The Royal Aero Club needs your help! It’s looking for photographs of World War I pilots, to complete its impressive archive. It has details of around 200 early flyers whose pictures are missing – perhaps you could take a look and see if you recognise any of the names?
In the early days of the War, most pilots took their initial training through the Royal Aero Club, before joining the Royal Flying Corps or the Royal Naval Air Service. Successful pilots were given an Aviator’s Certificate. Like a modern passport, this flying licence needed two photographs – one was pasted into the licence; the other was kept by the Club.
As a result, its comprehensive archive includes over 28,000 index records and 34 volumes, containing about 13,000 photographs of early aviators. If you can’t find information about a pilot in military records, there’s a good chance you’ll find them in these volumes.
Unfortunately, Volume 4 is missing. Volunteers from the Royal Aero Club Trust – established in 1998 to maintain the Club’s unique historical collection – are busy compiling a ‘virtual’ replacement album, using photographs from other sources.
Thanks largely to Cross & Cockade (the First World War Historical Aviation Society), the Trust now has replacement images for about two-thirds of the pilots. But it’s still short of around 200 images.
Check the list of pilots whose images are still missing. Do you recognise their names? Can you help track down their photographs? Aero Club Trust Find Missing Heroes
Any help you can offer would be very gratefully received. If you can provide a copy of one of these missing photographs, or if you have any ideas about where may be a good place to look, please email the Royal Aero Club Trust.
Andrew Dawrant, Royal Aero Club Trust