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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Thomas Traill's last observer


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I am trying to find information about the last observer that my grandfather, Thomas Cathcart Traill of 20 Squadron, flew with just before the armistice. His name is Count Silvio Paul Bernini de Moise Bucknall. He became his observer between the 24th and the 28th October 1918, and stayed with him until two months after the armistice, according to my grandfather's memoirs. Any information would be gratefully received.

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Welcome to the Forum. 2nd Lieutenant De Moyse-Bucknall served as an officer first with the 6th Dragoon Regiment, then the London Regiment, and

finally with the R.A.F. You can download a copy of his R.A.F. officer's service record, for a small fee, from the National Archives, at Kew, using

the following reference: "AIR 76/131/13 De Moyse-Bucknall, Silvio Paul Bernini Date of Birth: 21 May 1896"

Bucknall was born Paul Silvio Bernini Bucknall, 21 May 1896,at Gower, Glamorganshire, Wales, the son of Alfred & Beatrice (Hopkins) Bucknall; his father was from Bristol, Gloucestershire and lived abroad, in Algiers. Paul (Silvio) was baptised at Bristol, and was living there at the time of the 1911 Census. He married Frances Sinclair De Moyse Scott in England, in 1931, and served again with the R.A.F. in the Second

World War. He died 20 September 1978, at Somerset, 5 years subsequent to his wife's passing. His

Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate, and possibly a photo, can be accessed (for a fee) at Ancestry.com.

I hope this was helpful.



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Thanks so much for this information. I now realise that my grandfather's spelling of his name was the main reason that I couldn't find out anything about him. I presume therefore that my grandfather's addition of the title "Count" is completely fanciful?

My grandfather spelt the name of one of his other observers variously Gordon Bennet and Gordon Bennett. I found out on The Aerodrome that that his correct name was Richard Gordon-Bennett. I couldn't find anything on Bucknall on that site, hence my request for help.

Thanks again, very informative.

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