Royal Flying Corp and RAF Records added to Lives of the First World War

 

The Pilot and Observer of a Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 biplane (serial number B5106) of No. 59 Squadron receiving instructions. Image © IWM (Q 12167).

The Pilot and Observer of a Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 biplane (serial number B5106) of No. 59 Squadron receiving instructions. Image © IWM (Q 12167).

Yesterday at IWM Duxford we announced records for the Royal Flying Corp (RFC) and Royal Air Force (RAF) have now been added to Lives of the First World War. This November, we need your help to remember those who served in the skies for Britain and the Commonwealth during the First World War.

The addition of the RFC and RAF records means that you can now search and remember the lives of over 410,000 men who served Britain and the Commonwealth in the war in the air, taking the total life stories on the permanent digital memorial to almost 7 million.

Luke Smith, IWM’s Digital Lead for the First World War Centenary said ‘Adding records from the RFC and RAF is a really important step for us. The First World War was a conflict where men fought on land, sea and in the air. Incredible risks were taken by the pilots, many of whom had not been in a plane until the First World War. We want to keep these stories for future generations, but to do this we need your help’.

This week we’ll be sharing the incredible life stories of just some of RFC and RAF personnel you can remember on the site, starting with Robert Dawson Butler, who served at Duxford during the First World War.

Robert Dawson Butler

Robert Dawson Butler

Flight Lieutenant Butler with a damaged DH9 aircraft. Image © IWM (Q 114849).

Robert Dawson Butler was born on 16 May 1897 in Mortimer, Berkshire. Before the war, he worked as a farmer.

Enlisting with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Calgary, Canada on 11 October 1915, he joined the Royal Flying Corps on 17 Sept 1917, and was appointed a temporary Second Lieutenant on 20 Dec 1917. By June 1919, Robert was a Lieutenant.

He became a Flying Instructor at Duxford, and there is a series of photographs in IWM Collections which depicts Robert and his students. After his service at Duxford he was transferred to Ireland where he was based during the uprising of the 1920s.

Robert died in 1949 in Reading, Berkshire, at the age of 52.

Join IWM and the Lives of the First World War in actively remembering those who served in the First World War on the home and fighting fronts this Remembrance. Who will you remember?

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