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World War I RFC research

A forum for the discussion of Military aviation and RAF Station heritage
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stevep22
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World War I RFC research

Post by stevep22 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:09 pm

For reasons I will explain later I'm doing some research into the biography of a Lt John Mathews Hay of 62 Sqn RFC who whilst flying in a Bristol Fighter along with pilot Capt Alyn R James was shot down and killed (by ground fire it is believed) on 24 March 1918.

Does anyone on the group own the following tomes:

Airmen Died in the Great War by Chris Hobson

The Sky Their Battlefield by Trevor Henshaw

If so I would be grateful if they could find and let me have the details in the first book relating to Lt Hay and from the second details relating to the demise of the Bristol serial B1267.

All help greatly appreciated.

Steve

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NAM Updater
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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by NAM Updater » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:56 pm

If you don't get any feedback about these parts it might be worthwhile contacting the NAM Curator as described in here! :)
Howard Heeley - Newark Air Museum Trustee
9 March 2019, Day/Night Photo Shoot
http://newarkairmuseum.org

David Thompson
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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by David Thompson » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:50 pm

I have the book The Roll Of Honour , Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force for the Great War 1914 - 1918 , HJ Williamson , Naval & Military Press , 1992 and it gives ;
Hay JM Lt RFC , Cheshire R , 24-3-18 , 62 Sqn but no listing for an AR James only a Capt RA James , RAF Middx R , kia 6-7-18 .

However the Arras Roll gives more details ;
Hay , Lt John Mathews , Cheshire Regiment and 62nd Sqn Royal Flying Corps , Mentioned in Despatches , 24 March 1918 , age 22 from Beckenham in Kent .
James , Capt Alyn Reginald , 24th(Denbighshire Yeomanry) Bn Royal Welch Fusiliers and Royal Flying Corps , 24 March 1918 , age 23 of Gresford , Denbighshire .
Youth is wasted on the young !

stevep22
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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by stevep22 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:22 pm

Hi David,

Thanks for your reply. It seems strange that the first book doesn't mention Alyn James who was the pilot of Bristol Fighter B1267 when it was shot down (with Hay as Observer/Gunner) on 24 March 1918.

Cheers

Steve

stevep22
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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by stevep22 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:31 am

I've got a bit further with my research and wondered if FC has any members in New Brighton on the Wirral and are familiar with the Centotaph/War Memorial there? If so, could you get in touch. Also if by any more of an astonishing coincidence are members of New Brighton Rugby Union Club.

Thanks

Steve

stevep22
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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by stevep22 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:46 pm

My researches into John Hay have come up with a piece in the Silcoates School (Wakefield) magazine in 1915 where the headmaster at the time quotes a letter he received from the front. (This was prior to his transfer to the RFC)

J.M. Hay writes from Flanders (April 30th) – “I think it is quite time I wrote you a line to let you know how I am living out in Flanders. At the present time I am living in a wood about 500 yards from our line. My house consists of a few doors taken from a ruined village near at hand. As long as the rain keeps off, it will be alright. There has been great activity about our part of the line, and some fierce fighting has taken place. I think I wrote and told you about Ernest Hughes being so badly wounded. He was hit by a small shell known as a ‘whiz-bang’. The Germans fire them from their trenches and they are very deadly. Part of the trench I was in a few days ago was blown in by one of these shells, but I am glad to say no one was hurt. I have got a timepiece of the same shell and I am taking it home as a souvenir. I want to thank you for so kindly signing my commission papers which are now in the hands of the War Office. I am just waiting to be gazetted. So I am hoping to be home again in the course of a week or two. This will be a great treat after six months active service. If I can get some furlough, I shall try to get up to Yorkshire to see the dear old school once more. It is very fine to see how many Silcoates boys have responded to the Country’s call, and I am proud to be one of them.


I found this very moving from a man I have never met but feel I know better every day.

Steve

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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by Coningsby MCO » Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:49 pm

Hi Steve,

Firstly, are you aware that you can download Officer service records for WW1 from the National Archives. I think this is your man?

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.u ... i=D8270541

Secondly, I've got both the books you mentioned.

I suspect you already have the detail from Airmen Died.

Airmen Died - Hay, Lt John Mathews, MiD, 62 Sqn obs, Cheshire Regt, Native of Beckenham Kent, age 22, kia 24.3.18 NKG listed on Arras Mem.

Sky their Battlefield - B1267 Trench strafe, Peronne-Ham, MIA Lt A R James POW? /Lt J M Hay KIA, left 4.20 pm.

HTH

Jim,
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stevep22
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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by stevep22 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:31 pm

Hi Jim,

Thanks for taking the time to dig that out but I've already got the record from the National Archives downloaded. The address in Beckenham I assume was his parents address when the Arras Memorial was built, but they lived in 1918 in one of the Wallasey villages on the Wirral as an address there was the next of kin address on his service record.

Both Hay and James were killed on 24 March 1918 (both recorded on the Arras Memorial), whilst trench strafing (probably by ground fire) and due to the rapid German advance came down behind enemy lines. I have been lucky enough to correspond with James' great nephew who has done some research and I have copies of their combat reports for the two German aircraft they downed as well as the casualty form recording their loss signed by the CO of 62 Sqn, Major Smith. His grandson Patrick Smith has put a lot of his grandfathers material and photos on a website covering the service history of 62 Sqn as well as others.

News of John's loss didn't get back to his old school until some time later when the Headmaster wrote this touching piece in the school magazine (date wrong but the school probably got the information second hand)

Silcoates School Magazine June 1919
To our Fallen Brave
Lieutenant J.M. Hay has been missing since March, 1918 and, it is feared, must now be regarded as lost to us. He entered Silcoates in May 1909 and left in December 1911. Within doors he was so quiet and unassertive that his presence was practically unnoticed, though his personal contact made a pleasing impression but in the footer field Jack was almost idolised as perhaps one of the finest goalkeepers any school ever produced. After serving in the infantry from the beginning of the war, and with such distinction as to merit mention in General Haig’s despatches, he was transferred to the Royal Air Force in October 1917. On March 29th, 1918 he was engaged in patrol work, flying low, and his machine failed to return. He was acting as observer in the machine, which was brought down, it is supposed, somewhere to the east of Amiens. If possible, I hope someday Silcoates will be able to place over his last resting place the familiar words “Well played, Jack.”

I feel very humble and privilaged to be undertaking this research.

Steve

Doughnut
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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by Doughnut » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:23 pm

If you have not already done so post your request on the Key Publishing Flypast Forum, many very helpful people over there.

http://forum.keypublishing.com/forumdis ... c-Aviation

Article (L)

Re: World War I RFC research

Post by Article (L) » Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:24 pm

Hi Steve I have an interest in WW1 flying and especially the 1st aero squadron, I know how interesting it can get researching some of them, I e-mailed a friend who would know the best place to look and he said have you tried the Cross and Cockade society ? Hope you find out more and good luck

stevep22
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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by stevep22 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:23 pm

Thanks for the further advice guys. I've actually got a history of 62Sqn which came from a 1970's edition of Cross and Cockade. I've got a couple more avenues to follow so if they turn anything more up I suspect I'll have most things I need to know about John Hay's RFC service.

Cheers

Steve

stevep22
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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by stevep22 » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:35 am

Morning chaps,

Having acquired most of the information regarding John Hay that the school would be interested in I'm moving my attention to the other two RFC officers on the Roll of Honour. If anyone has any addtional information on the following I would be interested to learn of it:

Hastings D Barbour - 102 Sqn (but listed as 10 Sqn on CWG site) killed October 1917
Arthur R Thompson - 6 Sqn killed August 1918

Thanks

Steve

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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by ACMC » Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:21 pm

Hi
As an old Silcoatian I am currently researching the roll of honour as well. This is the information I have on the two so far from various sources:

Second Lieutenant Hastings Duncan Barbour was born in Troqueer, Scotland on 3rd April 1899. He enlisted in the 10th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps in April 1917. He served in France & Flanders and was killed in action whilst flying as an observer in FE2b serial no. A5678 on 21st October 1917 aged 17. He is buried at Roeselare Communal Cemetery, grave IV. B. 2 and is remembered on the Silcoates School War Memorial. He was the son of William and Annie Foster Barbour. At the time of the 1901 Census Hastings, then aged 1 was living in the household of his parents William and Annie Foster at "Lonsdale" Castle Douglas Road in Troqueer. At the time of his enlistment he was working in the Commercial Bank in Dumfries. A good quality picture of his grave has recently appeared on a website, but I have been unable as yet to track down a picture of him - I think there is one on the Ancestry site but it is a private family image and therefore not available.

Lieutenant Arthur Reetham Thompson was born in Grimsby on 22nd November 1889. He originally enlisted as M2/113211 in the Royal Army Services Corps on 19th May 1915 in Grimsby, and was promoted to Corporal on 14th March 1916 before being discharged upon receiving his commission to the Royal Flying Corps on 29th November 1917 and then into the Royal Air Force, 6th Squadron. He served in France & Flanders and was killed in action on 10th August 1918 aged 29. He is buried at Villers Bretonneux Military Cemetery, grave III.BB.5 and is remembered on the Silcoates School War Memorial. He was the son of John Henry and Harriet Bowers Thompson and elder brother to Ralph Motson Thompson. At the time of the 1901 Census Arthur, then aged 11 was a pupil of Gosberton Hall School, along with his brother Ralph. By the time of the 1911 Census he was a ‘Theatrical Artiste’ then aged 22 visiting the household of Lawrence Edwin Hogg in Belmont, Surrey. His service record is preserved in the National Archives which shows he was a Motor Driver who was living in the household of his father at Park View, Welholme, Grimsby at the time of his enlistment. He left effects to the value of £221 13s. 3d. to his father in his will. There is a picture from the list of Matthew Humberston Foundation School pupils killed in the First World War which appears on the Genuki website, as well as that of his brother. There are also pictures of both found on a family tree on the Ancestry website.

No doubt you will have got most of this already!

Regards

Chris

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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by ACMC » Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:38 pm

I have also located a picture of John Mathews Hay in The War Illustrated Vol.9 pg3228.

Chris

stevep22
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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by stevep22 » Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:52 pm

Hi Chris,

Thank you very much for posting that information. Sorry for not responding earlier but I've been a bit tied up with various things. Once we return daughter (OS) to university tomorrow I'll be better placed to explain things further to you... :)

Will be in touch shortly

Cheers

Steve

Micawber73
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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by Micawber73 » Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:41 pm

Hi Steve

I would just like to say how wonderful it has been to read your research on this post.

John Mathews Hay was my great grand uncle.

I have been tracing my family tree for a while now but had only got as far as obtaining his officer records from the National Records Office. Amongst these documents is a very poignant letter from his father (also John Mathews Hay) to the Missing Officers Enquiry Department enquiring to any news of his only son a whole year after he went missing. The waiting in hope for some news (as so many others also went through) must have been extremely harrowing.

Thanks to your research we have now been able to find out a lot more about the experiences that John Mathews Hay went through. Silicates school have been great in sending us all the research they have and we now have a photo of John which is a wonderful piece of family history to have and will help keep his memory alive.

Best of luck with your continuing research and once again many thanks.

Ben

stevep22
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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by stevep22 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:19 pm

Hi Ben,

Sorry for not coming back to you earlier .I haven't looked at this thread for some time but was very pleased to see your posting. If you want to Private Message me with some ciontact details I've various bits I can let you have copies of them.

The Chaplain at Silcoates School Rev Janet Lees is very much involved with the school's WWI history and remembrance of the old boys and I'm sure she would offer any help she can.(I know you have been in touch with her Chris)

Best wishes

Steve

stevep22
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Re: World War I RFC research

Post by stevep22 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 2:42 pm

By way of commemoration it is 100 years to this day that John Matthews Hay died along with his pilot Alyn James when their Bristol Fighter was shot down by German ground fire over France. We will remember them.......

Steve

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