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Remembered Today:

Flt Sub-Lts T.M.Greeves and D.R.C Wright


Gustywinds
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Hello and thank you for the invite to the forums.

I am trying to research my great Uncle, Thomas Malcolmson Greeves who died in an accident at Dunkirk on 23rd Dec 1917. Very quickly I found that another RNAS Flt Sub-Lt died the same day. His name was Douglas Ross Cameron Wright and he was Canadian. I do not yet know if the accidents were related.

I have the service records for both but they are very brief:

TMG

03/06/17 Crystal Palace – Basic naval training?

30/06/17 Vendome – Flying training?

15/09/17 Cranwell – Officer training?

10/11/17 Manston – Flying, familiarisation with Camel?

15/12/17 Dunkirk - operational?

DRCW

28/5/17 Chingford – flight school?

03/06/16 Admitted Chatham hospital with gonorrhoea, 7/7/17 discharge

04/08/17 Cranwell – officer training?

12/09/17 Failed to graduate - any way of finding out why?

26/09/17 Graduated

06/10/17 Manston – aircraft familiarisation?

27/10/17 Dunkirk

Am I right in the assumptions above and how can I find out more detail about the activities in each type of training? Can I find any more detail on the actual ops at Dunkirk?

DRCW was previously with RNVR and, again, I am looking for more detail on that

29/02/16 Joined RNVR as observer

05/03/16 Clement Talbot Works – Aero Engine works, now Sunbeam Studios

30/03/16 Admitted Chatham Hosp discharged 07/04/16 – eczema

17/04/16 Applied to RNAS as pilot - rejected

28/05/16 Naval School Portsmouth – basic naval training ?

12/08/16 Roehampton – navigation, etc ?

03/09/16 Eastchurch G School ?

21/10/16 Manston (Handley Page) – familiarisation with HP 0/100 bomber?

15/11/16 NC 3 Wing (Handley Page) – operational ?

23/04/17 Paris – plane turned over, sprained ankle – but in hospital for some time?

09/05/17 Eastchurch (Obs school) - requalify

Prior to that he was in Eaton's MC Brigade and I am asking on the Canadian Expedition Forums about that but if anybody has any links that would be appreciated

TMG was in the Red Cross as a chauffeur from 16/06/1915 to 07/03/1917 (although I understand this was a generic term for a driver rather than the meaning we have today) and again, any info for sources on this would be appreciated. I will ask on the appropriate part of this forum as well. I have his actual card with start/finish dates but nothing else.

I have got a lot of other personal information on both such as birth, school, marriage (for Wright) and some family information for both. Greeves was a the son of the owner of the biggest Linen Mill in Ireland, Wright was the grandson of a famous Canadian Politician

Thanks in anticipation

Dave

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They were two totally unrelated aircraft accidents on the same day in different locations. You could try the Fleet Air Arm Museum to see what they have in their RNAS biographical archive.

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They were two totally unrelated aircraft accidents on the same day in different locations. You could try the Fleet Air Arm Museum to see what they have in their RNAS biographical archive.

Hi, thanks for the reply.

Not wishing to doubt you but I understood both accidents were at Petite-Synthe. Do you have more information?

Will the FAA museum do this my E-Mail. I understand from their website they prefer personal visits but I am in Aberdeen so Its not the most practical.

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Thanks for that, I have read it and it is one of the really fascinating, oddball things that has interested me in his story.

I have a copy of the roll for the unit but DRCW does not appear on it. Some other documents seem to indicate he may have gone to England independently and joined up there but other indicate the unit went direct to France. I will see what the CEF website turns up.

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Sturtivant "RN Aircraft & Serials" :- GREEVES' crash (12 Squadron) was 700 yards north of Petit Synthe. WRIGHT's crash (10 Squadron) is noted as "on aerodrome" [unspecified]. Sturtivant shows 10 Squadron as based at Teteghem from 20 Nov 1917.

Contact FAAM by email fleetairarm.enquiries@NMRN.org.uk I know they have a great deal on the Canadian RNAS aircrew.

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Sturtivant "RN Aircraft & Serials" :- GREEVES' crash (12 Squadron) was 700 yards north of Petit Synthe. WRIGHT's crash (10 Squadron) is noted as "on aerodrome" [unspecified]. Sturtivant shows 10 Squadron as based at Teteghem from 20 Nov 1917.

Contact FAAM by email fleetairarm.enquiries@NMRN.org.uk I know they have a great deal on the Canadian RNAS aircrew.

Many thanks. What I had read also had 10 Squadron at Petit Synthe. I will drop a line to FAAM.

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It had crossed my mind that they might have collided but the information I have is that Wright was killed while flying Camel B6201 - lost control, spun out of clouds and crashed on aerodrome - while Greeves was in Camel B5653 - crashed 700 yards north of Petite Synthe; no mention of a collision.

