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Thread: Captain Milner Deighton RFC

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    Default Captain Milner Deighton RFC

    Hi, I'm a journalist and have been chatting this morning to David Deighton, aged 84, of Bridgnorth, whose father Captain Denis Milner Deighton died 50 years ago. David is trying to find out more about his father Milner and his squadron and experiences, so this is just a punt in case anybody has come across him and can help.
    His service record points to him with 7 Squadron with effect from March 13, 1916, and then 'H.E.' whatever that is with effect from November 30, 1916. Does anybody know where 7 Squadron was based in the relevant period? According to his obituary in 1966 Milner joined the Shropshire Yeomanry in 1914, but transferred later to the Royal Flying Corps serving as an observer in France, but returned to England and gained his pilot's wings. It was for his ability as an instructor that he gained the Air Force Cross. He was one of the original instructors of the School of Special Flying at Gosport, a school only for advanced instruction, and one man who served as an instructor with him there during 1917 and 1919, and became a lifelong friend, was Captain Oswald Manning, who said at the time of his death: "Captain Deighton was one of the original instructors of the School of Special Flying, under Colonel Smith Barry at Gosport, where instructors from all over England came on courses. "The system taught here became universal and the school itself, particularly Colonel Smith Barry, will go down in history."
    Does anyone have a record of his AFC citation?
    Again, from his obituary: The Flying School was featured in The Autocar in January 1919 and a reporter wrote: "I have never beheld so dazzling a display as that of Captain Deighton, for he passed from one feat to another with such rapidity that the eye could scarcely follow him. The machine, a Sopwith Camel, simply darted about at very high speed, at all angles, just like a dragonfly, and even improved upon natural flight by the careering along upside down." At the end of the war Captain Deighton and Captain Manning both joined the Flying Circus, which gave daring displays in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund.
    Also, there is a poster for the Palace cinema (location not known) advertising a film showing the 'flying exploits at Margate of Captain Denis Milner Deighton' on a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, November 3, 4, and 5 - November 3 was a Monday in both 1919 and 1924, which will help date the event. Does anyone have any knowledge of this event, the film, and whether the film still exists?
    Any help anyone would be gratefully received and I can pass on to the son.

    hellcat1839

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    Hi,

    Just to get you started.

    7 Squadron had a mix of Bristol Scouts, BE2C and BE2D.

    Known bases are Bailleul from 12/12/1915, Warloy Baillon from 30/7/1916 and Morel from 6/2/17
    Last edited by PeterColwill; 6th September 2016 at 16:00.

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    Hello,

    No citation in the London Gazette for Deighton's AFC:

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...upplement/7033 (see also p.7032)

    Essential reading:

    50 Years of Flying Instruction - Smith-Barry's School of Special Flying.
    Nepean Bishop,C.
    Air Pictorial. August 1967 (Vol.29. No.8). pp.260-265

    Extract: "Another was Capt. D. Milner Deighton who died only recently and in 1918 commanded "A" Flight. His mount was a 504J serialled D41 and could be distinguished by a large blue and white "D" painted on a red background on each side of the fuselage behind the roundel."

    and...

    Pioneer Pilot The Great Smith-Barry Who Taught The World How To Fly.
    Tredrey,F.D.
    London:Peter Davies,1976

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 6th September 2016 at 17:23.

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    There is an article about a Gosport School reunion in Flight for 14/7/1938 available online. Photo of participants which probably includes him as he is listed as attending and mentioned in the article.

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    Hi,

    "HE" is "Home Establishment" - basically it means posted back to the UK from the Western FRont for a period of rest following active service.

    Smith-Barry (note the hyphen) who you mention in your post, was known during WW1 simply as "Smith-B". He had learned to fly in 1911, and by 1912 he was an Instructor at the Bristol School, so it is no surprise he went on to the School of Special Flying. In August 1914 Smith-B suffered a crash, which killed his Observer and injured the pilot. By the spring of 1916 Smith-B was serving as a Flight Commander on 60 Squadron, and later rose to become C.O. of the squadron. During the grievous losses sustained during the Battle of the Somme (in which the RFC played a major part both artillery spotting and supporting the Army on the ground) he complained to Hugh Dowding, at Wing HQ, of the replacement pilots sent out to replace those lost. His complaint was that some of them had flown as little as 7 hours during training before being sent into action on the Western Front. "It's bloody murder, Sir", Smith-B is reported to have said to Dowding. Smith-B remained critical of the RFC flying training programme, and at the end of the year was sent to command No.1 (Reserve) Squadron in the UK, where he was given free reign to implement the plans for training new pilots that he had devised whilst serving in France. (Information from "The Royal Flying Corps in France, from The Mons to The Somme" by Ralph Barker).

    The 7 Squadron records for WW1 should be available to view at the National Archives in London, and may well make reference to Captain Milner Deighton, including reports of any combats he was involved in.

    Hope that adds a little more.

    L/O

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Thank you very much for all this extra information, which I have passed on to Captain Deighton's 84-year-old son who will be very grateful as he knows little about his father's time in the RFC, and will give him some sources he can tap in to. He does have a picture of him by a Sopwith Camel with an unidentified colleague, presumably taken later in the war or post-war. It has the serial B 5584 on the tail fin.

    hellcat1839

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    Some of this you will already have:
    Denis Milner Deighton entered France as a 2Lt London Scottish on 16 Nov 15, thus entitling him to a trio.

    His address on his Medal Index Card is: 12 East Castle St, Bridgmouth, Shropshire.

    Although a Lt, RFC, medal roll indicates that BWM and VM will be issued by the Air Ministry.

    From LG:
    To be 2Lt
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...upplement/4865

    To be Lt, RFC:
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...upplement/7896

    To be Pilot:
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...upplement/5708

    To be T/Capt:
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...0852/page/9703

    Adjustment of promotion date:
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...918/page/11351

    Awarded AFC:
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/Edinbur...3458/page/2049

    Transferred to the Unemployed List:
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...1489/page/9964

    Reserve of Air Force Officers 1924:
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...2972/page/6721

    Confirmed as FO:
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...3028/page/1701

    Trans Class C Reserve:
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...3172/page/3902

    Relinquishes commission:
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...3313/page/6003
    Regards, Terry

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    Quote Originally Posted by hellcat1839 View Post
    Thank you very much for all this extra information, which I have passed on to Captain Deighton's 84-year-old son who will be very grateful as he knows little about his father's time in the RFC, and will give him some sources he can tap in to. He does have a picture of him by a Sopwith Camel with an unidentified colleague, presumably taken later in the war or post-war. It has the serial B 5584 on the tail fin.

    hellcat1839
    Hellcat,

    The photo to which you refer, depicts Capt. D. Milner Deighton (left) and Lt . F. Dudley Hobbs (a fellow instructor at the Gosport School). Camel B5584, was painted mauve and named "Khypha". You will find this photo, and many others, in the Air Pictorial article mentioned earlier by me.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 7th September 2016 at 11:06.

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    I would also recommend that you post your query on 'the war in the air' section of 'The Great War' forum at

    http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/fo...ar-in-the-air/

    Errol

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    Thank you all very much for the information which I have passed on to a very grateful Mr Deighton. Incidentally, if anyone wants to share with him directly, he is happy to be contacted at david.deighton@aol.co.uk

    hellcat1839

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