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Thread: RAF Manpower and Deferred Service

  1. #1
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    Nov 2007
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    Default RAF Manpower and Deferred Service

    Though that I would collate the recent posts on the various sections of the Royal Air Force 1918 - 1945 in one place for reference.

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    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015 to 2021 - All rights reserved.

  2. #2
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    Default RAF Reserve Forces

    RAFVR was a legal means to assemble a force of men in addition the the strength of the RAF approved by civil government.

    Militamen, National Servicemen and volunteers were a means of providing the manpower for the RAFVR.

    The Royal Air Force was limited by goverment/treasury to a maximium number of men. Although set in peacetime it was still a limit for wartime and was the mechanism that the force would reduce to peacetime levels on cease of hostility.

    Need to go back to The Trenchard Memorandum (White Paper Cmd 467:The Permanent Organisation of the Royal Air Force) and 1919 for the genesis but expansion did not really start until the 1930s.

    Although the Royal Air Force of 1918 was cut down to a force about 10% of its wartime strength it was recognised that a reserve of trained men would be required to bridge the gap until any new conscripts enrolled at the start of a conflict reached the frontline units.

    The Trenchard Memoradum allowed for a reserve force in addition to the manpower in the the Royal Air Force and this was to be in two parts:

    Members of the RAF who, after completing short service commissions, were liable to call back to arms for a specified number of years.
    The Auxiliary Air Force (the RAF equivalent to the army TA) who would provide an embodiment of men to backfill regular RAF units.

    1922 saw the first comprehensive reserve training scheme created.

    With the drawdown of RAF manpower from 1918 the number of RAF short service men in the reserve was limited at 200 pilots and seen as reducing so in 1923 it was decided to expand the reserve to 700 officers and 12,000 men made up of two sections, Reserve of Air Force Officers (RAFO) and airmen of the Royal Air Force Reserve.

    Classes A, AA, B, BB, C, D, E and F

    This was formailsed in the Auxiliary Air Force and Air Force Reserve Act of 1924 and resulted in the creation of Auxiliary and Special Reserve squadrons in 1925.

    Under the Reseve act the Auxiliary squadrons were evisaged as acting as a standalone entity taking care of all flying and trade training by use of internal resources. They were also limited to Home use and entry terms prevented airmen being posted to Field force.

    Special Reserve squadrons were a cadre unit to be filled at time of mobilisation.

    With the expansion of the RAF during the 1930s the supply of pilots into the RAFO dried up as they were retained within the RAF and the Auxiliary Air Force could not expand to provide more trained pilots due to their internal limitations on training.

    In Feb 1936 a proposal was made to create a new citizen air force acting as a real second line airforce behind the regular units. This was to be the RAFVR based in town centres and operating from local aerodromes. One of the implications of town base rather than county was that it would appeal to the technical youth of the industrial centres rather than the country gentry that gravitated to the Auxiliary Air Force.

    Officer and airmen of the new reserve force would be recruited on a common basis as airman pilot or observer and commission would be on the demonstration of leadership qualities.

    In August 1936 the new force was approved and given the name RAFVR. By May 1939 25 aerodrome centres had opened.

    As a more flexible force, without any constraint on where the entrants could serve the RAFVR was chosen as the force to accept Militiamen, later National Service Men as well as direct volunteer entry.

    The constitution of the RAF, even in wartime, would not allow more men to be employed within the force than had been agreed at treasury budget.

    To complete the reserve forces picture was the formation of Civil Air Guard in 1938 where a totally civilian force used the resource of civil flying clubs and schools to train civil pilots to intial standard. Grants were available for this purpose.
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  3. #3
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    Nov 2007
    Bewdley, UK
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    Default Deferred Service Scheme

    It was considered to be very inefficient to have training establishments accept trainees as and when they appeared at the Recruit Centres.

    A more acceptable scheme was to run the training establishments at full capacity intakes which started as space was made available from the passing out of a previous intake.

    To provide this buffer the Deferred Scheme was used for both Groundcrew and Aircrew.

    This allowed a suitable recruit (either called up or volunteer) to be attested into the RAF then sent back to civilian life without RAF pay to await commencement of space on training schemes.

