In recognition of the Centenary year of the formation of the Royal Air Force, Warndon Library has been working with the 13th Worcester Scouts, the Big Ideas Company and the Worcestershire World War One Hundred programme to research the lives of several local men who served with the RAF and are buried in Astwood Cemetery, Worcester.

On 9 July members of the 13th Worcester Scouts will mark the 100th anniversary of the death of the first of the seven WWI RAF casualties they have researched, Air Mechanic 2nd Class George Arthur Chance with a short commemoration ceremony at Astwood Cemetery. Following the ceremony guests will be invited to review the exhibition of research by the Scouts at Warndon Library into the seven local RAF casualties who lost their lives during World War One.

Air Mechanic 2nd Class George Arthur Chance was born on the 28th August, 1883 in Stourbridge. On the 29th October, 1917 George joined the Royal Flying Corps and soon found himself with 109 Squadron based at South Carlton aerodrome in Lincolnshire, serving as an Air Mechanic 2nd Class. On the 8th July, 1918, whilst working on one of the R.A.F. Squadron’s aeroplanes, George was killed in a tragic accident when one of his colleagues inadvertently fired the Vickers machine-gun. George was wounded by two bullets and died of his wounds the following day in Fargo Military Hospital at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain.

The full list of casualties researched by the scouts is:

  • Air Mechanic 2ndClass George Arthur Chance (died 9/7/1918)
  • Private 2ndClass John Victor Brant (died 14/10 1918)
  • Air Mechanic 3rdClass Walter Webb (died 23/10/1918)
  • Air Mechanic 2ndClass Arthur Henry Moss (died 30/10/1918)
  • Air Mechanic 1stClass John Spencer Barnett (died 6/11/1918)
  • 2ndLieutenant Joseph Albert Paull (died 12/6 1919)
  • Private Thomas Francis Lee (died 7/3/1920)

The scouts and team at Warndon Library are keen to encourage descendants of the casualties to come forward, view the exhibition and add to the stories for themselves.

James Robertson, Library Customer Advisor at Warndon Library said: “The Remember RAF 100 project has been incredibly rewarding, the Scouts have shown real appreciation and maturity in researching their local history, researching the lives and deaths of men who served in World War One – men not that much older than themselves.

“We hope locally that Library users, and members of the community, recognise these stories as their descendants and come forward to find out more as well as to share in and add to our research.”

Adrian Gregson, Worcestershire World War One Hundred Project Manager said: “The scouts have undertaken some incredibly poignant, and locally relevant, research as part of the Remember RAF 100 project and we are delighted to have supported them through Worcestershire World War One Hundred. Over the past four years we have worked with all our partners to share the stories of the people of Worcestershire and in doing so to remember the sacrifice of those who gave their lives at the front as well as the impact at home. I hope many people visit the Scouts exhibition and find our more about the lives of these RAF casualties.”

In order to research the casualties, the Scout group began visiting Warndon Library at the end of April as well as a trip Astwood Ceremony to see the graves of the RAF casualties they are researching.

The project has allowed the Scouts to access ancestry and additional books and websites that aren’t readily available, as well as to a variety of library resources to improve their research skills and learn about the history of their local area.

Find out more and view the exhibition by dropping in to Warndon Library. To find out more about the Worcestershire World War One Hundred programme visit www.ww1worcestershire.co.uk

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