Graeme

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It had crossed my mind that they might have collided but the information I have is that Wright was killed while flying Camel B6201 - lost control, spun out of clouds and crashed on aerodrome - while Greeves was in Camel B5653 - crashed 700 yards north of Petite Synthe; no mention of a collision.

Graeme

Yes, Wright's record at the National Archive says " Due to unfavourable weather conditions patrol returned immediately, pilot got into a spin over aerodrome and failed to get out of it before hitting ground". It then goes on to describe his injuries which were extensive and would have killed him instantly..

Greeves's is very brief, saying he died of injuries sustained in accident. Up until today I thought both at same aerodrome so it was possible Wright's plane hit Greeves as it came down on the aerodrome but the aerodromes were actually a couple of miles apart.

The two make a very interesting parallel and I am going to look into it further. I have already got a complete history of Greeve's work as an ambulance driver prior to joining the RNAS as a result of posting in another thread earlier today.

I have asked a friend to look into the files held at Kew to see if there is any more background on the operations of both 10 and 12 squadron

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Dave,

I have a somewhat different detail of Douglas Ross Cameron Wright's military history, which strangely seems to merge in and out with your details from time to time.

Born 9th July 1892 in Toronto. Was resident of New Westminster, British Columbia. Was Grandson of Sir MC Cameron of Toronto.
Joined RNAS at Toronto Ontario on 29th February 1916

Under instruction at Eastchurch from 18th September 1916,Was "washed ouy" as a possible scout pilot.

To Handley Page Squadron, Manston from 18th December 1916, but with Handley Page Squadron, 3 Wing at Luxeuil from 18th March 1917

Admitted to Chatham Hospital on 3rd June suffering from Gonorrhoea

Under instruction at Chingford from 18th June1917, being reinstated into the Scout programme after family influence was brought to bear

Under instruction at Cranwell from 4th August, failed to graduate at the first attempt

Under instruction at Manston War School from 6th October 1917

Dunkerque on 27th October 1917

No.12 Squadron from 28th October to 6th November 1917 (12 Squadron was an operational training squadron/pilots' pool)

No 10 Squadron at Leffrinckhoucke on the 7th November 1917. The squadron relocated to Teteghem on the 27th November.

Wright's first flights with the squadron were a couple of short practice flights on the 13th December. I assume that Wright was with B Flight. Wright ineffectually attacked a kite balloon on the 22nd December, causing it to be winched down. On the 23rd December, low cloud made conditions difficult, one patrol was attempted, a low fleet patrol, but it was aborted due to poor visibility, Wright, flying Camel B6201, lost control over the aerodrome and spun in. Wright was killed and the machine wrecked.

Mike

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Dave,

I have a somewhat different detail of Douglas Ross Cameron Wright's military history, which strangely seems to merge in and out with your details from time to time.

Mike

Hi Mike,

Can I ask where this is from? As you say, it is very close but differs in some key aspects from what I have which is from service records downloaded from National Archive. I guess it would be breeching copyright to link them here as they cost £3.30 each to download.

The family stuff checks out and I have his father, mother, stepfather and school details. His original attestation was January 1915 and his RNVR record says he transferred from Eaton MC Brigade so it seems odd he would be back in Ontario in 1916.

He also seems to have met one Eva Margaret Day in 1916, had a child with her and married her the day he went to France.

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Dave,

many years ago I would have transcribed the service details from his ADM273 entry at Kew. The other bits and bobs came from noted Researcher of Canadian WW1 Aviation, Stewart Taylor who knew all the gossip about every Canadian pilot as he interviewed every surviving veteran he could get his hands on!

Of course, it is probably easiest now to trawl through and print off the card index/micro fiches of ADM273 held at the FAAM at Yeovilton, or photograph each entry in the ADM273 Journals at Kew.. Or if cost is not a worry, download from Kew. For all my later RNAS research, I have photocopies, not for Naval 10 pilots though, so there is always the chance I made a mistake - Stewart didn't question it though.

I don't think Copyright is the issue, I can't believe Copyright lasts for 99 years. I think it's more a case of the NA wanting an admin fee.

Mike

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Dave,

many years ago I would have transcribed the service details from his ADM273 entry at Kew. The other bits and bobs came from noted Researcher of Canadian WW1 Aviation, Stewart Taylor who knew all the gossip about every Canadian pilot as he interviewed every surviving veteran he could get his hands on!

Of course, it is probably easiest now to trawl through and print off the card index/micro fiches of ADM273 held at the FAAM at Yeovilton, or photograph each entry in the ADM273 Journals at Kew.. Or if cost is not a worry, download from Kew. For all my later RNAS research, I have photocopies, not for Naval 10 pilots though, so there is always the chance I made a mistake - Stewart didn't question it though.