    The AHB Monograph on Manning gives a graph for Groundcrew and Aircrew numbers on the Deferred Scheme between Oct 1939 and Aug 1945. Although actual numbers have not been given in tabular form I have transcribed them into a reasonable numeric estimate.

    This monthly breakdown clearly shows the number of men awaiting entry to the RAF Training Scheme.

    A cut and paste into Excel will allow graphical view of the figures and show the large manpower grab that the RAF carried out from 1939-1942 resulting in the two major cuts in groundcrew numbers ordered by Churchill in March 1941 and then again in Sept 1942.

    Also shown is the draw down of Aircrew deferred numbers from June 1944 due to cuts in recruiting created from reduced operational losses and the estimated victory over Germany by Dec 1944.

    Date Ground Trades Aircrew
    28/10/1939 500 500
    30/12/1939 500 1000
    03/02/1940 1200 1200
    02/03/1940 2800 1300
    30/03/1940 4000 1500
    27/04/1940 8000 2200
    01/06/1940 11000 2100
    29/06/1940 9000 2000
    27/07/1940 24000 5000
    31/08/1940 17000 8500
    21/09/1940 27000 9900
    26/10/1940 42500 10500
    30/11/1940 35000 13000
    28/12/1940 30000 13500
    25/01/1941 38000 13400
    22/02/1941 50000 17000
    29/03/1941 63000 21000
    26/04/1941 62500 23000
    30/05/1941 48000 26500
    27/06/1941 36000 28500
    25/07/1941 24000 28000
    29/08/1941 20000 25500
    26/09/1941 15000 24500
    24/10/1941 21000 23000
    28/11/1941 23500 22000
    26/12/1941 24500 25000
    30/01/1942 27500 29500
    20/02/1942 26500 30500
    27/03/1942 23500 31500
    24/04/1942 22500 30000
    29/05/1942 18000 30500
    26/06/1942 15000 31000
    31/07/1942 13500 26500
    28/08/1942 7000 25000
    25/09/1942 4000 24000
    30/10/1942 2500 23000
    27/11/1942 2100 24500
    30/12/1942 2100 27000
    29/01/1943 1900 30000
    26/02/1943 2100 32000
    26/03/1943 2400 33000
    30/04/1943 3000 32500
    28/05/1943 2500 32100
    25/06/1943 2300 32100
    30/07/1943 2300 32600
    27/08/1943 2100 31000
    24/09/1943 2500 28600
    29/10/1943 2800 28100
    26/11/1943 2800 27800
    31/12/1943 2800 27500
    28/01/1944 2800 29000
    25/02/1944 2800 30000
    31/03/1944 1300 32200
    28/04/1944 1100 33700
    26/05/1944 800 33000
    30/06/1944 500 31500
    28/07/1944 400 28000
    31/08/1944 200 25000
    30/09/1944 100 23000
    31/10/1944 100 16000
    30/11/1944 100 10500
    31/12/1944 80 8000
    31/01/1945 100 4800
    28/02/1945 80 4300
    31/03/1945 80 4300
    30/04/1945 80 3600
    31/05/1945 80 3700
    30/06/1945 80 3800
    27/07/1945 100 3900
    31/08/1945 120 3900

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  4. #4
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    Nov 2007
    Bewdley, UK
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    Default Overview of Home and Overseas Flying Training Provision

    Conscription for 1939-45 war started in peacetime with the passing on 26 May 1939 of the Military Training Act.

    This was geared at meeting the Army need for large trained reserve but imposed an obligation for all men on reaching the age of 20 to undertake wholetime service in the Royal Navy, Army or Royal Air Force and after that service, serve a specified period in the reserve.

    In practice that meant 6 months in the service then 4.5 years in the RAFVR.

    In AIR 78 you can see index cards marked "Militia" and this initially denoted someone who was given a number from the Militia series
    701000 to 702935 Jly 1939 RAFVR Military Training Act

    but the term Militia was then extended to other service numbers from NSA and direct entry batches where the airman was on one of the prepared lists for those attaining 20 years old in 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942 and 1943.

