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Remembered Today:

RNAS Cranwell, 1917


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Hello good people across the pond. I am in Richmond, Va., USA.  I recently came into possession of a hood ornament featuring a cast aluminum, 4 blade spinning propeller from WWI design. It clamps on to the radiator neck of a Model T Ford, and has engraving on all for blades. One blade has the name "A. G. Tye''. Next is ''RNAS Cranwell'', then ''March 1917'', and finally an eagle insignia. From what I have read, the insignia represents a RNAS rank of Probationary Flight Officer. While this ornament is nice, it doesn't look like an official award, but more like a congratulatory present from friends or family. I am thinking that this was a gift, celebrating the event of AG Tye attaining the rank of Probationary
Flight Officer at RNAS Cranwell in March of 1917. My goal is to find out the history of this gentleman, and ultimately, maybe locate a descendant who would be interested to know of this small piece of early British flying history. Thanks for any info or leads in this matter.   - Mark Merritt

Spoiler

 

 

prop 1.jpg

prop 2.jpg

prop 3.jpg

prop 4.jpg

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AG TYE (Alfred George) was not a pilot (the insignia is that of the RNAS). He served as an Air Mechanic and Leading Mechanic (Engines). at Cranwell from 7 March 1917. His RNAS record can be downloaded here:-     https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D6827633

 

He transferred to the RAF on 1 April 1918 and his RAF record is here:-  https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C12272585

Edited by horatio2
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Hi Mark

The propeller looks hand made, and I think he may have made it himself- or maybe another mechanic friend.

Since as Horatio 2 has found, that he was an air mechanic, this piece may have been an engineering sample

to demonstrate his ability. My grandfather was an air mechanic in the RNAS, and he had some old tools which

he had made himself

Regards

Geoff

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Thanks everyone for the info. All seems to make sense now. Does anyone have advice as to where to look for a death certificate, or an obituary? I would like to find a descendant or family member who might like to know about this hood ornament. Thanks again. - Mark Merritt

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Hello again. Perhaps someone can decipher the handwritten entries in Mr. Tye's service record better than I, please. I'm especially curious about the names entered under ''ship served''. Thanks again for your help. - Mark

AG Tye, better copy.pdf

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His RNAS service:-

Borne on the books of HMS PRESIDENT II (a pay and admin office in central London for men of the RNAS), he was first sent to the recruit training depot at Crystal Palace (in SW London) and then on to RNAS Cranwell, Lincolnshire. He was then transferred onto the books of HMS DAEDALUS (another RNAS pay base at Chatham) while continuing to actually serve at RNAS Cranwell. He probably remained at RAF Cranwell after transfer to the RAF (see ADM 159 RAF record).

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I see that the SSP airships in 1917 used a 9 ft, 4 bladed, pusher prop, like the one on the hood ornament? Maybe Mr.Tye was working with airships and not aircraft???   Thanks again.

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43 minutes ago, Guam2250 said:

Maybe Mr.Tye was working with airships and not aircraft???

Unlikely. Cranwell was not an airship station.

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8 hours ago, Guam2250 said:

I see that the SSP airships in 1917 used a 9 ft, 4 bladed, pusher prop, like the one on the hood ornament? Maybe Mr.Tye was working with airships and not aircraft???   Thanks again.

 

Although not an Airship Station per se, Cranwell, being the centre for airship training had a Lighter Than Air Section on the northern part of the airfield.   It originally featured a Kite balloon shed (later removed) an SS airship shed, a CP airship shed as well as the large Rigid airship shed. 

