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GrenPen

RN Experimental Station at Stratford

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domwalsh
On 08/02/2018 at 20:35, Philip Smith said:

Thanks Dominic that would be great.

 

I note your interest in this raid and wonder if you have any information of any events to mark the centenary this April.  I believe there may be parades in Deal and/or Dover.  I have no info regarding anything happening in Zeebrugge or Bruges. Perhaps I'm looking in the wrong places.  I live in SE London so it would be easy for me to get to the Kent coast or Belgium if I knew where to go!  I may be able to tempt other members of my family to join me.

 

Regards.  Philip.

Hi again Philip. Here are photos which hopefully are your gallant father. Dom

Bob Smith RNAS.jpg

50th Anniversary.jpg

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The Owlman

Hi

I know that some of the RNAS rating were armed with rifles as one chap I researched with Dom's assistance was a gunbearer and I assume bodyguard to Commander Brock, he was wounded getting ashore from the Vindictive. Unfortunately although listed in the V.C ballot the fact was not noted on his service records. his wounding in the action was though!

 

My in-laws live near Stratford (E London that is!) and I have contacted the local archives unsuccessfully to see if they have any information on the RNAS experimental works. Next visit 'dahn sarf' I will go and visit  them in person to see if they have anything.

 

owlman

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The Owlman

Having a good look at the RNAS men in the photo (printed a copy as it is easier to see, hope that's ok) the middle row either side of the sub-lieutenant (or perhaps a two ringer) are Petty Officers 1st class,  THe left hand chap has a overseas service chevron. The back row are ratings, the right hand chap has a wound stripe on his sleeve. The "soldier" is wearing the army uniform issued to the Zeebrugge volunteers. I wonder if the men represent the smoke team? I suspect the shield is a fragment of the Vindictive.

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seaJane
54 minutes ago, The Owlman said:

the sub-lieutenant (or perhaps a two ringer)

From the picture, the rings look zig-zag to me - unless it's just a trick of the angle - in which case he is RNVR.

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The Owlman

Hi seaJane, hope you are well

Yes I did think he might be RNVR but played safe!

I have thought about looking at RNAS personnel records and linking them to the appropriate pay office ledger to find who was at Stratford, but unfortunately do not have the time.

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Philip Smith

My niece has just sent me an album and some loose photos which had been kept by my mother (who died in 2008 aged 98).  These included a better copy of the group photo I have already posted and with additional information.  On the back, in my father's handwriting, is the following: "Dover Experimental Base Survivors from H.M.S. Vindictive, Iris and Daffodil".  (Both sides of photo uploaded below).  The third picture, taken  on the same occasion,  is new to me.  It bears my father's  caption so is self explanatory.  There is a women in the middle row - I wonder what her role would have been at this time?    

 

Dover Experimental Survivors back of PC.jpg

Dover Experimental Survivors.jpg

Dover Experimental Officers and NCOs.jpg

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MrSwan
On 3/1/2018 at 16:09, The Owlman said:

My in-laws live near Stratford (E London that is!) and I have contacted the local archives unsuccessfully to see if they have any information on the RNAS experimental works. Next visit 'dahn sarf' I will go and visit  them in person to see if they have anything.

 

owlman

 

I found a lot of material relating to Stratford in the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford. I think up until the  reorganisation in 1965 Stratford/West Ham was in an ambiguous position as a county borough, with some links to Essex and some to metropolitan London. The London Metropolitan Archives might also be worth checking.

 

I haven't been to the Stratford record office for several years but it wasn't very big - it was all in one room and if what you were looking for wasn't on the shelves then they didn't have it.

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David Bishop

His widow told me that my grandfather, Herbert Edward Bishop 1888-1942, was based at the RNAS experimental works in 1918/19. It was in Abbey Lane, off the High Street, Stratford. Previously he had worked for a local G.P. practice as dispenser and chauffeur. I'm not sure that he was a regular member of the armed services as he had a disabling heart condition. He lived with his wife and children  locally so was able to walk to the works every day. My enquiries at the local records office about the experimental station have been disappointing, but recently I came across 'UK, Royal Navy Registers of Seaman's Services, 1848-1939' on the family history website, Ancestry.com, which provided details about my grandfather's service that has enabled me to fill in some gaps. You may find it useful too.

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horatio2

He was one of the fortunate few RNAS ratings (mostly at Stratford) who were not compelled to transfer to the RAF on 1 April 1918.

Edit - in fact he was not enlisted into the RNAS but into the RN on 3 May 1918, after the RNAS had ceased to exist.

Edited by horatio2

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Chris Higgs

I am posting a photo of my grandfather, William Walter Toon  who served as a Chief Petty Officer at RNES Stratford in the transport department. Also an interesting set of sketches concerning the 'motley crew' as they name themselves that served under him. I get the impression they must have had a rather quiet war...

 

Chris Higgs

 

transport memories.pdf

799534082_wwtoonnavy.jpg.4bd6aad6bd4837bc348453c44e9ee657.jpg

 

 

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horatio2

A splendid set of caricatures. Thank you for posting.

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P Trobridge
On 07/02/2018 at 07:40, Philip Smith said:

Whilst I'm in posting mood I attach a photo from my father's memorabilia. Uncaptioned but it could be members of the Stratford team after the raid. Someone may recognise the arm badges.  Are those  smoke guns and canisters in the background?  My father (back row second from left) carried a flame thrower on to the mole. 

 

 

Group Photo 1918.jpg

 

My grandfather was also stationed at the Stratford Experimental Station, and then Dover, involved as a chemical engineer in the Zeebrugge raid. I've recently been going through some of his documents, including an album of photos from Stratford. In there is a photo, simply labelled "Smith". Wondering if this was your father? It's a bit hard to tell from the two photos.

Smith.jpeg

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GrenPen

I am aware of the following men named Smith associated with Stratford

F12853 Douglas Gordon Smith
F19980 Robert Samuel Smith

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P Trobridge

More digging in my records, and I've found some comical writing, but not sure who it was from as it's not my grandfather's handwriting. In this it talks about having to guard what they were doing overnight, with no ammunition, and bayonets not mounted. I also found this fantastic original cartoon drawing. Unsigned, but again I don't think it was done by my grandfather as the handwriting is different.

Stratford cartoon.jpeg

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