When the war began, Sydney Carlin gave up farming to join the Royal Engineers. Badly wounded in 1916, he lost a leg while fighting in the trenches on the Western Front. Equipped with a wooden leg, he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps where his mates took to calling him "Timbertoes." After serving as an instructor, Carlin was posted to 74 Squadron on 26 May 1918. Flying the S.E.5a, he survived a mid-air collision with his commanding officer, Keith Caldwell, and scored ten victories, including 5 balloons. On 21 September 1918, six days after scoring his final victory, Carlin was captured by the Germans when he was shot down by Siegfried Westphal of Jasta 29. When the war ended, Carlin moved to Kenya and returned to farming. During World War II, he rejoined the Royal Air Force, serving as a gunner on night fighters and bombers. At the age of 52, while serving with 151 Squadron, Carlin was killed during an air raid on the squadron's airfield.
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Lt. Sydney Carlin, M.C., D.C.M. (R.E.).
A gallant and determined pilot, who sets a fine example to his squadron. Though handicapped by the loss of a leg, he is bold and skilful in attack, and has destroyed four balloons and shot down two enemy machines.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 2 November 1918 (30989/12963)