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Trouble finding a Ground Officer in the RNAS and RAF


MikeW
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An RNAS Engineer Officer, Warrant Officer F Simpson, was posted to Dover on the 18th January 1917 and was still stationed at Dover Aerodrome in April - that's definite, from the RNAS Disposition Lists.

 

At some stage, possibly around 17th/18th December 1917 he was posted to Naval 9, still a Warrant Officer.

 

On 1st April 1918 he and the squadron were transferred to the RAF. I assume given the rank of 2nd Lt? Is that a valid assumption?

 

My problem is I can't find him in the Admiralty files that are accessible online at the PRO, and can only find one semi-reasonable suspect in the AIR76 files, a Frank Simpson who was born on 30th June 1899 which seems to make him too young to be one of the Non-flying Officers. His Air76 record is the worst one I have ever seen, not because it is illegible, it simply doesn't tell anything other than saying he was "Technical". It also does not have a "Naval" section which I find ominous. I know this man existed as apart from the RNAS Disposition Lists, I have a photograph of him referred to as Lt Simpson and he is still wearing his Naval Uniform! The cap badge is indistinct, can't see if its the the eagle or fouled anchor.

 

Any suggestions where to go from here?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is this your man?  Served as M.1162 CPOM R.N. with Nos.3 & 1 Squadrons RNAS 1914. 1914 Star & Clasp issued to Air Ministry 23/9/1924.  Other medals Issued to Air Ministry for disposal to man.

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D7037417   and

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C9749669

No luck with AIR 76. Possibly remained RAF long-term post-war and hence record still with MoD.

 

 

Edited by horatio2
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That's him! He just doesn't come up in my ADM273 and ADM188 searches. What am I doing wrong?

 

Couple of things I don't understand - was he with the Navy until January 17, and then RNAS thereafter?

 

Did he qualify to fly on the CFS course on 17th May 1913?

 

Thank you so much

 

Mike

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6 minutes ago, MikeW said:

was he with the Navy until January 17, and then RNAS thereafter?

He was in the RFC Naval Wing as an ERA from 15 May 1913 in HMS HERMES. On 1 July 1914 the Naval Wing became the RNAS and he became a CPO Mechanic  RNAS.

 

11 minutes ago, MikeW said:

Did he qualify to fly on the CFS course on 17th May 1913?

No. No trace of a RFC Certificate being issued to him, so he was not one of the 37 naval ratings and RM ORs who qualified as pilot before the war.

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His ADM188 says he was "selected for the course of instruction in flying beginning 17.5.13 at the Central Flying School". I assume he failed the course.

 

After remarks about his various promotions which culminated with Warrant Officer 2nd Grade on 10th Jan 17, the follow remarks appear:

 

Trace to Air Ministry SR14750/  18/6/20

 

and

 

S15M (illegible in air serv Rtqs No 9th np/sc)   or just possibly 209th np/sc

 

To Air Ministry 1/8/20

 

 

He was at No.9 Squadron RNAS in early 18, and 209 RAF from April 1st 18.

 

If his RAF record is still held by the RAF, I assume I have to cough up £30 if I want any more information?

 

Mike

text.JPG

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1 hour ago, MikeW said:

Trace to Air Ministry SR14750/  18/6/20

This is almost 21 years after his RN engagement started in 1909 and may be confirmation to the RAF that he has about to reach 21 years for pension. The other cryptic entries are not obvious - admin reports but, I think, of no special significance,

1 hour ago, MikeW said:

If his RAF record is still held by the RAF, I assume I have to cough up £30 if I want any more information?

I think that is the MOD bargain offer.

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It could be that he has two records with the RAF.

 

Source:
UK, Military Discharge Indexes, 1920-1971


Image courtesy of Ancestry



 

Simpson.JPG

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Keith, thank you BUT,

 

1) apart from the service number being wrong - it "was" M.1116 (which also seems odd) the new RAF number would surely end in 1116?

2) Is this information in Ancestry "Fold3"? How much will that cost me? I'm already paying what seems like an arm and a leg for my wife's ancestry account with US and who knows what other add ons.

3) Perhaps you could walk me through how to arrive at what you found as I cannot get anything to come up saying RAF Officers and Other Ranks (pre 53) as displayed above?

 

Cheers,

 

Mike

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2 minutes ago, MikeW said:

Keith, thank you BUT,

 

1) apart from the service number being wrong - it "was" M.1116 (which also seems odd) the new RAF number would surely end in 1116?

2) Is this information in Ancestry "Fold3"? How much will that cost me? I'm already paying what seems like an arm and a leg for my wife's ancestry account with US and who knows what other add ons.

3) Perhaps you could walk me through how to arrive at what you found as I cannot get anything to come up saying RAF Officers and Other Ranks (pre 53) as displayed above?

 

Cheers,

 

Mike


Hello Mike,

Justin Nash contacted the MOD, and made a FoI request, of soldiers who served after 1920 who were born prior to 1901, for whom the MOD had service records. The output from the MOD personnel database can be downloaded for free. The story is documented on this very forum.

