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Jon_B

RAF 206 squadron orbat 1918

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Jon_B

Can someone tell me the orbat of 206 squadron in 1918? How many Flights, officers, other ranks, planes etc? Was this a typical DH9 squadron?

Thanks

Jon

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MikeW

Jon,

I can mostly answer your queries for No.6 Squadron Royal Naval Air Service which of course became 206 Quadron RAF on April 1st 1918. No.6 Squadron RNAS was operationally equipped with the DH9 and was either the first (or thereabouts) DH9 equipped squadron. They used the aircraft as Bombers and Fighters - 206 I believe dropped the Fighter aspect but introduced Reconnaissance and Spotting.

Let me know if you want to delve back to Naval 6.

Mike

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Jon_B

Thanks Chris and Mike. The letters of Trevor Evans make great reading, I hadn't seen those before. I have read the memoir of 2Lt Blandford which provides further info. My interest in 206 is because of my great-uncle, Lt Bailey, who was a pilot with the squadron and was killed in August 1918 - the notes with the letters mentions him. I have his Log Book and other papers and letters.

I am keen to know what the make up of a typical bomber squadron was, assuming that 206 was typical - ie, how many Flights, planes in a Flight, groundcrew, headquarters etc. I suppose I could work it out from the photo of A Flight that is with the Evans letters but that may not be accurate. If the RNAS 6 Sqn was similar then that might be a start.

Jon

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MikeW

Jon,

in ideal circumstances I think an RNAS squadron would have 18 aircraft, and perhaps a spare. Three flights comprising a flight commander, 5 pilots, perhaps one observer and 5 gunlayers.

No 6 Squadron became operational in March 1918 and towards the end of March had the following complement:-

1 x Squadron Commander

3 x Flight Commanders

9 x Pilots

2 x Observers

variable number of "acting" gunlayers drawn from the ranks

1 x Record Officer

1 x Armament Officer

1 x Engineering Officer

1 x Stores Officer

I can't comment on how many men were attached to the squadron but jobs included engine fitters, mechanics, labourers, Riggers, welders, Carpenters, Clerks, Cooks, Draftsmen, Coppersmiths (acting gunlayers were drawn from volunteers who fancied flying).

Other jobs such as Surgeon and Chaplain were usually to be found at "Wing" level.

The squadron had 18 DH9's on strength, 9 of which were reported as "unserviceable". There was a lot of trouble with engines!!!

At the time of transforming into 206 Squadron RAF on the 1st April 1918, the squadron lost two aircraft and two pilots in accidents when transferring to their new aerodrome at St. Marie Capelle.

Your Great Uncle, Eric Henry Platt Bailey actually joined the RNAS and I show a brief bio below:-

Born 25th March 1898, from Enfield, Middlesex

Initially served in RNAS as an ACII

Joined RNAS as an officer on 22nd April 1917

Under instruction at Crystal Palace from 22nd April 1917

Under Instruction at Redcar from 8th September 1917

Under instruction at Cranwell and Freiston from 10th November 1917

Gained RAeC Certificate NO.5603 on 30th January 1918

Under instruction at Manston DH4 School from 26th February 1918

Dunkerque on 13th March 1918

No 6 Squadron from 24th March 1918

No 206 Squadron RAF from 1st April 1918

To Hospital at St Omer on 27th April, suffering from scabies

To 206 squadron RAF on 23rd July until 11th August when shot down and killed to the north of Lille.

War Grave at Lincelles Communal Cemetary, Lille, France. grave ref D5

Further information:-

A history of No.6 Squadron RNAS in WW1, by myself, published by Schiffer

Naught Escapes Us, by Peter Gunn, published by the 206 Squadron association

Bomber Pilot 1916-1918, by CPO Bartlett, published by Ian Allen (about Naval 5 and 205 RAF)

If you have the time, I would love a photocopy of your great uncle's logbook to go with my collection of Naval 6/206 records.

Mike

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ChrisM

Jon,

I comment on Mike's excellent contribution with some caution as he knows far more about the subject than I do. But based on his opening comment, it does look to me as though 6/206 was very much undermanned at the end of March 1918 when that snapshot was taken, as far as aircrew were concerned. I have the impression that by the time Trevor Evans arrived in the late summer pilot numbers were in excess of that and those of trained observers very much in excess. Both the summer losses and the surviving squadron images, taken mainly in November, tend also to suggest this.

