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Remembered Today:

Making sense of pilot training in 1915-16


Fujdog
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Most of the detailed descriptions of training I’ve read apply to later in the war so I’m trying to understand what the process would have been for my ancestor Lionel Morris. I'm wondering if he would have paid for his flying training in late 1915 when he joined No.9 Reserve Squadron at Mousehold Heath in Norwich..? There is no reference on his application for a transfer to the RFC from the Queens Royal West Surreys to any experience of flying, so I imagine he would not have been receiving any tuition at a private school prior to this. He was also the son of a tobacconist so I’m not sure he would have had the means unless a wealthy relative helped out.

Chaz Bowyer's book on Albert Ball has been really helpful, as Ball was often in the same squadrons at the same time as Lionel. I'm wondering how much classroom time was spent at Mousehold - according to Bowyer, Ball went up in a plane on his first day there, just weeks before Lionel arrived. Is there a published (my archive visit resources are woefully small!) complete version of Ball's papers, over and above what's been quoted in biographies?

Lionel got his pilot’s certificate on January 25th 1916 at the Military School in Norwich but there’s no entry in his service record of him specifically attending the Central Flying School like Ball. Would his other postings have covered the experience he would have got there? He went from No. 9 Reserve to No 19 Reserve in February 1916 and then to No 39 in April. He eventually joined No. 11 Squadron in May 1916, again just a couple of weeks after Ball.

I’d welcome further reading suggestions for this specific period if anyone can help. A lot of what I’ve seen is understandably anecdotal, given the haphazard nature of training at that time.

Many thanks

Jill

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Most of the detailed descriptions of training I’ve read apply to later in the war so I’m trying to understand what the process would have been for my ancestor Lionel Morris. I'm wondering if he would have paid for his flying training in late 1915 when he joined No.9 Reserve Squadron at Mousehold Heath in Norwich..? There is no reference on his application for a transfer to the RFC from the Queens Royal West Surreys to any experience of flying, so I imagine he would not have been receiving any tuition at a private school prior to this. He was also the son of a tobacconist so I’m not sure he would have had the means unless a wealthy relative helped out.

Chaz Bowyer's book on Albert Ball has been really helpful, as Ball was often in the same squadrons at the same time as Lionel. I'm wondering how much classroom time was spent at Mousehold - according to Bowyer, Ball went up in a plane on his first day there, just weeks before Lionel arrived. Is there a published (my archive visit resources are woefully small!) complete version of Ball's papers, over and above what's been quoted in biographies?

Lionel got his pilot’s certificate on January 25th 1916 at the Military School in Norwich but there’s no entry in his service record of him specifically attending the Central Flying School like Ball. Would his other postings have covered the experience he would have got there? He went from No. 9 Reserve to No 19 Reserve in February 1916 and then to No 39 in April. He eventually joined No. 11 Squadron in May 1916, again just a couple of weeks after Ball.

I’d welcome further reading suggestions for this specific period if anyone can help. A lot of what I’ve seen is understandably anecdotal, given the haphazard nature of training at that time.

Many thanks

Jill

Hi

The updated and expanded edition of 'Observers and Navigators' by C.G. Jefford, Grub Street, 2014, has its Chapter 7 as a summary of Pilot Training in the RFC 1914-17. A shorter summary of the training system is available on pages 6-8 of 'Royal Air Force Flying Training and Support Units', by Sturtivant, Hamlin and Halley, Air-Britain, 1997.

Mike

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