Tag Archives: Royal Naval Air Service

Day 174

I had it all planned in my head. I was going to come home from work, write the blog post, prepare tea, watch quizzes, make tea and then watch a bit more TV before working on the computer.

So I came home, watched a quiz, fell asleep, ate tea (prepared by Julia), watched TV and started frittering time on the computer. It wasn’t quite how I had planned it. I also missed the cut-off time for making changes to my grocery order.

It is now late and I am writing a blog post whilst feeling tired, and remorseful for my lack of energy.

We had an interesting medal brought in this afternoon, along with some cloth arm badges. The medal is named to the Royal Naval Air Service and one of the cloth badges is from the RNAS too. The other two were worn by the same man but are just general naval badges – the chevron is for 3 years service and the anchor is the badge of a Leading Seaman, or Leading Mechanic in this case.

The RNAS was a short-lived organisation, formed in 1914 as an air arm of the Royal Navy and disbanded when it became part of the RAF in April 1918. It was an interesting organisation and carried out various duties in the war, such as strategic bombing, airship flights, anti-submarine warfare, the development of aircraft carriers and it  even had an armoured car unit. From this you may deduce that nobody was really sure what to do with it.

The recipient of the medal is fairly well documented. Born in London, he joined up in 1916 at the age of 18 and served at RAF Cranwell (which was, at the time, a base of the RNAS, despite being in the middle of Lincolnshire), was demobbed in 1919 with the rank of Corporal Mechanic (paid 5 shillings a day) and by 1939 was an engineer in Loughborough who was also a member of the ARP. He died in Worthing in 1966.

Approximately 100 years after his war service ended, his family sold his war medal and uniform badges to us.

RNAS Mechanic’s Arm Badge

They say we all die twice – once when we stop breathing and once when nobody remembers us. Sometimes, when I find details of a medal recipient, it feels like we are helping him live again.