Air Mechanic 1st Class William Chadwick Handley


William Chadwick Handley was born on 24 November 1878 at Bolton, Lancashire, a child of engineering draughtsman Joseph Handley.

A carpenter in civilian life, according to one record, from 23 May 1898 to 5 June 1914 he served in the 3rd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, reaching the rank of corporal. However it is likely that his service did not continue that long.

On 2 November 1909 he married Annie Walker at St Anne's in Belfast. He gave his occupation as musician, and his address as 10 Allworthy Ave, Belfast. The 1911 Census shows Handley boarding at 91 Ormeau Road and working as a professional musician, and his wife living with her brother at 44 Cedar Avenue.

Handley enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 1 and 12 June 1914 (No.950). He embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August that year, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

On 12 May 1916 he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (No.25965), with the rank of Air Mechanic 2nd Class. He was aged 37 at the time. (Some records suggest that he re-enlisted in the RFC, rather than being transferred, which would mean he was discharged from the North Irish Horse at some point beforehand.)

On 1 April 1917 he was promoted to Air Mechanic 1st Class.

Handley was transferred to the Royal Air Force on its creation on 1 April 1918. He was placed in the RAF's G Reserve on 6 February 1919 and discharged on 30 April 1920.

After the war Handley continued to work as a professional musician, He died at his home, 34 Hopefield Avenue, Belfast, on 7 October 1932.