Lt Arthur Cecil Stopher, RAF

1898 Jan 10. Born Woolwich London,

1901 census at 47, Elliscombe Road, Charlton And Kidbrooke

1911 census at 1 Belrock Villas, Mycenae Road, Blackheath SE

1915 Oct 28. The Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The undermentioned to be temporary Second Lieutenants: Arthur Cecil Stopher.

1916 Mar 16. Lands Egypt.

1916 Nov 10. Temp. 2nd Lt. A. C..Stopher, Garr. Bn., R.W. Fus., and to be transfd. to the Gen. List. To Flying Officer from a Flying Officer (Observer).

1916 Nov. Transferred to RFC. Stopher was posted to Salonika in FK3 Armstrong Whitworth 6219 to 47 squadron.

1917 Feb 12. The diary of Captain John Robert Wilson records for this date. Another beautiful day. Two machines bombed Hudova about 5am in the moonlight quite successfully and both machines returned at 5.45am. Several shoots done. One or two Huns up but only came a very short way over the lines. Wrote No 17 to M.B. and to Dixon Spain, re "the Gnome". When the two machines left this morning a green light was fired from Armutei by a spy. No news of Black or of Stopher who left French aerodrome to fly over here this morning.

Aircraft 6219 on capture with Stopher in photo, and in Bulgarian colours when used later by them

1917 Feb 15. The diary of Captain John Robert Wilson records Vardar wind all day-started about 6pm last night. German wireless says Stopher landed at Demi Hissar, machine undamaged. C.O. and Woodford went to Salonika on the Beardmore A.W. in a very strong wind. Went for a walk with Dickson to a hilltop E of Aerodrome. No flying, misty over the lines. Leaver and Cullen returned from batteries. Wind still very strong.

His captured aircraft was then used by the Bulgarians for 42 night bombing raids until the 23rd May 1918 when shot up from the ground and forced to land

1917 Mar 1. Flight magazine 2nd Lt AC Stopher reported missing,

1917 May 10. Previously reported missing, now reported as Prisoner of war in the hands of the Bulgarians. His POW record at the National Archives shows he finished the war in captivity at Philippopolis (modern day Plovdiv)

Another British pilot shot down over Turkish lines was transferred to the Bulgarian prison camp at Philippopolis and wrote about his experience. The officers lived in a former cholera hospital with a concrete floor and a sheet-iron roof, which leaked until it was blown off in a sandstorm and never replaced. The walls were coated with mud and chopped straw, ideal conditions for vermin. The facility lacked furniture, crockery, and washing accommodations; individual POWs constructed their own furniture and partitions by purchasing construction material in town at exorbitant prices. Daily rations were limited to three hundred grams of black bread and pepper-pods, egg-fruit (an egg-shaped orange-yellow sweet fruit), rice-mill siftings, or cabbage, an inadequate diet upon which to survive. POWs became dependent on food parcels from home, and officers formed messes through which they pooled food and spare clothing. Some food could be purchased in town at prohibitive prices including sugar, butter, flour, chickens, potatoes, eggs, apples, plums, tea, coffee, cocoa, and scarce soap. Fuel-charcoal and wood-was among the largest expenses, and lighting was very difficult because oil was unavailable. A used suit of clothes in poor condition cost £ 50. The U.S. Charge d'Affaires at Sofia, Dominic I. Murphy, conducted official visits to the prison camp. He provided money to needy POWs and did his best to make improvements in the facility, especially in regard to administrative restrictions

This prison camp was located on the Maritz River, north of the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria. It was one of the largest prison camps in Bulgaria , situated five miles from Philoppopolis near the Sofia-Adrianople Railroad line. The Bulgarians established the prison on the grounds of a former cholera hospital and incarcerated approximately 5,250 Serbian, British, and French POW's in the facility, including 48 officers. The Bulgarians constructed eight huts built around a square, each containing wood floors, glass windows, stoves, and oil lamps. One barrack held French prisoners, two housed British, five served Serbian, and the remaining barrack held Bulgarian guards. The Bulgarians constructed a new barrack to house the officers. Prisoners at this camp worked in labor detachments in the area in canal building and road construction. Christian Phildius first visited the prison camp in the Fall of 1916 and the Association constructed two recreation huts at Philippopolis in the Spring of 1917. One YMCA hall was assigned to the British and French prisoners and it became the center of camp life and religious services. An American YMCA and World's Alliance secretary visited Philippopolis to maintain WPA operations. They built up the prison camp library, provided a piano and musical instruments, and supported classes, theatricals, and concerts.

1919 Jan. Repatriated to the UK

1919 Sep 10. Transferred to unemployed list.

1920 Jul 30. Joined the ADRIC with service no. 41 (RIC No. 72168). Posted to A Coy

1920 Dec 9. Promoted Section Leader

1921 Feb 21 Promoted Platoon Commander

1922 Jan 18 Discharged on demobilisation of ADRIC

1922 Mar 28. Joined the British Gendarmerie section of the Palestine Police as a Sergeant

1925-1947. Stopher served in the Ceylon Police 1925-1947 where he received his Colonial Police LSGC medal.

1934 Nov 13. Sails from UK to Ceylon on SS Strathnaver. He is a Police Officer and his UK address is 48 Hardy Rd, London SE3. He travels "tourist" class. And is alone.

1939 Jan 25. Was staying at the Hotel Ainslie, Camberra

1946 Jul/Sep Marries Doris Metcalf at Aylesbury, Bucks.

1947 Feb 5. He then transferred to the Malayan Police. A note on his file states that the four officers who were transferred or promoted from the Ceylon Police, Messrs Bulteel, Stopher, Cooper and Mr FC Manning should take seniority by age. Stopher's pension records state seniority 5 Feb 1947 which I take to be his joining Malaya Police.

1949 Jul 1. Leaves UK for Penang, Malaya on SS Carthage. He is a police officer, travels with his wife Doris Stopher. She is 1 year younger than he. They travel 1st class, and their UK address is the Bungalow, Moulesford, Wallingford.

When he retired from the Malay Police he returned to Oxfordshire where his house was called Yam Seng, which is Malay for "Cheers!"

1972 Apr. Died at Hounslow, Middlesex