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Thread: Watch Office Logs/Flying Control Logs/Operation's Officer Logs

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    Default Watch Office Logs/Flying Control Logs/Operation's Officer Logs

    Hi All,

    A short while ago there was a discussion on where non-operational flights were recorded and some of the posts touched on Watch Office Logs.

    I had been doing some work on types of surviving logs and content and can now share some comments and examples.

    Form 68 Watch Office Log

    http://www.rafcommands.com/Images/Logs/Form68/DSC09403.JPG

    This was the formal log kept by the duty pilot on all flying stations. Housed in the Watch Office (modern day equivalent - control tower) it was supposed to record all authorised flights.

    Full details of entry were given in the inside front cover:

    http://www.rafcommands.com/Images/Logs/Form68/DSC09404.JPG

    This example from CZ_RAF is for East Wretham and is the most detailed that I can find of the type.

    http://www.rafcommands.com/Images/Logs/Form68/DSC09405.JPG

    Flying Control Log
    More common than the formal Form 68 was a lined bound book pressed into service as a makeshift logbook.

    http://www.rafcommands.com/Images/Logs/AIR14_2382/DSCF4828.JPG

    This example for Feltwell is from The National Archives AIR 14/2382 and is more typical of the content that survives.

    Less detailed in aircraft details it does add the code letter to take off/landing time. Comparing time in this log with the ORB allows serial and crew to be matched to code letter .

    Much more on the general tasks is included.

    The Blenheim described as worked from Manston is No.53 Sqn T2218

    Regional Flying Control Log

    Again a lined book pressed into service as a logbook and covered a number of aerodromes in a region.

    http://www.rafcommands.com/Images/Logs/AIR15_687/DSCF5353.JPG

    This example for Squires Gate is from The National Archives AIR15/687.

    Mostly covering events around Squires Gate the example page also shows minor PRU Spitfire crashes on the aerodrome.

    Operation's Officer Log

    http://www.rafcommands.com/Images/Logs/AIR14_2528/DSCF6428.JPG
    http://www.rafcommands.com/Images/Logs/AIR14_2528/DSCF6429.JPG

    This example is for Stradishall and is from The National Archives AIR 14/2528

    This is an excellent document showing requests for tasking from Group, responses from station and squadron OCs and reports from Stradishall Flying Control.

    The example pages show how they can complete information from Chorley and give source for other research.

    The aircraft described as crashed at Sible Hedingham is given in Chorley as No.75 Sqn Wellington, R1177, AA-. From these pages the code letter 'K' can now be added.

    The aircraft described in Chorley as No.99 Sqn, Wellington, W5426, LN-X, crashed at Horringer can now be given a more accurate crash location as Hapleys and a possible correction of code letter to "Y".

    No mention is made in Chorley for the crashed Wellington from No.311 Sqn (not Cat.E) but the log gives a detailed location down to the field.

    All the Logs have varing degrees of detail but all contain information that cannot be found from other primary sources.

    I'll add the Logs to both the TNA File Copy Service and RAF Forms sections with more detail on use and content.

    Regards
    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 12th June 2012 at 09:40. Reason: Image links fixed
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    Default flying control logs

    Ross. Thanks for bringing that up. I have copies of all the 6 Bomber Group logs, but looking for the Station logs. All seem to have disappeared or destroyed except Tholthorpe from mid 1943 to Mar 1944. A lot of info not found in ORB.s, including a notation of runway being changed due to 5 cows wandering on field!
    Richard

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    Hi Ross,

    many thanks for interesting post with info about Sebela's belly landing.
    As for the "most detailed" Watch Log - this is the one of the most complete pages including the heading translation into Czech:-) In later years the records were more and more vague - the worst in 1945.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    When I started looking into the logs I was of the opinion that Form 68 had rarely survived as most archives replied that they did not hold any examples.

    To an extent that opinion remains but I've had to amend it to say that Form 68 was also rarely created.

    Most commonly used was the ruled bound book.

    The range of logbooks held in the TNA is small but the coverage of those is extensive.

    What causes confusion is that descriptions in electronic catalogues do readily allow them to be found.

    I was surprised at the number of flying control logs held by the TNA and this can be expanded with logs of different names that contain extensive amounts of input from missing Flying Control logs.

    Like others I did notice that content varied as time went on with the early logs being the most comprehensive.

    A series of documents that deserves much more study as well as some creative description questions to other archives to see what they hold in the genre.

    Regards
    Ross
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    One addition I have is the Flight logs, those maintained by A, B or C Flight of a Squadron, and thus recording those flights made by crews of the respective Flight. They show proposed flight, reason, crew, duration etc, with the actual compiled after landing. Of the two flights of 617 Squadron, I have the A Flight book, which is held with the Squadron. Sadly the B Flight book doesnt exist.

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    Hello

    Thanks Ross for bringing this subject on the front. I fully agree that some catalogue descriptions are not helping. It's always a nice discovery to find something "new". I'll surely have a look at your thread on the "TNA file copy service" for references, for future visits to Kew.

    It seems that it's mostly records from Bomber Command stations that survived, or is it a wrong impression ?

    Joss

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    Hi Joss,

    A fair number of Bomber Command but the more I looked the more that I noticed eg

    Tiree, Pocklington, Bourn, Chedburgh, Clifton, Coningsby

    Sector stations from Fighter Command and Malta are also in the TNA archive eg

    Operations Room RAF Hornchurch, Essex: controllers log book

    This is just the TNA holding, I suspect that Hendon and other national archives (NAA, Ottawa, Prague etc) hold copies as well.

    Regards
    Ross
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    You were obviously referring to my last thread Ross so thank you very much for sharing these fascinating bits of information.

    This certainly warrants additional research so one day I may find the proof after all that 13 Sqn's Blenheims "I" and "P" took off together from RAF Odiham on 23.04.1942!

    Cheers,
    Walter

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