Category Archives: RFC / RAF

William Franklin Bate

William Franklin Bate
2nd Lieutenant Royal Air Force

Division 75

 William Bate  was the son of Rev. J. D. and Mrs Bate.  He died on the 22nd February 1920 aged 41.  The inscription on the headstone states:

“After a long and painful illness bravely borne”. 

 William Bates grave is a registered CWGC grave with a personal headstone. 

William Bate attested in February 1916  and originally served with the Devonshire Regiment and in February 1917 worked for the Pay Corps. He transfered to the school of aeronautics at Reading in September 1917 and gained his commission in October 1917. His military record indicates that he was previously employed as a Photographer and the medical details showed that he had previously had a kidney operation, a carcenoma is recorded and it may be that he died from a reoccurance from this disease.

Victor Houghton Wicks

Victor Houghton Wicks
Flying Officer
Royal Air Force

 Division 76

VHWicks wedding

Victor Houghton Wicks was married in April 1915 to Beatrice Ellen Church. The couple had three children and lived at 92 Brighton Road, Reading. He was the son of Mrs Elizabeth Pettiford (formerly Wicks) and the late John Wicks.  

Victor died on 24th August 1921.    His grave is a registered War Grave but the headstone is a private memorial.   Grave number 16842.  His death was among the last to qualify for registration as a war casualty.  

 Victor Houghton Wicks was a wireless operator and was at his post on board the airship R.38. when it burst into flames over Hull. 

Picture provided by Andrew Bird RAF Museum, London. Victor Houghton Wicks is believed to be in this picture.
Picture provided by Andrew Bird RAF Museum, London. Victor Houghton Wicks is believed to be in this picture.

Victor Houghton Wick’s  death was announced in the papers and a large military funeral took place which was also highly publicised at the time.

Reading Standard. 27th Aug. 1921 pg. 5

Reading Officer one of the victims

“At least one Reading man was among the victims in the terrible disaster which befell the world’s largest Airship RR. 38 while flying over the Humber on Wednesday.  This was Flying Officer V. H. Wicks, whose father-in-law lives at 56 Orts Rd. Reading.  The deceased officer was born in Tilehurst, and received his education at Wilson Senior School, where he was a pupil of much promise.  He took a great great interest in the study of electricity and after school he increased his knowledge at the Reading Corporation Tramways Depot.  Then he joined the Navy and went in for wireless telegraphy, and was looking forward with eager zest to his aerial trip to America.  He leaves a widow and three children.

 Reading Standard. Sept. 3rd 1921

Wicks – On August 24th.  Victor H. Wicks, Wireless Officer, Howden who died at his post on H. M. Airship R.38 dearly loved husband of Beatrice Wicks (nee Church) 56. Orts Rd. eldest son of Mrs. Pettiford, aged 29.

 Reading Standard Sept. 10th 1921 pg. 7

Heroic wireless operator – Impressive funeral

VHWicks grave

His wife, Beatrice Wicks (nee Church) also lost her youngest brother in the war.

Reading Standard 23rd Nov. 1928 On Nov. 17th at Colchester Military Hospital, after great suffering patiently borne, Thomas Cyril, the youngest and dearly beloved son of Mr and Mrs H W Church 56 Orts Rd. His grave is near Victor’s in the same division.

However, Beatrice’s tragedy was not yet complete.   In the 2nd World War her youngest son Dudley Ralph Wicks also became a war casualty.  He was a flight sergeant also in the RAF, and was serving as an observer when he was killed on active service on 10th November 1941, aged 20.  Father and son lie in the same grave although Ralph would never have known his father.  The Commonwealth War Graves Register for Berkshire for the 1939-45 war carries details.

George Viner Wicks

George Viner Wicks
2nd Lieutenant
Australian Flying Corps..

Division 35

CIMG2118 CIMG2119

The grave of George Viner Wicks is a CWGC War Grave but the headstone is not a war pattern headstone but a small  stone cross, it can easily be overlooked because it is under a holly bush.  The grave number is 13395.

 He was the son of William Henry and Alice Mary Wicks, of 3, Anderton Street., Marrickville, New South Wales.  He was born in Fremantle, Western Australia.

 George Wicks died of  injuries in an aeroplane accidentalon 13th October 1918, he was 28 years old.  The full circumstances of his death are not known by the author.