Benjamin Raphael Vertannes
Benjamin Raphael Vertannes was born in May 1892 in Yangon, Burma (then Rangoon) and baptised in the local Armenian church of St. John the Baptist. While the information about his parents is unclear, it seems there have been several people called Vertannes travelling back and forth between Burma, India and the UK at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of 20th.
He enlisted in the Honourable Artillery Company and first went to France in July 1915 – his travel records indicate that he arrived in London from Rangoon in March 1915.
Benjamin was wounded twice and spent some time in hospital before returning to the UK in November 1916. He became a Lieutenant in April 1917, joining the Royal Flying Corps and then was posted to No. 42 Squadron in Italy where he flew until February 1918. According to his records, he participated in bombing raids, reconnaissance flights and contact with enemy aircraft. He was appointed an Acting Captain in October 1918 and relinquished his commission in April 1919.
He also married during the war, in Brentford in 1917 to Elsie L Fairey. Vertannes was awarded a Volunteer Force Long Service Medal in January 1923 and died in March 1953 in Lewisham.