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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

RFC Air Mechanic Second Class


Sue036

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Hi,

I am researching and writing a family history. The individual this relates to is a fairly distant relative so I have no family stories or memories of him to draw on. Also I am not intending to write about him at any length but I would like to make whatever I do say as accurate and meaningful as I can.

Frederick Leedham was listed as being in the Royal Air Force in the Absent Voters’ List for the Parliamentary Division of Stourbridge in 1919. That led me to his service record at TNA: AIR 79/343/35434. This document confirms his identity, as it gives his father's name and address in his next of kin details. It also tells me that he was enlisted to the RFC as a 2AM on 4 July 1916, that he transferred to the RAF on 1 April 1918 as an AM3 and that he was promoted to an AM2 on 1 August 1918. Also that he was discharged to the Class G reserve on 27 February 1919. The only other information in the document is that he was a Wesleyan and an iron plate worker (which I already knew), that he had passed a medical exam as "A1" and that his casualty card was destroyed as there was no entry on it.

There is one annotation on the document that I do not understand: in the column headed "Unit to which" under "Movements" it says N.A.D (I think, the first letter is a little uncertain and I cannot find another capital N in the document to compare it with; also the last letter could possibly be an L). So, my first question is, does anyone know what that means?

I would like to have more information about what Fred Leedham did during his time in the RFC but the majority of the information I have found so far in either printed or online resources is focussed on the duties of pilots and air crew rather than on the role of mechanics. Can anyone suggest any useful sources that describe the role of an Air Mechanic Second Class in the RFC?

I would also like to know whether he served abroad or in the UK. I think that his medal roll entry - if there is one - might shed some light on that but as I understand it medals issued to members of the RFC joining in and after 1916 were issued by the Air Ministry rather than the War Office. I am unsure if records of these survive or, if they do, how I can access them?

Apologies for my ignorance and thanks in advance for any advice anyone can offer.


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In the RFC LEEDHAM F 35434 was a Tinsmith..

He was remustered to the Air Force with the classification of Tin. S. M. W.

There is more on Findmypast - Royal Airforce Muster Role 1918.

FMP offers a pay as you go option if you do not subscribe.

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Thank you, I omitted to mention that I already have the RAF Muster Roll Entry, and also that the Tinsmith & Sheet Metal Worker classification is on the service record as well.

I remain unclear as to what a tinsmith would have done in the RFC, however? I have thus far made an assumption that he would have been part of the ground crew helping to maintain and repair aircraft, but I have no way of validating, or refuting, that?

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Also sorry for wasting your time looking him up on FMP :(

No problem! I'm not upset by it - and I learnt something interesting - that Tinsmith and S M W was a recognised trade in the Air Force.

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If he went overseas he would have been entitled to the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, these are usually listed on the rear of the record you have.

The RFC/RAF had many trades and skills (Blacksmith, Fabric workers, Carpenters, Engineer's, Armourer, Electricians etc.) needed to keep the squadrons at the fronts in action, a tinsmith would have worked certain light metals that had been used in the airframe or even the squadron transport. Squadrons at the front had their quota of such men to keep the airframes in the air, they in turn were also supported by other men in the rear areas who also worked on the airframes.

john-g

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NAD was the Northern Aircraft depot, formed at Bradford pre-January 1917 and moving to Coal Aston 28 April 1917

Aha! Thank you, I expect I can find out more about the depot now that I know what I am looking for.

It looks as though he was based there throughout his service, since there are no other "movements" listed on his record.

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If he went overseas he would have been entitled to the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, these are usually listed on the rear of the record you have.

The RFC/RAF had many trades and skills (Blacksmith, Fabric workers, Carpenters, Engineer's, Armourer, Electricians etc.) needed to keep the squadrons at the fronts in action, a tinsmith would have worked certain light metals that had been used in the airframe or even the squadron transport. Squadrons at the front had their quota of such men to keep the airframes in the air, they in turn were also supported by other men in the rear areas who also worked on the airframes.

john-g

Oh yes, I now see that there is a section headed "casualties, wwounds, campaigns, medals, clasps, decorations, mentions, etc" and it is entirely blank. Actually the only thing filled in on the rear of the document is his trade classification, for which reason I had filed it with that page covered up by a printout of the TNA catalogue entry. Clearly I should have studied it more closely. D'oh!

Thank you, together with the information that he was based at the Northern Area Depot I think I can conclude that he did not go overseas?

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OK, thanks to the assistance received I now think that Frederick Leedham was working throughout his war service as a tinsmith at the Northern Area Depot.

I will start looking for any printed or online sources that can tell me anything further about the depot and the people who worked there.

If anyone happens to know of any publications or websites that might be of help with this then please let me know?

Thanks again to those who have helped me to gain a better understanding of the record from TNA.

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I should have explained it was also known as No.2(N)ARD - searching '2(N)ARD RFC' will yield some results

Cheers, I'll give that a go!

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