Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: No 3 FTS South Cerney

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    4
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default No 3 FTS South Cerney

    Can anyone help me with further informatin on the navigation training at South Cerney in WW11? I am interested in No 3 FTS, No 3 (P) AFU and No 3 SFTS. I work in the building used for training Navigators during the war and would like to find out about who worked here to create a history board for my building.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    43
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Penny
    I can give you some information on 3SFTS No. 43 Course November 40 to April 41.Those attending the course were all future pilots moving on from EFTS courses still with the rank of LAC. I only have the surnames of the majority on the course.-

    Armstrong, Bainbridge, Beardmore, Bell, Benson, Birley, Campbell, Chippendale, Cosgrave, Crossley Curtis, Davies, Dixon, Gibb, Green, Hanafin, Hardy, Havelock, Healey, Holdsworth
    Horsley, Hovell, Kirkham, Kitto, Leach, Mair, Manuel, Mayhew, Monk, Mortimer,
    Owen, Prentice, Pritchard, Rippon, Roper, Sewell, Smith, Stell, Stocks Stoney,Thomas,Truscott,Watson,Welch,Wheatley,Wickh am,Wild,Wontner-Smith,Woodhead

    The names come from a group photograph I have.The location of the photograph with the two large windows forming a back drop, was regularly used for Course photographs.

    The fortunes of these young men varied dramatically, destined as future pilots on twin engined bombers
    and later four engined bombers. Researching the names gives an insight into war, those that would survive
    and those KIA, including training accidents. Oxford N6336 crashed attempting a forced landing on the 13 November, a few days after the group photograph. LAC Andrew Wontner-Smith died on the 18 November possibly from injuries sustained. He is buried in All Hallows Churchyard, South Cerney. My father, sat next to him in the group photograph was a survivor, completing a tour on Hampdens and continuous flying as an instructor until demob. 1254803 Beresford Peter Torrington HORSLEY (63462) would retire from the RAF in 1975 having reached the rank of Commander-in-Chief RAF Strike Command. He was one of sixteen members of the group who left South Cerney with his wings and a Commission.The remainder like my father would leave with his wings and the rank of Sergeant.

    My fathers log book for this period gives an insight into his training on the Oxford and the twenty areas of flying instruction needed to be completed along with a comprehensive understanding of the Oxfords flying systems. The sequence of instruction also involved twelve hours on the LinkTrainer. You can also glean from these pages the names of those instructing. My fathers main instructor was Sergeant Kleboe, he became Pilot Officer Kleboe on the 9 December. His signature for the entry on December 28 reveals his initials as Pilot Officer P.A. Kleboe. Peter Andrew Kleboe went on to have a distinguished record within the RAFVR. Becoming a Wing Commander decorated with the DSO, DFC and AFC. He was killed 21 March 1945 while attacking the Shellhus, Gestapo Headquarters in Copenhagen city centre, (Operation Carthage), flying a Mosquito from 21 Squadron.The raid is well documented.

    Hope this gives an insight into the many pilots that will have passed through South Cerney.

    Drop me a private message if you want a copy of the photograph of No. 43 Course November 40.

    John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1,764
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 7 Times in 7 Posts

    Default

    Penny

    No 3 (P) AFU was No 3 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit.

    A WWII publication states "It is probable that you will return to the UK for your next course at an Advanced Flying Unit. The object of this course is to acclimatise you to Service flying under the conditions peculiar to Northern Europe. Your night flying will not hitherto have been carried out in a proper ‘black-out’; the highly-populated regions of England, France and Germany, with their rapid changes of weather, make for more difficult map-reading than, say, the vast plains of the American continent, where unmistakable landmarks are visible from many miles away in a relatively stable climate"

    I recognise this is high level, but I hope you find it useful.

    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]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    4
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thank you for your postings - I know very little about the building I work in so it is great to get more information.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,385
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Hello

    Can someone confirm if there was a Wireless operator / radio school at South Cerney in 1941/42 ? I have an airman who was stationed there at that time, he became later a Wireless operator and was killed in action in 1943.

    TIA

    Joss

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Reading, Berkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,662
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 17 Times in 17 Posts

    Default

    Joss, Hi,
    Very difficult! HQ 23 Group, Flying Training Command, appears to have been at S Cerney for most of WW2. The Group HQ would have needed to communicate with its Outstations and, possibly, aircraft flying from them. But Group HQs were normally mostly full of "pen pushers" (or "scribblies" as I knew them!). That is not to say that your guy might not have been a communicator of some sort (teleprinters, and the like) where promotion was v slow. To get to Sgt (3 stripes, better Mess, fewer Parades, etc, etc) by doing a W/Op course, and then aircrew, would seem a reasonable theory - at that time (if he had known the BC loss rates then he might have been better off staying in a nice warm, dry, Comcen and using the NAAFI (or Cpls Club)). But who can tell?
    However, Malcolm - on rafweb - does not seem to indicate that there was NOT a W/Op, or Radio School, at S Cerney.
    It is, incidentally, the only Offs Mess I've actually ever broken OUT of to go on v early duty!! Op GUARDIAN ANGEL (Apr 1978) where a couple of our Royal Princes gained their "para" wings. V twitchy - V Senior Officers V twitchey as well!! In the event of "marginal conditions" for either the balloon drops, or the real para-drops, 'They' had to get the direct, positive, approval of HMQueen.
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 7th June 2013 at 17:47. Reason: Spelling
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •