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Thread: 400707 - Unaccounted airman - 7-7-1940

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    Default Unaccounted airman - 7-7-1940

    What caused the death of AC2 Richard H. WILSON - 102400 - whose name I can't find in The Times and Flight Global archives, his name on Screen Wall Panel 17 of the Chingford Mount Cem., Essex (UK3465).

    If killed on active service, proposed aircraft:
    Harvard I - N7070 - 15 FTS - crashed on landing at Bibury.

    Regards and thanks for your help.
    Henk.

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    Hi Henk
    Both CWGC and Ancestry.co.uk give his age as 58!!, which I think rules out flying. It is surprisingly old for him to be in Uniform at all. There is a death of that name and age registered in Islington,N London in the 3rd Qtr of 1940. His service No seems to indicate entry into the RFC from Civilian life in late 1917 (from Peter Davies' list)which might tie in with the age if he remained in the Regular RAF from 1918 and was coming up to retirement as the war began
    Regards
    Dick

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    Default Unaccounted airman - 7-7-1940

    Thanks Dick; will amend my files.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Henk & Dick,
    It is possible that this one may merit some more research? If he had been in the Regular RAF for that length of time then he might have been expected to rise above AC2!! I would suggest that he might have done some 'time' in the RAF (even as a Sgt Pilot?), retired, and then re-Enlisted at the start of WW2 and was given his old Service Number?
    HTH. I would like to know more about him. Just another of the little puzzles that this Forum never ceases to throw up!!!
    Peter Davies

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    Hi
    I agree with Peter he ought to be higher than AC2,but who's to say he didn't get higher and was demoted for disciplinary reasons!! If the age is correct I am surprised he was taken back into the RAF if, as Peter suggests, he left and re-enlisted at the outbreak of WW2,but as he says an intrigueing problem!! A death registered in Islington also suggests the possibility of "natural causes" whilst,say,on leave ,but his burial in Essex is some way away. The date is a little early for any bombing on London which came several weeks later.
    Regards
    Dick

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    Dick,
    There's several things not quite right about this one. I'll send you a PM and we can "chew the fat" off board to see if we can come to a consensus!!!
    Rgds
    Peter Davies

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    Default For Peter & Dick

    ...........and please keep me involved on the results !
    Henk.

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    "It is surprisingly old for him to be in Uniform at all."

    Although not common it certainly was not unknown to have men of this age serving in the Air Force in WWII. Amongst my New Zealand casualties there are at least 8 such names in the 56-59 years old category, usually ex-WWI types doing their bit during the second round as LACs. Then there were also those old codgers who knocked a few years off in order to enlist. Total RNZAF manpower during WWII was only about 4% of that of the RAF; extrapolation would suggest, then, that there could have been several hundred 'elderly' person casualties in the latter and of course even more amongst those who survived.

    Errol

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    To All, (mainly Henk)
    Just to tie up the odd loose end. The consensus seems to be that our AC1 (as CWGC has him) Richard Wilson had, most likely, done a period of Regular Service in the RAF which may have terminated at some time before WW2. When the war broke out he re-Enlists - Good Man!! Errol's post indicates this was not unusual. A year, or so, ago I did an analysis of deaths In Service in RAF Balloon Command - but due to my exemplary computer filing system I can't lay hands on it!!!!!!! There were a surprising number of these Old Boys! I suspect that Balloon Command would have welcomed them. They knew RAF discipline, and the "System", but - more importantly - they knew how the System worked, and did not need (re-)training! I'll bet a fair bit of your Pension he died of Natural Causes, or Illness - although accidents with high-pressure hydrogen were all too common (been there, done it, lost my eyebrows - several times!!).
    If I find that analysis (or remember where I got the data!), and he's on/in it, I'll come back to you .
    Henk - Good Luck with The Quacks!!
    Yrs Aye
    Peter Davies

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    Hi Henk
    In July 1940 we are at the very beginning of the Battle of Britain but before the bombing of London. It would not be at all unusual to find that a Balloon Barrage was being set out over London. Errol and Peter provide a very plausible scenario that could have our Mr Wilson as manning a Balloon in N London and I just about remember seeing them all over London although as I was only 3 when the bombing started, the memories of Balloons may come from a year or so later when I started school in SW London
    Regards
    Dick

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