Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Interpretation of a WOPs service record.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    112
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Interpretation of a WOPs service record.

    My father was a WOP/AG. His service record shows that his training followed the normal route of the Recruit Training and Signal School at Blackpool followed by No 2 Signals School, Yatesbury. Futher training was then more specialist to suit his eventual posting to Coastal Command. The record also shows, however, that after No 2 Signals School and before the specialist training began he was posted to RAF Feltwell. This was between May and September 1942. His service record also shows that during this time he was flying in Wellingtons. This was before he received his flying log book so no further detail is available.

    My question is, what exactly could he have been doing at Feltwell? I know that this was the time of the 'Thousand Bomber' raids and that to achieve this number of aircraft it was necessary to include aircraft from other Commands and that many aircraft were manned by instructors and advanced pupils. Surely, however, his training would not have progressed at this time to a stage where he could have been considered suitable. His training to that time had all been ground based and this was his first flying experience.

    So again I would ask what he was doing at Feltwell? He may have perhaps been trained to a sufficient level to act as a ground wireless operator but why would such an operator have been given flying experience. I am also not aware of any appropriate courses that were run at Feltwell at that time and as all aircraft were reqired for these large scale raids surely there would have been non available for other purposes.

    Another curiosity is that his service record shows that during this time he was reclassified from Wireless Operator/(untrained Air Gunner) to Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (II) although he did not do an air gunnery course until the following year. It also shows that at the same time he was promoted to temporary Sergeant although when he later carried out his specialist Coastal Command signals training his log book shows him to be an LAC.

    This all does lead me to suspect that despite his lack of training he may have been temporarily used to make up operational numbers with Bomber Command.

    Does anyone have any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Berkshire
    Posts
    2,210
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi
    If you look up Feltwell on the rafweb.org site there is another possibility for the employment of a trainee W/op.
    Beside the resident 75 Sqn there was also 1519 Beam Approach Training Unit and I believe that they used Wellingtons. The "Beam Approach" was an early use of Radio transmissions to form an accurate guideline to the runway at night and in bad weather and I doubt if your Father would have used it, as it was a pilot aid, but a training flight in a Wellington would have carried a crew simply to make the a/c work and to cover diversion. The promotion to Temp Sgt sounds generous but that is the rank he would have reached after the award of the flying badge anyway and for 2-3 months it might have have been seen as expedient when he flew. It would also have been considered necessary if he did fly on ops, to cover being shot down and captured or buried. I would have thought that flying on a 1000 Bomber raid would have been mentioned somewhere in your own Family history even if there was no log book,it did attract publicity at the time despite wartime censorship.
    Regards
    Dick

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    112
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Interpretation of a WOPs service record

    Dick,

    Thanks for your help with this. I have now solved the problem of the early promotion. It was an error in the dates and did not occur until a year later. This still leaves the question of why he was posted to Feltwell. I think that it is unlikely that a WOP would be instructed on Beam Approach although I stand to be corrected. It may just be that he was sent there just to kill time until there was a vacancy on his next course. I imagine that there must have been a lot of that and also with training of aircrew getting out of sync with aircraft availability.

    David

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Berkshire
    Posts
    2,210
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi David
    He wouldn't have been instructed on Beam Approach but he could have been used to form the crew of a Wellington upon which pilots were instructed. The "killing time" idea is probably near the mark but using what skills he had acquired to crew an a/c used for specialised training of pilots would have given him experience and possibly released a fully qualified W/op for operations, the regular crews on the unit could quite easily have been on "rest tours" and made operational again for the 1000 raids
    Regards
    Dick

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    112
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thanks again, Dick. That seems like a very likely explanation to me. David

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    4
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Interpretation of a WOP's service record

    Hi David, I'm probably a little late on your enquiry but the RAF had a surfeit of WOP's coming through after late 1942/3 and they tended to get moved around a lot, filling various ground requirements until eventually getting sent to an operational squadron. They were the longest-trained members of any crew.
    Archivist 49

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    112
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Interpretation of a WOP's service record

    To Archivist49

    Thanks for that information. I guessed that may have been the case but it is useful to have it confirmed.

    David

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Basingstoke
    Posts
    13
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Interpretation of a WOP's service record

    A book that give an insight into WOP training is ,'Observers & Navigators & Other non Pilot Aircrew' by G. Jefford. You will find some more details on our web site www.rafyatesbury.webs.com RAF Yatesbury Association
    Bill H

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •