Airmen of Market Rasen during WW1
The aeroplane was a new and unknown tested machine in war, The Chief of the Imperial General Staff deemed them as useless and an expensive fad in 1910, and The First Sea Lord thought the Naval requirement for aircraft was two. (The British Airman of the First World War by David Hadaway with Stuart Hadaway).
In April 1912 the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was formed, a Military Wing, a Naval Wing and the Central Flying School. However, there were disagreements between the Army and Navy, causing the RFC to split. There were now three groups-CFS, RFC- the Army service and Royal Naval Air Service RNAS for the Navy.
During the early years of the war the RFC carried out patrols in France, mainly photographic reconnaissance, while the RNAS carried out missions defencing the coast and homeland. The airmen were selected from the Army and the Navy, and civilians, some as young as 17 years. There was no real airmen uniform only a mixed bag of Army and Navy.
The training of pilots was very dangerous, and more men died during these training sessions then in combat. In the air the pilots were assisted by their observers. While on the ground there was a large crew of skilled and unskilled men looking after the aeroplanes. There were engine mechanics, general mechanics, cooks, drivers, blacksmiths, carpenters, metal workers, and airframe riggers. Women (WRAF 1918) were involved later, as clerical and domestic staff, drivers, riggers, carpenters and metal workers.
By 1915, with the rudimentary bombsights the aeroplanes had become bombers. In 1916 the RFC had two roles, one group was for bombing and fighting and the other was reconnaissance.
Two men from Market Rasen volunteered for the Flying Service, one in 1914 in RFC and one in 1915 joined the RNAS. June 1916 there are a total of seven men listed in the Market Rasen Mail Roll of Honour as RFC and RNAS. These men were skilled and unskilled workers-a plumber, wheelwright, 2 school boys, printer, baker and tailor.
In April 1918 the RFC and RNAS formed Royal Air Force. The records state that there were 28 airmen from Market Rasen and the surrounding villages.
1 RNAS, 16 RFC and 11 RAF. Total of 28, all these men returned to their town and village. Only one casualty, Arthur Canty RFC, who was wounded and hospitalised after his aeroplane crash in France in April 1918.
Armistice Day 11th November 1918
The Market Rasen Mail reported that An aeroplane flew over the town about mid-day, the airman was overjoyed at the news for he delighted the pedestrians below with a “stunt”.
Market Rasen Mail February 1918
The Market Rasen Mail reported that An airman from a neighbour aerodrome lost his bearing on Sunday morning, and alighted in one of Mr Robert’s fields on the Legsby Road. Owing to petrol shortage, he was unable to get going again until supplies had been brought him. The local volunteers were marched from the drill-field to the scene, and a guard was left in charge. This is the first occasion they have been called upon to undertake such duty.
Market Rasen Mail 31st August 1918
Airmen from Market Rasen and surrounding area
Royal Naval Air Service
Walter Shaw air mechanic
Royal Flying Corps
Flight Sergeant Clyde King Oswald Everitt
Arthur Canty George Hindley Footitt
Frederick Page Hopkins Corporal Wilfred Peatfield
W Scott Henry James Payne
WA Smith Sidney Charles Sharpe
Frank Elmhirst Good John Robert Wilkinson
John Henry Barry George Henry Dunn
Royal Air Force
Walter Adams William Colbeck
Frederick Lilley Walter Ward
X Willingham Arthur Boyers
James Frederick Good John Douglas Harris
Corporal RFC and Flight Sergeant in RAF Herbert E Cottingham from Middle Rasen
(John) Henry Pepper, RAF from Linwood
Christopher Chambers, RAF from West Rasen
The British Airman of the First World War by David Hadaway with Stuart Hadaway.
Ancestry.co.uk -RAF Airman Records 1918-1940; RAF Muster Roll 1918
Market Rasen Mail 1914-1919