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Thread: Sqd Ldr J O C Kercher

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    Default Sqd Ldr J O C Kercher

    I am trying to find info on Squadron Leader John Owen Cecil Kercher 102 Squadron RAF. I would appreciate any pointers by memebers of this forum. P/O Kercher was married in Minster-in-Sheppy in October 1939. I have found that he survived a crash at Pocklington in June 1944 flying a Halifax. He was born in 1916 & died in 1969 in Lambeth. That is all the info I have at present.

    Regards

    Michael.
    Last edited by Michael B G; 30th March 2011 at 12:31. Reason: Birth year

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    Michael - welcome to the forum!
    You can chase J O C Kercher in the London Gazette (LG) by entering his RAF Service Number - 40544. This one doesn't look particularly straightforward to me.
    If you don't know how to interrogate the LG then send me a PM, or e-mail, and I'll do my best to sort you out!!
    You don't have to be mad to do this sort of thing - but it sure as hell helps!!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Hello

    From the Squadron Operations Record Book, I can tell he flew on the D-Day mission (night 5/6th June), then his following ops is the daylight Montorgueil raid, on 25th June, which is my main interest in the Squadron. They lost the TREASURE crew on that mission, the 7 men are buried in Fontaine-l'Etalon. It was on this mission that S/L J.O.C. KERCHER overshot on landing due to bad visibility, crew uninjured, in Halifax MZ752 'K'. Incidentally, the TREASURE crew was flying MZ753. Time of take-off was 07:55, landing at 11:25.

    No other ops listed for that month.

    Why are you enquiring about him ? Is he a relative ? Or did you purchase memorabilia which belonged to him ?

    Joss

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    Hi

    W/C J.O.C KERCHER D.S.O LG 12/9/1941 21 Sqn M.I.D 1/1/1942

    DSO for attacking power station at Knapsack - Commanding Officer 21 Sqn

    Mark

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    Default W/C J O C Kercher,

    Thank you guys. My interest in W/C Kercher is through my family history. He married Gwenda Lililan Knight (my third cousin) in October 1939 in Minster-in-Sheppy.

    Regards

    Michael.
    Last edited by Michael B G; 30th March 2011 at 18:39. Reason: More detail

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    Hello,

    "Honour the air forces" by MATON shows him as an acting Wing Commander, but No. 102 Squadron definitively has him as a Squadron Leader, and that was 3 years later. Puzzling. I'll leave it to others to check the war substantive and acting subtilities in wartime promotions.

    He was leading "force 1" for that raid, which was to bomb Quadrath power station. "force 2" was targeted against Knapsack and was led by W/C Nichol, according to "2 Group R.A.F." by Michael Bowyer (page 183 and following) which has a few pages about this raid.

    http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/35273/pages/5294/page.pdf


    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 30th March 2011 at 18:45. Reason: adding link

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    Default Working his way down?

    Hi,
    From what I have found so far J O C Kercher was a P/O when he married in Oct 1939. He was a W/C in July 1941 when he was appointed CO of 21 Squadron. In June 1944 he was a S/L when he overshot on landing at Pocklington in a Halifax of 102 Squadron. According to the LG of Set 19 1950 he was a F/L. This confuses me. Can anyone help sort this out.

    Regards

    Michael.

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    Hi Michael

    In 1941 he was probably an Acting Wg Cdr and following his tour with 21 may have reverted to Sqn Ldr due to a lack of postings for a Wg Cdr, alternatively he may have reverted to Sqn Ldr at his own request in order to return to operations in the four-engined night bombing role, his previous experience obviously having been in daylight twin engined operations.

    At the end of the war any acting/temporary/war substantive ranks would be superseded by a post-war permanent commission and it was not unsual for wartime Sqn Ldrs/Wg Cdrs to revert to Flt Lt, many never attaining their wartime ranks before final retirement.

    Malcolm

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    Michael, Herewith entries from the LG; not an easy task as there are some entries that I have been unable to drag out. Your man will have entered into a five-year short service commission, hence his being posted to the Reserve and then being called up for service with effect from 29 Nov 43; five years from being promoted to pilot officer. As you will see he was the CO of 21 Sqn from Jul - Sep 41 as an acting wg cdr; interesting as his substantive rank was flying officer, probably a reflection of the shortage of adequately trained officers early in the war. I don't know what the Class A Reserve of the RAFO is, he may not have served on a regular basis after the war. On retirement you are entitled to asume the highest rank attained, hence the LG entry for 1959. Hope this all helps:
    Air Ministry,
    8th March, 1938.
    ROYAL AIR FORCE.
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH.
    The undermentioned are granted short service commissions as Acting Pilot Officers on probation with effect from 19th Feb. 1938:
    John Owen Cecil KERCHER.