    The first 12 months of the scheme was intended to allow 12,000 ground crew and 1,200 aircrew to be trained by the RAF under the act.

    When listed as a Militiaman, a man could express a preference for a service and the RAF scheme was over subscribed (33,000 ground expressions and 6,000 aircrew) so strict entry limits were applied to discriminate applicants.

    The first monthly batch of 2000 (actually 1,935 from the service number block) men entered the RAF on 18th July 1939. The next batch was planned for 18th Sept but war broke out before entry and different recruiting methods were in use.

    The National Service Act replaced the Military Training Act on the day war was declared but due to the numbers of volunteers attending RAF recruiting centres and the lack of RAF training facility and equipment call up of eligible men was delayed for the RAF.

    The problems of training actually caused a suspension of RAF recruitment on 21st Sept 1939 but then resumed on 28th Sept with the deferred entry system.

    This six month deferred entry gave the RAF some breathing space until March 1940 to sort out some of the problems in the training organisation.

    The problems in flying training had been present pre war with the RAF Expansion Plans and it was identified that the outbreak of war would collapse the overburdened system and to that end in July 1938 an RAF Officer was despatched to Canada with the intent to gain the equivalent training output of 3 FTS.

    The political problems and monetary constraints in Canada prevented this at the time, but both Aus and NZ expressed a desire to form training alliances.

    The scheme was slowly worked on and in Canada the problems were resolved with the first batch of 17 aircrew starting training in Sept 1939.

    In Aus and NZ effort had been concentrated in creating the training establishments and building the training aircraft and due to the Dominion desire to re-arm their own forces had established a fully working training organisation by Sept 1939.

    May 1939 also saw agreement to training schools in Kenya (shortly abandoned and reinstated in Rhodesia as the RATG) and France.

    The "phoney war" created a false sense of war casualties and it was considered that there would be a surplus of aircrew by April 1940 with those already in training so no real demands were placed on the overseas training schemes.

    In early 1940 it was decided to move Training units away from the Eastern side of the UK to allow front line units to occupy the vacated aerodromes. It had also proved impossible to have operational training done on the frontline units so training courses were lengthened and a new stage for Bomber Command crews of OTU added. All this had the effect of creating a bottle neck in training and wiping out the envisaged surplus.

    During the period Sept 1939 to April 1940 the overseas training schemes had been fully occupied training their own national war volunteers and so were now ready to contribute local trained men to the RAF at home and overseas.

    Reorganisation of Training Command in March/April 1940 led to the requirement of calling for some UK men to be placed through the overseas training schemes to combat UK bottlenecks but lack of security of sea lanes meant that UK training was to continue to provide a UK pool as well as the overseas pools.

    Hence it seems that training overseas only started in April 1940 rather than slowly in 1939 as it actually did.

    The South African Air Force section of the forum shows cadre of Service Flying Training Units being gathered in UK embarkation ports in July 1940, in response to the offer of training facilities by the Prime Minister of South Africa in Dec 1939, wth transfer by sea to South Africa and becoming operational as local SAAF Air Schools in Nov 1940.
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  5. #5
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    Default Strength of Officers and Other Ranks (R.A.F. And W.A.A.F.) - Sep 1939 - Aug 1945

    Another table from the AHB Monograph on RAF Manning.

    This table gives snapshots of the number of Officers and Other Ranks serving in the R.A.F.

    Strength of Officers and Other Ranks (R.A.F. And W.A.A.F.) - September 1939 - August 1945

