Aviators with Jersey connections killed in World War 1
As far as has so far been determined, eight people with strong Jersey connections lost their lives while flying during the First World War. Altogether 179 Jerseymen served in the Royal Flying Corps (later the Royal Air Force) or the Royal Naval Air Service.
Second Lt Richard John Grandin, was born in 1892, the only son of Mr and Mrs J E Grandin, of St Helier, was educated at Victoria College, which he left at the age of 15 to join the training ship Conway. Failing in the last colour test, he completed his education at the Lycee of St Breux, in France.
He was gazetted to the Jersey Militia in December 1909, promoted lieutenant in April 1912, and captain in April 1914. Desiring service overseas, he applied for and was granted a commission in the Army Service Corps.
After serving in Egypt for 15 months he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. Having trained as a scout pilot, he went to the front in April 1917, and was acting flight commander with 60 Squadron Royal Flying Corps. He was reported missing on 18 May and was later reported to have been killed.
He was an accomplished sportsman, especially keen on yachting. He married, in 1915, Marguerite, youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs G A Pitcher, of London.
Evening Post report
Another popular Jersey officer makes the supreme sacrifice
- "Our readers will remember that some weeks ago we announced that Captain Richard John (Dick) Grandin, only son of Mr J E Grandin of Commercial Buildings and husband of Mrs Grandin (nee Pitcher) of London, formerly a Captain in the 3rd Battalion RMIJ, had been reported missing whilst flying on 18 May, and we now regret to state that this popular young officer has been officially reported killed on that date. Dick Grandin, as he was popularly known, was a Captain in the 3rd Battalion RMIJ and shortly after the outbreak of war he joined the Royal Army Service Corps as 2nd Lieutenant. He was sometime later gazetted temporary Captain but being desirous of taking an even more active part in the campaign he volunteered for the Royal Flying Corps and was appointed 2nd Lieutenant.
- "Whilst flying over the enemy lines on 18 May he was reported missing and though every effort has been made to trace him amongst the prisoners in Germany, the War Office are now regretfully constrained to presume he was killed on that date. By a tragic coincidence the official news of the death was received by his widow on the day following the receipt of the death of his brother-in-law, also of the Royal Flying Corps. The late Captain Grandin was only 24, thus a promising career has been brought to an early close. His many friends, especially amongst the men of the RMIJ who held him in very high regard, will join us in tendering the bereaved relatives our heartfelt sympathy, they however will realise that Dick Grandin died a true hero's death.
Ernest Le Sauvage
Second Lieutenant Ernest Davies Le Sauvage was killed on 30 May 1916 while flying at the Central Flying School, Upavon, Wiltshire. He was the only son of Ernest and Jennie Le Sauvage, of Beaumont, Jersey, and was in his 20th year.
He was educated at the Victoria College (1906-1909), Hillside, Godalming, and afterwards at Charterhouse. He left Charterhouse a few days before the outbreak of war, and after passing through Sandhurst was gazetted in November as Second Lieutenant in the Dorset Regiment.
He went to the Front in December, 1914, and was wounded at Hill 60 on 22 April 1915. For his services in France he was mentioned in despatches. After a few months leave he obtained a transfer to the Royal Flying Corps, and was made an instructor at the Central Flying School after qualifying on a Maurice Farman biplane at the Military School, Norwich, in January 1916.
He was killed in a flying accident while a flying instructor and buried with full military honours in the churchyard of St Brelade's Church.
Flt Lt Edmund Bourchier Devereux, the son of Walter and Blanche Devereux, of Middlewood, St Saviour. He was born in Norfolk and educated at Victoria College and Osborne and Dartmouth Colleges. He served on HMS Warrior and HMS Agincourt and was at the Battle of Jutland. In January 1917 he joined the Royal Naval Air Service as a volunteer. He was killed on patrol duty in the North Sea with HM Airship P2. His elder brother Humphrey, a lieutenant in the South Staffordshire Regiment, was killed at Flanders in June 1916.
Capt Denys Ware, the youngest son of G S Ware, of St Aubin, born in Avranches, won the Military Medal while flying with the 209 Squadron Royal Air Force and was killed within weeks of the war ending on 20 September 1918.
Lieut. Eric Bainbridge, who was reported missing in September 1916, was officially reported dead in 1918. Born in 1998, he was the youngest son of the Reginald and Emily Bainbridge and was educated at Victoria College, where he was a member of the OTC, and he also belonged to the Essex Volunteer Regiment. He came to Jersey from Malta with his mother, who lived a 1 Delborgho Villas, Clarendon Road, and was at Victoria College from 1912 to 1914.
He joined up as soon as he was old enough and trained at Oxford and Hythe. He obtained a commission in the RFC in April 1916, and went to France in August with 32nd Squadron. The following month, when on patrol duty over the Somme with two other machines, he encountered a superior enemy squadron. Lieut Bainbridge was seen to attack four of them, but in his turn was attacked by two others and brought down in the enemy lines.