I am glad that you found "With Fondest Love, Trev" of interest. Trevor was in fact also a great uncle, that of a close friend of mine who allowed me to work on the correspondence and other material. I assume that you also found a short companion piece dealing with an observer, 2Lt John, who, like your great-uncle, also lost his life in early August.

The Blanford memoir is a remarkable piece of work containing much detail. What I found of great interest when reading it was that it was a description written some 50 years after the event whereas Trevor's parallel, much briefer descriptions were written often within a day or so of the occurrences themselves. I didn't reproduce it in the online version because of possible copyright infringement.

I don't know what your plans are when your research is completed but if at some stage in the future you would like some online mention of your great-uncle, in his memory, to be made in association with the information about Evans and John, do please let me know.

Chris

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Jon_B

Thanks again both. Mike, that info was just what I was after, I shall have to get hold of your book. I have started to research Eric as my father is now getting old and I am keen to be able to tell him more about his uncle before too long, as well as provide something for future generations of Baileys, something more than the sketchy 'heroic' figure that I grew up with.

I have his service records, Aero Club certificate, a number of letters to family (including an official Christmas card from RNAS Cranwell!), and strangely two copies of his Log Book. I posted a query in the Aerodrome website about that but have had no response, maybe you could help. The second copy is in a plain red hardback book which actually looks like a gunnery record book - headings such as'fore sight' and 'back sight' have been crossed out and the usual Log Book headings written in. It is an exact copy except for some differences during training - eg, where he says he had a good landing the instructor takes a different view! The handwriting is not his, however. Could this be a squadron copy made by a clerk? Was this normal practice?

I have done some research into 2Lt Milne, his observer, and have obtained his service records from Kew. I visited their graves in Linselles about 15 years ago.

I also have an extract from Eric's old school book of remembrance, and will post this here for you to read when I have scanned it. It contains a letter from a fellow officer to his father explaining the circumstances around their deaths, with locals describing the dog fight above them, the final moments and how their graves were visited by the German pilots the next day, who laid wreaths on them. The officer's name is not mentioned but I do have a letter from Walter Ganter to his father just after they went missing so maybe he followed it up later with this account. It does sound a bit glorified and of course no way of confirming any of it but interesting to read.

Finally, my father has two photo albums of Eric's, from training through to France, showing countless planes and pals, many with captions. I am hoping to have them scanned and sent over to me here in NZ. I will make them available to you if it is of interest.

Chris, I am certainly keen to write up his brief life and a web-based account makes sense. Thanks for the offer of help, I will get back to you on that. I haven't found the link to Johns but would like to read it.

Thanks again for your help so far.

Jon

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ChrisM

Jon,

This is the link to the page commemorating Wilbur John who lost his life 9 or 10 days before your great-uncle: http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/Wilbur%20John%20File/WilburJohn.htm

On that page I transcribed some words of Lt. Blanford describing the remarkable manner in which the fate of John and his pilot was discovered. There were two other articles by Blanford and I am not sure whether they were part of the much larger memoir you have seen and therefore whether you are aware of them; so I will mention them. One was a memory of Captain Rupert Atkinson, a much esteemed flight commander in 206 and the other a description of the unusual gun arrangement on 206 aircraft.

Chris

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MikeW

just a few more comments.

Firstly ChrisM - Yes, the RNAS was desperately short of trained observers at that time, also bomber pilots. Wing Captain Lambe (head RNAS man in France) had actually polled Scout squadrons looking for Scout Pilots that didn't really cut it as hotshot single seater pilots and tried to persuade them to transfer into the two new 2-seater squadrons (Naval 6 and Naval 11). Flight Commander GLE Stevens was the only pilot in Naval 6 to take up Lambe's offer. All of the squadron's other pilots (not the flight commanders) bar one, were new pilots fresh from training.

Just before the dissolution of the RNAS, many squadrons started to receive postings from the RFC. This also happened to Naval 6. 206 soon started to be reinforced with ex RFC pilots.

