Cecil Francis Kilner

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Cecil Francis Kilner
Nickname(s) Jo
Born (1883-10-08)8 October 1883
Kemsing, Kent, England
Died 25 October 1924(1924-10-25) (aged 41)
London, England
Buried at Kensal Green Cemetery
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Marines
Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1902-1925
Rank Group Captain
Awards DSO

Group Captain Cecil Francis Kilner DSO* ADC (8 October 1883 – 20 October 1925) was an early English aviator and pilot in the 1914 Cuxhaven Raid. He was awarded two Distinguished Service Orders during service with the Royal Naval Air Service during the First World War, he died as a Royal Air Force Group Captain in 1925 after a short illness.[1]

Early life[edit]

Kilner was born on 8 October 1883 in Kemsing, Kent 12 April 1887 the son of William and Frances Kilner.[1]

Royal Marines[edit]

In 1902 Kilner joined the Royal Marines after leaving the Royal Military College at Sandhurst.[1] In the 1911 Census he was described as a Lieutenant of the Royal Marines Light Infantry aboard HMS Swiftsure in the Grand Harbour, Malta.[2]

Royal Naval Air Service[edit]

On 22 October 1913 he was awarded the Aviators Certificate #667 from the Royal Aero Club following flights at the Central Flying School at Upavon, Wiltshire and went on to serve with the Royal Naval Air Service.[3]

Cuxhaven Raid

On Christmas Day 1914 he took part in the Cuxhaven Raid for which he was awarded the DSO.[1] The raid was an air reconnaissance flight in the Heligoland Bight with an opportunity to bomb German facilities. The aircraft were launched from seaplane-carriers, which were supported by destroyers and light cruisers, at first light, with bad weather the aircraft had to fly low.[4] The low flying aircraft and the supporting ships were attacked by defending forces with submarines, seaplanes and Zeppelins.[4] Kilner with his observer Erskine Childers flying a Short Admiralty Type 135 was one of the few who managed to return to his ship.

Royal Air Force[edit]

In 1919 he transferred to the new Royal Air Force with a permanent commission as a Major.[5] In early 1925 he was appointed as Air Aide-de-Camp to the King but he died soon after in London on 20 October 1925 at 16 Beaumont Street, London.[6]

Honours and awards[edit]

  • 19 February 1915 – Captain Cecil Francis Kilner, RNLI (Flight Commander) is awarded the Distinguished Service Order for distinguished service on the combined operations by HM Ships and Naval Seaplanes on 25 December 1914.[4]
  • 1 October 1917 - Squadron Cd. Cecil Franscis Kilner, DSO, RNAS (Capt, temp Major RMLI) a bar to the Distinguished Service Order for services in reconnaissance and bombing flights in the eastern Mediterranean.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d "Group Captain C. F. Kilner". Obituaries. The Times (44101). London. 24 October 1925. col E, p. 16. 
  2. ^ 1911 Census RG14 34973
  3. ^ "The Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom". Flight. 15 November 1913. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "(Supplement) no. 29076". The London Gazette. 19 February 1915. p. 1721. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "no. 31755". The London Gazette. 27 January 1920. p. 1099. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Deaths". Deaths. The Times (44098). London. 21 October 1925. col A, p. 1. 
  7. ^ "(Supplement) no. 30316". The London Gazette. 1 October 1917. p. 10156. Retrieved 31 May 2010.