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Guest kernowman

Royal Flying Corps - 1917 date

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Guest kernowman

Hello,

I am at present repairing a clock which is set into the hub of a wooden aircraft propeller. The clock, hub and backplate all appear to be original and are from the WWI period. The backplate, which is firmly attached to the hub is made of brass and in the centre it has engraved the logo of the Royal Flying Corps. Above this there is engraved the date January 2nd 1917. I know this is a bit of a stab in the dark, but does anybody know if this date is significant to anything that may have happened on that day. It is an extremely high quality piece that I think would have been a presentation piece, or made for use in the officers mess or similar. Unfortunately, all propeller identification is missing except for a small '10' and a 'T' on the side of the hub, so it is not possible to work out the aircraft, as this may have helped. Any help or ideas would be very much appreciated.

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Clear Bell

Hi

 

Records at the National Archives include those when RFC aircraft return from recces and combat with notes about the state of the plane. These include brief notes about what happened, pilot and observer name/s, equipment taken (guns and/or cameras) and, if the plane comes back damaged, whether it can be repaired or needs to be "struck off". At least you might be able see if anything was happening on that day that the RFC itself is significant.

 

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Aspern

Well this is not an answer, it does narrow a very wide field a little.

 

There were no German raids over Britain on that date so it would exclude any Home Front action.

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ICM - RAF Retd

Perhaps narrowing the field a bit further - the RFC Communique for 2 January 1917 is quite brief, with nothing that looks in any way special that day.  At a single unit level, that's also largely borne out for 10 Squadron, operating from Chocques - that day's record has a fair number of artillery and photo sorties rated as Unsuccessful on account of weather.  So perhaps things were brighter, with more possibilities, further south?

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mickdavis

Although there were, probably, many other minor ones, there were only two incidents at home that warranted Casualty Cards. One involved a 19 RS FE2b, the other a 66 Sqn BE2d.

 

5761             BE2d.  42 Sqn  by 4.1916 until @ 2.8.1916.   66 Sqn by 8.1916. 21st Wing ARS ex 66 Sqn for repair 11.9.1916. 66 Sqn re-issued ex ARS 10.11.1916 (engine 21972) and wrecked 2.1.1917 (2Lt F.R.   Bissicks /2Lt J.E Townsend both KIFA, stalled and nose-dived in near Bristol after losing speed during turn in mist at 200ft – engine E658/WD3007). 21st Wing ARS ex 66 Sqn and presume deleted. 

A1941    FE2d.  RAF by 9.10.1916; engine No.69, airscrew 13555/T28020. 19 RS and wrecked 1.1.1917 (Sgt K.E. Whyte/AM1 W.J. Knowles both IIFA, crashed in forced landing after running into mist at 700ft on flight from Ash to Farnborough).

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mickdavis

I've had a trawl through my various serial listings and can only find two machines wrecked with the BEF on 2 January. Just a thought: is your prop hub a two blade or a four blade one - could help narrow things down.

 

FE2d

A7           RAF 29.5.1916 (engine 1/250/25, airscrew 10630). Allotted to BEF 12.6.1916. 20 Sqn by 10.7.1916 (Flt Sgt J.T.B. McCudden), force landed near aerodrome on Patrol after engine failed on patrol 25.9.1916 2Lt T.C.H. Lucas/2Lt C.H. Drabble both OK, carburretor trouble – same engine) and wrecked 2.1.1917 (2Lt W.C. Marsh/Lt R.W. White both OK, over-turned taxiing on soft ground – engine 53). 1 AD ex 20 Sqn 4.1.1917, to England in packing case ex St Omer 18.1.1917 (173hr 6min) and reported en-route to SAD for repair 26.1.1917.

 

BE12

A4018          At Coventry 4.11.1916 allotted to BEF. 1 AD dd ex England 15.11.1916 (engine 5784/25274). 2 AD ex 1 AD 17.11.1916 (same engine).  21 Sqn dd ex 2 AD 26.11.1916 (same engine) and wrecked on Practice Flight 2.1.1917 (Capt H.J. Segrave IOAS, side-slipped and nose-dived in –  same engine).   2 AD ex 21 Sqn 3.1.1917 and deleted 4.1.1917 (20hr 15min).

