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Stephen Reinstadtler

Sidney Stilwell RNAS/RAF

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Stephen Reinstadtler

A chance purchase of a pine chest led me to an extensive family and service history of Sidney Stilwell - but I would be grateful for an interpretation of his service history. Sidney was born in Pulborough in Sussex and was a motor mechanic in the 1911 census. He joined the RNAS in August 1914 and was awarded the 1914 Star. I am speculating that his service in France plus his role as a mechanic points to the RNAS Armoured Car Units but that is guesswork - he was mentioned in dispatches. Any help in deciphering his record and where I might find the details of his mention in dispatches would be much appreciated.

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horatio2

MiD London Gazette 1 May 1918 - "...honours, decorations and medals to Officers and Men of the Royal Naval Air Service for zeal and devotion to duty during the period from 1st July to 31st December, 1917."  https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30662/supplement/5284. His 1914 Star was awarded for service with 3 Squadron RNAS. No evidence of service with armoured cars.

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Stephen Reinstadtler

Excellent, many thanks.

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hmsk212

Hi

 

Have you checked out his service sheet with the Royal Air Force under his RAF service number of 200210 ?

 

Steve

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Stephen Reinstadtler

I have taken a quick look at the history of 3 Squadron RNAS now we know his 1914 Star was to that unit. It seems it had been established at Eastchurch in 1914 under Samson who later took it to France. According to Wickipaedia Samson then used those men to instigate his armoured car patrols. I have made an enlargement of Stilwells RNAS record which shows he was allocated "For Service in Land Operations" followed by a series of notations that I do not understand. Are we back to armoured cars do you think? I have looked at his RAF record which mirrors the RNAS and then goes on to cover service at Redcar Portholme Meadows.

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horatio2

The "FOR SERVICE IN LAND OPERATIONS" stamp and subsequent references to communications from the Naval Personnel (NP) Division of the Admiralty were common to all RNAS ratings who served in France. They are not indicative of service in the RNAS Armoured Car Division. Samson's armoured cars were manned mainly by men of Plymouth Division RMLI (attached RNAS), "The Motor Bandits". That is not to say that Stilwell never went on one of Samson's many armoured car sorties because he did take RNAS men along for the ride. We may never know. His trade was as a junior engines mechanic and he was most likely employed on 3 Squadron aircraft in late 1914 when the Motor Bandits were operational.

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