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Thread: Strange abbreviation

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    Default Strange abbreviation

    Hi All

    I am currently 'translating' a RAF Service Record for someone and I have come across a strange abbreviation in the Promotions section

    Classified AC2 on 3 Jan 1940, he was re-classified LAC on 3 Jan 1942 whilst at ITW. After being sent to Rhodesia to undertake pilot training at 28 EFTS, he was posted to 20 SFTS on 25 Oct 1942 and the day after he is shown as being promoted/re-classified as 'asa' or asu'. On completion of his flying training he was commissioned.

    Can anyone translate 'asa/asu'?

    All the best

    Malcolm

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    I think ASU stands for 'Acting Sergeant Unpaid'.

    I have encountered quite a few documents (mostly Forms 1180) where this abbreviation appears. Devilling a bit deeper one encounters phrases like: 'LAC acting Sgt'.

    As I understand it, fairly early in the war it was decided that aircrew candidates would not be graded as Sgts until they were past the elementary stage of their training. Hence they were promoted first to LAC at EFTS and thence to 'ASU' when (the pilots at least) moved on to SFTSs.

    Colin Cummings

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    Hi Colin

    Thats makes sense, it's just that I've never seen any of the others I've done being made up to sergeant, acting or otherwise until they had completed the SFTS stage and been awarded their flying badges, but I'll go with it.

    Malcolm

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    Malcolm,

    Don't take what I wrote about promotion of everybody to Sgt at the start of SFTS as 'gospel'. I think it depends on when and where to a certain extent - somebody out there will know more reliably than me. However, I have records of many SFTS accidents involving pupils who are ranked Sgt.

    Colin Cummings

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    Point taken, thanks Colin

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    I am unaware of any rank other then LAC being used in wartime RCAF, RAAF or RNZAF schools prior to graduation, except in cases where the pupil carried rank from a previous trade prior to volunteering for aircrew training (although frequently such pupils were required to revert to LAC anyway), and also in cases where the RNZAF allowed NZ Army officers to retain their commissions (and uniforms!) until they graduated from the schools, or if failing to making the grade, reverting to the Army (this action saved a lot of unnecessary RNZAF officer uniforms being tailored.) A notable variation on this theme was the case of those Army officer aircrew volunteers who had completed their ITW training (pilots had also completed EFTS) in NZ, but were then selected for advanced training in Canada. They were transferred to RNZAF temporary commissions as Pilot Officers in the A&SD Branch prior to embarkation, and thus were thereafter segregated to an extent from the "normal" LAC pupils. Because of their officer status they were provided with proper cabins on board ship, and had to have special accommodation in Canada during training, something which attracted adverse comment from the Canadian authorities. Thus this administrative convention had to be abandoned and all such pupils thereafter completed their advanced training in New Zealand. However I hasten to add that I do not have absolute proof that the LAC classification for wartime pupils was the norm throughout all the British Commonwealth air forces in every situation - sometimes for administrative convenience earlier contractual arrangements or obligations might be allowed to stand.
    David D

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    Forgot to mention in previous message that those RNZAF officer trainees (A&SD Branch) sent to Canada were transferred on graduation to the GD Branch w.e.f from the date of graduation in the same rank (P/O).
    David D

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    Hi David

    Thanks for the input, I agree I have neve seen this in those records of personnel trained in Canada but this is the first example I've seen of someone training in Rhodesia, so perhaps specific to that area.

    Malcolm

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    Just to comment on David's posts above.

    I have gone through the Forms 1180 for the Rhodesian flying training schools and can confirm that the ranks of Sgt and ASU are recorded against 'student pilots' undergoing SFTS courses. I agree that this is probably only related to that country as I could not find trainees rated as Sgts elsewhere before wings award.

    As a further comment, cross checking Form 1180 entries with Commonwealth War Graves Commission records, I have found personnel whose 1180 entry lists them as LAC but the CWGC entry records them as Sgt. Since it was the RAF that gave the the CWGC the basic record information and this showed the rank at time of death there must have some arrangement in the background of which I am unaware. I know about people whose promotion/commission was in the pipeline at the time of their death but this does not seem right in this case.

    Colin Cummings

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