

1925 NOV SHIPPED BACK TO ENGLAND

1926 JAN TRANSFERRED FROM 32 SQN TO 29 SQN

1926 SEP CEASES TO BE EMPLOYED BY THE RAF

1926 23 DEC CASHIERED BY ORDER OF GENERAL COURT MARTIAL (LG)

AIRCRAFT FLOWN - MFSN,AVRO,SOPWITH PUP,NIEUPORT 2,& SCOUT,BE2C, BF , SNIPE ,GREBE. (RAF RECORDS CRANWELL)

THE FOLLOWING ALL FROM RAF RECORDS AT CRANWELL HE WAS ATTACHED VIA THE FREE FRENCH

1940 NOV FRANCO BELGIAN FTS FLQ TRAINING RAF ODIHAM

1940 DEC CENTRAL FLYING SCHOOL RAF CRANWELL

1941 FEB FRANCO BELGIUM FLYING SCHOOL RAF ODIHAM

1941 MAY HQ 50 GRP POOL EFTS RAF SYWELL

1942 MAY ITW RAF SCARBOROUGH

1943 FEB NO 2 SCHOOL OF TT RAF COSFORD

1943 MAY NO 10 ITW

1943 NOV NO 23 ITW 54 GRP ADMIN F/L RAF FILEY

1944 DEC LIASON WITH FREE FRENCH AIR FORCE RAF STORMY DOWN

1945 AUG CESSATION OF DUTY WITH RAF

1945 AWARDED DEFENCE MEDAL AND WAR MEDAL 1939 - 1945

1953 DIED OF CORONARY THROMBOSIS LEEDS

The journey still goes on we need another visit to TNA this time with a bit more than 3 hrs to spare.

Eventually after harassing Cranwell records we did get back a much more extensive record of service going all the way back to 1916 and we got copies of his ww2 medals

He would obviously like a copy of his DFC but im not sure how to achieve this.We would love to know why he was Court Martialled also and what he did to get his DFC

Anyway Thanks to this forum and raf commands for the information I gleaned as a lurker

By the way I presume in Waziristan he was probably doing similar stuff to this vid you might enjoy ( it asks for user name but just click cancel a couple of times)

http://nmswww0.mh.bb...rammes/p00774v6

cheers Kev

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Kev

First of all, welcome to the Forum.

There's a brief mention of Flying Officer P A de Fontenay's DFC in Flight magazine of 5 June 1924, under the heading 'Waziristan Campaign', but there are no details.

The archives of Flight can be searched at: http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/index.html You might find something of interest.

Best wishes.

Gareth

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1917 10/6 POSTED TO BEF 40 SQN "

...

1918 AWARDED VICTORY BRITISH STAR ( TNA MEDAL CARD )

...

He would obviously like a copy of his DFC but im not sure how to achieve this.

Kev:

I believe you might be misreading the Medal Index Card - VICTORY refers to the Victory Medal, BRITISH the British War Medal, and STAR the 1914 or 1914/15 Star. These cards had to cover soldiers entitled to various medals, but they only received those with the necessary medal roll references alongside (usually in the case of the standard BWM/VM issue the reference will be alongside the VM and dittoed underneath for the BWM). If I'm reading his service correctly, as he did not serve overseas in a theatre of war before 1916 with either the British/Commonwealth forces he will not be entitled to either the 1914 or 1914/15 Star, and only entitled to the BWM and VM.

Copy medals of varying quality are easily obtainable from various dealers on the web, or even Ebay for one example:

http://cgi.ebay.com/British-Distinguished-Flying-Cross-copy-/360311538341?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item53e43dc2a5

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Kev

The announcement for the D.F.C. (London Gazette 30 May 1924, issue # 32940, page 4313) only states "rewards in recognition

of distinguished services rendered with the Waziristan Force between January, 1922, and April, 1923," and then lists several

names. "Flying Officer Philippe Andre de Fontenay" is the first name on the list. Regrettably, there were no award citations

for the individual officers giving information about the actions leading to the award. He had an interesting history in both

world wars; like some of the others on the Forum, I would like to learn more about the court martial to better examine the RAF

and its practices rather than Flt. Off. de Fontenay.

Regards

Trelawney

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Thanks for the replies chaps

I may well have read the medal card wrong I tried to post it here but dont seem able, It actually reads Victory british star but the victory has been overwritten with rfc.

I have exhausted the london gazette for mentions and even went to the british library at boston spa to check in the "dfc and how it was won". However it only had the same citation as the london gazette

Reckon the only thing to do is have a couple of days at the TNA going through 31 and 28 sqn reports for the 20s

Would really like to find more photos of him and find where the author of "Nieuport aces of ww1" got the photo of him from . Maybe the IWM or RAF museum ?

If we go to the TNA will also check 29 sqn combat reports and Court Martial reports and let you know results

We did get a sheet from Cranwell about the Court Martial but it was all blacked out

Thanks Dolphin for the model link Gordon may well wish to buy that

Also his record states he was sent to the home establishment in jan 1918 I wonder if that indicates he was injured or was he required to defend England against bombers, it says he was posted to the 6th brigade?

cheers Kev

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Also his record states he was sent to the home establishment in jan 1918 I wonder if that indicates he was injured or was he required to defend England against bombers,

Pilots were also rotated home when their COs considered that they were suffering from the results of fatigue and stress. In such circumstances he could serve with a training squadron or as a home defence pilot - some did both (moonlighting in all senses of the word).

