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Napier, J., 2nd Lieut., 1918

De Ruvigny Roll of Honour Vol. 4 page 142

Flight Roll of Honour June 13th 1918 page 649

Arras Flying Memorial

RAF Casualty Card

On the Arras Flying Services Memorial is the name of 2nd Lieutenant James Napier serving with the 52 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps who died 07/04/1918.

James Napier was born on the 2nd April 1898, at 7 to 8 Coburg Street, Blyth, before moving to 9 Grey Street, Blyth, Northumberland, to James Napier, [born 1873, Seaham Harbour], who was a Fish Merchant and shopkeeper, and his wife Mary Eleanor, [born 1873, Sunderland]. He was the eldest son, of five children [one died]. Elizabeth born 1899, John Usher born 1902, and Margaret May born 1906, Mary Eleanor, daughter had died before 1911. All born at Blyth.

James was educated at the Plessy Road school in Blyth. He was an apprentice Dentist.

He originally enlisted 19 years and one month, 5 feet 5 inches tall, at Alnwick, in the Territorial Forces for 4 years short service in the UK, service number 2792, 1/7th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers on the 2nd December 1914. He applied for a Temporary unpaid Lance-Corporal on the 30th January 1915, then Corporal on the 27th March 1915, then promoted Sergeant on the 29th May 1915. Then was attached to the Naval Wing of the Royal Flying Corps on the 11th September 1917.

Discharged officially, from the Territorial on the 27th November 1917, after 2 years and 360 days service.

James also was at the School of Musketry with the service number of 6974, with the 4th Battalion (Reserve) Northumberland Fusiliers.

Whilst a sergeant he was reprimanded for leaving his squad without permission on the 19th October 1916, whilst based at Stenall.

James transferred to the 52nd Squadron, Royal Flying Corps as an observer in September 1917, obtained a commission, and was gazetted a 2nd Lieutenant on the 6th December 1917.

No. 52 Squadron, RFC, was formed at Hounslow, Middlesex, on 15th May 1916, and from November of that year until the Armistice served as an army co-operation squadron on the Western Front.

He was a first class observer and went to France from the 12th March 1918. He was killed in aerial combat on the 7th April 1918 whilst flying over Villers-Bretonneux.

A letter from his Flight Commander, giving details of his death, said "He was killed in action fighting nine enemy machines, but came down in our own lines"

De Ruvigny Roll of Honour

He was killed with his pilot 2nd Lieutenant T. Killeen whilst flying in a RE8 B3432.

Simon Glancey has submitted the following:

2nd Lt. Napier was killed when RE8 B3423 of 52 Squadron was shot down in combat near the lines. The pilot, 2nd Lt. Killeen, was uninjured.

James Napier is remembered at Blyth on B42.01 and B42.24

He is also remembered by 'Flight' magazine on page 649 of their Roll of Honour dated June 13th 1918.

Arras Flying Memorial list
RAF Museum
RAF Casualty Card
The CWGC entry for 2nd Lieutenant Napier

Tracing your RFC/RAF Ancestry Guide

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk