Colliers Wood, an update on William Crossley

When drawing up the Colliers Wood entry, I indicated that I hadn’t yet been able to trace the RAF service record for William Crossley. This was true, but I’ve just rediscovered some handwritten notes which hadn’t made it into my main spreadsheet. These reminded me that I had found a record for a William Crossley, born Merton on 28 June 1900 (all consistent with the census information and birth registration I had found) as a rating in the Royal Naval Air Service. He joined in January 1918 (the exact date is unclear) when he would have been just about 17-and-a-half, which fits with the conscription regualtions in force at the time as I understand them (you could wait until compulsory call up at 18, or opt to serve with a Young Soldier’s battalion, or volunteer for the navy), and was given the official number F45883. He was initially based at Royal Naval Air Station Tregantle, located at Fort Tregantle, a Victorian coastal defence fort, protecting the approaches to Plymouth. On 4 February 1918 he was posted to RNAS Cranwell (which would become the location for the present RAF College Cranwell). He transferred to the RAF on its formation on 1 April 1918. All RNAS men with official numbers beginning F were given RAF numbers which dropped the F, and added a leading 2 and as many zeroes as necessary to make a six figure number (i.e. a number in the range 200001-299999, though not all the men numbered in this range were necessarily ex-RNAS), so he would have become 245883. RAF airmen’s records which have been transferred to The National Archvies are in the series AIR 79, 245883 would be in piece AIR 79/2213 – but it is is indicated in Discovery that AIR 79/2213/245883 is not available. This suggests he continued serving in the RAF after the war. It is anticapted that these files will be transferred from the Minsitry of Defence quite soon.


2 thoughts on “Colliers Wood, an update on William Crossley

  1. davidunderdown95 Post author

    Daniel, the man on this roll is listed among the association members who survived the war, so he cannot be your great-granddad. There are quite a few William Crossley listed in the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission ( – do you know anything else about his service, or his immediate family, which might help work out which is likely to be him?


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