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Clear Bell
4 minutes ago, mickdavis said:

I've had a trawl through my various serial listings and can only find two machines wrecked with the BEF on 2 January. Just a thought: is your prop hub a two blade or a four blade one - could help narrow things down.

 

FE2d

A7           RAF 29.5.1916 (engine 1/250/25, airscrew 10630). Allotted to BEF 12.6.1916. 20 Sqn by 10.7.1916 (Flt Sgt J.T.B. McCudden), force landed near aerodrome on Patrol after engine failed on patrol 25.9.1916 2Lt T.C.H. Lucas/2Lt C.H. Drabble both OK, carburretor trouble – same engine) and wrecked 2.1.1917 (2Lt W.C. Marsh/Lt R.W. White both OK, over-turned taxiing on soft ground – engine 53). 1 AD ex 20 Sqn 4.1.1917, to England in packing case ex St Omer 18.1.1917 (173hr 6min) and reported en-route to SAD for repair 26.1.1917.

 

BE12

A4018          At Coventry 4.11.1916 allotted to BEF. 1 AD dd ex England 15.11.1916 (engine 5784/25274). 2 AD ex 1 AD 17.11.1916 (same engine).  21 Sqn dd ex 2 AD 26.11.1916 (same engine) and wrecked on Practice Flight 2.1.1917 (Capt H.J. Segrave IOAS, side-slipped and nose-dived in –  same engine).   2 AD ex 21 Sqn 3.1.1917 and deleted 4.1.1917 (20hr 15min).

 Hi all

 

The original query was from Kernowman - posted in March. I was moseying around GWR and noticed it because of my interest in 70th Sqdn, RFC. I really hope all these ideas are getting back to the enquirer and help the research in to the clock repair. 

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AlastairSP
On 7/23/2017 at 02:09, Clear Bell said:

Hi

 

Records at the National Archives include those when RFC aircraft return from recces and combat with notes about the state of the plane. These include brief notes about what happened, pilot and observer name/s, equipment taken (guns and/or cameras) and, if the plane comes back damaged, whether it can be repaired or needs to be "struck off". At least you might be able see if anything was happening on that day that the RFC itself is significant.

 

I am new to this and wonder if you could tell me the kinds of files I should look for at the National Archives. I have the 10 Squadron Ops Record Book, but the entries are often weeks apart and cryptic. My great-uncle, Lt Henry Harvey Dowse, was a BE2, then AW FK8 observer with 10 Squadron at Chocques, Abele and Drogland from early 1917 until he went to Italy in July 1918 with 139 Sq F2s (where his aircraft was shot down on 31 Oct. '18. He was wounded and died ten days later). I am also interested in casualty numbers and reports.

 

Tks

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nieuport11

All the casualty files and aircraft movement files have been transcribed and can be viewed here:

airhistory.org.uk/rfc

The data files include references to the AIR 1 files at the TNA and other documents, but exclude combat reports and detailed ORB entries.

You can obtain copies of documents by emailing the site with the image reference

 

 

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ICM - RAF Retd

Alastair: Nieuport has pointed you in appropriate directions but, as I've dabbled a bit into 10 Sqn's first 100 years, I might be able to help too.  I'm guessing that the ORB you mention is AIR 27/141 that runs from 1915 to 1939.  The detailed records are in the series AIR 1/1361/204/22/xx, most running into hundreds of pages, and not available online.  What level of detail had you in mind concerning Lt Dowse?

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AlastairSP

Dear nieuport11 and ICM - RAF Retd, tks for the prompt replies, which have both born fruit.


Re level of detail for Lt Dowse, RFC/RAF: my project is a memoir, which includes from where and whom our family has come. (What is our debt to our past, in other words.)  So, I am summarising the context of forebears' lives and times: the economy and way of life; political, military and religious issues of the day; big events and people; prophets, philosophers and charlatans; etc. (How little has changed.) Lt. Dowse joined the infantry (Dublin 'Pals') in August 1914, was wounded at Gallipoli , posted to the RASC, then joined the RFC as an observer in, we think, late 1916 or early 1917. (His service record has no detail pre -1917.) He ended up in Italy with 139 Sq where his F.2 was "shot though" and crash landed on 30Oct18. He was wounded but never got out of hospital: the flu got him and he died on 10Nov18. So, his "context" is dominated by the religious and political upheavals in Ireland and, of course, the Great War.


