Major Frank LeMoigan Callaway - 29th February 1892 – 02nd March 1919

Discussion in 'History' started by Zombieguy, Jul 14, 2016.

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  1. Former RN Paymaster and Captain in the RNAS

    Can any knowledgeably soul help a less knowledgeable soul to answer some questions that will enable me to tell this fine young man’s story?

    He rests in Aldershot Military Cemetery, Hampshire, his grave marked by a CWGC headstone that shows him as a Major in the R.A.F.

    I didn’t think the rank of Major existed in the RAF!

    He was a Captain in the RNAS – Was that a rank in the RNAS?

    This research is turning into a real mystery as I cannot find (with my limited knowledge and accesses) anything about his Naval promotions and even less about how he came to transfer into the RAF and what happened in the short time between transfer and his equally unexplained death.

    I have trawled through the local Aldershot and Farnborough news papers of the time but can find nothing about his death (unsurprising as it happened when he was on leave – wherever that may have been?) Or disapointlingly his funeral which I would have expected would have been with full military honours and as with other military burials of the time reported – but alas no!!

    Date of appointment to RN 15 July 1909 – Unconfirmed

    1910 an Assistant Clerk

    1911 Clerk

    1912 Assistant Paymaster


    According to his British Royal Airforce service record (which was easy to read)

    I think I have worked out a sequence of events, but I am not 100%, and there are still some questions in my mind, caused by not understanding the language used.

    02 04 1918, he is shown as a Captain Admin with effect from the 01/04 1918?

    But I can’t find out the 5 WH of this occurred – I believe that he was a Paymaster up until 1917?

    20 / 11 / 18 Mediterranean District M R 911

    20 / 11 / 18 British Royal Nany Acct Officer R.A.F

    18 / 12 / 18 he was posted to HQ Mediterranean District Malta

    31 /12/18 shown as Captain Acting Major Admin, W.P as Major ‘Admin = W.P?

    Backdated I think to 10th of June 1918.

    31 / 01 / 1919 HQ Mediterranean District, United Kingdom duty and leave – I am unsure what he duty was or if this is when he joined the R.A.F

    03 / 03 / 1919 Died while on leave

    There is an entry which reads I think, (regarded as transferred to R.G 7 01/04/19)

    Another I could not make out but think said (drudDisg 12 3 19)

    NOK shown as Mrs R G Callaway of ‘Talgarth 10 Connaught Road Folkestone

    No permanent address shown – Did he did whilst visiting his mother in Folkestone? – How did he die?

    In another Naval record I saw that he was shown in 1919 as having the rank P.L

    I do not know what any of the abbreviations above stand for.

    If anyone can shed any light at all on any of the above, I would be eternally grateful. Or directions to where I might find the missing information would be appreeciated also.

    I am desperate to join the dots on this puzzle so that I can have this young man’s life story and service to country told and remembered accordingly.

    Many thanks – expectantly hopeful of help.

  2. I am by no means an expert but I wonder if the confusion over rank titles is because when the RAF was formed they took personnel from the RFC (Royal Flying Corps) and perhaps the RNAS(the RN fly boys?). I imagine the early days were confusing for everyone in the newly formed RAF.
    Good luck with your search. If you can PM forum member @sweetpea she may be able to help as she is a wizard with old records.
  3. Yes, there was a rank of Major in the RAF, in fact, the highest decorated pilot of WWI was Major McCudden, VC, DSO, MC, MM. :eek: Portrait & info here:

    The P.L you mention, this could refer to several things, ie, the Pink List (Admiralty Pink List, this recorded stations and movement of ships). PL was also used as part of the service number for one whose payroll was attached to a Plymouth Base, so without seeing the actual script that you have, I can not say.
    As for your question 'how did he die?' His death certificate will give you this information and you can obtain a copy from KEW, London.
    If you would like to PM me with the chaps full name and a few further details, I would be happy to help, if I can.

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  4. The RAF was formed by amalgamating the Royal Flying Corp with the Royal Naval Air Service on the 1st of April 1918.

    It's the longest running April Fool wind up on record ;)
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Dean,
    I have him in the Navy Lists of 1919 - rank of Captain RAF (2nd Apr 1918) listed as a Secretary.
    I have just downloaded this document in case you would like it for your own records.

    Edited to add: In the Navy Lists 1910 he is listed as an officer studying German language abroad on full pay. He was an Interpreter.

    Having had a quick look through the Navy Lists and following his career, I think the PL rank you mentioned would be that of Paymaster Lieutenant. :)

    I've been thinking about the cause of death - the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the Great War..... just a thought.

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
  6. SP.
    Many thanks for the above and all your assistance to date, it is very much appreciated.

    Paymaster Lieutenant would make sense, and provides a link / explanation for his jump from Paymaster to transferring to the RAF as Captain. Although I cant find anything on his Naval record to show any promotion to PL ?

    Influenza is a possibility, I will apply for his death certificate.

    I am still puzzled as to why he was buried at Aldershot! His NOK on his Naval record shows an address in Folkestone .

    I have been unable to find any newspaper report covering the burial, which is unusual as all military funerals of officers that took place at the cemetery were reported on .
    Thanks again

  7. On leave with a local lady near the barracks? and the Service just buried him
  8. Hi Sumo,

    Wow, now so many more questions!
    Where did you find that out?
    Which barracks do you know?
    Do you know what the cause was?

    Thanks for posting

    Kind Regards
  9. I know nothing but Aldershot has a massive Army Barracks, google it and you will see.

    He could have been taking leave at a big military town for any reason?

    Just my rambling thoughts, as he seemed to moving through different parts of the military?

    So more questions and no answers?

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