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Thread: High Altitude/Met Research Flights

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    Default High Altitude/Met Research Flights

    I'd be grateful if someone could look in Sturtivant's 'RAF Flying Training and Support Units' for the 'High Altitude Flight' entry. I have a feeling the HAF became the Met Research Flight around 1945, give or take a year, and I'd appreciate confirmation or correction.

    Brian

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    Hi Brian

    There are 3 HAFs listed: -

    1 Formed Northolt - Aug 1942, became Sub Stratosphere Flt in Sep 1942
    2 Formed at Bari in Italy - 5 Sep 1943
    3 Formed 30 Dec 1940 at AAEE, disbanded into 'A' Flt AAEE on 1 Oct 1944

    Malcolm

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    Brian

    There are 3 listed but the one that mentions the Met. aspects was formed 30.12.40 within A&AEE Boscombe Down. Do you want the complete listing text?

    Regards

    Pete
    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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    Thank you both. Didn't realise there were three, but it's the Boscombe Down one that interests me. As yu say Pete, there was quite a bit of met work associated with it, including the investgation of contrails and the design of met instruments for use on aircraft, and it's that which leads me to think it subsequently evolved into the MRF.

    So - 'Yes, please'.

    Is there an entry for the MRF?

    Brian

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    Formed 30.12.1940 within A&AEE at Boscombe Down its work including the meteorological aspects of high altitude flying. Largely disbanded into new A Flight A&AEE 1.10.44. Aircraft Spitfire VI, VII (BR287), Wellington V,VI (W5800), Fortress IIA (FK192), Mustang.

    There is a corresponding entry for Met Research Flight which is extremely lengthy; happy to scan and e-mail for you.

    Regards

    Pete
    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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    Thank you Pete. Yes please, I'd very much appreciate a copy - my email address is with my profile.

    Brian
    Edit: I've references in three met papers to Boston aircraft as well as those listed above.
    Last edited by Lyffe; 25th June 2012 at 22:25.

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    Should be on its way across the ether

    Regards

    Pete
    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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    Received, and thank you Peter.

    I'd not heard of the MRF being formed at Boscombe as early as 1942 (as your extract quotes). There was just one meteorologist involved, Alan Brewer, and in an autobiography he describes being sent to Boscombe Down during the summer of 1942 "to a special unit, which was just to be me, attached to the High Altitude Flight." He later adds that "I was to have two Bostons and one sergeant instrument maker." Brewer also describes arriving at the High Altitude Flight. He stayed at Boscombe for the remainder of the war and makes no mention of an MRF only the HAF. His story is at http://www.atmosp.physics.utoronto.ca/SPARC/News15/15_Norton.html.

    I've also another (1943) paper in front of me in which he acknowledges his "... debt to S/L Hastings AFC, AFM, who has permitted us to carry out this work on HAF Spitfires."

    I suppose it might be possible to scan through Boston serial numbers to see if any were allocated to a MRF in 1942, but I suspect one would be more likely to find it was the HAF.

    Brian

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    I knew I had another paper tucked away in my rather chaotic filing system - "A short history of the Meteorological Research Flight (MRF) 1942-1992" by W T Roach, which appeared in the Meteorological Magazine in November 1992.

    The opening paragraphs contain some major errors in respect of some basic and easily verifiable historical facts pre-WW2, but the important thing is that there is no reference to there being a Met Research Flight, in its own right, at Boscombe Down during WW2, only a meteorological section of the HAF.

    After the introduction and brief description of the work at Boscombe Down, Roach moves on to the MRF.

    "Following the end of World War II, the practical and scientific success of the meteorological section of the HAF at Boscombe Down led to the establishment in 1946 of the Meteorological Research Flight at the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), Farnborough, with the main task of advancing meteorological science, but continuing to provide advice as required on weather-related problems of aircraft design and operation. Although MRF was not so called until 1946, its work was a continuation of HAF work, and so MRF is generally considered to have begun its work in 1942.

    MRF commenced with establishment for a larger scientific staff, two Mosquito and two Halifax aircraft and aircrew. Fairly early in the period these aircraft were replaced by Hastings, Varsity and (in 1952) Canberra aircraft."

    Roach was in charge of the MRF from 1985 to 1988, so despite my negative comments about the pre-WW2 period I've no reason to doubt his account of the birth of the post-WW2 MRF.

    I suggest the paper's title is misleading by implying the MRF was formed in 1942; rather it formed as a discrete unit in 1946.

    I've offered the above in case anyone would like to make a note in their copy of Sturtivant's book.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 26th June 2012 at 12:29. Reason: spelling

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    Default Mosquitos MM174 and PF391; and Boston BZ315

    Would anyone have the service history of Mosquitos MM174 and PF391 (interested in 1944) please. Also Boston BZ315 (1943-1944)?

    TIA

    Brian

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