    Date RAF Officers RAF Other Ranks RAF Total WAAF Officers WAAF Other Ranks WAAF Total Officers Other Ranks Total
    03 September 1939 11519 162439 173958 234 1500 1734 11753 163939 175692
    01 January 1940 15561 199171 214732 359 8403 8762 15920 207574 223494
    01 April 1940 16332 223449 239781 520 8420 8940 16852 231869 248721
    01 July 1940 18431 272992 291423 687 11170 11857 19118 284162 303280
    01 October 1940 23636 396473 420109 1170 16194 17364 24806 412667 437473
    01 January 1941 26361 464401 490762 1368 19121 20489 27729 483522 511251
    01 April 1941 28584 534030 562614 1547 25497 27044 30131 559527 589658
    01 July 1941 31760 632866 664626 1891 35493 37384 33651 668359 702010
    01 October 1941 37880 734727 772607 3012 61297 64309 40892 796024 836916
    01 January 1942 43486 773773 817259 4001 94410 98411 47487 868183 915670
    01 April 1942 46134 775246 821380 4041 106787 110828 50175 882033 932208
    01 July 1942 49987 789787 839774 4695 120961 125656 54682 910748 965430
    01 October 1942 54483 846065 900548 5379 136088 141467 59862 982153 1042015
    01 January 1943 59630 880934 940564 5796 160173 165969 65426 1041107 1106533
    01 April 1943 64783 889104 953887 5940 174119 180059 70723 1063223 1133946
    01 July 1943 69093 903446 972539 5974 175861 181835 75067 1079307 1154374
    01 October 1943 74034 914362 988396 5880 174459 180339 79914 1088821 1168735
    01 January 1944 80190 924481 1004671 6040 170780 176820 86230 1095261 1181491
    01 April 1944 84585 921560 1006145 6090 169578 175668 90675 1091138 1181813
    01 July 1944 88615 922812 1011427 6199 168207 174406 94814 1091019 1185833
    01 October 1944 92577 907600 1000177 6276 164968 171244 98853 1072568 1171421
    01 January 1945 98070 897795 995865 6355 159810 166165 104425 1057605 1162030
    01 April 1945 99926 881736 981662 6316 153306 159622 106242 1035042 1141284
    01 May 1945 101064 874965 976029 6278 151008 157286 107342 1025973 1133315
    01 July 1945 103023 859548 962571 6233 146719 152952 109256 1006267 1115523
    01 September 1945 100107 840760 940867 5638 130253 135891 105745 971013 1076758

    These figures are taken from R.A.F. Personnel Statistics for the period 3 September 1939 to 1 September 1945
    They do not include Dominion Air Forces personnel at R.A.F. Posting disposal. R.A.F. Personnel on loan to the Fleet Air Airm are included.

    In essence, from 1942 the enrolled strength of the RAF/RAFVR/AAF/RAFO/WAAF was about 1,000,000 men and women, all starting from a force of 175,692 in September 1939.

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  6. #6
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    Nov 2007
    Bewdley, UK
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    Default Service Number Blocks (Other Ranks) - Issue in the United Kingdom.

    Service Number Blocks (Other Ranks) - Issue in the United Kingdom.

    Pre War the systems for issue of Other Ranks service numbers were mostly based on airman functon and to what service he was enlisting.

    Auxiliary Air Force had one numbering block that encompassed both ground trades and aircrew while the RAFVR had individual blocks for Pilot, Operations Room and Civilian Wireless Reserve.

    Reserves were grouped as Class E and Class F in different blocks as were Boy Entrants, Civilian Entry and the auxliary WAAF companies.

    Even during the expansion period of the RAF the total entries needing Service Numbers was small and the function/service method as adequate in terms of administration needs.

    With the advent of war in Sept 1939 the old system of service number allocation was swept away. The new influx of "Hostilities Only" servicemen and women would be enrolled into the RAFVR and no sub division into function would be made.

    Early Sept 1939 saw all who wished to enroll accepted, attested and sent home on RAF pay to wait training places but by 21 Sept 1939 the numbers were swamping the system and a temporary halt of a week was made to recruitment.

    When recruitment resumed on 28 Sept 1939 entry to the RAFVR would be by one of the following routes:

    1) Volunteer reservists entered before the outbreak of war.
    2) Volunteer reservists entered after the outbreak of war.
    3) Candidates for the Volunteer Reserve, who had been provisionally accepted in peace time and would have been attested as and when training facilities had become available.
    4) Men registered, but not yet attested, under the Military Training Act, who, but for the outbreak of war, would have been attested and commenced six months continuous training between Nov 1939 and Jan 1940.
    5) Men registered, but not yet attested, under the National Service (Armed Forces) Act.

