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Thread: F/O Robert Coggan 1944/5

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    Default F/O Robert Coggan 1944/5

    1. I wonder if anyone can help to enlighten me about my late father's service history. His name was Robert Coggan, was understood to be a navigator (still under training?) on Mosquitos in Photo Reconnaissance and I set out below an extract from his service record. Any information, however trivial, will be appreciated but I am particularly interested in what flying activities he might have carried out in the period 21/9/1944 to 16/06/1945. He talked in detail of Canada, apparently flew from Wales and from north-east Scotland, was very familiar with Banff and 235 Squadron, but appears not to have been on the strength of that squadron. On a cruise up the Norwegian coast in about 1996 my mother was very surprised at how he seemed to know each village and fjord in detail. However, he never discussed his service with her nor she her wartime activities with him. Thank you very much in anticipation.

    Tony Coggan

    Authority: Unit: Area: Effect From: Remarks re Duties:

    DGP/05/51813/04 No. 31 ANS Canada 19/5/44 P/Nav(W) on appointment to commission.
    1 GRS
    FTC/PAS/9742?/44 No. 7 P.R.C. 54 Group 24/7/44 P/Sup’y P.P. Nav:W.
    Courses of Instruction etc:
    A.C.O.S. @ Hereford 23/8/44 – 20/9/44 (292) Average 72%
    Date of Gazette: Rank Effect From: 15/8/44 Granted Commission for the duration as P/O on probation (Ex LAC) 19/5/44
    GD Branch RAFVR
    29/12/44 Confirmed in Appointment and promoted F/O.(W) 19/11/44
    FTC/PAS/2047/45 RAF Stn Silloth 17 Grp. 10/2/45 P/For Nav WGR
    Ald Caze(?)
    17G/770?/45/2 3 S. of G.R. 17 18/3/45 P/Nav.W. Pre OTU Sigs Trg.
    17G/1458/45(2) 8 O.T.U. 17 1/5/45 Nav. W. supy Traing
    17G/1830/45/2 Stn. Haverfordwest (HU) 16/6/45 P/P/ disposal
    17G/1933/45(20 Stn. Haverfordwest (HU) 30/6/45 -/Nav.W.
    17G/2044/45(1) Allness 17 11/7/45 P/ u/g Intell.
    DGP/CC/6951/45/21 A.M.U. 12/11/45 P/ Intell. supy.
    DGP/AM/8887/45/25 D.A.F.L. A.F.L.4 6/12/45 P/ Intell (F/L)
    Non-substantive Appointments:
    Date of Gazette: Appointment: With effect from:
    DGP/AM/288Y(?)/45/25 Acting Flight Lieutenant 6/12/45
    Movements:
    Authority: Unit: Area: Effect From: Remarks re Duties:
    DGP/AM/1584/46/26 No. 100 PDC 28 Grp 5/3/46 P/ Class B Release
    Non-substantive Appointments:
    Date of Gazette: Appointment: With effect from:
    DGP/AM/1584/46/26 Retains Acting Squadron Leader 5/3/46
    General Notice
    in London Commission relinquished 1/7/59
    Gazette of Retains rank of Flying Officer 28/7/1959

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    OK,

    I'll trim the details to make better sense

    Training in Canada as Navigator (War Substansive)
    No. 31 ANS Canada 19/5/44 P/Nav(W)

    Return to UK
    No. 7 P.R.C. 54 Group 24/7/44

    Selection Course
    A.C.O.S. @ Hereford 23/8/44 – 20/9/44 (292) Average 72%

    Sent to RAF Silloth for further training and experience in flying in UK conditions
    RAF Stn Silloth 17 Grp. 10/2/45 P/For Nav WGR

    Further training in WOp signals duties at School of General Recce.
    S. of G.R. 18/3/45 P/Nav.W. Pre OTU Sigs Trg.

