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Thread: No.3 Group Conversion Flight

  1. #1
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    Default No.3 Group Conversion Flight

    Researching the movement of a Pilot Officer Airgunner who was detached to No.3 Group Conversion Flight October 1941 after his tour with No.7 (B) Squadron. Hoping someone can help with information on this unit, when formed, location etc.

    TIA

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

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    Hi Steve
    The nearest that I can find for the unit you seek comes from "Flying Training and Support Units since 1912"- Ray Sturtivant and John Hamlin. They have a No 7 Conversion Unit formed at Oakington within No3 Gp.on 16.1.42 with 4 Stirlings and affiliated to no 7 Sqn. It became 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit on 7.10.42. The date is just after the time you are looking at but it is not unreasonable to suppose that the nucleus of a Conversion Unit existed to show new crews the ropes, before the HCU's formally existed, and that experienced Aircrew were manning them on finishing their tours.
    Regards
    Dick

  3. #3
    Eddie Fell Guest

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    As Steve knows, I know nothing about No. 3 Group but in No. 4 Group the Conversion Units were formed to convert aircrew from one type of aircraft to another (Wellington to Halifax in No. 4 Group) usually with an establishment of four aircraft as indicated by Dick. They had their own O.C's but (again as indicated) were then absorbed into the H.CU.'s which were forming. More than one Conversion Flight formed the nucleus of an HCU.
    Again in No. 4 Group, they were indeed staffed by experienced personnel (the O.C's of 158 CF were David Scott Shearman Wilkerson, George Walton Holden and Henry Howard Drummond all of whom went on to achieve some prominence in Bomber Command)

    Hope this helps rather than confuses Steve, but Dick has more or less sorted it

    Cheers

    Eddie

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    Dick & Ed (interesting!!)

    Thank you both for your replies. The information on Pilot Officer Peter Piper detachment to "No.3 Group Conversion Flight" was taken from the No.7 (B) Squadron ORB, he eventually served with No.1651 CU (Waterbeach) from late Oct/Nov 1941 (officially not formed until January 1942 ) until posted to No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron based at R.A.F Downham Market as Gunnery Leader in August 1943.

    I am hoping to visit his widow and view his Log Book to clarify his posting details, especially the period between leaving 7 Squadron and arriving at 1651 CU. I have never seen any reference to No.3 Group Conversion Flight during my research, hence my question.

    Once again thank you both for your help on this.

    Cheers

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    Steve,

    I don't know whether this is of any use to you, but my uncle, P/O A.P. Meijer RAFVR, (about whom we have had correspondence previously) was stationed at Waterbeach from 21.12 1942 until 03.03.1943, therefore during the same period as P/O Piper, when 1651 HCU was in existence. However, all official documents have my uncle as being posted simply to "3 Group" as a Technical Officer without any mention of 1651 HCU or 3 Group Conversion Flight. He must have been heavily involved with XV Squadron at Bourn as he is known to have flown half a dozen (!) operational missions with them during that short period. On the last of these he and his crew were killed in action.

    Best regards,

    Hans

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    Default 3 Group Conversion Flight

    Hi Steve

    I too don't know if this may be a lead or whether it's just complete b***s and wasting everyone's time (if so, please pardon my ignorance! :-)) but could 3 Group Conversion Flight be the same as 3 Group Training Flight?

    I've seen a mention of the crash of a Wellington, L7863, from 3 Group Training Flight at Newmarket on 6/1/1942. Maybe this could be relevant and something for you to follow-up?

    However, my initial thought was that 3GCF would have been something to do with conversion from things like Wellingtons etc to Stirlings at about the date you mention ... but then I saw the reference to 3GTF and it just made me wonder.

    Cheers

    Ian

    ps. I took a quick look at Gomersall's 'The Stirling File' and couldn't see mention of 3GCF in there.

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    Gents,

    Thank you both for your suggestions.

    It looks likely that it is a typo and should have been 3 Group Training Flight. I have checked my records and have found no reference to No.3 Group Conversion Flight ! Hoping that P/O Pipers Log Book clarifies.

    Cheers

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    Steve,

    3GTF would make sense. A number of New Zealand air gunners went there for refresher training. I note also that 'RAF Flying Training and Suport Units since 1912' records that 3GTS did not disband until 7.2.42, and it was then merged into No.1483 Target Towing & Gunnery Flight (which up till then had been No.1483 Target Towing Flight).

    Errol

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    Additionally, and again for what it's worth, I am in currently touch with a XV Squadron veteran who tells me that in March 1943 he was in training at Waterbeach with 1651 Conversion Unit. So this was some considerable time after 3GTF had been disbanded.

    Thanks to all your contributions to this subject, I am now also bcomming quite interested what the Piper documents may show.

    Hans

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    Hi Errol & Hans,

    Thank you both for your help, I still think it's a typo but hopefully I will have the opportunity to view the Log Book soon, I can only hope the mystery will be solved then.

    Cheers from a sunny but cold London.

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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