    Air Ministry,
    6th December, 1938.
    ROYAL AIR FORCE.
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH.
    The undermentioned Acting Pilot Officers on probation are confirmed in their appointments and graded as Pilot Officers. 29th Nov. 1938:
    John Owen Cecil KERCHER.

    Air Ministry,
    17th September, 1940.
    ROYAL AIR FORCE.
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH.
    The undermentioned Pilot Officers are promoted to the rank of Flying Officer:
    29th Aug. 1940.
    John Owen Cecil KERCHER (40544).

    Air Ministry,
    12th September, 1941.
    ROYAL AIR FORCE.
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:
    On the morning of 12th August, 1941, Blenheim bombers carried out simultaneous attacks on the great power stations near Cologne. A strong force attacked the station at Knapsack, whilst a smaller force attacked two stations at Quadrath. These missions involved a flight of some 250 miles over enemy territory .which was carried out at an altitude of 100 feet. At Knapsack the target was accurately bombed and machine gunned from between 200 and 800 feet and at Quadrath both power stations were hit from the height of the chimneys; the turbine house at one of the two stations was left a mass of flames and smoke. The success of this combined daylight attack and the co-ordination of the many formations of aircraft depended largely on accurate timing throughout the flight. That complete success was achieved, despite powerful opposition from enemy ground and air forces, is a high tribute to the calm-courage and resolute determination displayed by .the following officers and airmen, who participated, in various capacities as leaders and members of the aircraft crews:
    Distinguished Service Order.
    Acting Wing Commander John Owen Cecil KERCHER (40544), No. 21 Squadron.

    CO 21 Sqn from Jul - Sep 41
    www.bomber-command.info

    Air Ministry,
    19th September, 1941.
    ROYAL AIR FORCE.
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH.
    The undermentioned Flying Officers are promoted to the war substantive rank of Flight Lieutenant:
    29th Aug. 1941.
    John Owen Cecil KERCHER (40544).

    Air Ministry,
    1st January, 1942
    The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the publication of the following personnel who have been mentioned in despatches by Air Officers Commanding-in-Chief:-
    Wing Commanders
    J. O. C. KERCHER, D.S.O. (40544). *

    * I suspect "Acting" has been mistakenly omitted, as Kercher is listed among the Acting Wing Commanders.

    According to "Durban 1942: A British Troopship Revolt by Gerry R. Rubin", Wing Commander Kercher, DSO was OC Troops on the City of Canterbury. Rubin describes him as, "a somewhat remote figure". The revolt occurred in mid-Jan 42 when the ship was bound for Singapore. Unfortunately it is an online preview so not all pages are shown.

    Air Ministry, 21st December, 1943.
    ROYAL AIR FORCE.
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH.
    Transfer to the reserve.
    The undermtd. to the R.A.F.O. and called up for air force service:
    Sqn. Ldr. J. O. C. KERCHER, D.S.O. (40544).
    29th Nov. 1943.

    Air Ministry, 19th September, 1950.
    RESERVE OF AIR FORCE OFFICERS.
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH.
    Extension of service, etc
    J. O. C. KERCHER, D.S.O. (40544), is transferred from class (B) to class (A) and is granted an extension of service for five years 29th Nov. 1949. His war substantive rank of Flight Lieutenant is converted to substantive rank 1st Nov. 1947 (seniority 1st Sept. 1945), and he relinquishes the rank of Squadron Leader (war subs.) 1st Jan. 1948.

    Air Ministry, 18th January, 1955.
    ROYAL AIR FORCE RESERVE OF OFFICERS
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH.
    Extension of service.
    The period of service of the undermentioned Flight Lieutenants is extended by five years with effect from the dates stated:
    J. O. C. KERCHER, D.S.O. (40544). 29th Nov. 1954.

    AIR MINISTRY
    1st December 1959.
    ROYAL AIR FORCE RESERVE OF OFFICERS
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH
    Commission relinquished
    Flight Lieutenant J. O. C. KERCHER, D.S.O. (40544), retaining the rank of Wing Commander. 29th Nov. 1959.
    Regards, Terry

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    Thank you for spending so much time sorting this out for me Terry.

    I have just purchased Gerry R Rubin's book from Amazon and look forward to reading it.

    As I am not an immediate relative of W/C Kercher its doubtful that I could get his service record. However, can anyone suggest how I could find what other units he was attached to apart from 21 & 102 Squadrons?

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