    Arrived at OTU for conversion training to Photo Recce duties as Navigator (Supernumeray)
    8 O.T.U. 1/5/45 Nav. W. supy Traing

    Peace declared in Europe. sent to Holding Unit for disposal (did not complete full OTU course)

    Stn. Haverfordwest (HU) 16/6/45 P/P/ disposal
    Stn. Haverfordwest (HU) 30/6/45 -/Nav.W.

    Sent to RAF Allness for duties as Intelligence (probably admin duties awaiting release)
    Allness 17 11/7/45 P/ u/g Intell.

    Final unit for release from service
    No. 100 PDC 28 Grp 5/3/46 P/ Class B Release

    No.8 OTU and RAF Allness are both on or close to the North Morayshire coast of Scotland. Banff is not one of his postings.

    Looks like he was proceeding through training for Ops as PRU but just after he reached OTU his flying career was curtailed as hostilities ended.

    Regards
    Ross
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    Default F/O Robert Coggan 1944/5

    Ross, Thank you very much indeed for both the information provided and your prompt reply. A final point that intrigues me is that he reported to 1 ACRC on 31st August 1942 and although he initially trained as a pilot, "navigator" first appears in his record in April 1943 and after a period at or connected with Heaton Park he left for Canada and 31PD in November 1943. As you confirm that he was still at 8OTU when the war in Europe ended, I wondered if this was a typical length of training. I further understand that after the war in Europe ended, he was apparently packed to go to the Far East but this was cancelled due to the atomic bomb being dropped.

    Thank you again for your help.

    Tony

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    The following is roughly the periods for training.

    No initial sorting was made for PNB (Pilot/Nav/Bomb) all were selected as capable of being trained. Grading was given with the most capable at the top of the list the rest in grading order.

    Hence if the training establishments had space for x pilot, y nav and z bombaimer then the first x on the list would go for pilot training, the next y for Nav etc.

    If a pilot was washed out of training he may have been recoursed or recated as y nav in the next draft. Similar for navs under training.

    This was how you hear stories of navs or bombaimers taking over the controls when a pilot was killed as they had been possibly subject to some form of pilot training as well as what meager amount of private conversion the pilot may have given on air tests.

    Initial attestation/medical and expression of willingness to train as aircrew

    1-2 weeks

    ACSB - more involved medical and interview by board - examination of minimum education requirement

    If passed then return to civilian life on deffered entry until space on course (by 1943 a minimum of 6 months of trainees were ready to go to training so wait was approx 6 months)

    ACRC
    Reception, Documentation, further medical and grading lasting 6 weeks

    (during last 4 weeks grading to PNB and Flight Eng/WOp/AG)

    ITW
    (P/N/B - 8 weeks, Eng/WOp/AG - 6 Weeks)

    From here the trainees would follow specific trade training routes

    So approx 1 year from entry to end of ground training, and for pilots 1 year further for flying training EFTS/SFTS/OTU/CU/Op Squadron

    Length of flying hours in training varied as years progressed but usually between 45 and 50 hours.

    At a recent lecture on Flight Safety one of the "turns" admitted that the flying time to take a new RAF Pilot entry and turn to oilot in command of a Typhoon was approx 50 hours - the same as Lancaster pilot training in 1944.

    Regards
    Ross
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    Default F/O Robert Coggan 1944/5

    Dear Ross,

    Thank you very much once again - this has been most helpul.

    Best wishes,

    Tony

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    One small point. Should not all references in the record of service stating "Navigator (W)" indicate Navigator (Wireless)rather then (War Substantive)? I agree that the (W) after a rank would indicate War Substantive, but the flying trade of Nav (W) was the normal trade for the second crew member of many versions of the Mosquito, Beaufighter and like aircraft, being a cross-trained Navigator/Wireless Operator.
    David D

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    Default F/O Robert Coggan 1944/5

    Thank you for that clarification, David. Certainly my father indicated that he was a navigator/wireless operator, which would of course have been essential for Mosquitos.

    Regards,

    Tony

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    Possibly, but he was described as Nav(W) during training in Canada before going to S of GR for wireless training.

    The original text was a mixture of posting and promotion details so either definition applies

    Regards
    Ross
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