Jon - I have not come across two copies of a log before, it sounds as though the second book has been copied from training records. The Peter Gunn book draws on the Blandford material and provides good coverage of 206 in WW1. Ltn K Plauth of Jasta 20 claimed a DH9 north of Lille at 7.50am on the 11th August.

Do you have a photograph of Eric? I am always interesed to see photos of ex RNAS pilots.

Regards,

Mike

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Jon_B

Thanks Chris. I downloaded Blandford's 'Sans Escort' off Cross and Cockade and also read his piece on the twin Lewis.

Eric's observer, 2Lt Milne, joined the RFC, then trained as an observer from April and was posted to 206 only a month before he was killed.

From Eric's service record the observers he flew with were:

6 Sqn:

Fl Cmd Wright

AG Williams

206 Sqn:

AG Williams

2Lt Anketell

2Lt McKinnon

2Lt Pollard

2Lt Duncan

AG Pacey

2Lt Bray

2Lt Shelswell

Obs Sgt Burkell

Sgt Rowe

2Lt Ganter

2Lt Milne

Mike, I tend to agree that the second log book started off as a training log - it has a few more details than his log (eg, lists engines stripped down etc) - but then was continued later by someone as it matches his log right to the end. I will send you copies of both, hopefully by email but they may be too large.

I attach two photos and also the extract from his school book of remembrance which describes the 11 August. Keen for any comment on that.

I assumed that in these photos he was Fl Sub-Lt but doesn't appear to have the rank on his sleeve, only wings...?

Jon

post-46354-067621800 1296810946.jpg

post-46354-011709500 1296810955.jpg

post-46354-011849700 1296811016.jpg

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Jon_B

Chris/Mike,

I realised the scan of the extract is almost illegible so here is a larger version.

Jon

post-46354-060148100 1296813987.jpg

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Simon_Fielding

Fantastic thread - would be grateful for any information on THOMAS PARGETTER JONES who served with 206 - probably ground crew ....

post-50-0-14794800-1396768743_thumb.jpg

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Jon_B

Simon,

At the time Jones was with 206 it was based at Boisdinghem, west of St Omer. This was the second move it had made since its transformation from No6 Naval Sqn in April, and it was to move yet further west, to Alquines, in June. The squadron was flying DH9s on reconnaissance and bombing missions. I don't have any information on ground crew.

I've commented on the service record in your other thread.

Regards

Jon

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Simon_Fielding

Great Jon - really useful - thank you!

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Guest

Absolutely fascinating thread about 6N (RNAS) and 206 Squadron (RAF). I wonder, has anyone got any information about Lt. Leslie "Bill" Warren, DFC, who served with both 6N and 206, and was credited with eight victories between 3/5/18 and 1/8/18? I'm putting things together for an exhibition to be held in September.

Many thanks,

Andrew

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MikeW

Andrew,

FSL Leslie Reginald Warren

Born 21st Jan 1899, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

RAeC Cert No.5194, gained 26th August 1917 at Chingford

Saw some previous service with Royal Navy (no details I'm afraid)

Joined RNAS on 8th April 1917

Under instruction at Crystal Palace from 8th April 17 to 19th May 1917

Under instruction at Chingford from 19th May1917 to 25th August 1917

Under instruction at Cranwell from 27th August 1917 to 15th October 1917

Under instruction at Manston Fighting School from 15th October 1917 to 9th January 1918

At Dunkerque on 9th January 1918

Warren arrived at No. 6 Squadron RNAS around the middle of January, coming over from Dover as passenger in a DH4 on the 19th Jan.

As far as I can tell, his first flight in a DH9 was a formation practice on 28th February 18.

The first mission, a bombing raid over St Pierre Capelle on 9th March 1918

Subsequent raids over targets such as Engel Aerodrome, Aertrycke, Bruges Docks and Ostende.

Warren was a member of A Flight under FCdr INC Clarke.

I have a photo of Warren (from his RAeC cert), and a shot of a DH9 flown by Warren on the 20th March (not in combat unfortunately) in my History of No.6 Squadron RNAS book available from Schiffer/Bushwood Books or your local library is you push them hard enough!

Later war career I can't help with, other than to say his DFC was gazetted on 21st September 1918. He seems to have made all of his claims in DH9 B7596 with various Gun Layers and Observers - all listed in Royal Navy Aircraft Serials & Units by Sturdivant and Page

Mike

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Guest

Very many thanks, Mike. That's all really useful stuff and gives me plenty to work on.

