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Thread: Communistic agendas in the RAF

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    Default Communistic agendas in the RAF

    I have just came across a mention of communistic agenda within WAAF at Prestwick, and a mention of serious increase of such activitiy at the end of 1942. Was this problem ever discussed in any serious form?

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    Hi Franek,

    as far as I know this was also issue of Czechoslovak squadrons but I think it was not discussed here in detail yet.
    What particular area are you interested in?

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

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    No particular area, rather resulting problems, actions, supporters, etc. I understand the peak of communistic action was the RAF mutiny in India.

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    Well as far as I know there were Communist "cell" at 310 and 311 Sq for sure. Most of communists (who were fighting in Spanish war) refused to served in summer 1940 and were interned or send to Pioneer Corps etc. But some of them were serving with the squadrons, typically as Air Gunners of 311 Sq and ground staff.
    There was also a nice example of fully trained fighter pilot who refused in 1940 to serve but later wanted to fly when USSR was attacked. But he was refused by Czechoslovak authorities and only by luck on one Attestation Board thanks to the fact he was speaking only English that the RAF officer can understand he was accepted otherwise he will be again fired our by the Czechoslovak officer. If I remember well he started to fly in 1943 but in January 1944 he left RAF and moved to the USSR to create the first Czechoslovak Fighter unit there...
    IN general communists were active in the Czechoslovak squadrons during the whole WWII but they have not such an influence - sure time to time there was some kind of action organized by them but it was mostly local actions of few people at all.

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

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    http://libcom.org/book/export/html/26188

    Read the above. It seems to me (and I have had active Trades Union experience) that one should be very careful to differentiate between ‘communistic’ and just ‘left wing’. This might be more difficult for those who have (like UK) NOT experienced a full-blown Communist State, and those who actually have.

    The main gripe of the Airmen in India, and elsewhere in SEAC, as I see it, was the poor rate of demobilisation – quite apart from the appalling living conditions. These gripes were seized upon by the ‘activists’ and exploited. Those at the top (Churchill, Mountbatten, Service Chiefs, etc,) also do not come out of this (and other, so-called, ‘mutinies’) with anything to their credits.

    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Peter
    Leftist and communist interlaced, and it was quite common, people active in various organisations and factions changed sides, socialists becoming communists, and the opposite. Mind you there were several factions within communists, often in violent opposition. The best case is George Orwell, who after his Spanish experience turned anti-Stalin, but otherwise remained a staunch communist and as such he was identified by the British services.
    A lot of this is not politically correct, and often never told. The case of the mutiny is self evident, and I would say a classic example on how communistic penetration worked. The RAF was not lousy on demobilisation, they tried to postpone it as long as they could, in fear of either revolt or invasion of India. Obviously, it could not have been told at the time, and there are only few references, usually indirect.
    Considering role of Trade Unions, there is a well known case of strikes at Castle Bromwich in 1940, that delayed production of Spitfires at the most decisive moment. Also, Trade Unions were involved in attacks on the Polish airmen, one case being IIRC RR Derby in 1944, and a series of incidents at Hucknall post-war.

    Pavel
    What numbers we talk about? How they compare to the people active with the communistic and security system after the war? What was the role of Benes and Frantisek Moravec, who was identified as a Soviet spy recently (it could have been a cross agent game, however)?

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    Franek it is quite difficult to answer your questions as I have not ever seen any statistics but from my researches I would say following:

    1. from 2500 serving in the RAF during WWII there should be tens or max. few hundreds of them, in July 1940 was released from the army 539 persons who refused to serve. But some of them later returned. Some of the were active during their RAF service but as the losses in 1940-41 were high I think quite a lot of them also died. It is also hard to say as I think that many after return home were declaring they were connected with the communist cell as it was profitable for them...

    2. to compare them - in the RAF there were communists who were from the poor areas and they were communists from the 20s and 30s already. They became loyal after the war also but there was a new group which became communists to keep their positions and work with the army, air force etc. This group was the most dangerous from my point of view as they were normal people trying to "swim with the stream". Only few of them were able to fulfill their dreams as most of them were liquidated by the regime in the 50s when they were already not necessary or they already know too much... At this time they were again equal to their old friends from the RAF as they finished in the same prisons and labor camps...

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

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    Pavel
    Those five hundreds were all the armed forces personnel, or just only the AF? In regard of claiming the communistic past, counterintelligence services checked such claims thoroughly, and tended to keep on the safe side, if you follow me.

    Reading about the mutiny, I have found a list of politicians supporting it, among them Tom Driberg, William Griffiths, Emrys Hughes, John McGovern, Phil Piratin and John Strachey. No wonder the issue is not discussed, and it reminds me Spycatcher by Peter Wright.

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    Franek good point - those five hundreds were mostly army, not an air force.

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

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