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Remembered Today:

R.N.A.S non-com aircrew


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Were R.N.A.S non-commissioned aircrew allowed to fly in aircraft other than large bombers and airships? or were officers only pilots/observers.



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Possibly not often, but certainly occassionally.

Henry Allingham, now aged 110, flew a few patrols as observer/gunner in Short seaplanes.

And I have a list of the personnel in the Obendorf raid on 12th October 1916 by 3 Wing RNAS (and French aircraft), and this mentions some NCO "gunlayers". (The aircraft were Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutters and Breguets).

But I've never heard of Petty Officer pilots (at any time in history), unlike the RFC/RAF which had Sergeant Pilots.

I'm going away for a couple of days so won't see any replies to this straight away.


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Non commissioned aircrew flew in aircraft long before large bombers, flying boats or airships had come into service. They were flying in 1914 from the first landing, inluding men not technically in the RNAS (ie not with F suffix official numbers) and also in the first armoured cars. This is reflected in the number of DSM to the RNAS. I have not seen any non-com pilots and it is hard to find any hints on an RNAS service register tht the man was aircrew.

Sources include Samson, Flights & Fights + Sturtivant and Page, Royal Navy Aircraft Serials and Units 1914-1919.

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