Rothesay Stuart Wortley

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Rothesay Nicholas Montagu Stuart Wortley
Born(1892-01-09)9 January 1892
Highcliffe Castle, Dorset, England
Died29 December 1926(1926-12-29) (aged 34)
Southern France
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service1912–1919
UnitHampshire Yeomanry
No. 22 Squadron RFC
Commands heldNo. 44 Training Depot Station
No. 88 Squadron RAF
Battles/warsFirst World War
 • Western Front
AwardsMilitary Cross
RelationsEdward James Montagu-Stuart-Wortley (father)
Other workJournalist & author

Major Rothesay Nicholas Montagu Stuart Wortley[note 1] MC (9 January 1892 – 29 December 1926) was a British First World War flying ace credited with six aerial victories.[3]

Early life and background[edit]

Stuart Wortley was born at Highcliffe Castle, Dorset, the first child and only son of Major-General the Honourable Edward James Montagu-Stuart-Wortley and his wife Violet (née Guthrie).[1] He was educated at Eton and Oxford University,[3] winning an Honours in History. On 25 March 1912 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Hampshire Yeomanry (Territorial Force).[4]

First World War[edit]

On 5 August 1914, the day after Great Britain declared war on Germany, Stuart Wortley was appointed an aide-de-camp to serve on the personal staff[5] of his father, General Officer Commanding of the 46th (North Midland) Division. On 12 February 1917 Stuart Wortley was seconded for duty with the Royal Flying Corps,[6] and was appointed a flying officer on 12 June.[7] On 30 June he was promoted to captain, with seniority from 1 June 1916.[8] Posted to No. 22 Squadron RFC to fly the Bristol F.2 two-seater fighter, he gained his first aerial victories on 6 September 1917, driving down two enemy aircraft. He destroyed two enemy fighters on 22 September, and captured another on 17 October. His sixth and final victory came on 28 January 1918, sending another fighter down in flames.[3][9]

Stuart Wortley was awarded the Military Cross, which was gazetted on 19 April 1918. His citation read:

Captain Rothesay Nicholas Montagu-Stuart-Wortley, Yeomanry and Royal Flying Corps.
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On each of three occasions, when on offensive patrol, he has attacked and brought down in flames one enemy aeroplane, in addition to which he has sent down out of control three other hostile machines. He has displayed great courage and determination as a patrol leader."[10]

Stuart Wortley was appointed a squadron commander with the temporary rank of major on 1 July 1918,[11] commanding No. 44 Training Depot Station at RAF Bicester[12] until September. He then returned to France where he commanded No. 88 Squadron RAF until the end of the war.[3][9] On 1 May 1919 he was appointed a Staff Officer, 3rd Class, to serve at the Air Ministry,[13] and was eventually transferred to the unemployed list on 2 July 1919.[14]

List of aerial victories[edit]

Combat record[3]
No. Date/Time Aircraft/
Serial No.
Opponent Result Location Notes
1 6 September 1917
@ abt 0745
Bristol Fighter C Out of control Zonnebeke Observer: Second Lieutenant P. V. Burton
2 Albatros D.V Out of control South-east of Zonnebeke
3 22 September 1917
@ 0900
Bristol Fighter
Albatros D.V Destroyed Houthoulst Forest
4 Albatros D.V Destroyed
5 17 October 1917
@ 1110
Bristol Fighter
Albatros D.III Captured Ypres Observer: Lieutenant H. D. McGrath
6 28 January 1918
@ 1110
Bristol Fighter
Albatros D.V Destroyed in flames Douvrin Observer: Lieutenant D. W. Kent-Jones

Post-war career[edit]

In 1919 Stuart Wortley married the Canadian opera singer Marie-Louise Martin,[1] (known professionally as Louise Edvina[15]) and worked as a young adult aviation journalist until his death in the south of France from diabetes on 29 December 1926.[3][9][16]


Along with Canada's top First World War ace, Colonel Billy Bishop, he co-authored an adventure novel entitled The Flying Squad, which was published in 1927.[17] His own novel Letters from a Flying Officer, a fictionalised account of his own experiences, was published in 1928.[18] A book of his short stories Tales of the Air, was published in 1932.[19]


  1. ^ Both Fox-Davies[1] and Burkes[2] give his birth name as Nicholas Rothesay Montagu-Stuart-Wortley. However, during his military service the London Gazette lists him as R[othesay] N[icholas] Montagu-Stuart-Wortley, which suggests that he may have changed it on enlisting. His books were published under the name Rothesay Stuart Wortley.


  1. ^ a b c Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles (1929). Armorial families : A Directory of Gentlemen of Coat-armour. 2 (7th ed.). London: Hurst & Blackett. p. 1381. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  2. ^ Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage. 2 (107th ed.). Wilmington, Delaware: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd. p. 2138. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Rothesay Nicholas Montagu Stuart Wortley". The Aerodrome. 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  4. ^ "No. 28620". The London Gazette. 21 June 1912. p. 4466.
  5. ^ "No. 28885". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 August 1914. pp. 6885–6886.
  6. ^ "No. 30134". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 1917. p. 5971.
  7. ^ "No. 30166". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 July 1917. p. 6678.
  8. ^ "No. 30185". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 July 1917. p. 7115.
  9. ^ a b c Shores, Franks & Guest (1990), p. 354.
  10. ^ "No. 30643". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 April 1918. p. 4830.
  11. ^ "No. 30798". The London Gazette. 16 July 1918. p. 8338.
  12. ^ Wright, Peter (2015) [1985]. The Royal Flying Corps 1912–1918 in Oxfordshire (2nd revised ed.). Peterborough: Cross & Cockade International.
  13. ^ "No. 31411". The London Gazette. 20 June 1919. p. 7831.
  14. ^ "No. 31478". The London Gazette. 29 July 1919. p. 9591.
  15. ^ "Louise Edvina". The Canadian Encyclopedia. 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  16. ^ Lundy, Darryl (2014). "Major Nicholas Rothesay Stuart-Wortley". Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  17. ^ Bishop, Billy; Stuart Wortley, Rothesay (1927). The Flying Squad. New York: George H. Doran Company.
  18. ^ Stuart Wortley, Rothesay (1928). Letters from a Flying Officer. London: Oxford University Press.
  19. ^ Stuart Wortley, Rothesay (1932). Tales of the Air. London: University of London Press.
  • Shores, Christopher F.; Franks, Norman & Guest, Russell F. (1990). Above the Trenches: a Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915–1920. London, UK: Grub Street. ISBN 978-0-948817-19-9.

External links[edit]