Flight Lieutenant W. G. Stafford
Picture of Flight Lieutenant W. G. Stafford
Flight Lieutenant W. G. Stafford

A short history

Born November 1879 Stafford joined the Royal Engineers and went out to China in 1900 with the 4th Balloon Section earning him his China medal.  The Balloon sections became the Air Battalion, Royal Engineers and were then the founders of the Royal Flying Corps.

In the research file on Stafford you can read about the exploits of the 4th Balloon Section out in China during the Boxer Rebellion.

As No 22 in the RFC and now a Sergeant he gained his Royal Aero Club Certificate 438 at the Central Flying School at Upavon on 18.3.13.  He was the 9th N.C.O. to accomplish this feat.

With 14 Sqn RFC in Egypt he qualified for the 1914-15 star and now promoted to Sergeant Major he gained his Army LS&GC medal one of only 30 to the RFC.  Whilst in Egypt for consistent good work in connection with the care and repair of aeroplanes he was awarded the D.C.M.  One of only 93 that were gazetted to the RFC.  Whilst out in Egypt he was commissioned.

Medal group of Flight Lieutenant W. G. Stafford

He went with the Hejaz Expeditionary Force and served with "C" Flight all the way through as the technical officer in charge of maintenance of the BE2c aeroplanes of "C" Flight.  For this he was awarded his M.C. on the same day and despatch as Capt. Henderson.

During his stint in the Hejaz Lieutenant Stafford and his air mechanic left Gayadah to return to Wejh.  When they were found to be overdue a search was set up for them by air and land.  Capt Stent organised the air search and Lt Henderson the land search.  Lt Henderson found the Crossley tender and with it a note signed by Lt Stafford.  This note is in the copy of the Hejaz narrative in the research and the original is in the narrative of the Hejaz Expedition 1916-17.

After the war Stafford was attached to the Marine and Armament Experimental Establishment of the RAF at Martlesham Heath and Felixstowe.  He retired in 1927

He and his wife were the proprietors of the White Hart Hotel at Nayland, Suffolk.  Here a year after retiring from the RAF he died of Peritonitis after suffering a ruptured gastric ulcer.  He was buried at Langley Avenue Cemetery, Felixstowe after a service with full military honours.