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Reserve Forces => Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve => Topic started by: Det Retals on 01 September 2015 12:34:19 am

Title: Sub Lieutenant Thomas Siddall RNVR
Post by: Det Retals on 01 September 2015 12:34:19 am
I am searching for any information regarding my Cousin,S/L Thomas Siddall, who served in the Fleet Air Arm as a Pilot. He volunteered about 1943 age 18 and was selected for Air Crew training, he qualified as a Fighter Pilot and in early 1945 was posted to 809 Squadron on HMS Stalker (D91) as a Seafire III Pilot. He was killed on 19 December 1945 age 20 in a flying accident. He must have been flying off another Carrier or Base as HMS Stalker had been returned to the USA by then.
I can only find the basic facts on the Forces war Records site, and would like more information regarding his service record and the accident which caused his death.
Any help would be much appreciated.
Det Retals
Title: Re: Sub Lieutenant Thomas Siddall RNVR
Post by: spooks1959 on 01 September 2015 09:04:38 am
Hi Det,

The details of the accident are:

Sub Lt. T. Siddall R.N.V.R. was killed while flying in Seafire Mk.17,  SX126, of 809 squadron operating out of RNAS Nutts Corner, Northern Ireland on December 19th 1945. He was flying into glaring sun when his aircraft collided with SX128, flwn by Sub Lt. D Lees-Jones R.N.V.R., while on section drill; both aircraft fell into the sea off Benbane Head, N. Ireland, killing both pilots.

I may have more info about his service history later.

Title: Re: Sub Lieutenant Thomas Siddall RNVR
Post by: PhiloNauticus on 01 September 2015 04:20:19 pm
I can add a little from the Navy List:

Thomas Siddall
Midshipman (Air) RNVR  14 July 1944
Acting Sub-Lieutenant (Air) 14 January 1945

HMS Macaw 17 August 1944
HMS Dipper (718 squadron) 1 April 1945
Title: Re: Sub Lieutenant Thomas Siddall RNVR
Post by: spooks1959 on 01 September 2015 10:03:59 pm
Here is some more 'flesh' on the outline above:

As RNVR aircrew he would have enlisted as an ordinary sailor at H.M.S. ST. VINCENT, Forton Barracks, Gosport, Hampshire, the basic new entry and pre-flight training establishment for RNVR Air branch officer cadet ratings. This was stage one, which lasted two moths..
Stage two, was two months at an Elementary Flying Training (EFT) school in the UK, and if successful, stage three was a 16 week course conducted overseas at Service Flying Training Schools in Canada and the USA.

You can read about this process on my page about Sub-Lieutenant (A) Tony Clarke R.N.V.R. (P), also a Seafire pilot, who went through this training programme.

Drawing on the Navy Lists for the period Jan 44 – July 45 (the last edition I have) the following, scant, information is gleaned:

He was commissioned as a Temporary Midshipman (A) R.N.V.R. (P), 14 Jul 44 on arrival at H.M.S. MACAW.  This was the RN aircrew transit camp, Wellbank, Bootle Station, Cumbria, where all aircrew returning from overseas pilot training schools reported on completion of their course. Here successful candidates were awarded a commission and awaited appointment to the next stage of training.

Promoted to Acting Temporary Sub-Lieutenant (A) R.N.V.R. (P), 14 Jan 45

Appears under 718 squadron (No. 4 Naval Fighter School), H.M.S. DIPPER, RNAS Henstridge, Somerset, from 1 April 1945. Here he would have flown Seafire III & L.III, and Harvard trainer.

Next appears indexed as appointed to H.M.S. RAJALIYA, RNAS Puttalam, Ceylon (July 45)

HMS Stalker & 809 squadron were operating out of Ceylon at his time so he probably went to Puttalam to wait his joining the squadron.

The navy list is always behind, sometimes by as much as a month so he may well have left the UK by July 1945 but still shows up as being in Somerset…  I am looking into clarifying the missing 5 months, in the hopes a colleague has the next edition of the Navy List.

I hope this helps to explain what your relative did and where he did it... you may wish to try to apply for a copy of his service history from the Ministry of Defence, if so see section 3 on this page -

Title: Re: Sub Lieutenant Thomas Siddall RNVR
Post by: Det Retals on 02 September 2015 02:42:06 am
Thanks Guys, this is more than I could have hoped for, you are unbelievable, what a fantastic resource you provide I have been trying for a week to get information but just hitting brick walls.
Looking forward to any more details you can provide.