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Thread: Returning from a Canada Posting 1942/43

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    Default Returning from a Canada Posting 1942/43

    My father returned from a posting to RCAF Station Kingston, Ontario (31 S.F.T.S.) end October or early November 1942 on the Queen Elizabeth from a port somewhere on the U.S. eastern seaboard. An entry on his service record has him at 31 P.D. before embarkation dated 26/11/42 and the next entry is HE dated 11/12/42. Can anyone tell me what HE is and which port?

    The next entry is N/E Uxbridge dated 22/12/42. What is N/E? Why Uxbridge? Then we have an entry for 995 Squadron dated 14/1/43, which as far as I can discover is a Balloon Barage Squadron somewhere in England. Where and why? The final entry is 16B Centre dated 10/2/43. What and where is this centre?

    Lots of questions - sorry!

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    N/E Uxbridge may be 'non-effective, Uxbridge' but not sure about this. Uxbridge housed the RAF Central Depot, aircrew posted missing were officially posted 'non-effective missing to war casualties non-effective accounts Uxbridge.' If 'non-effective' can be interpreted as 'not on effective strength of any unit' then personnel in transit could also be non-effective? Just a thought.
    Last edited by Richard; 6th August 2014 at 22:16.

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    Welcome to the forum, and good luck with your research.

    31 PD was the Personnel Depot at Moncton (which was a holding depot) and HE refers to Home Establishment (corrected as per Malcolm's post [apologies for the error]).

    I have checked the Queen Elizabeth's movements to the UK around this time and it:

    • Departed New York 24th November 1942 arriving in Clyde 29th November 1942
    • Departed Halifax on 13th December 1942 arriving Clyde on 17th December 1942.

    I am puzzled by the 16B Centre entry; could you e-mail me a copy of the section so that I can see if I can decipher it for you (click on my name in top left hand corner for e-mail address).

    Regards

    Pete
    Last edited by PeteT; 7th August 2014 at 10:17. Reason: Correction of Error
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Hi

    Just to clarify a couple of points

    In 1943 Uxbridge was No 1 RAF Depot not Central Depot, there was never any such unit.

    N/E is indeed 'Non-effective' and also included personnel who were sick or in hospital.

    HE is actually 'Home Establishment' and means he was en-route to the UK.

    16 B Centre will be 16 Balloon Centre at Norton, Sheffield.

    Malcolm

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    PeteT, Richard and Malcolm - you guys are brilliant! My father started to write his memoirs in the early 1970s and I came across them only about ten years ago. Since then, I've been trying to trace his life, not only in the R.A.F. but also his life as an actor and stage director.

    During his brief stay in the Service he was an Equipment Accounts Clerk at R.A.F. Yeadon and R.A.F. Leeming 1940-41. He was then posted to Kingston , Ontario, Canada. He wrote a fairly detailed account of his time at these three postings, but his return he passed over only too briefly and I've been trying to decipher his Service Record to fill in the gaps.

    After 31 P.D. 26/11/42, which was the arrival at Moncton prior to his return to England, his record is written in the same long-hand script:

    HE Date of Movement 11/12/42
    N/E Uxbridge D.O.M. 22/12/42
    995 Squadron D.O.M. 14/1/43
    16B Centre D.O.M. 10/2/43

    Discharged. KR &AC1 652. (4B) 3/5/43

    Between you, you have suggested N/E Uxbridge to be non- or not-effective. Uxbridge was a busy place in those days and was very effective. My father could well have gone into a Personnel Receiving Depot there, which could be said to be non-effective. I have determined he was on the Queen Elizabeth departing New York 24th November 1942.

    In his memoirs, he says he went to a Balloon Barrage Station near Norwich - which you confirm to be 995 Squadron.
    He then says he was sent to Sheffield, but he didn't know why. Malcolm says 16B was the Balloon Centre at Norton, Sheffield. This ties in with where my father says he went after Norwich.

    Thank you all so much for your expertise. I know where to come now if I need more information! By the way, can you decipher the last line after the word 'Discharged'?

    Chris Duff in Ontario, Canada.
    Last edited by krisduf76; 17th August 2014 at 21:31. Reason: Added a line at the end.

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    Chris,
    Being posted to "Non-effective" strength at Uxbridge does not indicate that Uxbridge itself was not an effective unit - far from it! There were probably several "stengths" you could be posted to at Uxbridge - unfortunately I do not have full details of all these, but as well as "Non-effective strength", there would also be "Unit strength" (which comprised the permanent staff of the Depot), and "Transit strength" (personnel passing through for accommodation, messing and processing, having arrived from overseas, for instance). "Non-effective strength" was useful as a general category as it related to the non-fitness of those on strength of this category of personnel for immediate duty in their trade, for various reasons such as state of health, or being retrained to a new trade, or upgrading in your present trade. Until you were fully physically fit and qualified in your trade you were classed as "non-effective" - it was all about keeping units and formations up to full strength with fit and qualified personnel. It is just possible possible that you may even be posted to "non-effective strength" for disembarkation leave (due to you under the regulations) but once this leave entitlement had expired you were available for posting, although I am not entirely certain on this point.
    David D

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    Hi Chris,


    Some Free French were also posted from 31 and 32 SFTS to UK up to 7 PRC/5(P)AFU then OTU from the end of 1942.

    For some of them I have not the number of their course with 31 SFTS. Could you tell us the number of the course (in his RAF FB ?) when your father posted to 31 SFTS ?

    If you have a list of the crew in your archive could you check if you find Ernest Le Goff (n°FF 30.520), Peter Challier (30.754), André Poirier (30.684) and/or Georges Girard (30.462) ?

    Thanks in advance,

    Bertrand

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    Hi Bertrand,

    My father was the least heroic and had the least glamorous job in the R.A.F. He was an AC2 and his 'trade' was an Equipment Accounts Clerk. He was so bad at it that when a newly-married colleague at R.A.F. Leeming was suddenly given an overseas posting, my father offered to take his place. His Squadron Leader was glad to see the back of him! He found himself at the Kingston Station at Collins Bay, Ontario (31 S.F.T.S.), where he spent most of his time making tea and arranging concert parties with P/O Jimmy Edwards, when he was not slipping over the nearby U.S. border for some R & R. He was there from early May to end October 1942 and took no courses.

    If my father came across any Free French he never mentioned it in his memoirs. Sorry about this!

    Chris

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    David,
    Your explanation makes complete sense to me. My father was definitely 'non-effective', in that he was discharged on 3/5/43 as being "physically unfit for Air Force Service, although fit for selected employment in civil life." In the five months from when he arrived at N/E Uxbridge 22/12/42 to when he was discharged, he went to 995 Squadron, Norwich and 16B Centre at Norton, Sheffield. Perhaps they were trying to make up their minds what to do with him! These two brief postings were at Barrage Balloon stations, but he doesn't mention this or what he did there in his memoirs, apart from his being sent for an I.Q. test in Sheffield and passing with high marks.

    Based on these results, the M.O. asked him why he hadn't applied for a commission. According to his memoirs, he replied that while he didn't mind having to obey silly orders, he was damned if he was going to give them. My father was a renegade all his life. He was a very good actor and an excellent stage director, but he was useless at any trade the R.A,F. tried to teach him. He was 33 years of age at call-up and had spent the previous 16 years doing nothing except 'being on the stage.'
    Chris

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