Air Mechanic 2nd Class Henry Critchley
Henry was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, on 28th September, 1887, and baptised at St. Thomas’ Church, (now demolished), on 2nd October. He was the eldest of five children born to Edward Critchley, a builder and joiner, and his wife, Mary. Henry followed in his Father’s footsteps and was already apprenticed as a carpenter and joiner by 1901, when he was 13 years old. His younger brother, Edward, was also apprenticed as a carpenter and at least two of his sisters went to work in the cotton mills.
Henry entered the Royal Flying Corps on 23rd March, 1918, and was transferred to the newly-formed RAF on 1st April. His records note that he had tattoos on both forearms. He was transferred from the RAF Depot (probably Blandford) to No.7 Air Acceptance Park, Kenley, on 7th April, 1918, and appears to have been working in his trade as a carpenter for their Mobilising Squadron Station – Nos. 91 and 95 Squadrons were being formed at Kenley during this period, and although both squadrons were disbanded before they became operational, No.91 did receive and fly Sopwith Dolphins.
Henry died of “disease” in Davidson Road War Hospital, Croydon, on 25th November, 1918. He was 31 years old and unmarried at the time of his death. He was laid to rest in his hometown of Blackburn. His Mother, Mary, passed away in April, 1919, a few short months after her eldest son.
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.