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Thread: Monthly salery af F/O in RCAF and RAF Transport Command in 1942?

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    Default Monthly salery af F/O in RCAF and RAF Transport Command in 1942?

    I am researching a pilot who volunteered for RCAF as instructor in late 1942. In 1942 he is transferred to RAF Transport Command (Dorval) as ferry pilot, only to be employed by the Pam Am owned China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) in Nov. 1942.

    Here his salary is U.S. $ 400 as co-pilot, rising to U.S. $ 800 when he is checked out as a Captain. In addition to this as Captain he earns U.S. $ 20 for all hours flown monthly in excess of 70.

    I am not familiar with the level of salaries in the armed forces in 1942, but the salary in CNAC seems high and indicate that this may have influenced his decision to become "civilian" pilot. He flew 600+ Hump runs during the war.

    Any thoughts?

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
    fb.me/britainsvictorydenmarksfreedom
    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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    Mikkel,
    Rather a tricky area this, but firstly, did he remain as a member of the RCAF, or did he transfer to the USAAF at a later date? I am presuming that he remained a member of RCAF when he was flying with RAF (presume as a BCATP graduate? Or was he a pre-war commercial pilot?) Also you state he "volunteered for RCAF as instructor in late 1942". This does nor sound exactly right, as normally you can only volunteer (in a British Commonwealth air force) for flying or non-flying appointments; if flying, you have very little, if any, say as to how you will be employed once qualified, and much the same goes for non-flying trades or appointments - you go where you are posted, and do as you are instructed or ordered. Another possibility is that he was not a member of RCAF at all, but was employed as a civilian staff pilot at one of the RCAF schools in Canada, working for one of the big commercial companies that operated these schools (such as Canadian Pacific Railways); staff pilots such as these would receive considerably higher salaries than equivalent men in uniform, but obviously their conditions of service would be totally different. Many United States citizens with commercial pilot licenses obtained civilian employment with these Canadian companies, even if they previous flying experience was very limited - to these men this empoyment must have seemed a God-send, to rapidly gain so much regular flying experience . Anyway, regardless of his status in Canada, he would be paid in Canadian dollars.
    However, if he was a member of the RCAF, like all such persons, once you are in the armed forces in a period of a major emergency such as World War Two, you cannot just get out because you want to earn more as a civilian, as on your enlistment papers you would have agreed to serve faithfully for the full period of the "emergency" (and for a period afterwards if required) in any capacity you are physically fit for, and could only obtain a release under very special circumstances, which would always be for the perceived benefit of your own government. Of course governments can release any individual for specific purposes if it is considered that this will benefit the general war effort, and this often happened to pilots to provide additional personnel to operate essential air services (such as flying the hump into China), but most of these would remain on their basic military salary along with any other normal allowances and benefits payable for that task. However if he was a civilian all along, he would be like any normal civilian employee and get paid at whatever the going rate was, which would no doubt be well above military pay rates. Incidentally you do not state the nationality of "your man" - was he an American for instance; many of these were able to transfer from RCAF to USAAF or US Navy for example, and seemed to get automatic release from their "parent" air force to transfer to another Allied air force, particularly if it was to your "true" national air force from another "Allied air force of convenience", as was the case with United States citizens who had originally volunteered for service with RCAF. His salary serving with CNAC certainly seems generous, particularly with "performance bonuses", something you would not normally get in the anybody's military forces.
    So no specifics from me I am afraid, but I can add that in the RNZAF, for instance, the ANNUAL salary for a GD officer (aircraft captain) in rank of F/O or F/L in pounds sterling was only in the low hundreds. The RAF would have been about the same. However they also received other allowances etc, which have to be added to the salary, but these were generally just to meet normal expenses. I would imagine that CNAC pilots would fly a lot more hours than you average RAF pilot, but then they were nominally at least commercial pilots.
    David D
    Last edited by David Duxbury; 31st December 2013 at 21:05.

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    It might be interesting to track the numbers in other related air forces as well.

    For the Indian Air Force - http://stampomania.blogspot.com/2010...ish-india.html

    A married Flying Officer was promised 610 Rupees per month. The exchange rate was roughly 30 US cents to a Rupee in 1941/43. So that was around 200 USD per month. The amount in rupees was a very princely sum for Indians in that era. While the officers were decently paid, the Indian Airmen (ie non-officers) were not really well paid..

    Exchange rate for 1941 (100 Rupees = 7-12-4d = 29.85 Dollars)
    Last edited by Jagan; 31st December 2013 at 23:06.

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    Sounds like he might have always been a 'civvy' pilot,as DD already posted - many civilian instructors were employed by the military in USA and Canada,Ferry Command at Dorval also employed 'civvy' pilots in a quasi military/airline type uniform (see some of Don Macvicar's books) as ferry pilots.Don Ferried many different types over the atlantic inc mosquito and catalina.
    Ferry command pilots had airline type ranks inc First Officer (F/O) etc
    Ferry command used a mix of military and civvy aircrews,many RCAF aircrew just flew one delivery as co pilot (say)

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    I have a sheet showing pay rates for the RAAF in 1941, if anyone is interested. It covers AC2 to Plt Off, separation allowance, crew pay, and other allowances (food, uniform, etc.)

    Regards
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Thank you all for your answers. I only now realize that the information I gave were too few for you to give a precise answer.

    The man in question, Charles M. Sundby, was trained as pilot in the Danish naval air force in 1935 and an experienced pilot when he escaped Denmark following the German occupation.

    He is appointed to commissioned rank of Temp Flying Officer (C.3000) in the Special Reserve, General List of RCAF on 30 Oct 1940. He is struck off strength on 28 Feb 1942 by reason of resignation. In of the letters of recommendation he receives when leaving the 13 (Operational Training) Squadron it is mentioned, that he was a "staff pilot" in RCAF before joining this squadron.

    He is "taken on as Captain" (his own words) at RAFTC Dorval in May 1942 delivering his first aircraft during the same month and the last on Oct 1942.

    He signs a contract with Chinese National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) on Nov 1942 and flying for this corporation on the Hump from Dec 1942. CNAC took on several former RCAF and ATA pilots in the fall of 1942. He was employed by CNAC until his death in a flying accident in 1948.

    For more on the man please refer to:
    http://danishww2pilots.dk/profiles.php?alpha=s&id=175

    Regards

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
    fb.me/britainsvictorydenmarksfreedom
    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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