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Thread: A/B Training

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    Default A/B Training

    Hi Guys
    I am just putting together information on Bob's training, prior to operational service. November 1942, to April 43 he was at 2(o) A.F.U., having been re-mustered to train as an A/B after initial Pilot selection. From his logbook I can see that his training at Millom involved bombing, gunnery and navigation, but I wonder if anybody could shed a little more light on what the structure/ syllabus of AB training was

    many thanks in advance

    Simon

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    Simon,
    out of interest my late father was at 2(o) A.F.U Millom, in August 1943 undergoing part of his training as w/op. His log book shows he was 2nd w/op in Anson on 'bombing exercise' and 'cross country nav exercise'. I'll watch your thread with interest, to see if any more detail on Millom comes to light.
    Regards,
    PaulH

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    Default Air Bomber Training

    The decision to implement the new Bomb Aimer/ Air Bomber category was put forward by Arthur Harris at the 29th March '42 meeting under Portal, to discuss composition and training of crews on medium/heavy bombers. (AIR 2/2662 refers) It was decided to make Bomb Aiming a discreet trade to be conducted by a dedicated crew member. Bombardier was the initial title, but this was soon changed to Air Bomber (AIR 6/73 refers) The new Air Bomber also became the "Pilot's Assistant" (June 42 - only for Stirling and Halifax). Primary task of the Air Bomber was aiming and dropping bombs. He was also to be trained in Navigation, Gunnery and basic Pilot skills. ( Bombing, map reading plus gunnery in an emergency. Also to act as pilot's assistant . i.e. able to fly straight and level and steer a course - Ref Jefford). This meant that their entry standard was similar to Pilots and Observers, with similar pay,and commissioning quotas. ( Ref - Jefford )

    Alan F
    Last edited by 149Nut; 8th August 2012 at 11:56. Reason: Inclusion

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    Many thanks for replying guys.

    Paul - your father was there not long after after mine . Bob was at 2(o) AFU 10th November 42 to 5th April 423. I'd be interested to find out more about Millom, as well as the other places he trained. I have a couple of group photos taken during what I believe to be his early training, but have no idea where.

    Alan - Many thanks for this insight - I didn't realise that the A/B role was a 'new' one and that it included the ability to fly the aircraft straight and level.

    Interestingly, Bob was actually initially selected for Pilot/ Observer training, but was re-mustered to an A/B after 6 weeks at EFTS. Whilst at AFU, his month totals in his LB are Navigation, Armaments, Bombing and Gunnery - though there are no hours logged against Armaments, so I wonder whether this is actually a heading under which Gunnery and Bombing sit. There doesn't seem to be any activities in the logbook that relate to flying practice, though I wonder as he came from an EFTS if it was noted that he had already done enough to fly an aircraft straight and level.....??

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    Default A/B training.

    bgizmo,

    When you applied for aircrew you were classified. PNB was Pilot/Navigator/Bomb Aimer and you all went through the same EFTS training. At the end of EFTS you moved on to SFTS, having been sorted into your individual category based on your flying aptitude. As a pilot trainee if you didn’t measure up in advanced flying you could still be moved into one of the other two categories. If you still didn’t measure up you could wind up as a W/Op or gunner. The W/Op-Gunners went straight to their respective ‘classroom’ training, which included flying.

    The '42/3 ‘AIR CREW LECTURE NOTES’, were ( at one stage)

    ENGINES: 10 Pages, plus one in two columns, the first column was what should then be covered in EFTS and the second column what should be covered in SFTS

    AIR NAVIGATION: Section One 4 pages, Section Two ‘Air Navigation Stars’ 10 pages, Section Three Map Reading 25 pages

    ANTI-GAS: 5 pages

    HYGENE AND SANITATION : (this includes First Aid) 19 pages

    VICKERS, .303 GAS OPERATED GUN, MK I, AIR SERVICE: 7 pages

    ARMAMENT: 24 pages

    MATHEMATICS: 30 pages
    ( My thanks for the above to J Johnston - author, "Strong by Night")

    As regards Millom, there was until a while ago, a museum at Millom, with lots of "Bits". It sadly went into receivership and as much as possible sold off. There are still traces on the Web of the museum.

    I would agree with your assumption that his early EFTS training qualified him for S&L and Steer course skills.

    Good Hunting :)

    Alan

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    Default

    Under the "PNB" scheme, I am fairly certain that one of the earliest stages was "Grading School" where the pupils were given about 10 or 12 hours dual instruction on Tiger Moths (or Magisters?), to test their aptitude as aircrew, after which they were streamed into one of the three main flying trades; only then would the pilot trainees be posted to EFTs, etc. This is certainly whay happened in the RNZAF in New Zealand (except no Magisters!), and they took their lead from the RAF/RCAF who admininstered the EATS/BCATP. The number of hours flown at Grading School was often sufficient for the trainees to reach the "solo" stage, but this was not really the prime objective, which was to explore the natural aptitude of the subject.
    David D

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    Default

    Having had the benefit of seeing the relevant service record, I thought it may be worth clarifying that Bob was assigned as Pilot / Observer at his ACSB in October 1941, which was pre PNB Scheme.

    Having completed ITW he was posted to 15 EFTS, RAF Kingstown, part of 51 Group Pool in July 1942 where his ACCB (Grading Board) remustered him as Air Bomber UT. After "holding", he was posted to RAF Millom in November 1942 to undertake his trade training.

    I hope this helps eliminate some of the confusion.

    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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