FOLKARD, William Landels Browning Page

Second Lieutenant, William Landels FOLKARD
Aged 25

138 Squadron, Royal Air Force
formerly 169505, Private, Royal Engineers
Died in an Air Accident on Friday, 15th November 1918

Thanks go to William Landels Wild, his nephew for many of the details and the photograph here and the West Middlesex Family History Society Journal, vol.33 (2015)

William Landels Browning Page FOLKARD was born in Stowmarket on 28th October 1893 (Stow Q4-1893 4A:756) son of William and Naomi Browning FOLKARD (née PAGE).
His mother died in childbirth and his father remarried to Sarah SYRETT in February 1898 at Stowmarket Baptist Chapel. His father was a prosperous ironmonger with shops in Eye, Stowmarket, Needham Market and Bungay

1901 census...Aged 7 he was at Broad Street, Eye, Suffolk with Margaret S. FOLKARD [39] born Haughley, Suffolk; his sister Naomi Madeline [2] born Eye. Margaret FOLKARD is recorded as the mother. His father, William FOLKARD [36] an ironmonger born Lexden, was visiting his brother in law, flour miller William GREEN and his wife Ada at Broad Street, Aldham

He attended Eye Grammar School before going on to East Anglian School for Boys in Bury St.Edmunds

1911 census...Aged 17, he was apprentice chemist at 36 Head Street, Colchester with chemist Harry Ernest BAKER and his family.
His father and stepmother Sarah were at Shrub End, Stanway with his grandfather William FOLKARD [80] a farmer born Boxted.

At the outbreak of war he was a dispensing chemist at the Military Hospital in Colchester. His will gives his home address as Eye, Suffolk. Initially his legatee was a Miss Louisa Sammons, but this was changed to his father William.

No. 138 Squadron, RAF was formed on 30th September 1918. It was mobilised as a fighter-reconnaissance squadron at Chingford when the war ended and disbanded in February 1919. In its next incarnation from August 1941, No. 138 was reformed at Newmarket as a "Special Duties" squadron. . There was no authorised squadron badge until WW2.

He attested on 29th November 1915 and placed on Reserves. Mobilised on 15th May 1916 in London in the Royal Engineers as Private No.169505 He gave his age as 22 years, a chemist from Broad Street, Eye, Suffolk (his father's -next of kin- address. 5 feet 8.75 inches (174.6 cm) tall, chest 33" to 34" (83.8 to 86.4 cm). A Wesleyan, born in Stowmarket.
His records show him as Depot Chemist at an extra 1 shilling 6 pence per day (£0.07) was transferred to the Special Company, Royal Engineers, (implying he was employed using gas) on 2nd June 1916. He serves at home until 3rd June 1916, then with the British Expeditionary Force until 1st November 1916. In UK from 2nd November 1916 until 19th April 1917. On January 1st 1917 he was at Warlingham Barracks in Surrey on sanitary fatigues. Embarked at Southampton on Friday,20th April 1917 for France.
He returned to UK again on 8th April 1918 and was discharged from the Army, as a Lance Corporal, to join the Royal Air Force.

From his diary, being an engineer, his job in the trenches seemed to entail moving artillery guns up to the front under cover of darkness. The last entry in his diary was 5th August 1917 when he was baptised at Talbot House, Poperinge by P.B.(Tubby) CLAYTON the founder of Toc H.

Unsuccessful in obtaining a commission in the Army, he transferred to the Royal Air Force on 2nd May 1918, one month after its formation. Starting his training at No.1 School of Aviation he went on to Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey on 4th June, and was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant w.e.f 15th August 1918.

He joined 138 Squadron on 2nd October and was sent to Chingford on 5th October, then to RAF Halton, School of Technical Training and re joined 138 Squadron on 7th November. He died after an air accident on take-off in a Bristol Fighter Ser. No. F4290. on 15th November. The pilot, Lt Thomas Wesley Williamson was injured but survived. William died of his injuries in Edmonton Military Hospital later that day.

photo courtesy nephew William Landels WILD and West Middlesex FHS

Bristol Fighter...this "Brisfit" can be seen regularly at Old Warden.

Family monument in Stowmarket Cemetery

William Folkard is buried in Stowmarket Cemetery, grave F:63

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details