    In both the case of Military Training Act and National Service (Armed Forces) Act the man would have needed to express a preference for the RAF and be deemed suitable by the selection committee for this service.

    As in the case of direct civilian Volunteer entry, the Militia/NSA man was required to further express a desire to train as aircrew to be deemed a possible Aviation Candidate.

    From Sept 1939 RAFVR entrants were processed by the either No.1 RAF Depot Uxbridge, No.2 Receiving Centre Cardington or No.3 Receiving Centre Padgate. In January 1940 the Receiving Centres were renamed Recruit Centres but continued to administer the new entrants as before.

    It was at the Depot and Recruit Centres that the airman was assigned his service number.

    Even with the deferred entry scheme, the number of recruits caused problems within the entry procedure, and in April 1941 a change was made to add some preliminary stages to relieve the pressure on the Depot and Recruit Centres.

    Aviation Candidate Selection Boards had been set up in various UK locations between Sept 1939 and Oct 1940 to select the volunteers for aircrew. In April 1941 the ACSB were tasked with assigning Other Rank service numbers for both aircrew and ground trades.

    No.1 Depot at Uxbridge would retain the ability to issue service numbers but where an ACSB was present at a Recruit Centre it would take over this task. eg at No.2 RC the task would handed over to the Cardington ACSBs.

    New ACSB were formed in towns and cities remote from the Recruit Centres and Combined Recruiting Centres also included in the tasking.

    The next major change was in May 1943 when the reduction of RAF ground crew recruits led to a preference for ex Air Training Corps members over non ATC men.

    Entrance to the ATC at 15 and 1/2 years asked for an 'honourable undertaking' to prepare for service in the RAF, RN (not only FAA) or to prepare for duty as a Glider Pilot in the Army. Prior membership and passing the ATC proficiency tests led to a reduction of the time the entrant would spend at the Recruit Centre and aircrew candidates could sit the midterm exam of the Initial Training Wing early and, if passed, be excused six weeks of initial training.

    This potential reduction in training hours made the ex ATC entrant more desirable than the non ATC entrant and a seperate block of service numbers in the 3000000 series assigned.

    Below in date order are the wartime service number blocks for the Depot, Recruit Centres, main ACSB locations and CRC offices.

    Usually a month overlap was seen as one block ended and the new block was brought into use. This allows an estimate of the number of recruits entered into the RAFVR in each location for any given period.

    Start End No off From Location
    900000 934899 34899 Sep-39 RAF: Uxbridge
    1330001 1340000 9999 Nov-40 RAF: Uxbridge and Weston-super-Mare
    1250001 1299800 49799 May-40 RAF: Uxbridge, Gloucester and Penarth

    935000 964999 29999 Sep-39 RAF: Cardington
    1150001 1250000 99999 Apr-40 RAF: Cardington
    1425001 1474999 49998 Apr-41 RAF: Cardington
    1610001 1649900 39899 Oct-41 RAF: Cardington
    1860001 1869700 9699 Oct-42 RAF: Cardington
    1869719 1869800 81 May-43 RAF: Cardington
    1869809 1889800 19991 May-43 RAF: Cardington
    3000000 3010000 10000 May-43 RAF: Cardington. Ex ATC
    2245001 2255000 9999 Nov-43 RAF: Cardington. non ATC
    3055001 3061579 6578 Dec-44 RAF: Cardington. Ex ATC

    965000 1149977 184977 Sep-39 RAF: Padgate
    1475000 1550000 75000 Apr-41 RAF: Padgate
    1670001 1692488 22487 Nov-41 RAF: Padgate
    1692501 1700000 7499 Jun-42 RAF: Padgate
    2200000 2212749 12749 Oct-42 RAF: Padgate
    2213000 2220000 7000 Oct-42 RAF: Padgate
    3010000 3014917 4917 May-43 RAF: Padgate. ex ATC
    2225001 2229353 4352 Sep-43 RAF: Padgate. non ATC
    2229354 2235000 5646 Aug-45 RAF: Padgate. non ATC
    3500000 3501799 1799 Aug-45 RAF: Padgate. ex ATC, regular enlistments
    4000000 4004999 4999 Aug-45 RAF: Padgate. non ATC, regular enlistments