Reginald Le Gallais
Second Lieutenant Reginald Walter Le Gallais, Royal Flying Corps, was killed in a flying accident near Faversham at the age of 19 on 15 September 1917. He was the son of F H Le Gallais, who died in Jersey in 1906, and Mrs Josephine Le Gallais, of 22 Rue Louis Hymans, Brussels. Born in Jersey, he qualified with the Royal Aero Club on 28 December 1915 in a Maurice Farman biplane. He was educated at Victoria College.
Captain Ernest Dyce Messervy, of Surrey Rifles and 56 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, was the son of Philip and Kathleen Messervy. He was killed in action on 20 July 1917.
Stuart Le Geyt Cutler, the son of Major and Mrs J F Cutler, of Queen Street, St Helier, was killed in action at Ypres on 9 August 1918 at the age of 23 while serving with 21 Squadron Royal Flying Service. 4
Old Victorian Lieutenant Charles Stanley Mossop was awarded the DSC for sinking the German submarine UB32 by a direct hit with a 1000 lb bomb while flying a Wight Seaplane when operating from Cherbourg. In August 1918 he landed his seaplane in St Helier Harbour in order to pay an unofficial visit to his parents, Mr and Mrs Charles Mossop of Cambray, Millbrook. He is believed to be the first Jerseyman to fly to the island.
Two days after this visit he was killed at the age of 20 when his tailplane collapsed while taking off at Port-en-Bessin, near Cherbourg.
His new squadron was officially formed a week after his death, on 20 August 1918, from Nos 414 and 415 Flights at Cherbourg, from where its Short 184s carried out anti-submarine patrols along the French coastline out to and including the Channel Islands. It disbanded on 15 March 1919.
Frederick Norman Mollet
Lieutenant Frederick Norman Mollet (1895-1918) wasa member of the Hampshire Regiment attached to 107th Squadron, Royal Air Force. He was killed on 18 July 1918 when piloting an Airco DH 9, C6252, on a bombingg raid. He had previously served with the Royal Flying Corps.
Having trained with the Artists Rifles OTC, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 18 June 1916, and joined the Hampshire Regiment.
The DH 9, designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and built by Airco was a single engine two seat bomber. It was ordered in large numbers for the Royal Flying Corps but proved to be underpowered and dangerously slow, resulting in heavy losses over the Western Front.
Cecil Philip George Gordon
Captain Cecil Gordon (1898-1918) was born in Jersey, the son of Colonel and Mrs P C H Gordon. He was educated at Victoria College for three years from 1904 and then went to Blundell's.
At the beginning of the War he was in Canada and returned to join the South Staffordshire Regiment, training in Jersey, He went to France in 1916 and was attached to the East Kent Regiment as a bombing officer at Ypres.
He went with his regiment to Salonica and suffered from malaria. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1917 and was taught to fly in Egypt. He was invalided back to Jersey and after recovering he was posted to a flying squadron near Cirencester,
He crashed and was killed while flying solo and was believed to have fainted in the air because of his malaria.
In August 1917 he had married Jeanne Le Rossignol, elder daughter of High Court of India Judge H Le Rossignol.
Airman 2nd Class Albert Joshua Laurens of the Royal Flying Corps was the youngest son of Edouard Joseph and Elizabeth Ann Laurens of 3 St Saviours Road, St Helier, Jersey. He drowned at the age of 22 on 31 December 1917 while on a voyage to Egypt. He was a 2nd Class Air Mechanic in the Royal Flying Corps and had served in France for several months.
Other war service
Flt sub-lt Alick Stephens of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, was taken prisoner by a German submarine from his damaged aircraft at the mouth of the Thames in 1916.
Old Victorian Henry Charles Amedie de la Faye Biard was born on 1 January 1892 in Godalming, Surrey, where his father Raymond was a teacher at nearby Charterhouse. While the family were living in 2 Claremont Terrace, St Helier in 1906 and 1907, Henry and his younger brother Walter attended Victoria College.
At the beginning of 1909 17-year-old Henry, having watched aircraft going through their paces at Brooklands, was determined to fly himself. He proved very adept and at the age of only 21 was appointed only the Royal Aero Club’s 218th instructor.
After gaining his Aviator's Certificate, Henry was awarded a probationary commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps. Henry's service with the RFC ended, according to the London Gazette No. 28836, on 3 June 1914, for it was announced that he had resigned his commission.
When war broke out Henry was staying at his paternal grandfather's farm in northern France. He saw the flow of refugees struggling westwards with their possessions on carts, and his grandfather’s farm being set on fire by German soldiers.
At some stage during the war he was back in uniform and he undertook a number of anti-submarine patrols and during one patrol engaged a German submarine through bombing, During 1918 he claimed the "kill" of an Albatros while in France to learn of the latest aerial warfare developments.
The Navy List dated April 1918 records him as having been commissioned as at 2 December 1917 as a Probationary Flight Officer (Temporary) in the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS), at the British Flying School at Vendome in France.
Service with the RNAS was short-lived with the Royal Air Force being formed from the RFC and the RNAS on 1 April 1918.