Hi everybody,

Iím just finishing researching my fatherís WW2 RAF service record (he died in 2000), but a mystery remains which Iím trying to clear up.

For the majority of the war he served as a Fitter II E and according to the record appears to have attended lots of RAF Training Schools throughout. He also attended a number of courses run by manufacturers. I know he was a specialist in Merlin engines (especially superchargers) and was also specifically qualified to work on American aircraft engines. At times he served alongside USAAF personnel on engine servicing.

However the mystery is that according to his record he volunteered for air crew, and was recommended and accepted for training as Flight Engineer in May 1943. At that time he was stationed in Iraq. This came as something of a shock revelation to my mother who was completely unaware that he had ever volunteered for aircrew training and he never mentioned it to any member of the family. He may have kept this secret as my mothers brother had been killed in a Wellington (he was a WOP/AG) in early August 1943, and my aunts fiancťe had also been shot down and killed (he was a Wellington pilot) shortly after that.

My father was ordered home from Iraq in October 1943 (presumably to begin Flight Engineer training), and married my mother when he arrived home in November 1943. There is then an odd break in his record as the next entry in his record is not until 21 January 1944 and this shows him as posted to 4 School of Technical Training (St Athans) 1944 but that there is an additional note that he was withdrawn from aircrew training that same day. Although my mother was not aware that he was going to St Athans she definitely recalls this period as my father was anxious about an apparent lack of orders and the he telephoned the RAF several times over this period as he didnít want them to think he had gone AWOL!

The next entry is dated 18 February 1944 when he was at Eastchurch (the unit is illegible Ė it looks like ďCoLCĒ), and then from 4 March 1944 when he was with the Czech 311 Squadron seemingly working on Liberators.

So the question is why was he withdrawn from Flight Engineer? His annual character and proficiency assessments on the service record are impeccable and we was promoted on 1 April 1944 so that does not provide a clue. When I was a child I did once ask him why he did not fly and he laughed and said that he was much too valuable to be allowed to fly! At the time I thought he was joking but now looking on his record he does seem to have accumulated lot of technical training throughout the war but maybe that was normal?

Any ideas?