    1400001 1424800 24799 Mar-41 RAF: Penarth
    1650001 1670000 19999 Nov-41 RAF: Penarth
    1830001 1838234 8233 Oct-42 RAF: Penarth
    1845001 1845166 165 Oct-42 RAF: Penarth
    3025001 3026705 1704 May-43 RAF: Penarth. ex ATC
    3045073 3045080 7 Jul-43 RAF: Penarth. ex ATC

    1375001 1400000 24999 Aug-40 RAF: Euston
    1800001 1814800 14799 Dec-41 RAF: Euston
    1890001 1899799 9798 Jan-43 RAF: Euston
    3030001 3040000 9999 May-43 RAF: Euston. ex ATC
    2235001 2244800 9799 Nov-43 RAF: Euston. non ATC
    3045081 3050000 4919 Aug-45 RAF: Euston. ex ATC

    1365001 1375000 9999 Aug-40 RAF: Edinburgh
    1340001 1350000 9999 Feb-41 RAF: Edinburgh
    1361081 1361527 446 May-41 RAF: Edinburgh
    1550001 1575000 24999 May-41 RAF: Edinburgh
    3020001 3025000 4999 May-43 RAF: Edinburgh. ex ATC
    1820001 1830000 9999 Nov-43 RAF: Edinburgh
    2255001 2257649 2648 Jan-44 RAF: Edinburgh. non ATC
    3065001 3066013 1012 May-44 RAF: Edinburgh. ex ATC

    1311745 1325000 13255 Nov-40 RAF: Oxford
    1600001 1610000 9999 Sep-41 RAF: Oxford
    1850001 1853991 3990 Nov-42 RAF: Oxford

    1585001 1600000 14999 Sep-41 RAF: Weston-super-Mare

    3040001 3044830 4829 May-43 RAF: Doncaster. Ex ATC
    2265001 2265174 173 Aug-44 RAF: Doncaster. non ATC

    1700001 1800000 99999 Sep-41 RAF: Combined Recruiting Centres. Inspector of Recruiting, local enlistment for deferred service
    3200001 3230000 29999 Jun-43 RAF: Combined Recruiting Centres. enlistments, ex ATC

    1575001 1585000 9999 Jun-41 RAF: Birmingham
    1815001 1820000 4999 Jul-42 RAF: Birmingham
    2220001 2225000 4999 Oct-42 RAF: Birmingham
    3050001 3054173 4172 May-43 RAF: Birmingham. Ex ATC
    2260001 2260120 119 Aug-44 RAF: Birmingham. non ATC

    1300001 1311744 11743 Jun-40 RAF: Blackpool
    1350001 1360800 10799 Jun-40 RAF: Blackpool
    1325001 1326573 1572 Jul-40 RAF: Blackpool

    1900000 1910000 10000 Sep-43 RAF: Northern Ireland. non ATC
    1910001 1919999 9998 Nov-45 RAF: Northern Ireland. non ATC

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  7. #7
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    Nov 2007
    Bewdley, UK
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    Default Aircrew - Method of Selection

    From Appendix 16 of AHB publication Manning.

    Aircrew - Method of Selection

    Aircrew candidates were either volunteers who applied to join the RAF for flying duties while they were still outside the scope of the National Services Acts, N.S.A. entrants who had expressed a preference for flying duties, or serving officers or airmen employed on ground duties who volunteered for aircrew duties. The selection procedure was boardly the same in all three cases.

    Under the N.S.A. procedure, a man who had expressed a preference for flying duties on registration was instructed in due course by the Ministry of Labour and National Service to report for medical examination at a Combined Recruiting Centre. If he was passed as Grade I, he was then interviewed by an RAF Recuiting Officer at that Centre in order to decide whether he was prima facie qualified for consideration by an Air Crew Selection and Medical Board. The candidate had to be within a narrow age range and during the first months of the war he was required to have passed his School Certificate examination or to have reached an educational standard equivalent to that of a boy who remained at school up to the age of 16. From August 1940, however, the educational standard was not taken into account at the initial selection stage, far more attention being given to the man's general suitability, and, in particular, to his keeness for combatant duty in the air. The Selection Board decided later as to the candidate's educational potential.

