First World War – Royal Flying Corps

Formed on 13 May 1912, the Military Wing of the Royal Flying Corps superseded the Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers. By the end of that year it had 12 manned balloons and 36 biplane fighter aircraft. The RFC originally had separate military and naval branches, however the Navy wished to retain greater control over its aircraft, so it formally separated the naval branch and renamed it the Royal Naval Air Service in 1914. The Royal Flying Corp’s motto was ‘Per ardua ad astra’ (Through adversity to the Stars) and this remains the motto of the Royal Air Force today. It grew from just 4 squadrons to over 150 squadrons when it was amalgamated with the Royal Naval Squadron to form the independent Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918. All those in the RFC at that time were transferred. Some of those named have further information about the person that can be accessed by clicking on the name.

Louis Chaloner Rattle – Second Lieutenant, 100th Squadron. Killed in an aeroplane accident in Xaffévillers, France.

Alan Herbert Reffell – Pilot 759 Royal Flying Corps. Born 14/3/1895 Shere, Surrey. Enlisted 30/6/1913 Farnborough. Promoted: 1/3/1916 Corporal, 1/5/1916 Sergeant, 30/11/1915 (Flyer 2nd class), 30/5/1916 (Flyer 1st class). In France: 12/8/1914 to 18/5/1915 and from 7/6/1916 to 18/7/1916. Discharged: 29/6/1921. Awarded the 1914 (Mons) Star, the Victory Medal & the British War Medal. Also awarded the French Medaille Militaire.

Albert Edward Reffell – Private 180504 Royal Flying Corps. Born 22/2/1900 Rotherhithe. Enlisted 15/9/1918 Discharged 8/1/1919.

George Edward Reffell – Lieutenant Royal Flying Corps. Injured in Egypt. Awarded the Victory Medal & the British War Medal.

George Thomas Reffell – Sergeant Mechanic 10981 Royal Flying Corps. Enlisted 22/10/1915. In France: 9/3/1916 to 28/12/1916 and from 12/2/1917 to 29/6/1917. Discharged: 30/4/1920. Awarded the Victory Medal & the British War Medal.

Frank Mortimer Reffell – Corporal Mechanic 30367 Royal Flying Corps. Enlisted 6/6/1916. In France: 24/8/1916 to 18/1/1919. Discharged: 30/4/1920. Awarded the Victory Medal & the British War Medal.

Acknowledgement is made to the following National Archives files at Kew: Officer’s records: AIR76, Airmen records: AIR 78 (index) & AIR79 (records). Medal information from First World War Service (Campaign) Medals: WO329.