Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Commonwealth Airmen in RFC


auchonvillerssomme
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was looking around Euston Road Cemetery and was thinking about this man. Would his transfer to the RFC from a Commonwealth Battalion have been treated any differently from a UK transfer, this might seem a strange question but was there a quota?

Mick

Name: FOCKEN, LESLIE CHARLES

Initials: L C

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment/Service: Royal Flying Corps

Unit Text: 15th Sqdn.

Age: 23

Date of Death: 26/10/1916

Additional information: (Served as FAWKNER). Son of Elizabeth Edwards Focken, of 187, Page St., Middle Park, Melbourne, Australia, and the late Charles F. Focken. Served in Gallipoli with 5th Bn. Australian Inf. Born at Hong Kong.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: I. E. 60.

Cemetery: EUSTON ROAD CEMETERY, COLINCAMPS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2Lt L C Focken (Fawkner) was killed in action while flying BE 2c 4205 (one of the rare armoured examples of the type) of No 15 Sqn RFC on 26 October 1916. He had departed Clairfaye Farm aerodrome on an artillery observation mission at 1450 and his last wireless transmission was at 1525.

As far as I know, all men serving in Empire units had the option of applying for a transfer to the RFC, just like their brethren in UK units. Of course, Australians also had the option of service in the Australian Flying Corps. The Canadian Air Force was in the process of formation at the Armistice.

Gareth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is fantastic. Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My great uncle was with the Australian Army (AIF) in Egypt and then Gallipoli. After the evacuation of Gallipoli, he was transferred to France. After only a short stay in France, he was a accepted into the RFC where he went on to join 100SQN as a pilot. It was fairly commonplace for Australians to transfer from the Australian forces to the RFC/RNAS and from his records, it seems a fairly straightforward process. I would guess that the process was similar for all the commonwealth countries.

Cheers,

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2Lt L C Focken (Fawkner) was killed in action while flying BE 2c 4205 (one of the rare armoured examples of the type) of No 15 Sqn RFC on 26 October 1916. He had departed Clairfaye Farm aerodrome on an artillery observation mission at 1450 and his last wireless transmission was at 1525.

As far as I know, all men serving in Empire units had the option of applying for a transfer to the RFC, just like their brethren in UK units. Of course, Australians also had the option of service in the Australian Flying Corps. The Canadian Air Force was in the process of formation at the Armistice.

Gareth

Didn't the RFC/RNAS recruit in Canada? From memory, I believe that Captain Roy Brown, credited by the RAF with bringing down Manfred von Richthofen joined the RNAS in Canada, completing his training there. I would have thought the RFC did the same in Australia but maybe you can set me straight on this point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Didn't the RFC/RNAS recruit in Canada? From memory, I believe that Captain Roy Brown, credited by the RAF with bringing down Manfred von Richthofen joined the RNAS in Canada, completing his training there. I would have thought the RFC did the same in Australia but maybe you can set me straight on this point.

The RFC did indeed recruit and train airmen in Canada, setting up the large organisation that was RFC Canada to do so. Extensive flying training was conducted in Canada and, after the USA became a belligerent, it was moved to Texas during the winter months. See S F Wise's Canadian Airmen and the First World War [iSBN 0 8020 2379 7] for a detailed account. The RNAS also recruited in Canada.

The situation in Australia was different, as the Commonwealth Government had established the Australian Flying Corps in 1912, including the first flying training school in the Empire outside the UK, at Point Cook, Victoria. Hence, Australians (and some New Zealanders) who wanted to fly and fight had a locally-based service that they could join. The AFC eventually fielded four operational squadrons: No 1 in Palestine, and Nos 2, 3 and 4 on the Western Front, supported by four training squadrons in the UK: Nos 5, 6, 7 and 8 - these trained men who had transferred from the ground units of the AIF, and brought those who had trained in Australia up to operational standard. See Volume VIII of the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918 for a detailed account. Of course many Australians served with the RFC, RNAS and RAF.

The AFC became the Royal Australian Air Force on 1 April 1921.

Gareth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...