Alderley -World War 1. May 1917

We will remember them, May 1917

 

Alderley Edge suffered only one casualty in May 1917 - Flight Lieutenant John Cedric Railton, of the Royal Naval Air Service.  Aerial warfare was in its infancy in the First World War.  The Royal Flying Corps was formed in 1912 and the RNAS was separated from it in 1914.  Its main function was to patrol the coasts and waters around the UK for enemy ships and U-boats.  It was presumably while engaged in this work that Flt-Lieut. Railton, who was based at Tresco in the Isles of Scilly – the western approaches to the Channel - was drowned on 9th May.

John Cedric Railton was the eldest son of Charles Withington Railton, a stockbroker, and his wife Charlotte.  He was born in 1890 and baptized at St Philip’s Church.  He was educated at St Bee’s School in Cumbria.  In 1911, aged 21, he was living with his parents at Cherry Tree House, Macclesfield Road, and is described as a sharebroker’s clerk, probably working for his stockbroker father.  He enlisted on 2nd November 1914 in the RNAS and was assigned to the armoured car division.  A little-known aspect of the history of the RNAS is that at the outbreak of the war an RNAS squadron went to France to support the ground forces. Having few aircraft, their commander formed the UK’s first armoured car unit, which Railton joined.  He was with this unit until it disbanded in August 1915, when its work was taken over by the army.  He then trained as a pilot, obtaining his certificate on 1st February 1916 on a Maurice Farman biplane. 

 

Interestingly, his younger brother, Reid Railton, was a motor engineer who designed the car (the Railton Special) in which John Cobb broke the land speed record in 1947.

 

 

If you know of Alderley Edge men who served in the war and returned home afterwards, we should be glad to hear of them.


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