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SR3 John Bennett S.M.A.R.

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ROBPUGH View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14 Dec 2012 at 17:33

Hi all,

 

I’m doing some research into men of the Royal Flying Corps, Special Reserve.

For SR3 John Bennett I have the following information so far: -

 

A recruit attested 16 July/5 August 1914, enlisting in the Special Reserve Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing) for a period of 4 years under the ordinary terms of service. Mobilized 6 August 1914, rated as a 2nd Class Air Mechanic and posted to the Recruits Depot, South Farnborough. Attached to the Central Flying School, Upavon for a course of instruction 15 August 1914. Transferred to the Central Flying School, Permanent Establishment 21 August 1914. Appointed 1st Class Air Mechanic 27 November 1914. Promoted Corporal 13 April 1915. Promoted Sergeant 1 May 1915. Appointed Flight Sergeant 1 February 1916. Appointed Temporary Sergeant Major 1 March 1916. Posted to S.M.A.R. (date unknown). Discharged 31 August 1917 on appointment to a Temporary Commission on the General List.

 

My question is, does anyone know what S.M.A.R. stands for?

 

I think it is School of Military Aeronautics, Reading. This is not the correct name for the unit, the correct name being No.1 School of Military Aeronautics, which was based at Reading.

 

Regards,

 

Rob.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ROBPUGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2012 at 22:17
I have just downloaded his Officers Service Record from the National Archives web site, and this confirms he was posted to 1 School of Military Aeronautics on 27 July 1917, with a view to being appointed a Temporary 2Lt.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thomas Guinan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jan 2013 at 15:41
I note that the first few SR ORs are recorded by 'A Contemptible Little Flying Corps' as being 'recalled 5 August 1914' under the general introduction that the SR was formed at the same time as the RFC.
 
Should this be enlisted at this date, or is it clear that men such as Bennett had signed up before hand ?
 
Indeed, can you confirm a formation date for the RFC (SR) ?
 
Presumaly the SR applied only to the military wing ?
 
Was there an RNVR equivalent for the naval wing/ RNAS ?
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ROBPUGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jan 2013 at 23:41

Hi Thomas,

Thanks for your interesting relpy.
 
The statement in the book A Contemptible Little Flying Corps about men enlisting in the Special Reserve of the Royal Flying Corps on its formation is incorrect as far as other ranks are concerned.

The following was published in ‘Flight’ on 5 June 1914.

 

New Special Reserve of the R.F.C.

An Army Order issued on Wednesday night states that it has been decided to enlist a limited number of men for service in the special reserve of the Military Wing of the Royal Flying Corps. These men will not be organised in units, but will be trained annually with Regular squadrons, and will be available on mobilisation for service at home and abroad with the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing), but not in the capacity of pilots. The age for enlistment will be from 18 to 40 years, and enlistment will be for a period of four years. Annual training will consist of fifteen consecutive days, and whilst doing annual training or other military duty pay will be at Army rates, as follows: Second Class Air Mechanic, 2s per diem; First Class Air Mechanic, 4s; Corporal, 5s; Sergeant, 6s; Flight Sergeant, 7s. Non-commissioned officers and men discharged in consequence of injuries received in the performance of military duty will be eligible for pensions.

 

Headquarters R.F.C. Daily Routine Orders state that the followings 7 men were Posted Recruits on 5 August 1914.

I have added what their service records state.

 

SR1 Mills, SE. Enlisted and date of actual entry into RFC 5 August 1914 – WW1 RAF Service Record.

SR2 Blackwell, FJ. Enlisted and date of actual entry into RFC 5 August 1914 – WW1 RAF Service Record.

SR3 Bennett, J. Attested 16 July 1914 and changed to 5 August 1914. Appointed to RFC SR 9 August 1914. Mobilized 6 August 1914 – Army Service Record.

SR4 Wheeler, C. Enlisted 5 August 1914 – Post War / WW2 RAF Service Record.

SR5 Treavis, WAH. Enlisted and date of actual entry into RFC 5 August 1914 – WW1 RAF Service Record.

SR6 Treavis, HL. Enlisted and date of actual entry into RFC 5 August 1914 – WW1 RAF Service Record.

SR7 Wills, C. Attested 16 July 1914 and changed to 5 August 1914. Appointed to RFC SR 9 August 1914. Mobilized 6 August 1914 – Army Service Record. Enlisted and date of actual entry into RFC 5 August 1914 – WW1 RAF Service Record.

 

So the questions are: -

  1. When did they actually attest?
  2. When were they actually appointed to the RFC?
  3. When were they actually mobilized?
  4. When did they actually join?

There is no doubt that all 7 men were attested in July 1914 and this was changed to 5 August 1914 in the records. I suspect 5 August is used simply as a date to reckon the start of their service from i.e. administration.

 
As far as I know every regiment of the British Army had a Special Reserve.
 

The moral of the story is believe nothing you read, no matter what the source, and that goes for what I have just written.
All the best,
 
Rob Pugh
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thomas Guinan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jan 2013 at 19:55
Hello Rob
I think that the difference in dates notes the time between 'attesting' (volunteering to serve) and mobilization.
 
