RFC - Grandfathers papers 1912-15. Advice wanted.

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Conall, Dec 30, 2005.

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  1. During Christmas Dad & I came across some of my Grandfather's papers relating to his service in the Royal Flying Corps between 1912 and 1915. Principally they compose of about 60 type written A4 sheets detailing his training in the UK and subsequent service in France with Number 2 Squadron RFC. My Grandfather joined the Army in 1910 as a subaltern in the West Yorkshire Regiment (14th Foot) and having completed his flying training at Brooklands (at his own personal expense) transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1912. He then took part in the massed flight to France in August 1914 and served with No.2 Sqn until Spring 1915 went he returned to the UK to form No.19 Sqn (from No.5 Reserve Sqn). He led No.19 Sqn in France in 1916 to Feb 1917 when he almost died of pneumonia and returned to active service later in the year, ending the War as a Wing Commander in the RAF (unusally at the end of the war he transferred back to the Army and the West Yorkshire Regiment). He was awarded the Army Flying Cross, the Mons Star and Mentioned in Dispatches twice.

    With regards to the memoirs (they are a complete, coherent narrative rather than disjointed notes) should I try to get them published? If so where would be best and how should I go about doing it? Any advice, comments etc would be gratefully received.

    Best wishes for the New Year.

  2. Sounds like an interesting story. I'm no expert on publishing, but you might like to get in touch with these guys, they produce a wide range of military works. Even if they aren't interested, I 'm sure they can point you in the right direction.



  3. msr

    msr LE

    If you can't get it published, post it on the internet.

  4. PM cpunk - he knows a bit about this sort of thing, allegedly....
  5. That's a fantastic story about a brave and VERY admirable man.

    However, there were millions of men who had very brave and courgeous stories to tell of that particular 4 year slaughter. My Great-grandfather was an infanteer who got his ticket home after losing a shoulder to shrapnel. War over?? No. He re-enlisted under a different name and in a different Regt because of his 'guilt' at leaving his pals in the trenches, where almost all died. And it WAS easy to re-enlist when they needed every man they could find to rep;ace thousands of dead every day.

    He was like millions of men in that day and age of courage, sense of duty and bravery. Just doing their duty (as they saw it).

    He never told his story to me or my Dad and only told my Grandad just before he died. He is still mine and my dad's hero. But there will be no book.

    I wish you luck and I for one would read the book. Just don't be too disappointed if it doesn't get published.

    Good luck
  6. Conall,

    I did my PhD on the RFC.

    Since your grandfather was one of the RFC 'originals', and CO of one of the most distinguished fighter squadrons in the RFC/RAF, forming19, and leading it during the difficult time when it flew BE12s (possibly the worst fighter aircraft the RFC had) probably seeing its SPAD VIIs into service and then deciding to return to the Army, this makes him an important figure in the history of the RFC (and the RAF, for that matter) and means that his memoirs should, no, must be published somewhere. I daresay that the RAF Museum would like a copy of the original manuscript as well (or the IWM or the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives).

    I'll send you a PM with some more details, since I can probably help with the publishing and can definitely help with getting in touch with the RAF Museum. One thing to note is to make sure that you keep the copyright...

    An interesting thought is that if you grandfather had stayed in the RAF, he'd probably have ended up as an Air Officer in World War 2...

    PM to follow.
  7. Many thanks to everyone for their (prompt) responses - they're very much appreciated.

    Re had he stayed in the RAF, it's an interesting what if. He returned to the Army because his wife felt that the newly formed RAF didn't have sufficient social cachet (either that or she thought crab blue didn't suit him) - stupid bitch. As a result he went from being a Wing Commander in the RAF to a lowly Captain in the West Yorkshires. He remained in the Army throughout the interwar years and at the outbreak of war was CO of 2nd Bn, West Yorks in Palestine. He then led the battalion throughout the Sudan/Eritrean campaign in 1940-41, including during the battle of Keren and the capture of Fort Dolgorodoc, as part of 5th Indian Division. From there he was promoted to Brigadier and took over the command of Cyprus (where it was expected the Germans would invade following the capture of Crete - fortunately the heavy fallschirmjaeger losses and Operation Barbarossa prevented that). From there he went on to command a military district in the SE UK as acting Major-General. He would have been a Brigade commander for Operation Husky except that he had been serving away from the UK for too long (since 1938 - during the Arab Revolt in Palestine) and was obliged to return home, much to his irritation. We have his personal diaries from this period as well (at least several hundred pages, but in major need of editing/ordering), including lecture notes on the battle of Keren and his after-action report/lessons learnt.

    He died in 1974, aged 84, when I was four years old - I just remember him for which I am very grateful. I would loved to have known him as an adult and asked him about both his time in the RFC and the Army in WWII.

    Once again thanks for the advice and ideas. Hope you all had a good Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.
  8. Conall,

    Just sent you a PM.

    Seeing your last, I'd say that there's a good case for doing a biography of him - drop me a PM/e-mail and we can discuss it further.