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Remembered Today:

Researching an individual aircraft

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Apologies if this has been covered before but I did a search and didn't come up with anything obvious.

I am wondering if it is possible to trace the history of individual aircraft, in particular a Bristol F2b number A7227. 

I know that my great uncle managed to crash it with the assistance of Lothar von Richthofen and from a previous thread of mine I understand that the craft suffered significant damage. I also believe Sir Keith Park claimed 2 of his victories in the same craft. This lead me to wonder if any logs were kept regarding aircraft rather than crew and if so where would I look for them.

I'd like to know if it ever flew again after Great Uncle Bills spat with Jasta 11 or whether it was classed as an "insurance write-off" and subsequently stripped of any useful spares. I'd also love to know  the history of the aircraft prior to Bills incident.

Bill also managed to get shot down in another F2b (number unknown) about a month later having been shot through the leg, I doubt they'd have trusted him with a third !

All advice gratefully received



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thank you for your prompt reply, I look forward to reading it all later as after a long weekend I am currently attempting to make our caravan look habitable again !

Thanks again,  



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Once you visit the Airhistory site you will see there is also a section on "people". 


Presumably your great Uncle Bill is the "William Thomas" of the 6th Manchesters/RFC listed amoung your interests.  You don't mention a second initial.  The pilot who crashed in A7227 was "WL Thomas" of 48 Squadron. 


I'm slightly hesitant about drawing conclusions from Airhistory here because records do seem to have got confused particularly where people had similar initials, and the trouble is that there's a William Lewis Thomas and a Wynne Llewellyn Thomas who both appear to have been active at roughly the same time and whose records may or may not have got tangled up.


Neither of the WL Thomases appear to have a connection with the Manchesters.  On the face of it, Wynne Llewellyn Thomas seems to have the stronger claim to 48 Squadron as his Casualty Form ( https://www.casualtyforms.org/form/24229) - but he wasn't a "William".  So can I ask - what was "Bill's" full name and how do you know he was the person connected with A7227?  I'm not saying he wasn't, you may have other evidence which proves he was.


Either way, 2 Lt WL Thomas of 48 Squadron also crashed Bristol Fighter B1277 on 28 March 1918 ("Ok [B1277 Bristol Fighter] Crashed on landing from travelling flight to new aerodrome. 2Lt WL Thomas Ok/2Lt CS Bissett Ok") and on 24th April 1918 he was wounded by rifle fire from the ground - though the number of the aircraft isn't stated.

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His full name was William Lewis Thomas and is the one with the GSW from ground fire. My information came partially from Trevor Henshaw (The Sky Their Battlefield author) and I have a partial service record which seems to tie in.

He joined the Manchesters as a territorial in 1908, arrived in Eygpt in 1914 and was then attached to the RE as a signaller just in time for the dubious delights of Gallipoli. Having contracted Dysentry he arrived back in the UK. In 1916 he was 'time expired' and in view of the recently introduced MSA re-enlisted with the RFC I understand to avoid further time in 'the trenches'.

I am aware of the other WL Thomas, are you suggesting there were 2 of them in 48 sq at the same time, that must have caused confusion not least with post and goodies from home.

I'm currently in Wales so away from my notes at present so the above is from memory.

Is there any proof/evidence that Wynne Llewellyn Thomas piloted A7227  ?

I'd love to know the truth whichever way .

thanks for reply.



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Only Wynne Llewellyn served with 48Sq, see military record at AIR 76/501/179:



and movement card on casualtyforms.org



The military record for William is in AIR 76/501/178:



He trained with 5TDS Stamford and relinquished his commission 3.8.18 as unfit to be pilot or observer.

He never served overseas with the RFC


A7227 went to 2 ASD for reconstruction 2 days after being shot up in combat and a month later was sent to 1ASD in wrecked condition and struck off charge

Edited by nieuport11
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Thanks so much for the clarification. I'll have to check my notes when I get home to see where I started along the wrong trail. As I mentioned before I'm more interested in fact than supposition. After relinquishing his commission I assume he would have remained in the RAF for the duration though in a different role, or am I wrong again?

I don't usually relish returning from holidays but on this occasion I'm looking forward to seeing what I've got and how to unscramble it.



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There is an airmans record in AIR 79/383/40397


which is definitely him


and also a William Lewis Thomas airman in AIR 79/2540/291505



His medal card is here:


showing he was a private in the Manchesters with regimental number 341


I suspect he initially became an airman, was granted a commission and then reverted to airman after relinquishing his commission.


You can view these on Findmypast or Ancestry, which are often free at your local library. They are generally free during the Armistice weekend.

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