Monday, May 04, 2015

207058 Corporal Mechanic Stephen King, RAF

Stephen King was born at Plumpton on 4th February 1889 (although his surviving naval papers state Lewes as the place of birth).  He appears on the 1901 census as a twelve year old living at The Swan Inn, Chailey..  Alfred King (aged 48) was the inn keeper (and a farmer) and he and his wife (Ellen King, aged 49), had three children living with them at the time the census was taken: Jesse King (aged 18, working as a carpenter’s apprentice), Kate King (aged 15 and noted as a “mother’s help”) and 12 year old Stephen.

He joined the Royal Naval Air Service at Portsmouth on 29th July 1915 for the duration of hostilities.  He was five feet, eight and a half inches tall, had brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion.  It was noted that he has a scar on right buttock.  He gave his occupation as carpenter (although later, when transferring to the RAF, he would give his occupation as carpenter and joiner. 

He was given the rating of air mechanic 1st class and the service number F7058 and joined HMS President II at Polegate, Sussex where he remained until 22nd September 1916.  Chailey Parish Magazine first notes him serving his King and Country in September 1915 and the following month, on the 30th October, he married Daisy Annie (maiden name unknown) at Oxted, Surrey.  The couple would settle at Oakglen Street, Lewes and a daughter, Cecily, would be born to them on 9th December 1916. 

Between 23rd September and 20th October 1916, Stephen was at HMS Daedalus, the Fleet Air Arm Headquarters at Lee on Solent, before moving back to HMS President II at Polegate where he remained until New Year’s Eve 1917. 

On 1st April 1918, on the formation of the Royal Air Force, Stephen King transferred to the RAF.  He was based back at HMS Daedalus and by the end of the year had the rating of corporal mechanic and the new number 207058.  His trade classification was airship rigger. 

He was sent to the discharged centre at Crystal Palace on 21st January 1919, the medical board there classifying him as category A.  On 20th February 1919 he was transferred to Class G, RAF Reserve, his character noted as very good and his ability as satisfactory.  The address he gave on discharge was 21 Devonport Road, St Annes, Lewes.

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