Air Mechanic, 2nd Class
Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force
Place of birth:
Corset warehouse assistant
Date of death:
Cause of death:
Grave or panel reference:
Name of father:
Name of siblings:
Gladys Alice Frances
Name(s) of children:
Herbert Mansfield Welland
Date of birth:
Place of enlistment:
Age at death:
Cemetery or memorial:
Name of mother:
Emily Frances Welland, nee Tribe
Name of spouse:
Alice Sophia, nee Mansfield
1911- 124 Hanley Road, Stroud Green
Herbert Charles William Welland was born in Hackney, but grew up very close to New Court, at 28 Wray Crescent, with his parents Herbert and Emily Frances (nee Tribe) and his younger sister Gladys. By the 1911 Census, when he was 17, the family had moved slightly further away to 124 Hanley Road, where they remained for many years, and Herbert was working as a corset warehouse assistant.
Herbert enlisted on 25 November 1915, joining the Royal Flying Corps (RFC). His rank was Air Mechanic, 2nd Class (the equivalent of a Private) and his trade was ‘Assistant Armourer’. He was paid 1s 8d per day and enlisted for the duration of the war. Armourers were deployed on a wide variety of jobs, including servicing aircraft and maintaining and loading bombs.
The Royal Flying Corps was the air arm of the British Army before and during the First World War. Within the RFC a Wing consisted of a number of squadrons. Herbert was in the 7th Wing, created in November 1915 at the time he enlisted as the RFC expanded rapidly. The records don’t show which squadron Herbert was in, nor where he served.
On 1 April 1918 the Royal Flying Corps merged with the Royal Naval Air Service to form the Royal Air Force. Herbert, along with other RFC men, transferred to this new service and he acquired a new role. The records show that he was the same rank, rated Class 2 for operational effectiveness, but he was now a Batman/Warehouseman for Officer’s Batman.
A batman, or orderly, was a soldier or airman assigned to a commissioned officer as a personal servant. The term derives from an old French word meaning ‘pack saddle’ as before the Army had vehicles a batman was in charge of his officer’s ‘bat-horse’ that carried the pack saddle with the officer’s kit during a campaign.
After the war, Herbert returned to Stroud Green and continued to live in Hanley Road. In 1919 his sister Gladys married Arthur Trebilcock, whose war service – in the United States Army- is also commemorated on the church plaque.
On 24 September 1921 Herbert married Alice Sophia Mansfield at St Saviour’s Church in Hanley Road, and their son Herbert Mansfield Welland was born in November 1922. Herbert had moved to Walthamstow by 1939, and he died there at the age of 90 in 1983.