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Thread: Location of Alexandra Hotel

  1. #1
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    Default Location of Alexandra Hotel

    I hope forumites might be able to help with the location of a hotel by the name of "Alexandra" in 1940. I have a photograph of a group of 27 Sergeants (without Wings) and an officer with Wings in front of a hotel dating from 1940. The name of the hotel is clearly visible above and behind the group along the first floor railing "A L E X A N D R A H O T E L".

    The person who provided me the photo is the younger brother of one of the sergeants in the photo, who was KIA on 41 Sqn in February 1941. This man was posted to his first operational unit, 611 Sqn, as a Sergeant Pilot at the end of September 1940, believed to have been following 7 OTU between 2 and 16 September 1940.

    The brother of the pilot believes it was taken at 3 ITW, which was based at St. Leonards on Sea, or 5 ITW, which was based at Hastings, as Hastings had an Alexandra Hotel, which is now converted to flats. He also believes the photo dates from sometime after April 1940 as another photo in his collection is of a theatre group at Hastings in April 1940 and the picture contains several of the men in the group photo.

    However, the problem I have is that the pilot in question joined the RAFVR in May 1939, and was mobilised in September 1939, so ITW could not have occurred as late as April 1940, nor would the man have has Sergeants' stripes at ITW. Looking at the alternative, that the photo was taken post-EFTS but pre-OTU, I don't see another flying training unit in the Hastings area. Could there have been an Alexandra Hotel in another location that accommodated airmen under training?

    Thanks
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Default

    My understanding is that No 3 and No 5 Initial Training Wings moved from the south coast to Torquay in the mid 1940's (June?), so if it is ITW then it may be in the Torquay area. However, as you say, (a) this seems a little late for ITW if he was operational in September of that year (b) they would not have sergeant's stripes at ITW.

    I had assumed that aircrew at EFTS/SFTS were billetted "on station" but maybe that is an incorrect assumption; however I am struggling to find a complete listing of UK based EFTS/SFTS to see if any of those used the Alexandra as a billet or possibly for training lectures.

    Are you able to publish the photo anywhere or e-mail me a copy?
    Last edited by PeteT; 14th April 2012 at 20:15. Reason: Updated information
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Steve

    No 5 ITW moved from Hastings to Torquay on 28 June 1940 and held its first course at the Wings Head Quarters in Torquay Castle Chambers, later moving to the Hotel Metropole, now the Cavendish Hotel (2012). With the Majestic and Stanbury requisitioned for accommodation. In my research, I have never come across a 'Alexandra Hotel' in use by the 5 ITW but will take a second look at other ITW locations and get back to you. The Hotel used for training and accommodation in Hastings was the Hotel Majestic Court on the sea front.

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 14th April 2012 at 21:00. Reason: adding Hotel Majestic

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    Hi Steve

    When I used to do discos in my youth and later lived opposite the Alexandra Hotel in Bridlington so there is another possibility.

    Malcolm

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    Default Location of Initial Training Wings operating in WWII

    Hello Steve,

    I have not checked all the ITWs operating in your time frame. It should reletively easy now to find out if there was a Hotel Allexandra requisitioned by the RAF in 1940.

