Regiment: East Yorkshire Regiment, RFC and RAF
An Airco DeHavilland DH4 of 55 Squardon © IWM (HU 91043)
Arnold Watkinson was born in Huddersfield on 2 December 1893, but when he joined the Royal Flying Corps in September 1916 his home address was Highbank, Beer. That was still his address in 1919. He originally joined the East Yorkshire Regiment, and later transferred to the RFC.
He trained as an observer at No 2 School of Aeronautics, Oxford, and continued his training at Hythe, Hampshire and Brooklands in Surrey. He was then posted to 55 Squadron, and went with them to France in March 1917 as an observer on Airco DeHavilland DH 4 light bombers. WE Johns, who later wrote the ‘Biggles’ books, was also on 55 Squadron.
Arnold’s record of service in the RFC shows that he was wounded in France on 23 April 1917 and sent back to England. He returned to France for the period 21 August to 27 December the same year. It is possible that he was wounded a second time, as an entry on his record in January 1918 states that he would be ‘unfit for any service’ for a month, and he was not declared fit to fly again until March 1918, when he became an instructor at No 1 School of Aeronautics at Reading.
When the Royal Air Force was formed on 1 April 1918, Arnold was transferred into the new force, and finally left the RAF on 8 June 1919.
Arnold died on 14 February 1953, aged 59.
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