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Thread: Flying Officer Walter Robert Bannister (RAFOj killed flying accident 2nd October 1934

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Default Flying Officer Walter Robert Bannister (RAFOj killed flying accident 2nd October 1934

    Bannister was killed 02-OCT-1934 in de Havilland DH-89 Dragon Rapide G-ACPM of Hillmanís Airways

    As a member of the Reserve of Air Force Officers since 22 June 1923 initially in Class A then Class C his death was announced in the Air Force List but also this notice turns up on the London Gazette 9 Oct 1934

    The following Flying Officers
    relinquish their commissions on completion of service and are permitted to retain their rank:? Walter Robert BANNISTER (since deceased). 29th June 1934.

    Apparently the RAF seem to have forgotten his term in RAFO should have ended earlier in the year

    I donít fully understand the whole RAFO commission thing for period (maybe someone here does) but 2 routes were SSC coming to end of term and automatically being in reserve for a period of time (say 5 years) or direct entry such as Oxford and Cambridge University Air Squadrons

    Once in RAFO you had to go on yearly re qualification and with agreement you could extend your engagement

    I assume routes out were

    1. Complete Engagement (Relinquished)
    2. Fail re-qualification
    3. Disappear from contact (seen a few pilots who went overseas, no further trace)

    2 and 3 not sure in London Gazette

    anyway obviously when news of Bannister death the RAF looked up his record and realised that his engagement should have ended 5 months earlier and he should not have been in RAFO at time of his death

    Based on duration it looks like Bannister has at least one period of re-engagement

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Northumberland, UK
    Thanked 524 Times in 501 Posts

    Default Re: Flying Officer Walter Robert Bannister (RAFOj killed flying accident 2nd October


    A little more on Bannister.

    The Lancashire Evening Post of December 15th 1931 reported the death of the Hon. George Garrow Tomlin, son of Lord Tomlin, in an aircraft crash at Nazeing, Essex on Sunday December 13th. He was a member of the Herts. and Essex Aero Club, and the article mentions that Bannister was the flying instructor at the club.

    The crash of G-ACPM was widely reported at the time. The Halifax Evening Courier of October 2nd 1934 has the following:

    The pilot, Mr. Walter Robert Bannister, was thirty-six years of age, and lived at Crescent View, Blackacre Road, Theydon Bois, Essex. He was married and had three children.
    Mr. Bannister had flown 3,300 hours, of which thirty-five were by night. He held the commerical pilot's "B" licence issued in 1926; also the second-class navigator's licence and Post Officer wireless licence. He was a flying instructor between March, 1930, and August, 1932, and had a distinguished war record.
    Bannister was on the Reserve of Air Force Officers. He had served in the flying services throughout the war, in the early days with the R.F.C., and later with the R.A.F.
    He organised and started the Herts and Essex Aero Club, and also the East Anglian Aero Club, to which he wacted as instructor for a time. As a boy he went to the Willesden Morris Grammar School and later to Oxford.

    An article in the Chelmsford Chronicle of October 5th 1934 on the accident includes the following about Bannister, which slightly contradicts the above report:

    In June last he ceased to belong to the Reserve, having reached the age limit for his rank. He became a pilot with Hillman Airways a few months ago.


    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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