    Location of all ITWs: 1939 - 1945
    1 ITW Babacome Sep 1939 - Feb 1944
    2 ITW Cambridge Jul 1940 – May 1944
    3 ITW St Leonards & Torquay Sep 1939 – Feb 1944
    4 ITW Bexhill & Paignton Sep 1939 – Feb 1944
    5 ITW Hastings & Torquay Nov 1939 – Dec 1943
    6 ITW Aberystwyth Jul 1940 – May 1944
    7 ITW Newquay Sep 1940 – Jul 1944
    8 ITW Newquay Nov 1940 – May 1944
    9 ITW Stratford on Avon Jun 1941 – May 1944
    10 ITW Scarborough Dec 1940 – Mar 1944
    11 ITW Scarborough Mar 1941 – Apr 1944
    12 ITW St Andrews May 1941 – Apr 1944
    13 ITW Torquay Jun 1941 – Mar 1944
    14 ITW St Leonards & Bridlington Sep 1941 – Feb 1944
    15 ITW Bridlington Nov 1943 – Apr 1944
    16 ITW Whitley Bay Oct 1943 – Jan 1944
    17 ITW Scarborough Oct 1941 – Feb 1944
    18 ITW Bridgnorth Jan 1943 – Apr 1944
    19 ITW Bridgnorth & Bridlington Mar 1943 – Apr 1944
    20 ITW Bridlington & Usworth May 1943 – Mar 1944
    21 ITW Torquay May 1943 – Feb 1944
    23 ITW Filey & Stormy Down Dec 1943 – Dec 1945 (Free French)
    50 ITW Bridgnorth Jun 1944 – Jun 1945
    70 ITW Bridlington Apr 1944 – Oct 1944
    81 ITW Bridgnorth Apr 1944 – Jul 1944

    Sources:
    http://www.raf-lichfield.co.uk/GroundUnits.htm
    http://www.rafweb.org/
    own notes

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 15th April 2012 at 20:34. Reason: typo

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    Hi,
    Quite possibly the Alexandra hotel in Eastbourne.
    That hotel is still in existence if you want to compare your photo to it.
    Gerry

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    Default Some observations

    Picking up Steve's original point, the personnel in the photograph all have sergeant's stripes, so it is unlikely that it was ITW.

    I have only researched Flight Engineer Training, so I don't know when trainee pilot's got their wings and sergeant stripes (ie post EFTS, post SFTS or post ?)

    Also, I don't know if trainees at EFTS / SFTS were "station" based or whether they were billetted in hotels during their training. I had always assumed that they were station based, but if they were in hotels then the Alexandra would need to be linked to one of the EFTS / SFTS to tie in with the fact they have sergeant's stripes.

    Is there a similar listing of EFTS / SFTS??

    Pete
    Last edited by PeteT; 15th April 2012 at 22:02.
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Pilots gained their wings on completion of SFTS and on return to the UK went through PRC, ususally at places like Bournmouth and Eastbourne so Gerry suggestion seems logical

    Malcolm

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    Hi everyone

    Thanks for your replies. I'm having trouble with my ftp programme so have created a photobucket account and uploaded it on that site, rather than my own website, as a temporary fix. Not done this before so I hope it works: http://i1268.photobucket.com/albums/jj569/sbrew67/IMG_3654a.jpg

    The pic has "3ITW/5ITW" written under it (added in more recent times) but I believe it is erroneous.

    My main concern are the Sergeants' stripes, which I believe would only have been granted after SFTS. Considering this is only early-mid 1940 and the BCATP was only set up later in the year, I believe this Scottish pilot's EFTS and SFTS courses were undertaken in the UK, so would not be returning to Bournemouth from OS pending posting. That's why this is so confusing.

    It has been suggested that this pilot undertook 12 EFTS and 5 EFTS, which were at Prestwick and Hanworth, respectively. However, it is likely erroneous as there is no mention of SFTS. As such, 5 EFTS might actually be 5 SFTS, which was at Sealand and Ternhill.

    Regards
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Default No. 5 EFTS

    I started a thread on No. 5 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) Eastbourne, (training and accommodation) during 2009 and I remember it was discussed at length. It was for identifying someone on a 10 hour course of flying in a Tiger Moth following initial training at Torquay. The purpose was to sort out future pilots/navigators/bomb-aimers. Alas, I can no longer find it in the archives but recall a member who lived close by, walking along to the former requisitioned hotel on the seafront which 5 EFTS used as its H.Q. Could someone tell me how to retrieve old posts? I tried Google but no luck. Perhaps your man was staff pending flying training or a student who gained his chevrons in another trade?

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 16th April 2012 at 10:19. Reason: amending last sentence to include question

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