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Thread: Formation and Early Roles of The Royal Flying Corps (RFC)

  1. #1
    Administrator Chalky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    Formation and Early Roles of The Royal Flying Corps (RFC)

    Dear Association Members,

    Next week’s Friends lecture is about the formation and early years of The Royal Flying Corps (RFC). Hugh Rose touched on the subject in his lecture last month on the battle of Arras. I was staggered at Hugh’s description of these early flying expeditions so I think this promises to be an extremely illuminating and interesting lecture. What those brave pilots and crew undertook with incredibly primitive machines and equipment is unbelievable 100 years on. I hope you will be able to join us for this lecture next Monday.


    Sarah Riddell-Webster
    The Friends of The Black Watch Castle and Museum

    Formation and Early Roles of The Royal Flying Corps (RFC)
    Monday 8th May 2017
    6:30pm drinks reception (drink included in ticket price), 7:00pm lecture commences
    £9 non-Friends members | £7 Friends
    Reservation 01738 638152 Option 1
    Dr Paton will outline the early developments in air flight leading up to the formation of the Royal Flying Corps in 1912. He will describe the first military aeroplanes, pilot recruiting and training, formation of the early squadrons and the tactical experience learned from pre-war exercises which led to six Squadrons being ready for war in 1914. He will use the history of No 2 Squadron RFC which was the first squadron to be deployed to France from its base in Montrose to illustrate typical problems and achievements. He will also touch upon other air warfare assets and technical developments such as radio and bombing to illustrate how the air roles changed as the war progressed. His account will close in 1916 but will look ahead towards the great air battles of 1917-18 and formation of the Royal Air Force which will be addressed in a later lecture.
    Dr Daniel Paton | Curator of the Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre
    Dr Paton was born at Ferryden near Montrose and educated at Montrose Academy. After school, he worked in a foundry and engineering firm in Arbroath before becoming the first economic history graduate from Edinburgh University in 1967. In 1977 he was awarded a PhD - his thesis being on “Drink and the Scots”. During his career, he taught mainly in the Engineering Department of Birmingham City University but also at Edinburgh, Sussex and the Open Universities. In 2001 he retired to the same house in Ferryden in which he had been born and became active in the Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre - a small but significant museum set up by local aviation enthusiasts on the site of the former RFC/RAF airfield.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Very interesting Chalky would like to attend. I was doing some research ages ago on Co ARMAGH RFC an extract from some of the research

    the young Eric J Henderson, very rapid promotion to Captain, that is two observer lost while flying with him !
    Armagh had quite a few men in the RFC,Lt A.MacLaughlin (McLaughlin) who could be a relative of Eric Henderson, Lt Col C.J Burke DSO who served as a Wing Commander in the Western Front, and Capt Herron,who did not join up untill 1918,

    Besides Charles James Burke and Alexander Wilson McLaughin there were quite a few other Armagh casualties with the RFC/RAF (and indeed, as you mention, Oscar Heron with the Irish Air Corps).
    One RAF casualty who tends to be overlooked is Rowland Irvine Bradley, as the twilight zone between Corr, Dunvalley, Charlemont, Co Armagh and Moy, Co Tyrone sees him Tyrone-ed a lot.
    Robert Francis Christie was the youngest son of Rev Edwin Barry Christie and Julia Pasche Christie, of Middletown, Diocese of Armagh. His father was from Dublin, his mother from Co Down. Irish Census 1901 also indicates that of his older brothers Cedric was born in Co Cavan and Reginald in Co Dublin.
    John Collen was the son of Frederick and Addie Collen, of Carrickblacker, Portadown, Co. Armagh, Ireland. On the Bank of Ireland records his address was Carricklee, Levaghery, Portadown, Co Armagh.
    William Francis Fullerton was described as being the son of John Henry and Frances M. I. Fullerton, of 12619, Stony Plain Rd., Edmonton, Alberta. Canada. Native of Armagh, Ireland.
    However, one who is often overlooked is the ace Thomas Proctor. The next-of-kin on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission reads as 47 Lanark St Belfast but the Irish Census 1911 records him as living at Wilton St Belfast with his widowed mother. The census records clearly state that he was born in Co Armagh. This is confirmed via his RNAS service record (ADM 188/584), which records his birthplace as Lurgan, Co Armagh..

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
    Date of Death: 09/04/1917 Age: 35
    Regiment/Service: Royal Irish Regiment 2nd Bn. attd. 1st Bn. East Lancashire Regiment AwardsD S O
    Grave Reference III. C. 2.
    Additional Information
    Son of Michael Charles Christopher Burke and Amy Burke, of Ballinahone House, Armagh; husband of Beatrice O. Burke, of Stoney Cockbury, Winchcombe, Glos. Went to France August, 1914, in command of No. 2. Squadron, Royal Flying Corps.
    Armagh landowners List 1876 Denis Burke, Reps. of, address Ballynahone House, Armagh, owned 68 acres.
    Up until early in 1913 there was a Royal Flying Corps tented airfield at a field at UPPER DYSART FARM near to Lunan and Lunan Bay .
    The airfield would have used the grass as a runway .The airfield was used by 2 Squadron Royal Flying Corps under the command of Major C.J. Burke (later Lt Col and in WW1 was awarded DSO but killed in action in 1917 ).


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