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Thread: Introduction and Looking into the service life of RCAF WO James Horne

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    Default Introduction and Looking into the service life of RCAF WO James Horne

    Hello All,

    quick introduction, my name is Ken Horne. I am researching the life of my uncle James Horne in hopes of producing a package for my young son Jimmy.

    WO James Horne (RCAF) died 27 April 1944, a navigator on a 619 squadron Lancaster. I have his log book, a 4 page set of photocopies from the Canadian govt giving dates of posting, leave, promotions etc., and the "regret to inform" letters sent from the government. I have done a fair bit of reading of late, including the Middlebrook books, about a half dozen RCAF bomber command memoirs and 619 Forgotten Squadron. So I have quite a few hard details, but am now looking for some of the softer stuff, like, "what did they learn at 9 Elementary Flight Training School, RAF Ansty?"

    I've been reading the posts on this forum and into the archives, and this looks like the place to be. So if it's ok with all of you I'd like to ask some questions. With any luck I can provide some meager bit if anyone might have a question I may be able to answer.

    My first question is, "Where should I be posting questions like this?.

    Thanks in advance and am looking forward to meeting you all.

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    Hello

    Welcome to the forum.

    If you have the log-book, it should explain the nature of the flights he made within that Elementary Flying (not Flight) Training School. Unless he initially started as a pupil pilot under training, but was "washed out" at some point, and remustered as a Navigator. The record of service you seem to have should give some details / confirmation about this.

    EFTS is the first step in flying training, after ground training at Initial Training Wing/Squadron. Successfull pupil pilots were then sent to Service Flying Training School, where they would get their wings upon graduation.

    A typical Navigator training syllabus would be Air Observer School, possibly Bombing & Gunnery school, Air Navigation School, (Observers) Advanced Flying Unit, Operational Training Unit, Heavy Conversion Unit, Lancaster Finishing School, Squadron.

    You may wish to ask the the Library Archives of Canada at Ottawa for the "genealogy package" for your uncle. This package is free, you just have to be patient (very patient). You can also ask for a copy of the full file, but you'll have to pay for this. Provide them with the full ID, service number, date of death.

    Second source which would interest you, is the Squadron(s) Operations Record Book ? Copies are held at The National Archives in Kew, London. As you are in Canada, either you hire a private researcher there, or you can buy it online, month by month. This would help you to have more details about the operations he flew, if he always flew with the same crew but may have flown one or two ops with another one, as a spare Navigator, the Lancasters he flew, etc...

    Hope this helps

    Joss

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    Hi Joss,

    Thank you for your reply.

    I believe that he went directly into navigational school as his records don't seem to indicate any time in the air in any capacity other than navigator. His first three postings were 3 MD Edmonton, 4 ITS Edmonton, and 2 AOS Edmonton. At what point was the decision made as to which route one would take, assuming that you didn't wash out of your first choice of pilot?

    His postings in England included 3 PRC, 9 Elementary Flying Training School, 3 OAFU, 16 OTU, 1661 CU, and 5 LFS, 619 Squadron. He enlisted in March of '42 and died April of '44.

    I think that it may be the Genealogy package that I have, not sure. What type of information is held in the full file. I'm not adverse to paying for the file if it has some interesting information.

    I haven't purchased the 619 ORB for the 4 months he was posted there. That sounds like another good idea. Other than his initial second navigator trip all his operations, including his Wellington nickel trip were with Flight Sergeant Rob Whinfield.

    Thanks again, and I'm afraid probably a few more questions to come.

    Ken Horne,
    Edmonton, Canada
    Last edited by Kenny Horne; 6th February 2014 at 20:10.

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    Ken,
    I've just come across your posting, and can only say, hold on for while from buying the ORB, as i already have it on order. Once i get it, i will be able to help you out with copies.
    Alan.

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    Your a good chap Allen
    Researching my father's time with 50 Squadron, 97 Squadron, Dulug Luft, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357 and Stalag Luft III.

    http://wallyswar.wordpress.com/

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    Hello Ken,

    With the complete list of postings, I'd say that he was in the Navigator trade from the beginning. The EFTS posting came after his arrival in U.K., and it may have been while waiting for the (O) AFU next course to start. Does his log-book show any flights during the period he was with this EFTS ?

    The "genealogy package" as we call it (it's not an official name) is up to 20 pages, and usually contains the record of service, with postings, dates, musterings, etc... What you may specifically ask is the MRES (Missing Research & Enquiry Service) investigation papers. These documents may be distressful, but would give details about the crash, location, burial (he may have been initally buried in one first place, and moved to a permanent burial site later). Go first for that, and then you'll decide if you want the full file. You may also see it by yourself in the archives in Ottawa.

    As for the ORBs, follow Alan's suggestion. You can decide to check the other units, as least those in U.K., as the documents are also held at Kew. Apart the HCU ORBs which should be found, for 1944, in the station ORB. Most HCU own ORBs stop in December 1943 and seem to have been continued in the station ORB. But don't expect too much from them. I'm checking training units archives for families of Bomber Command airmen, when time permits, and it's often disappointing, but one has to check all available sources in order to be sure not to miss a tiny detail.

    Good luck in your research

    Joss

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    Hi Alan,

    Thanks for the ORB offer, I can certainly wait.

    Joss, Thanks for the tip, I will send for the genealogy package, Should be of value. I do have many telegram/letters from the Dpt. of National Defence from the original "missing" telegram to the final burial in Durnbach. Sadly five of the bodies were unidentifiable and they were buried in a mass grave. I can only imagine the anxiety that those letters caused. They were carrying a second pilot, so 8 in the crew. Seven bodies were recovered, the second pilot parachuted to safety. It took a while for authorities to figure it all out. This left a faint hope in the letters that as most of the bodies were unidentified, and one was unaccounted for...

    His log book indicates what I imagine to be a lovely 9 flights in a Tiger Moth above springtime Warwickshire. Duties included Pinpointing, Cross Country, and Recce. report. 10:05 Flying Time 28-3-1943 to 14-4-1943

    Thanks guys, I'll keep on working.

    Ken Horne,
    Edmonton, Canada

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    Hey guys,

    Just reporting in. We have had the most powerful weekend. My family and I are lucky enough to live a short four hours drive from the Bomber Command Museum of Canada, and to commemorate 90 years of the RCAF they pulled their Lancaster onto the tarmac last night and started all four Merlins in a cold dark night. See link for a great photo:
    http://www.bombercommandmuseum.ca/ph...2014rcaf1a.pdf

    Through a long story/twist of fate, my son Jimmy and I were allowed up into the cockpit today. My Uncle Jimmy's fatal flight to Schweinfurt was literally 70 years ago to the second while there was my own son Jimmy standing at the navigator's station inside this Lancaster. As I say, a very powerful moment.

    I want to thank everyone who has helped me on my biography of my Uncle, some directly, and many more indirectly though this site. What was to be a short few pages has turned into about 12000 words, with a few thousand more to go. Of course if I was truly a writer, I could then edit it down to the small document I first envisioned, but of course that's another story...

    Take care,

    Kenny Horne,
    Nanton, Canada

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