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Thread: Re: Sgt. Dorland G. Plyley No. R108467 of No. 405 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron

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    Default Re: Sgt. Dorland G. Plyley No. R108467 of No. 405 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron

    There is an entry in Sgt. Plyley's records that states something I am not understanding and would appreciate some help:

    Posted to No. 639 Sqdn. "U/T drogue Sp" (looks like) 12.2.'44 - I have read that No. 639 was an anti-aircraft squadron. If so, what would he have been doing there?

    The very next entry: R.C.A.F. 'R' Depot "Send repat." (looks like) then 'A' in the column, "p" or "A" (Authorized?) and the dates 12/6 - 26/6...year is not mentioned but it must be 1944. 'repat.' I would guess is repatriation? He left the following day (June 27) for a 6 week leave home to Canada. When he returned to the U. K., he was posted to No. 405 (R.C.A.F.) Sqdn.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Carleton

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    Hi Carleton,

    as No. 639 Sq was vreated from Target Towing Flights I would say that he was here for training as" Drogue ?specialis?", in other words operator of aircaft who handle drogues during training shooting.

    It is just long shot but I hope someone can confirm.

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

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    Hi Pavel,

    Thank you for writing. Sgt. Plyley was trained as a rear gunner and served in that capacity with No.419 Squadron as well as No. 405 Squadron. If what you write is fact, how would this relate to flying in a Lancaster Mk III?

    Carleton

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    U/T drogue Sp

    The U/T indicates Under Training, so he may simply have been posted to 639 Sqn for a time (4 months) prior to a front line posting to become a target drogue operator.
    He would be in the back operating the winch equipment letting the drogue in and out for target practice.

    Could the 'Sp' be the letters 'Op' - Drogue operator. I would simply take it that it was a posting to a support unit which was in need of a man, then later he was posted to a gunner position in a bomber unit, the role he had trained for in Canada I expect?
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Hi Dennis,

    I have uploaded a page from Plyley's records showing the entry for No. 639 Squadron. Title of upload is Plyley. He received his air gunner badge at Fingal Bombing & Gunnery School. I found his records to be a little confusing. Another page shows the following:
    - Struck off strength No. 419 Sqdn to 1666 Conv. Unit 17.11.'43
    - Temp. duty 25 Group Unit P.P. from 1666 C. U. 19.12.43
    - Attached to 7 AGS Stormy Down (amended to posted to 7 AGS) 23.12.'43
    - Attached to R.A.F. Rhoose 11.2.'44
    - S.O.S. 7 AGS to No. 639 Sqdn 12.2.'44
    - Detached R.A.F. Rhoose 11.02.''44
    - Att. 'R' Depot for No. 639 Sqdn. 12/26 6/6 1944

    He then embarked U. K. for Canada for a 6 month leave - returning to the U. K. 05-09-'44. He then underwent Pathfinder Night Training for 3 weeks before being posted to No. 405 Sqdn 19-10-'44 (Lawson's crew) which was shot down 02 Jan. '45. He was taken as a POW.

    Thank you for your help.

    Carleton

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    http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries...members/Plyley
    certainly I woudl read that as U/T Drogue Op, the top of the O goes to the p, looks a bit like an S, but its Op.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Thank you, Dennis. I am not familiar with the term, "drogue". I have googled the word but am unable to get a definite answer as to the specifics of this term and how it applied to airmen (rear gunners??) in WW 11. If you or someone else on this forum could explain this to me I would be most grateful.

    Carleton

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    See post #2 above, the clue is in there.

    he presumably sat in the back of the 639 Sqn aircraft and operated the winching in and out of the target drogue, the target that was pulled behind the aircraft for anti aircraft unit to test fire against.
    See second image on this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawker_Henley

    Nothing to do with him being a gunner, remember he is in the air force, they can post him anywhere they like to fill a posting.

    Flight magazine has some useful comtemporary articles about target activities

    http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchi...?search=drogue
    http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchi...?search=drogue
    http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchi...?search=drogue
    http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchi...?search=drogue
    Last edited by dennis_burke; 5th December 2013 at 10:35.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Thanks very much, Dennis. You have been very helpful.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to you and yours.

    Carleton

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