Home » 1918 » World War 1914-1918 The Centenary Commemorations begin on the BBC

World War 1914-1918 The Centenary Commemorations begin on the BBC

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As a boy my grandfather would tell me stories of his time on the Western Front during the First World War and how it transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and trained as a fighter pilot. It was a pleasure therefore to introduce him to the audience of BBC South Today at the start of a year long commemoration of the 1914-1918 war.

My own interest is shifting from amateu historian and research sleuth in relation to my grandfather’s rather unusual story – he startef out in the Durham Light Infantry, was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps … and at one stage was asked if he’d like to join the Tank Corps. Then right at the end of 1917 having survived the Third Battle of Ypres, known as Passchendaele, his papers came through and he spent 1918 training to be a pilot, starting in Hastings where he got military training, morse code and topography.

To support my interest I am taking a Masters degree in First World War studies at the university of Birmingham.

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2 Comments

  1. Douglas Ramsay says:

    My mother saw you on BBC South Today a month ago and thought she recognised her father in one of the photos that were shown. He was born in 1899 and was a member of the Royal Flying Corp or Royal Naval Air Service (I am not sure which), which combined in 1918 to form the Royal Air Force. He did his training in Hastings around about the same time as your father (I am not sure exactly when but it must have been when he was 18 or 19), and I believe he then went off to Egypt. I was wondering if you have a link to any of the Hastings photos, so my mother could look at them to see if she can identify him.

    • mymindbursts says:

      I am so glad you got in touch. It will require some detective work. I am going to Hastings this afternoon to find ways into the archive; I expect it to be a dead end. Last week I was at the National Archive in Kew. This proved to be a dead end too, so far. What I need ro find are other records, diaries or letters home. If he were around I would of course ask my grandfather! He would have taken a look and given me the names, said where they came from and more … as these men were a cohort of cadets they went together through the entire training process, so some will have left a trail of some kind at Clifton College, Bristol … then Uxbridge and on to where they got flight training. My grandfather went to RAF Crail in Scotland where I get at least two names – his observer, and also a fellow cadet who died in training.

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