The origin of the SR was the Militia, raised by ballot from all men eligible to serve. Thus, this was form of conscription which existed before February 1916. In fact, the last militiamen called up were in 1939...
 
For the army, the SR acted as a conduit for recalled reservists (usually the 3rd Battalion, this accounting for 3- prefixes on many 1914 Stars) and, like the militia before it, a means by which commissions could be gained without passing first through Sandhurst or Woolwich. Thus those without the necessary academic qualification went first to the SR...
 
There appears to be no direct entry to the RFC for officers. Initially, they are secondments from other units. Then they are seconded from the New Armies General List. The commissioned RFC (SR) ranks seem to appear later than June 1914 (note they are not included in the initial Army Order), possibly because the Admiralty was offering RNVR commissions ?
 
Some of the Hendon professional pilots (e.g. RH Carr and Lewis Turner) became Sergeants (but not SR ?) but others, such as BC Hucks, became 2Lts (SR).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thomas Guinan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2013 at 12:51
The August 1914 Army List contains :
Reserve, Naval Wing
Williams Freeman, Lt, FAP RN 10.12.1912
Busteed, Sub-Lt, HR RNR 4.10.1913
Lidderdale, Asst. Paymaster, JH RN 17.4.1913 
 
Reserve, Military Wing : Flying Officers
Including :
Bell, 2nd Lt, CG RFC (SR) 24.11.1912
Smith-Barry, 2nd Lt RR, RFC (SR) 2.6.1913
de Havilland, 2nd Lt G, RFC (SR) 24.11.1912
Metford, 2nd Lt LS. RFC (SR) 14.8.1913
Spratt, 2nd Lt NC, RFC (SR) 25.3.1914
Rickards, 2nd Lt GB, RFC (SR) 14.8.1913 (Hon Captain in Army 21.8.1901)
Perry, 2Lt EWC, RFC (SR) 14.8.1913
Payze, 2Lt (on probation) A RFC (SR) no date
Adams, 2nd Lt (on probation) FP, RFC (SR) no date
Barrington-Kennett, 2nd Lt VA, RFC (SR) 14.8.1913
 
Special Reserve : 2nd Lieutenants (on probation)
Charteris, RL - 17.7.1912
Davies, EK - 5.10.1912
Lerwill, FWH - 25.1.1913
Fuller, HC - 15.3.1915
Russell, AL - 14.6.1913
Thomson, AAB - 25.6.1913
Hardman, WL - 26.7.1913
Payne, A - 26.7.1913
Adams, FP - 13.8.1913
Baumann, EB - 20.8.1913
Paterson, RRO - 20.8.1913
Strange, LA - 8.10.1913
Joubert de la Ferte, JC - 8.11.1913
Skene, RR - 15.11.1913
Blake, MB - 3.12.1913
Cockrell, SP - 3.1.1914
Howell, OB - 7.1.1914
 
I presume that the dates given are 'seniority' dates in the SR and not, necessarily, dates of appointment ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thomas Guinan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2013 at 13:00
"I joined the Ewen Shool at Hendon and took my Royal Aero Club certificate, No 575, on August 5th (1913), after which I applied for a commission in the RFC reserve, and flew Caudrons, Bleriots, Boxkites and Moranes while waiting to be put on one of the courses at CFS, Upavon."
Recollections of an Airman, LA Strange
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thomas Guinan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2013 at 13:17
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ROBPUGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jan 2013 at 12:07

Hi Thomas,

 

Thanks for the information. I’m only researching the 25 Other Ranks who served in the Royal Flying Corps, Special Reserve. I leave research into officers to everyone else. Wink

 

The ‘Recalled’ dates for the men of the Special Reserve in the book ‘A Contemptible Little Flying Corps’ are in fact the dates of attestation/enlistment as you suggested. The main mystery is why the first seven men’s attestation/enlistment dates were changed from July 1914 to 5 August 1914. All seven men were from Dorchester and this is where they attested/enlisted. Only one of the seven had previous military service. I suspect it had something to do with the outbreak of war.

There is a file at the National Archives about the formation of the Royal Flying Corps, Special Reserve for Other Ranks, which I will be getting a copy of soon. This will hopefully answer some questions.

 

Remember I said believe nothing you read? Here’s a good example.

 

The service record of SR25 Harold Morfin Thompson, R.F.C. S.R. states in one section that he served in France from 8 March 1915 to 19 October 1918. In another section it states he served in France from 2 March 1915 to 7 November 1918.

It also states he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal on 30 January 1917.

I can find no evidence of this award. Confused

 

All the best,

 

Robert Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Errol Martyn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2013 at 08:13
Robert,
 
In your 3rd post on this thread, where you listed SR1 to SR7, you came tantalisingly close to including SR8 J. Ross who is of interest to me. An RAF census of its personnel in November 1918 (apparently conducted to identify Dominion and Colonial men in particular) includes him on a 'New Zealand' list but exactly what his connection is (birth, residency or next of kin?) I have been unable to establish, nor his full name. I do have a copy of his entry in 'A Contempible Little Flying Corps' but would be interested to know if you might have learnt anything more about him.
 
Thanking you in advance for any assistance offered.
 
Errol
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