 

Edited by pete-c
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This is very interesting, thanks. This should establish the existence of airships at Cranwell during this early period. Also gives credence to the possibility that ''motor engineer''  AG Tye could have been working on airship engines. Amen

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On 11/08/2020 at 12:17, horatio2 said:

AG TYE (Alfred George) was not a pilot (the insignia is that of the RNAS). He served as an Air Mechanic and Leading Mechanic (Engines). at Cranwell from 7 March 1917. His RNAS record can be downloaded here:-     https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D6827633

 

He transferred to the RAF on 1 April 1918 and his RAF record is here:-  https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C12272585

Thank you all, for the information about AG Tye at RNAS Cranwell. More questions. Is the page reference, F 27654. in his service record ledger, his service number? I understand he was born Dec. 17, 1886 at Sevenoaks, Kent.  How and where can I use this information to find a death notice or an obituary for the gentleman? Thanks, Mark

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The GRO death index has the death of an Alfred George Tye in the December quarter of 1946, registered in Tonbridge, England. There are also a couple of public family trees on Ancestry that give the actual date as either 13 or 19 December 1946. One tree which looks to deal exclusively with the Tye family has him marrying Constance Gould in 1918 in Somerset, England, with one son born in 1923. No further details as to whether there were any further descendents from the son, but if you have an Ancestry subscription, or even a free trial, it might be worth dropping the tree owner a message. You might also try searching the British Newspaper Archives to see if you can find a death notice in one of the local newspapers from December 1946.

Edited by Tawhiri
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Hello, and thanks. Can't seem to get anywhere from here in Richmond, Va. without a credit card. Have you access to that Tye family tree? Any one there that may be a son or grandson that I could try to contact, send them photos of their grandfather or great grandfather's hood ornament from 1917? Appreciate your time. Mark

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Just to add confirmation that RNAS Cranwell was home to four airships used for training purposes  - two Submarine Scout Blimps (SS.37 & 39), the rigid HMA No.9, and the large non-rigid Parseval type No.6 airship. There were of course associated machine shops for servicing these machines, and four bladed pusher props were being used.

 

The RNAS Central Training Establishment Cranwell was commissioned April 1, 1916.

Edited by KizmeRD
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Evening! Now given that AG Tye was there at the beginning, and the SS airships were experimenting with dangling powered fuselages from SE2c aircraft, with 4 bladed props, I would think that AG was envisioning all that with this hood ornament. Still think a descendant would like to see it, maybe bolt it on to his restored Model T, who knows. Cheers

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David_Underdown
19 hours ago, Guam2250 said:

Is the page reference, F 27654. in his service record ledger, his service number? 

F27654 was his RNAS service number, on transfer to the RAF he became 227654 - on the creation of the RAF men coming from the RFC retained their original numbers, while RNAS men were renumbered in the series starting at 200001 (basically put a 2 and any zeroes required to pad the RNAS number to 6 digits in place of the F prefix of the RNAS number), similarly RNAS squadrons were renumbered so Naval 1 Squadron became, 201 Squadron RAF, Naval 2 became 202 Squadron RAF etc)

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16 hours ago, David_Underdown said:

F27654 was his RNAS service number, on transfer to the RAF he became 227654 - on the creation of the RAF men coming from the RFC retained their original numbers, while RNAS men were renumbered in the series starting at 200001 (basically put a 2 and any zeroes required to pad the RNAS number to 6 digits in place of the F prefix of the RNAS number), similarly RNAS squadrons were renumbered so Naval 1 Squadron became, 201 Squadron RAF, Naval 2 became 202 Squadron RAF etc)

Thank you!

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This would appear to be your man, from the local paper in December 1946. Unfortunately not all of the page appears to have been scanned by the archive, but at least you get to see the photo of him. 

92DBA429-1D6C-46C4-951A-44574C9F37BB.png

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17 hours ago, Matt JB said:

This would appear to be your man, from the local paper in December 1946. Unfortunately not all of the page appears to have been scanned by the archive, but at least you get to see the photo of him. 

92DBA429-1D6C-46C4-951A-44574C9F37BB.png

   Thank you so much! How interesting. Curious that there was no mention of his time at RNAS Cranwell. Of course, now I can follow up trying to contact his sons, if possible. Would like to send photos of their father's hood ornament. Thanks again. Mark

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