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Thread: Is there any difference between a WOP/AG and a WOP/Air?

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    Default Is there any difference between a WOP/AG and a WOP/Air?

    In the ORB of 166 squadron Wireless operators are refered to as WOP/AG or sometimes WOP/Air.Are these both terms for Wireless Operator Air Gunner? I know that the Wireless Operator Air Gunner 'trade' disappeared later in the war to be replaced by straight Wireless Operators (who wore the 'S' Wing as opposed to the'AG' wing for WOP/AGs),is that what WOP/Air refers to,ie Wireless operator Aircrew??
    Any answers much appreciated.B

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    Hi
    I think they are both the same trade.I would guess that the 2nd time someone started to write Airgunner in full and got lazy or was corrected to minimise the space used.ORBs are official documents but don't imagine that they were meticulously kept.Ask any of the many authors who frequent this forum!
    Regards
    Dick

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    There was a Wireless Operator Ground and whilst all AGs had to also be WOPs there was no need to differentiate but once the straight air gunner (no WOP training) was introduced, I believe the those WOPs without AG training became WOP/Airs, eventually becoming Signallers

    Malcolm

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    Barnsley

    The 199 ORB recorded Wireless Operators as W.Op/AG, when the Squadron were a Main Force squadron operating Wellingtons between November 1942 and June 1943. This continued when the Squadron moved to 3 Group and Lakenheath in June 1943 to fly Stirlings. Around November 1943, after heavy losses of Stirlings and aircrew, and when Stirling squadrons were removed from bombing targets in Germany, the W.Op/AG terminology only continued to be used for another month until the end 1943. From January 1944, Wireless Operators were designated W.Op/Air.

    After May 1944, when 199 were transferred to Bomber Support and radio countermeasures, 199 Stirlings operated with two Wireless Operators i.e. W.Op/Air and W.Op/Spec. The latter were involved in the operation of radio countermeasures such as Mandrel whereas the former undertook standard Wireless Operator duties.

    I do not know if, in the mid to latter stages of the war, whether W.Op/AG’s were “required” to adopt the “S” for signaller brevet in the way that some Observers adopted the “N” for Navigator.

    I am not entirely sure if it is correct to say all AG had to be W.Op's. Certainly, in the early stages of the war, Wireless Operators had the dual function and training of Wireless Operators and AG.

    Douglas

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    Barnsley,
    I believe that later in the war, in Canada (say from mid-1944 onwards) all WOAGs u/t were designated as W/Opr (Air) on graduation, as the syllabus no longer called for all (aircrew) Wireless Operators to be cross-trained as A/Gs, thus were awarded the new "S" badge. However, from some time after the introduction of the new Stirling 4-engined bomber, the actual practise of the (merged) trades of A/G and W/Opr gradually began to be more specialised, as these larger aircraft generally had two "straight" (non W/Opr) A/Gs (manning mid-upper and tail turrets), with nose turret manned (only when required) by the Air Bomber (also a trained A/G), so the actual W/Opr A/G crewman generally sat at his "wireless apparatus" for the whole trip. If a ventral (or any additional) M/G position was installed, a further A/G would be required for the crew. I am at present studying the career records of RNZAF trainees through Canada in 1943 - 1944, and the change-over of trade from W/Opr A/G to W/Opr (Air) is very distinct. However if the scribes writing up the ORBs of heavy bomber squadrons in Bomber Command were already calling them "W/Opr (Air)" from beginning of 1944, then I would suppose that they were simply accurately describing the duties carried out by these men as opposed to using the correct trade nomenclature, unless of course an AMO had been issued by this time to officially change their trade designation. Where is Airman1?
    David D

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    Thanks very much gents. It sounds to me as though everyone is right!Laziness in completing records doesnt help either. I think the adoption of 'WOP/ Air' simply refers to the duty carried out by the crewman whether or not he had also qualified as an A/G as well. I do know from experience that WOP/AGs were proud of their dual qualification andf I have had veterans pull me up ,in the nicest way, for refering to them just as WOP.
    Incidentally 166 squadron lost their Signals Leader,a WOP/AG flying as a spare gunner on a raid in 1943,so the dual qualification was being used at that stage of the war. B

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