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Thread: Gordon Howard - aircrew or not?

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    Default Gordon Howard - aircrew or not?

    Hi
    Don't know if anyone can help me solve a (family) mystery that I really wish I'd pursued while my late father was still alive.
    According to the Service Record sent to me by RAF Disclosures, Cranwell, my father enlisted in January 1942 (aged 19) and was initially assessed as unfit for flying duties but advised that he could reapply in 4 months. He then served as an AC2 then AC1 anti-aircraft gunner at RAF Hawkinge and RAF Ronaldsway before being admitted to Kent and Canterbury Hospital in March 1943 and being discharged as physically unfit for RAF service in May 1943. This all seems straightforward. The background information on the record definitely checks out as being that of my late father, even though I don't have his actual Service Number.

    However, two problems which puzzle me.
    First - I have a studio photo of him, (tentatively dated on the back as "on leave c1941"), in which he is clearly wearing a forage cap with the white "Aircrew in training" flash. My Dad's only living contemporary, (his sister-in-law, whose husband was also serving in the RAF at that time), also distinctly remembers my Dad's cap having the white flash.

    Second - I have another photo, (which, I was led to believe, was spotted in and copied from a book on the RAF in WW2), in which my Dad (at that time in his 80's), identified himself and named all of the other 6 crew members.

    Unfortunately, my Dad rarely talked about his time in the RAF and when he ever did it was usually in the form of matter-of-fact snippets as opposed to accounts of any experiences, e.g that he had once been based at Holme-on-Spalding Moor, that he had been trained on Anson's (amongst others) and flown Wellingtons, Bostons and Lancasters. He also claimed that the indigestion from which he suffered all through his life was the result of being trapped by the flying column when his plane crash-landed in a Kent hop-field - which is why he said he ended up in hospital.

    I could go on but have no wish to bore other subscribers. I guess what I'm asking is whether anyone has any ideas about the conflict between the evidence of the photos and the RAF service record. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Can you give us your fathers full name and service number from the record you received. Did he have a middle name?

    Is there a list of units postings on this service record?

    Do you have the photo that you mentioned he idenified himself in? Are you happy that he is in it? Can you email to one of us and we can pop it up on the internet for folks to look at?

    Also, what re-musterings are listed on the record?
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

  3. #3
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    Just a thought, does it deffinetly say anti-aircraft gunner or does it say "Air Gunner" or something like that??
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Hi Barry,

    I am afraid I am not able to help you much, at least his service number is necessary - it must be recorded in the Service Record.

    But I would suggest trust the record, not photos. I have one own experience - photo of man who was AG but on this shot wearing a battledress with RAF pilot's wings... It was also mystery for me for years until I was able to met this old man who answered the mystery very simply - once after party when drunk he simply exchanged his uniform with his pilot....

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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