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I may well have read the medal card wrong I tried to post it here but dont seem able, It actually reads Victory british star but the victory has been overwritten with rfc.

When you have more posts under your belt you will be enabled.

Most cards have Victory, British and Star all printed on them usually with a tick or initials against those they are entitled to. Looking at the service record your man wouldn't qualify for the Star but check what date does the medal card give for entered theatre?

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Thanks Centurion but the medal card only has a 5/5/22 date on it if that is a date im not sure

Roll number says ( off 168). Maybe its a standard medal card the victory british star is printed rather than written

Kev

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Ah Ive just reread your post so that it appears he was entitled to the Victory medal. Thanks for clearing that up

He should also have been entitled to the British War Medal - anyway one more post and you can attach a copy of the card

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David_Underdown

You may find something on his DFC in the series AIR 2 at The National Archives - it's not the easiest of series to nvigate though. This is where RAF honours recommendations usually end up, at least by WWII.

Interesting that he ended up serving in WWII, being cashiered disqualified you from holding any office under the Crown, including a commission, but as you say he came via the Free French which probably explains it (and may also explain why Cranwell had difficulty connecting the two records together).

There are some records of individual courts martial in AIR 18, but I can't on a quick inspection find anything relating to this man. However, AIR 21 contains the court martial registers, the entry relating to his should be in AIR 21/3. You can see an example at http://www.flickr.com/photos/11226331@N05/sets/72157625211349516/with/4134360394/ which relates to when I was trying to work out why Battle of Britain ace Brian Carbury was court-martialled and dismissed the service later in the war. The first image in the set is the instructions pasted to the inside cover of the register, and the next two are half each of a set of entries - each entry goes over a double-page spread. As you can see, the chares are listed rather cryptically, in terms of the section of the Air Force act under which the charge was brought. However I've just discovered AIR 43, which may shed more light. Anything relating to this case would probably be in AIR 43/4 given the dates in his record. There are also the court martial minute books in AIR 44. Again split by date, so you'd be looking for AIR 44/3 or AIR 44/4.

You may also find more information on him in the Squadron Operations Records Books in AIR 27, though few of these survive before the 1930s. You may be able to find equivalent WWI information, but you'll need to work out which wing/brigade his squadrons came under I think.

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Thanks David for your detailed reply, looks like we might need a week at the TNA

In the process of finding out about Philippe Ive become rather fascinated in this subject and will probably enjoy further detective work

Dont know when I will be able to make it there though.

Next on agenda is to write to Foregn legion and raf museum at hendon. We are awaiting C&C vol 2 no 4 which Gordon bought online which i beleive has a history of 29 sqn ww1

Regards Kev

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Hi,

I found this in 29 sqn list of Officers recommended for promotion AIR1/1864/204/216/23.

2/Lt P.A. de Fontenay

Gen list and RFC, Commissioned 27/01/1917 " Keen and reliable officer, A very good fighting Pilot"

john_g

www.66squadron.co.uk

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Hi,

I found this in 29 sqn list of Officers recommended for promotion AIR1/1864/204/216/23.

2/Lt P.A. de Fontenay

Gen list and RFC, Commissioned 27/01/1917 " Keen and reliable officer, A very good fighting Pilot"

john_g

www.66squadron.co.uk

Thanks John is that available online ?

or do you have your own copy? I am confused as to how you could find that without actually going to the TNA

regards Kev

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Thanks John is that available online ?

or do you have your own copy? I am confused as to how you could find that without actually going to the TNA

regards Kev

I have my own copy, p.m. through my web page I will see what can be done.

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Thanks to everyone who repled to this thread especially John _G who sent me photos of the promotion recommendations.

We have read the C&C edition with the 29 Sqn history now, it does mention him but doesnt shed much more light on him, Interesting read nontheless.

We also got back a history of 31Sqn detailing operations in Waziristan but no mention of Philippe however it does recount some operations he will have been on.

One question i have is it possible he learnt to fly with the French Foreign Legion because i cannot find evidence of an aero club certificate for him on ancestry .com, Which most recruits

seem to have received

regards Kev

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  • 6 years later...

Hello everyone. I'm hoping that people still look at this. I am intrigued by the above. My auntie has been searching for her father for a long time and believes that Philippe de fontenay may be him. I looked through the details of where he was based and in 1942 he was in Scarborough which is where my grandma was from and after that he left in February of 1943 to go to another base. My auntie was born in September of 1943. This could be her dad! If anyone can help me and my auntie could you please contact me on 07791135601 as we would love to know if this is him. She has been searching for years. Please contact me on the above number and get in touch. My auntie would really appreciate it.

 

jon

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  • 3 years later...
Relative of Philippe

Hi

 

I'm Philippes eldest grandaughter and have some family history to share with Gordon if he or his friend would like to contact me.

 

Stephanie van Heerden 

 

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  • Admin
Michelle Young

Welcome to the forum Stephanie. The original poster hasn't visited the forum since 2010. After two posts you will have access to the private messages feature. If the OP is still using the same email address as he used to register here, he should receive the message.

Michelle 

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  • 5 months later...

HI, 

 

Me too i need to talk with the progeny of Philippe De Fontenay. Please, if you see this post, contact me 

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