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Thread: my grandfather PO Nettleton RAF, WH & his pilot RW Dowling RAAF

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    Default my grandfather PO Nettleton RAF, WH & his pilot RW Dowling RAAF

    Hi all - I am waiting on service files for my grandfather WH Nettleton who died in a crash on the 12th feb 1944. His pilot was flight sergeant RW Dowling, 418647 from the RAAF. I am wondering whether anybody knows whether these 2 would have flown together frequently. They were in the unit 15P AFU. Would this have been a 1 off training flight together or would they have been a team flying regularly together? I know Dowling was very young, so I am curious as to how often (if at all) they may have flown together / how close they might have been. Did pilots and navigators form teams and fly always with the same partner? If anyone has an ideas I'd be very interested to hear them.

    I have also requested Dowling's files on the aussie nat archives
    many thanks! jamie

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    Hi Jamie,

    it depends on many factors.
    For example in Squadron they should flew most missions together but when one of them was ill or on leave (if they were not going on leave together) they will fly with another pilot/nav. In case of operation Squadron this will be recorded in the ORB.

    But in Training I think it was common in the latter stage of training that the crew was flying together most of the exercises - it was the task of the advanced training to make a well coordinated crew from two or more individuals.
    In case of training unit ORBs does not record all the training flights so the only possibility is to get a Log Book of one of them to find out answer to your question.

    Hope this helps a little

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

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    I presume that you already have this from http://www.awm.gov.au/catalogue/research_centre/pdf/rc09125z023_1.pdf:

    "On the 12th February 1944, Oxford NM306 took off from RAF Babdown Farm at 0930 hours, detailed to carry out a short cross-country flight for the purpose of R/T and W/T training. The aircraft crashed at 1100 hours approx at Little Somerford, Gloucester when the aircraft struck the ground at high speed with its starboard main plane, and both the crew were killed.

    Eye witnesses heard the roar of aircraft engines and saw the aircraft appearing from cloud. It turned completely upside down, then rolled over to the left a little more than half way. It then dived down with the right wing down on a fairly steep angle, with the undercarriage fully extended.

    The main cause of the accident was considered to be loss of control by the pilot.
    Crew :
    RAAF 418647 Flt Sgt R W Dowling (Pupil Pilot)
    RAF PO Nettleton, W H (Navigator Wireless)

    Both the crew are buried in the Bath (Haycombe cemetery, UK)"

    It is interesting that Dowling is shown as "pupil pilot" suggesting perhaps that he had limited flying experience.

    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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    Hi pavel and pete - many thanks for this. Yes I have the accident report pete, thank you. Pavel - I have requested service records of both my gf and the pilot, dowling. I assume that the log book is part of the service record? If this is the case, then hopefully quite soon I will have some interesting information. thanks all! jamie

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    Log Book in most cases were in possession of an airman or his relatives if he survived the war. For those who got killed were kept by the RAF and in the 60s destroyed if relatives did not claimed it...

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by CZ_RAF View Post
    Log Book in most cases were in possession of an airman or his relatives if he survived the war. For those who got killed were kept by the RAF and in the 60s destroyed if relatives did not claimed it...

    Pavel
    ahhh ok thanks pavel so I guess in this case the long book will have gone for ever unfortunately

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    It is worth double checking with all your relatives to see if it is in their possession.

    The RAF held onto "a few" (I am sure there is a list of the ones held by them - but I am not able to locate where I saw this list mentioned) and some are in private collections .... but sadly, the odds of finding your one will be extremely slim.

    ..... but, you never know.

    I am not sure what would have happened to RAAF personal effects .. I am assuming that the procedure was the same ... can anyone advise?

    Regards

    Pete
    Last edited by PeteT; 26th November 2012 at 16:36.
    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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    hi Pete - thanks for your answer. Sadly nothing in remains in the family of my grandfather as my grandmother many years ago in a fit of sadness / anger threw a file containing all his letters / photos / memoires away. She was widowed at 27 and never remarried so I think at times she felt rather low. Very upsetting for the rest of the family to have lost this info tho! jamie

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    Hello,

    IMHO, I don't think they had already "crewed-up" at the time. They may have flown several time together in AFU, but I don't believe we could consider them as a crew.

    The normal training syllabus of a pilot was EFTS -> SFTS -> (P) AFU -> OTU (where he would pick up his crew) -> HCU -> (LFS where this applied) -> front line bomber Squadron

    For a navigator : AOS, maybe ANS, B&GS if that applied -> (O) AFU -> OTU (where he would crew-up), from then on the postings should be the same as the pilot's.

    navigators and bomb aimers were usually sent to (Observers) Advanced Flying Units.

    So the best is to wait for both service records to check the postings of the two airmen, and see if the dates are matching.

    Checking the AFU ORB might not give you the details you are seeking. In most case the normal training flights are not recorded, but one never knows without actually seeing it :

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATID=-1892511&CATLN=7&Highlight=%2CADVANCED%2CFLYING%2CU NIT&accessmethod=0&Summary=True

    Hope this helps

    Joss

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    Hi Joss - many thanks for this. Sorry, am a bit new to this. Not sure what most of your acronyms stand for! Got AFU and OTU, what about the rest of them? Sorry for the trouble! thanks again jamie

    IMHO, I don't think they had already "crewed-up" at the time. They may have flown several time together in AFU, but I don't believe we could consider them as a crew.

    The normal training syllabus of a pilot was EFTS -> SFTS -> (P) AFU -> OTU (where he would pick up his crew) -> HCU -> (LFS where this applied) -> front line bomber Squadron

    For a navigator : AOS, maybe ANS, B&GS if that applied -> (O) AFU -> OTU (where he would crew-up), from then on the postings should be the same as the pilot's.

    navigators and bomb aimers were usually sent to (Observers) Advanced Flying Units.

    So the best is to wait for both service records to check the postings of the two airmen, and see if the dates are matching.

    Checking the AFU ORB might not give you the details you are seeking. In most case the normal training flights are not recorded, but one never knows without actually seeing it :

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATID=-1892511&CATLN=7&Highlight=%2CADVANCED%2CFLYING%2CU NIT&accessmethod=0&Summary=True

    Hope this helps

    Joss[/QUOTE]

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