I don't think Copyright is the issue, I can't believe Copyright lasts for 99 years. I think it's more a case of the NA wanting an admin fee.

Mike

Thanks Mike,

The dates I have are directly copied from ADM273/23/236 and ADM273/13/178 and agree with those in AIR 76/562/147. I did pay to download those. I unfortunately live a long way from either Kew or Yeovilton (in Aberdeen!) so popping in to trawl through the archives is no small task.

​I have a friend who has volenteered to have a look for me at Kew and I've been looking through their indices to see what might yield good info.

Are these a reasonable source? Are they of a managable size? She is a very dear friend and I have promised to wine and dine her next time I am in London but I don't want to burden her too much and I am also going to ask her to visit the Quaker's library for info on TMG's previous work.

AIR 1/2266/209/70/18 Notes on bombing operations of 3 Wing R.N.A.S. during Winter 1916/17.

AIR 1/112/15/39/9 3 Wing, R.N.A.S. personnel -list of operations with names of pilots etc.

AIR 1/648/17/122/397 Report on bombing raids carried out in Saar Valley, Germany, by 3 Wing, R.N.A.S.

AIR 1/46/15/9/23 R.N.A.S. 12 Squadron 1917 June-1918 Mar (For Greeves, not Wright)

Lastly the accidents they died in may be in

AIR 1/852/204/5/397 Reports on aeroplane and personnel casualties.1917 Dec. 17/31

Are you this Mike W? If so, I just bought your book!

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Gusty, Some of the experts here might be able to track down the relevant file from the accident detail on Greeves' RNAS file.

Chaps, it reads as follows:

"Telegram Dunkirk 23.12.17 :- Died of injuries. A/134319 NL 7269. Report of above accident. A/20298 12.01.1918 :- H??t certificate referred to A.G. & M.D.G. A/20685. 24.12.17 - Report of death & accident to this officer. He sustained fractured skull and multiple injuries to both legs".

Btw if it's any use at all, his Irish Times death notice does confirm that he was part of the famous Ulster linen dynasty. However, it also indicates that he was a student of Campbell College. They (and the families of past pupils) have conducted extensive research into the fallen of both world wars. If you were to contact them, or one of the associated Northern Irish websites, I'm sure they'd have more detail on the chap, e.g. who was in his class, who died, who survived etc, any letters/memoirs in which he was mentioned.

post-88270-0-67446600-1440795638_thumb.p

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Dave,

Thank you for buying the book, one day I might finish no.9 Squadron RNAS!

The file AIR 1/46/15/9/23 R.N.A.S. 12 Squadron 1917 June-1918 Mar is quite large, all that it comprises though is a log of the aircraft flown by each pilot with cumulative flying hours, generally the machines were Pups, Triplanes and Camels and later DH4s. Pilots were usually there a week or so before being assigned to an active squadron.

I cannot comment on the 3 Wing files.

Mike

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Gusty, Some of the experts here might be able to track down the relevant file from the accident detail on Greeves' RNAS file.

Chaps, it reads as follows:

"Telegram Dunkirk 23.12.17 :- Died of injuries. A/134319 NL 7269. Report of above accident. A/20298 12.01.1918 :- H??t certificate referred to A.G. & M.D.G. A/20685. 24.12.17 - Report of death & accident to this officer. He sustained fractured skull and multiple injuries to both legs".

Thanks for this. I was wondering where the files mentioned in this might be. I bought the Sturtivant book and was horrified just how many of the aircraft were destroyed in accidents with pilots being killed.

I hadn't seen that newspaper cutting but I've looked a lot into Campbell's archives. Virtually all the Greeves' went there as you can see in this copy of the register http://www.lennonwylie.co.uk/CampbellCollegeRegister.htm. It was frowned on by the Greeves' that I went to a different school (Inst) even though I'm not a Greeves by name (my mother was).

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Dave,

Thank you for buying the book, one day I might finish no.9 Squadron RNAS!

Mike

Mike, I've got copies of the files from the Canadian Archives and FAAM which confirmed the chronology I had. They also had a lot of stuff on 3 Wing including stuff copied from the files I mentioned so I think I am OK with info for that. Very interesting period in the development of bombing.

I am very interested in the comment about family influence being brought to bear as it appears the same thing happened in Canada. He was discharged from 29th Battalion with comment "not-likely to make a good soldier" but a month later he re-enlisted in Eaton MG Brigade and it turns out his stepfather was a close friend of Eaton of Eaton's Stores who funded that brigade! If you have any more notes from that, it would be good to know. Is the Stewart Taylor you mention still alive?

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