    A few weeks after being provisionally accepted by the Recruiting Officer at the Combined Recruiting Centre, an aircrew candidate was required to attend an Aviation Candidate Selection Board. He also had to pass an aircrew medical examination which was more specialised and exacting than the NSA medical examination and was carried out by RAF Medical Officers. Certain modifications in medical standards were made as war progressed, but the standard of physical fitness required of an aircrew candidate remained extremely high.

    The Aviation Candidates Selection Board consisted of a President and one or two subordinate members. All were Service officers and together they decided whether a candidate should be accepted and, if so , for what aircrew category.

    These Selection Boards were set up in all parts of the country although the number varied according to the flow of applicants. (In December 1941, for instance, there were thirty Selection Boards in nine different centres). It was very difficult, however to assess a man's capcity on interview alone, as training failures clearly indicated, and Professor Bartlett of the Flying Personnel Research Committee at Cambridge gradually devised a series of psychological tests designed to measure a candidate's intelligence, mathematical ability and particular aptitude for each of the aircrew categories. A flight test was also introduced in order to assess a candidate's piloting ability. Other tests were applied right through to the operational stage.

    From the spring of 1942 onwards, Selection Boards, while continuing to select for all aircrew categories, accepted candidates considered suitable for training as pilots, navigators or air bombers under the broad heading of 'P.N.B.'. The final split up for these three categories was then made by a Central Air Crew Classification Board after the trainee had demonstrated his aptitude in a Flight Test and had successfully completed the Initial Training Wing Examinations. Other aircrew candidates continued to be classified by the Selection Board.

    It was not possible for the accepted aircrew candidate to commence his training immediately. He was therefore issued with a statutort enlistment notice and placed on deferred service. He was told the probable length of the waiting period and then returned home to continue his civil occupation until called up for training by the Air Offcier i/c Records. His call up was normally in the order of his acceptance but the date of entry into training could be accelerated on the grounds of exceptional suitability. The length of the waiting period varied considerably but the offical policy during the greater part of the war was to maintain a six months supply of accepted candidates.
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  8. #8
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    Nov 2007
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    Default Net change in strength of the RAF and WAAF

    Extracted from Manpower 1957 HMSO

    Intake and Outflow of the Armed Forces and Women's Auxiliary Services

    Armed Services (excluding men locally enlisted abroad)

    Royal Air Force

    Date, Intake NSA, Intake Volunteers, Intake Direct Officer, Outflow Casualty, Outflow Medical Discharges, Transfers (to/from reserves releases etc), Net change in Strength
    Sept - Dec 1939, 2000, 28800, 2900, 700, 500, +64400, +96800
    Jan - Dec 1940, 124600, 158600, 8600, 6800, 3500, -5400, +276100
    Jan - Dec 1941, 174400, 156500, 10900, 11800, 10100, +2000, +321900
    Jan - Dec 1942, 99600, 72400, 2700, 15000, 12500, -24200, +123100
    Jan - Dec 1943, 42000, 55900, 1700, 26800, 13400, +3400, +62800
    Jan - Dec 1944, 17300, 25000, 500, 21700, 15000, -19300, -13600
    Jan - Dec 1945, 36500, 14900, 300, +3800a, 18800, -304100, -267500 Note a - The number of PoW repatriated exceeded casualtes

    Women's Auxiliary Air Force (excluding women locally enlisted abroad)

    Date, Intake NSA, Intake Volunteers, Outflow Medical Discharges, Transfers (to/from reserves releases etc), Net change in Strength
    Sept - Dec 1939,0, 0, 0, 0, 0,
    Jan - Dec 1940, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,
    Jan - Dec 1941, 0, 83180, 480, -4780, +77920
    Jan - Dec 1942, 16200, 61820, 2700, -7770, +67560
    Jan - Dec 1943, 17060, 11750, 3640, -14310, +10000
    Jan - Dec 1944, 500, 11830, 3570, -19410, -10660
    Jan - Dec 1945, 0, 2380, 3520, -69160, -70300
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