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NorthStaffsPOW

RNAS (?) Bessonneau Hanger in France or Belgium?

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NorthStaffsPOW

Hi all. I recently received this photo postcard of a Bessonneau hanger in what appears to be France or Belgium judging by the church in the background. I was wondering if any of the knowegable folk on the forum recognise the location at all? 

 

I tentatively say RNAS as I came with other RNAS related postcards, however there is no writing on the back and they may well have been collected haphazardly over the years.

 

Any suggestions would be appreciated. All the best. 

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sdparker

Hi

This picture shows Furnes Aerodrome in Belgium. The photo was taken from the Veurnes- Coksyde road, and shows the

bessoneau hanger used by the RNAS on the aerodrome which was shared, at various times by them ,and French and 

Belgian squadrons. It is sited on a farm called Ten Bougarde which was a monastery, hence the style of building.

The photo would have been taken around July/August 1916, and this was when the Detached Squadron 1Wing RNAS

were based there. Several photos exist of Naval ace R S Dallas receiving the French CdG in front of this hanger.

I would love to see the other RNAS postcards you have, if you are happy to share them

Regards

Geoff

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NorthStaffsPOW

Wow Geoff that's incredible, thanks ever so much. It will be my pleasure to share the others. Like I say, not sure how related they are. 

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NorthStaffsPOW

The first two are the only ones that I think have the same chap in. Identified as R. Revell sitting at the front with the Royal Flying Corps cap tally (which I believe was only used 1912-14, although on the back of the postcard is written 1917 so not sure how accurate the caption is?). Revell can be seen again in the second postcard standing roughly in the middle. 

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IMG_20200604_215238.jpg

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NorthStaffsPOW

Here are the others. First is captioned RNAS football team Eastchurch, 1916. The others are not captioned. Not sure if the observation balloon is related but came in the same lot. Nice photo anyway. 

 

 

IMG_20200604_215536.jpg

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IMG_20200604_215357.jpg

IMG_20200604_223707.jpg

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sdparker

Lovely photos very clear- thanks for sharing them with us.

The group of mechanics sitting in on steps, seems a place I have seen in other pics, maybe Eastchurch,

but will look through my sources. I think it is very rare to see a man wearing the original RFC cap tally and

naval dress. I wonder if R Revell is showing off his seniority,as it were, even though the pic is dated 1917?

The photo of the 2 seater machine behind the RNAS mechanics also has several RFC personnel present.

Since the mechanics seem to be the centre of attention, is the machine RFC , and been repaired by the 

RNAS on their snowy aerodrome?

Brilliant to see that the Eastchurch RNAS football team have the eagle embroidered on their shirts!

The next photo shows a PO or CPO in khaki uniform. Experts on rank and uniform will be able to help

more.

Similarly, the next photo shows an RNAS air mechanic- 2nd class?

The last photo of the balloon and crew- is this a French unit? I wonder if they are wearing French uniforms?

Regards

Geoff

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NorthStaffsPOW

Many thanks for your analysis Geoff. I too really like the embroidered football team shirts. While I am not very well acquainted with RFC/ RNAS uniforms l, I did wonder whether the captions and dates had been added later, possibly by someone using a bit of guesswork. Could it be that the postcard showing Revell's cap tally could actually be earlier than the caption suggests. 

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sdparker

Evening

Don't know if this is the right man, but Forces War Records has 2 entries -

Richard Revell dob 26/4/1892 Bethnal Green no K7777

1910 Engine room artificer Royal Navy

1918 Leading mechanic Royal Navy

Hopefully someone else might be able to find the service record, if you are interested in his part in the photos

Regards

Geoff

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Dolphin
On 05/06/2020 at 18:39, sdparker said:

The last photo of the balloon and crew- is this a French unit? I wonder if they are wearing French uniforms?

 

Geoff

 

The orthochromatic film in general use during the Great War showed red as black.  Hence, the roundel on the Balloon's flank has a red outer ring, indicating that it's French.

 

Gareth

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horatio2
Posted (edited)
On 06/06/2020 at 22:59, sdparker said:

Richard Revell dob 26/4/1892 Bethnal Green no K7777

This must be the man. Stoker 1st Class turned Air Mechanic (later Leading Air Mech) on draft to PEMBROKE III (later PRESIDENT II) for the RNAS on 1 July 1914. He served at Coudekerque from 4 May to 25 Aug 1917 as a Leading Air Mech - his only drfat to France.

He was not an ERA, he first enlisted as Stoker 2nd Class; Leading Air Mech August 1915.

On All Fools Day 1918 he became 314953 in the RAF.

Edited by horatio2

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NorthStaffsPOW

Many thanks to Geoff and Horatio for doing the leg work to narrow down my chap. I had a look on FMP and couldn't find anything but now I have something to work with. And thank you to Gareth on confirming the origins of the balloon. It's amazing that you chaps have brought the subjects of these postcards back to life after a century. I will record all information and store it with the cards. 

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NorthStaffsPOW

Also, I'm not sure how but I forgot that this postcard was included in the lot. I believe it is some variety of Nieuport and possibly the same aircraft or type of aircraft in the photo with the mechanics. 

 

 

IMG_20200607_172123.jpg

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pete-c
Posted (edited)

This is definitely an Avro 504K - seemingly post war, as it appears to have a civilian registration.  And the 'ground crew' certainly don't appear to be RAF!  As to machine in post #4, I have yet to ID that one.

 

EDIT:  The machine in Post #4 is a Sopwith Spinning Jenny, Two-Seat Scout - otherwise known to the Admiralty as Sopwith Daily Mails.  (Thanks Tony ;))

 

Edited by pete-c

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NorthStaffsPOW

That's brilliant Pete. Thanks for the IDs. I concur with 504K being in civilian hands. I had not heard of that or the Sopwith "Spinning Jenny" before. That Sopwith sounds like a terrifying aircraft to fly. Hence only being built in limited numbers I suppose. Many thanks. 

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NorthStaffsPOW

Just thought I would add a couple more (again unrelated to each other) to this thread as to be honest it's quite nice showing them to people who appreciate them. This exhausts my collection of RNAS/ RFC postcards............. For now. 

 

On the reverse of the photo of the flight sergeants is written "Cartolina Postale" so possibly taken in Italy? 

 

 

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sdparker

According to J M Bruce in Fighters of The First World War, only 24 Sopwith Spinning  Jennys were delivered to

The RNAS, and were based at Hendon,Chingford, Great Yarmouth and Killingholme. It was not a popular machine,

never saw any action, and was phased out in 1916.

However, there is a photo of no 1062 at Hendon being inspected by Winston Churchill in 1915, this machine,s

wings having experimental camouflage painted on them. Can't see any evidence of that on your photo unfortunately,

but it might possibly be the reason for the group photo

Regards Geoff

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