So to your question of level of detail: objective is a rounded representation of what was it like, day by day, in an RFC squadron, so scope of interest is pretty much whatever there is on 10 Sq (and 139 Sq in Italy, where Lt Dowse went in 1918), which I will then have to distill: the social life of the squadron; leave; class issues (and how the war changed all that);  the RASC and RAMC; logistics, equipment and tactical dilemmas facing the CO and compromises; nights on the town and interactions with civilians generally; likes, fears and shell shock; interactions with and opinions of the enemy; the influenza pandemic; individual stories; etc. And of course the aircraft (B.E.2c, F.K.8 and F.2), battles, missions, results, combat and casualties. I'll need some luck boiling all this down to six or seven pages.

 

Learning of the existence of  "Brooklands to Brize" was exciting, and I am on waiting lists at a number of booksellers. Any suggestions how else I might get a copy? Ultimately, in fact, two copies: my nephew was an RAAF F-18 pilot and holds the family RFC memorabilia.

 

I haven't really answered the question of "level of detail", and instead ask another question: I would like to get my hands on the famous "series AIR 1/1361/204/22/xx, most running into hundreds of pages". Are only paper copies available? Or has your book pulled the eyes out of it?

 

The attached photo may be of interest. Lt Dowse's service record entry for 16Oct17 says: inj [B5788 AW] Stalled and sideslipped trying to avoid buildings and dbf on t/o for practice photography. 2Lt R Hood Ok/2Lt HH Dowse inj . So the photo caption is incorrect re. "shot down". The family folklore also says that "he spent the night in a field", but he looks not too badly hurt and his pilot not at all, so not sure about that. We have since had the photo restored.

Rgds

Alastair Sharp-Paul

 

 

59e6aa4b9a135_HHDChocques16Oct17.jpg.2f05bc0eb66032d27f4ce7168c379c65.jpg

 

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helpjpl
7 hours ago, AlastairSP said:

The attached photo may be of interest …. he looks not too badly hurt 

 

 

Henry was treated for burns at No.35 General Hospital, Calais:

http://www.rafmuseumstoryvault.org.uk/pages/raf_vault.php?RAF-titel=Dowse%2C+H.H.&van=1

 

'Pilot stalled in trying to clear buildings when taking off. Machine side slipped, crashed & caught fire & was destroyed.'

 

JP

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ICM - RAF Retd

Alistair: You have set yourself an ambitious task, I must say.  "From Brooklands to Brize" is just what it says on the cover - a Centenary History of 10 Squadron, so it does not set out to be a full-scale examination of all the detailed areas of RFC activity you mention but it should give an idea of what it was to be a Corps Reconnaissance squadron in WW1 - ie lots of days doing much the same things.  To obtain a copy, or even copies, may I suggest you contact my colleague, Dick King, on the Sqn Association's contact address?  He holds the stock: 

contactus@10sqnass.co.uk

 

I've just re-checked the National Archives website and, as expected, the detailed records in the AIR 1 series are still only available in paper at Kew.  However, I have most - not all - available on a memory stick, so going through them is a time-consuming business.  I'll pass you a personal email address via the Forum's messaging system, and we can pursue that further without derailing this thread.

 

The photograph is interesting and I see that you already know that the caption is in error as regards his having been shot-down on 16 October 1917.  But I very much doubt that the chap with his back to the camera was his pilot, and the uniform intrigues me for, to my non-expert eyes, it's not British.  So is it from the incident in Italy?  Perhaps someone else can comment more authoritatively.  And what's at Lt Dowse's feet?  I can clearly make out a boot, but what else is there?  A jumble of clothing?  Not, I think, a body?

