William Stanley Jenkins

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William Stanley Jenkins
Born (1890-05-26)26 May 1890
Russell, Ontario, Canada
Died Unknown
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1915–1919
Rank Captain
Unit 87th Battalion (Canadian Grenadier Guards), CEF
No. 87 Squadron RFC
No. 40 Squadron RAF
No. 210 Squadron RAF
Battles/wars World War I
 • Western Front
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar

Captain William Stanley Jenkins DFC* was a Canadian flying ace during World War I. He was officially credited with 12 aerial victories, having scored his first two while still on sick leave.

Early life and entry into military[edit]

Jenkins was born in Russell, Ontario, Canada, on 26 May 1890. He enlisted into the Canadian military on 9 October 1915. His enlistment papers list his next of kin as his mother, Mrs. R. S. Jenkins. Jenkins gave his profession as "window dresser", and claimed three years experience in the militia in the First Grenadier Guards. The medical officer's description said Jenkins had fair hair and complexion, grey eyes, and was 5 feet 7 34 inches (1.72 m) tall. The medical clearance was dated 1 December 1915. The young recruit was assigned to 87th Battalion (Canadian Grenadier Guards), CEF[1] and served as a corporal in France. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in May 1917.[2]

A surviving memo by Jenkins gives some insight into his transition into the RFC. He was training with 87 Training Squadron in Canada, beginning perhaps as early as August 1917, when it moved overseas. This interruption to his training shunted him off to No. 40 Squadron RAF at Croydon, England, where he was forced to repeat some of his training. He had 39 hours 55 minutes in his pilot's log by 25 March 1918. He then had to wait out bad weather and a shortage of aircraft to make his final flight. As a result, his date of rank was 1 April 1918, leaving him shy of one day's seniority for promotion.[3]

World War I[edit]

Promotions and appointments[edit]

On 2 October 1917, Jenkins was appointed temporary captain while still a second lieutenant.[4]

On 25 January 1918, he was relieved of duties as captain and second in command of a siege battalion. On 1 February 1918, he was again appointed temporary captain, with the actual rank of second lieutenant.[5] On 13 March 1918, he was posted to 40 Squadron. Upon completion of training, he moved on to 210 Squadron on either 15 or 19 May 1918; his admission to hospital at this time may have confused the record. He would not officially return to duty until 2 August 1918.[3]

In the meantime, on 28 June 1918, he relinquished the rank of captain when he ceased being second in command of a siege battalion; once again, he reverted to second lieutenant.[6]

Aerial success[edit]

Jenkins used his Sopwith Camel to destroy a German Albatros D.V fighter on 27 May 1918. On 6 June, he teamed with fellow Canadian John Gerald Manuel to destroy an enemy reconnaissance two-seater aircraft over Doulieu. It appears that while Jenkins was still technically convalescent, he was not too ill to fight.[7] He would not be discharged from hospital until 2 August 1918.[3]

He then ran off a string of eight consecutive triumphs over German fighters during August, September, and October.[7] On 3 October, he was injured; he returned to duty on the 14th.[3] The day before the armistice, 10 November 1918, he destroyed a DFW C.V reconnaissance aircraft and a Fokker D.VII. Jenkins thus ended his war with a tally of two Fokker D.VIIs set afire in flight, five other German fighters destroyed, two German reconnaissance aircraft destroyed, and three enemy aircraft driven down out of control. He had twice won the Distinguished Flying Cross for his valour.[8][9]

Also on 10 November, Jenkins' Officer Commanding recommended him for both promotion and decoration. The recommendation for decoration noted that Jenkins had flown some very effective ground attack missions during early November, and mentions a victory over a German kite balloon. An attachment, listing his victories, lists a victory date not seen elsewhere, on 14 August 1918. If Jenkins was indeed a balloon buster, it seems likely he downed the gasbag on this date.[3]

List of aerial victories[edit]

Aerial victories[7][10]
No. Date/time Aircraft Foe Result Location Notes
1 27 May 1918
@ 1920 hours
Sopwith Camel
Serial number D3404
Albatros D.V Destroyed East of Ypres
2 6 June 1918
@ 0825 hours
Sopwith Camel
s/n D9590
Reconnaissance aircraft Destroyed Doulieu Victory shared with John Gerald Manuel
3 21 August 1918
@ 1220 hours
Sopwith Camel
s/n E4407
Albatros D.V Destroyed West of Warneton
4 31 August 1918
@ 1625 hours
Sopwith Camel
s/n E4407
Fokker D.VII Driven down out of control Wijnendaele Wood
5 3 September 1918
@ 1810 hours
Sopwith Camel
s/n E4407
Fokker D.VII Driven down out of control Lille
6 17 September 1918
@ 1830 hours
Sopwith Camel
s/n E4407
Fokker D.VII Set afire; destroyed South of Ostend
7 17 September 1918
@ 1830 hours
Sopwith Camel
s/n E4407
Fokker D.VII Set afire; destroyed South of Ostend
8 24 September 1918
@ 1440 hours
Sopwith Camel
s/n E4407
Fokker D.VII Destroyed Schooze-Keyem
9 29 September 1918
@ 0755 hours
Sopwith Camel
s/n D8147
Fokker D.VII Destroyed A mile west of Lichtervelde
10 1 October 1918
@ 1710 hours
Sopwith Camel
s/n D8147
Fokker D.VII Driven down out of control Roulers
11 10 November 1918
@ 0840 hours
Sopwith Camel
s/n D8219
DFW reconnaissance aircraft Destroyed Merbes-le-Château
12 10 November 1918
@ 1315 hours
Sopwith Camel
s/n D8219
Fokker D.VII Destroyed East of Binche

Post World War I[edit]

Jenkins remained in the Royal Air Force postwar. On 11 December 1918, he addressed the memo to his Officer Commanding concerning the shortage of a day's seniority for promotion. He would be repatriated on 6 April 1919.[3]

Honours and awards[edit]

Distinguished Flying Cross
2nd Lt. William Stanley Jenkins, Sea Patrol.
"An intrepid pilot who has met with much success in numerous battles. On one day last month he led three machines in an attack on seven of the enemy. He engaged in combat with four separate enemy machines, set fire to one at a height of 14,000 feet, and then, getting on the tail of another, fired 150 rounds into it, resulting in complete destruction. Lt. Jenkins has, on previous occasions, destroyed or brought down out of control six enemy aircraft."[8]
Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross
2nd Lieut. William Stanley Jenkins, D.F.C.
"An exceptionally skilful pilot, conspicuous for his courage and disregard of danger. Since 5 October he has accounted for four enemy aeroplanes crashed and one driven down out of control. On 10 November he crashed an enemy two-seater, and later on destroyed a Fokker, in addition to attacking enemy troops and transport with marked success."[9]


  1. ^ "William Stanley Jenkins' Attestation Paper". The Aerodrome. 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Franks, (2003), p.47.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Jenkins, 2nd Lieutenant William Stanley". Air Force Association of Canada. July 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "No. 30491". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 January 1918. p. 1172.  Note: The rank of temporary captain usually denotes an appointment as a flight commander in the RFC.
  5. ^ "No. 30686". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 May 1918. p. 5840. 
  6. ^ "No. 30924". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 September 1918. p. 11508. 
  7. ^ a b c "William Stanley Jenkins". The Aerodrome. 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "No. 30989". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 November 1918. p. 12968. 
  9. ^ a b "No. 31170". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 February 1919. p. 2033. 
  10. ^ Shores, et al, p. 212.