Andrew

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topgun1918

The citation for his DFC reads:

Lieut. (T./Capt.) Leslie Reginald Warren (late R.N.A.S.).

This officer has taken part in forty-six successful raids, fourteen of which he has led. In these operations his formation has only suffered one casualty. This remarkable immunity has been in the main due to his brilliant and skilful leadership; he combines keenness and determination with sound, clear judgment. In addition to raids, he has taken many area photographs, and carried out five long-distance reconnaissances, rendering valuable reports.

Graeme

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LoftyL

Hi all,

I'm trying to find some information about my grandfather, William Learmonth, who, according the photograph below, was part of A Flight, 206 Squadron. I have no idea where or when this photograph was taken as my grandfather, who emigrated to Australia in 1920, died when I was quite young. I have found this thread fascinating, considering that the gentlemen mentioned could have known my grandfather.

Stephen

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nieuport11

There is a William Learmouth whose military record can be downloaded from the National Archives AIR 76/292/14 DOB:10.08.1894

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D8283423

Also a BL Learmouth/Learmonth who was with the Australian Flying Corps as observer in August 1917 - details of him on the Australian War Memorial site, and

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D8283420

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Jon_B

Hi all,

I'm trying to find some information about my grandfather, William Learmonth, who, according the photograph below, was part of A Flight, 206 Squadron. I have no idea where or when this photograph was taken as my grandfather, who emigrated to Australia in 1920, died when I was quite young. I have found this thread fascinating, considering that the gentlemen mentioned could have known my grandfather.

Stephen

Stephen,

Can you attach the photo?

Thanks

Jon

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LoftyL

Hi Jon,

Im having trouble trying to upload the photograph. I will keep trying.

Cheers

Stephen

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MikeW

LoftyL

your photo was taken on Armistice Day, 11th November 1918 at Linselles. The aircraft is DH9 serial D569

2nd row LtoR

Ground Crew Sgt, 2Lt Byrne, Lt GA Pitt, unknown, Capt RAG Atkinson, 2Lt Garside, 2Lt JA Blanford, 2lLt Learmont.

4th row

7th from right is Sgt George Betteridge (Pitt's observer)

There is a better copy in Naught Escapes Us by Peter B Gunn

Mike

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Granddaughter
On 30/06/2014 at 13:51, MikeW said:

Andrew,

FSL Leslie Reginald Warren

Born 21st Jan 1899, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

RAeC Cert No.5194, gained 26th August 1917 at Chingford

Saw some previous service with Royal Navy (no details I'm afraid)

Joined RNAS on 8th April 1917

Under instruction at Crystal Palace from 8th April 17 to 19th May 1917

Under instruction at Chingford from 19th May1917 to 25th August 1917

Under instruction at Cranwell from 27th August 1917 to 15th October 1917

Under instruction at Manston Fighting School from 15th October 1917 to 9th January 1918

At Dunkerque on 9th January 1918

Warren arrived at No. 6 Squadron RNAS around the middle of January, coming over from Dover as passenger in a DH4 on the 19th Jan.

As far as I can tell, his first flight in a DH9 was a formation practice on 28th February 18.

The first mission, a bombing raid over St Pierre Capelle on 9th March 1918

Subsequent raids over targets such as Engel Aerodrome, Aertrycke, Bruges Docks and Ostende.

Warren was a member of A Flight under FCdr INC Clarke.

I have a photo of Warren (from his RAeC cert), and a shot of a DH9 flown by Warren on the 20th March (not in combat unfortunately) in my History of No.6 Squadron RNAS book available from Schiffer/Bushwood Books or your local library is you push them hard enough!

Later war career I can't help with, other than to say his DFC was gazetted on 21st September 1918. He seems to have made all of his claims in DH9 B7596 with various Gun Layers and Observers - all listed in Royal Navy Aircraft Serials & Units by Sturdivant and Page

Mike

I am the granddaughter of Leslie 'Bill' Warren.  His daughter is still alive and has recounted to me his life after the war and corrected the information about his family history and education (as given in The Aerodrome).  Is there still interest in this thread?

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