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Andrew Upton
10 hours ago, ICM - RAF Retd said:

The photograph is interesting and I see that you already know that the caption is in error as regards his having been shot-down on 16 October 1917.  But I very much doubt that the chap with his back to the camera was his pilot, and the uniform intrigues me for, to my non-expert eyes, it's not British.  So is it from the incident in Italy?  Perhaps someone else can comment more authoritatively.  And what's at Lt Dowse's feet?  I can clearly make out a boot, but what else is there?  A jumble of clothing?  Not, I think, a body?

 

If the standing soldier is not British, then he is British allies of some sort, as he is clearly wearing a slung SBR - to me it looks just like British OR's kit... I see the jumble as Dowse's additional flying clothing and right boot that have been removed to give access to his injured right leg.

 

Edited by Andrew Upton

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AlastairSP
On 10/19/2017 at 12:20, Andrew Upton said:

 

If the standing soldier is not British, then he is British allies of some sort, as he is clearly wearing a slung SBR - to me it looks just like British OR's kit... I see the jumble as Dowse's additional flying clothing and right boot that have been removed to give access to his injured right leg.

 

ICM - RAF Retd and Andrew Upton both commented on the not-British uniform of the man on the right with his back to the camera. This got me thinking and just as well: it turns out that this photo was taken in Italy at the end of October 1918 (h/t ICM - RAF Retd), sent to Lt Dowse's parents – another son lost – to be then folded and put in a book, where it lay undiscovered for 70 years.

 

The circumstantial evidence agrees: the Chocques crash caused mutliple burns (Burns, face, legs, back) but the 139 Sq Italy photo shows a right leg wound and no burn signs (all of which fits the medical records (dang[erously] ill GSW thigh r[ight]) respectively, ergo Italy); non-British uniform (fits Italy);  and finally a note in family papers saying "Italy". So, not Chocques, then.

 

59eeeb1be1e71_HHDRFCMedicalCardComplete.jpg.b0f759d007e70f04231783c93d167571.jpg

(Tks to helpjpl for this medical record.)

 

Here is a corrected caption.

59ef141d019af_HHDItaly29Oct18.jpg.e0f2c44759a66da9dd0ab8cd40a9aba3.jpg

 

Apologies for posting the misapprehension that this photo involved 10 Sq at Chocques (which Lt Dowse left in mid-1918 to join 139 Sq in Italy). A good example, though, of how a post on GWF winkles things out and sets them straight. Which as best I can judge is as follows:

  • 139 Sq F.2
  • By October 1918 the Allies faced little opposition in the air over the Italian Front, and there was much strafing of retreating Austrians going on. So Lt Dowse's leg wound was probably groundfire. (Mark Thompson's excellent The White War, describes the aftermath of the Italian victory at Vittorio Veneto as a "headlong" Austrian retreat under heavy attack from the air.)
  • Lt Dowse's pilot, Maj. HH Kitchener, was the CO of 139 Sq. Maybe his F.2 was leading an attack and copped what little return fire there was from the fleeing Austrians? (Clutching at straws here.)
  • On 26 Oct18 139 Sq had moved airfields from Grossa (non-flu area) to San Luca (flu-infected), so the medical record Complications influenza fits. (He died on 10Nov18.)
  • Appendix 2 of Macmillan* ("Casualties") lists two on 30Oct17 for 139 Sq (one crashed, one missing, both on bombing missions) but that's all between 8Oct18 and 9Nov18. (Perhaps the paperwork had become less important by then?)

The original print has now been restored and is of good quality.

 

*Norman Macmillan Offensive Patrol: The Story of the RNAS, RFC and RAF in Italy 1917-18 (London: Jarrolds, 1973), 226.

 

Which takes me to 139 Sq. I have Macmillan Offensive Patrol and H.A. Jones The War in the Air; being the Story of the Part Played in the Great War by the Royal Air Force, Vol VI Italy. (Could not find Sq Ops Record Book.) Any other leads I should be chasing on what the RAF did during the Battle of Vittorio Veneto Oct. 1918?

 

Tks to all who helped me get this straight.

 

AlastairSP

 

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pamelajd

My Great Uncle, Sergeant George Wilkes, soldier no 3621, School Of Aerial Gunnery, Royal Flying Corps, died 2 January 1917 - whilst flying in FE2d A1941.

 

Could this be related to your original question?

 

Pamela

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