One very cheeky act that Ancestry did was to take this data, which is in the public domain, and use it as the basis of a dataset. They had added some similar info, in relation to both officers and airmen of the RAF. I know nothing further, other than quoting these references should indicate that a service record has survived.

So, in essence

  1. Please do not shoot the messenger. I have no idea how the RAF personnel department created numbers for their filing system. It is not in my control or influence. You could write to the RAF Personnel people and pose this very question. All that I can tell you is that the airmen service numbers in the range 370987 to 399999 were issued from September 1919 onwards, which implies that he left the RN, and re-enlisted in the RAF at a later date.
  2. All this tells you is that the file/s are with the Ministry of Defence, with other RAF personnel who served from 1920 onwards, so you need to apply to them. The .GOV webpage entitled "Request records of deceased service personnel" will tell you what to do. As this involves the physical activity of requesting files from the storage facility, the service has been adversely impacted by COVID.
  3. From memory, I used "F" "Simpson" as initials & surname, with a keyword of "RAF"  

The one "takeaway" from this is that some personnel files are still held by the MOD. It looks like he enlisted, and was subsequently commissioned.

Good luck with your future endeavours
 

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On 15/03/2021 at 16:16, horatio2 said:

Is this your man?  Served as M.1162 CPOM R.N. with Nos.3 & 1 Squadrons RNAS 1914. 1914 Star & Clasp issued to Air Ministry 23/9/1924.  Other medals Issued to Air Ministry for disposal to man.

......Possibly remained RAF long-term post-war and hence record still with MoD.

 

 


The medal rolls prove he was with the RAF after 1920, therefore any personnel records will still be in the custody of the Ministry of Defence.

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Thanks Keith,

 

sorry was not intending to shoot you - just had a frustrating half hour with Ancestry trying to part me from more cash! I seem to get a different answer every time I search Ancestry, I can't understand what my wife sees in it! Though we found we both had relatives given a free passage to Australia, in my case the poor chap was drunk in the pub when the militia turned up a day after an agricultural workers riot (the Stotfold riots).

 

£30 seems to be an awful lot to pay for another two lines in Simpson's biog but I suppose I'll have to bite the bullet.

 

Mike

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Hello Mike, hope things are now clearer. 

In this instance, if you were to apply, it looks like you would get two "sets" of records for this man.

Let me tell you a horror story about my application to the RAF. A family member had a very unique name. He appeared on the AIR 78 index of RAF airmen. I applied for his service record. RAF Personnel wrote back to say that nobody of that name had ever served in the RAF, and they were keeping my cheque. This was despite the same service number being recorded on the birth certificate of this man's first born son.

I wrote to the MOD Medal Office, enquiring as to his medal entitlement. They replied that they had retrieved his service record, and were able to formally confirm his entitlement. The exemplary service by MOD Medal Office was the polar opposite of my experiences with the RAF personnel department.

Given that one part of the MOD had confirmed his file had survived, I asked the RAF personnel people to send me a copy. They made three attempts, and on the third attempt I got the record.

The good thing about your man is that you have two RAF personnel file references in the public domain, so they cannot palm you off in the way they did to me 11 years ago.

One of the amazing things about the growth of the internet over the past 20 years is that you can get information at the press of a button, and free of charge. When it comes to applying for records from institutions, it is right that they charge an administrative fee to offset costs to the taxpayer. If you are a recent online genealogist, it becomes an initial shock to the system. 

If Simpson is not a member of your family, the RAF Disclosures team will heavily redact the file, so I have read.  
 

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Keith,

 

 

I will have a look at the Air Britain guide in a minute.

 

I have never had so much trouble in finding someone in well over 30 years of RNAS research, mind you, I have never had a Warrant Officer who started so early in the Navy, and stayed so long in the RAF.

When I try to find him in Ancestry, this is what I get (I have tried every combination of upper and lower case etc)

 

 

 

 

 

snip 2.JPG

Edited by MikeW
deleted duplicate image
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The Guide to RAF Numbers on the Air Britain Research page indicates the following:

 

13095 - issued to civilians in 1915

389058/35 - not issued at all

 

 

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It was suggested that  "If Simpson is not a member of your family, the RAF Disclosures team will heavily redact the file, so I have read " 

 

If the subject died more than twenty-five years ago then the complete file is available to anyone.

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Denis,

 

that's what I'm hoping, now having parted with the cash!

 

 

Incidentally, I have discovered how to get a successful search on Ancestry - I was entering Simpson's Day, Month and Year of Birth and getting nowhere. Leaving out all details of his DOB and up he pops - the search engine screws up if you enter too much data!

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  • 4 months later...

Well, after a 4 month wait the package arrived from RAF Disclosures today.

Unfortunately the information only starts in 1932 when promoted to Flight Lt, he retired in 1935, came back to the Technical Branch in  1941, eventually becoming a temp Sqn Leader.

 

 

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