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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Any help deciphering info on a RAF record card


Coleen

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Thanks to Gunner87 I have this record of my grandfathers would appreciate if anyone could help me decipher it and understand what some of it means 

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I imagine you have interpreted all the information on the left side of the record without any difficulty.

At this resolution, some of the words and letters on the right are difficult to read.

Can you post a higher resolution scan of the information in the 'Movements' and 'Promotions' columns?

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William Smith was born on 24th April 1887, as shown in Walsall in Staffordshire. He declared his religion was a Wesleyan Methodist. On the 18th October 1916 he was called up for service in the Army for the duration of the war.  Unfortunately with such a common name it is not possible to track his service prior to his transfer to the RFC, which at that time was an Army Corps.  It may be he was placed on the Army Reserve on occupational grounds and not mobilised until February 1918 but I think that is unlikely.

 

He transferred to the RFC on the 19th February 1918, the RAF Muster Roll (also on FMP) shows his trade in the RFC was Misc. Labour, his trade was Labourer and he was an Air Mechanic 3rd Class. Transferred to the RAF on its creation on the 1st April 1918 and he became a Private Class 2, in other words he was relatively unskilled.  He was enlisted under Duration of War terms.

 

To track his service in the RAF we then have to contend with a string of abbreviations, many of which may have fallen into misuse. My interpretation and happy to be corrected, expanded upon, is:-

 

On appointment, though no date shown, he was posted to the 'RD' (Depot?).

 

On the 13th October 1918 he qualified as a cook.

 

On the 7th December 1918 he was posted from 'RD' to the 'Res T WG (F Sec) which is probably the Reserve Training Wing (F Section) where presumably he carried out his duties as a cook.

 

On the 6th February 1919 he was posted to 'Rein Wg E Sec' or Reinforcement Wing 'E' Section.  I have no idea what these acronyms mean and it may simply have been a paper transfer.  His record shows he was awarded a bonus from the 1st February 1919 so the transfer appears to coincide with that.

 

On the 19th May 1919 he was posted to the RAF Dpt (HC) RAF Depot (Home Command?).  The Departure Authority is shown as sec/Bland/3 that is probably Blandford Camp so we can assume that is where he was previously stationed from the 6th February 1919.  Whilst posted at the RAF Dpt he was apparently counted in a Census and was demobilised from there on the 12th February 1920.  Again the departure location is shown as Walton.  This was probably Walton on Naze in Essex.

 

On the 11th March 1920 he was placed on the RAF Reserve 'G', equivalent to the Army Reserve 'Z'. which meant he was a wartime recruit subject to recall until 30th April 1920 when the Class was disbanded.

 

No medals are recorded for his WW1 service, which is not surprising as his RFC/RAF service appears to have been entirely at 'Home Stations'.  Although we don't have details of any pre-RFC service if he had served overseas he would be at least entitled to the British War Medal and this should be shown as it would be issued by the RAF

 

In 1921 a year after demobilisation a card was destroyed, presumably an index card which was weeded out.

 

To sum up, this record shows he transferred to the RFC in February 1918 as a labourer.  In October 1918 he qualified as a cook and continued in that trade at home stations until demobilised from the RAF in February 1920.

 

 

 

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Sorry to be a pain but another question would his regiment number be different if he was in a different regiment etc when he entered the military to when he was in the RFC RAF 

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17 minutes ago, bmbab said:

Could it be 'Cas card' destroyed ie his Casualty Record Card. I think I have seen similar on several records.

I would agree, that is what it appears to be.


Craig

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This is the information I started with I have entry date but still can't find anything else! Thank you to everyone who has helped me as I'm a bit out of my depth! I appreciate all comments x

Screenshot_20210323-082350.jpg

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  • kenf48 changed the title to Any help deciphering info on a RAF record card

Hi again guys I have looked over the record and I see next to RD in the column unit from which he left a number scribbled at the side it looks like 7926 and lo and behold I googled it and it's a medal card for a W Smith this may just be a coincidence if anyone can find me that record it would be much appreciated 

Screenshot_20210323-090406.jpg

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Coleen,

I've taken the liberty of amending the title of your post to mention the RAF in your title.  This may attract the interest of the specialists who may have more information.

 

The 18th October enlistment date you posted above is the same date as his RAF Record and  references his RFC/RAF number, so doesn't help with previous service in the Army prior to his transfer.

 

His occupation as a 'Tanner' as shown on the RAF record was a 'certified occupation' in 1916 (or at least certain specialist trades within the industry) but it appears he was single (sister next of kin?) and under 30 so would have struggled to obtain exemption from Military Service.  The leather trade traditionally male was, later in the war, one of those occupations that the Government believed suitable to replace male workers with women.

 

As I said in searching the online records the name is very common so identifying his previous service is a bit needle in a haystack, especially after conscription.  In the early days local newspapers published lists of recruits, but by 1916  the practice had all but ceased.  There is a remote possibility as he did not transfer until February his previous unit may be shown on the Absent Voter List for Walsall for 1918, if it survives.

 

13 minutes ago, Coleen said:

Hi again guys I have looked over the record and I see next to RD in the column unit from which he left a number scribbled at the side it looks like 7926 and lo and behold I googled it and it's a medal card for a W Smith this may just be a coincidence if anyone can find me that record it would be much appreciated 

 

Sgt  7926 William Smith served in the 2nd Battalion KRRC and was awarded the Military Medal, it is a coincidence but unlikely it is the same man who became a cook in the RAF.  His service record does not appear to have survived but there is a medical record which shows he was admitted to hospital in December 1916 with a 'GSW' (Gunshot Wound) and held the rank of Sergeant.  He was aged 24 on admission, born 1892, so conclusively it's not your William Smith.

 

 

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Thank you so much for your help I'm obviously clutching at straws haha I am so out of my depth with all this military business! (Glad there's people like you out there) Yes typical I have one of the commonest names to research but from starting from absolutely zero I have done more than I expected! I'm trying to fill in some blanks for my elderly mother who talks about her father all the time but knows very little about him because she was only little when he passed away! Thank you again for your time and patience with a pain like me xx

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