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Thread: 1942-1944 Navigator's Log Book - Understanding the language

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    Default 1942-1944 Navigator's Log Book - Understanding the language

    Good Day Gentlemen,

    I am going through my Uncle Jimmy’s (W/O2 James Horne R150052 Navigator RCAF d-27-4-1944) log book, trying to get a reasonable estimation as to his duties. I have been trying as best as I can to decipher the meanings of his log entries, and have a fair idea about most of it. I hope that perhaps the group could correct my mistakes or enlighten me on points that I have no clue.

    The following entries were recorded while navigating in Avro Ansons at 2 Air Observers School Edmonton, Canada

    W/V by TR & G/S – (his 2nd exercise at 2 AOS)??? Bill's reply - "W/V by TR & G/S means determining wind velocity (speed and direction) using the observed track (path over the ground) and ground speed (determined by the time to cover a known distance over the ground). If you also have the true airspeed (calculated from indicated airspeed, altitude and air temperature) and heading (direction the nose is pointing) you can calculate the wind."
    Airplot - ??? Bill's reply "Today an air plot is a sort of a log, a graphical way of keeping track of airspeeds, headings and times. If you can compare the air plot to your actual position, you can determine average winds, or, if you know the winds (from a forecast for example) you can turn the airplot into a ground track and predicted present position. Depending on the accuracy of the wind forecasts, and the navigator's skill, this prediction may or may not be your present position. It might be the best you can get if you are flying over an overcast."
    Astro Compass - a navigational tool for determining the direction of true north through the positions of various astronomical bodies.
    D/F – Direction Finding, Direction finding (DF), or radio direction finding (RDF), refers to the measurement of the direction from which a received signal was transmitted. This can refer to radio or other forms of wireless communication. By combining the direction information from two or more suitably spaced receivers (or a single mobile receiver), the source of a transmission may be located in space via triangulation.
    Sextant Shots –, Celestial navigation using a sextant is a complex and involved process that involves a fair amount of calculating, correcting, referring to tables, knowledge of the heavens and the Earth, as well as a lot of common sense. Both longitude and latitude can be determined on a clear night.
    D/R or D.R. – Dead Reckoning, is the process of calculating one's current position by using a previously determined position, or fix, and advancing that position based upon known or estimated speeds over elapsed time and course.
    Pinpointing - ??? Bill's reply - "I think pinpointing is using two or more D/F bearings to determine position, but others may correct me."
    D.R. by D/F - ? Dead Reckoning using Direction Finding transmissions to correct errors caused by drift ???
    D.R. by Astro Compass - Dead Reckoning using Astro Compass sighting to correct errors
    D.R. by Airplot - ???

    The following entries were recorded while navigating in DeHavilland Tiger Moths at 9 EFTS RAF Ansty, England.

    Pinpointing - ???
    Cross Country - a training flight involving navigation exercises (like several points that the aircraft should fly over during the exercise).
    Recce. Report - ??? Bill's reply "A Recce. Report (Reconnaissance Report) would be written notes on observations made along the way. This was part of a navigator's training. This information would be collected after a flight, and used for things like updating information on the location of searchlights and flak."

    The following entries were recorded while navigating in Avro Ansons at 3 OAFU RAF Bobbington, England.

    Example from Jimmy’s log book, “Base, Andover, Bassingbourne, Abingdon, Base.”??? For a total of 16:05 hours Day and 17:05 hours night. Are these flights considered Cross Country exercises?


    The following entries were recorded while navigating in Vickers Wellingtons at 16 OTU RAF Barford St. John, England

    HLB – High Level Bombing exercises.
    NFT – Night Flying Test, systems check during the daytime in preparations for a night flight.
    Fighter Affiliation – simulation exercise including “enemy” fighters. (these fighters could have been anything from Magisters to Mosquitos.) Evasive techniques such as Corkscrew would have been practiced. This was a relatively dangerous exercise, with many reported aircraft and aircrew losses reported.
    Bullseye – simulation exercise including an entire bombing run onto a “enemy” target. These targets were English cities which responded with searchlight and other defensive measures short of firing flak. Another dangerous exercise as the flight times were long, often with routes taking the aircraft far over the channel and back, in the dark and with other aircraft in the air. Again, many losses were reported.
    Nickel – Full on operation into enemy territory to drop propaganda leaflets. Jimmy’s destination was Tours France, south west of Paris. A night mission 5:10 hours in duration.

    The following entries were recorded while navigating in Halifaxs and Lancasters at 1661 CU and 5 LFS at RAF Winthorpe and RAF Syerston, England

    Familiarization – both Halifax and Lancaster
    Circuits – repeated touch and go landings
    Ex. 10A-21 – Though I have not found examples of exercises that exactly match these numbers, the ones I have seen regularly mention familiarization, circuits and bumps, three engine flying and landing, air-to-air firing, air-to-sea firing, and fighter affiliation.

    There you have it. If anyone could correct any assumptions I have made above or enlighten me on the following it would be greatly appreciated.

    Airplot - ?
    Pinpointing - ?
    Recce. Report - ?


    Thanks so much,

    Kenny Horne
    Edmonton Canada
    Last edited by Kenny Horne; 12th February 2014 at 19:52.

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    Hi Kenny;

    W/V by TR & G/S means determining wind velocity (speed and direction) using the observed track (path over the ground) and ground speed (determined by the time to cover a known distance over the ground). If you also have the true airspeed (calculated from indicated airspeed, altitude and air temperature) and heading (direction the nose is pointing) you can calculate the wind.

    I think pinpointing is using two or more D/F bearings to determine position, but others may correct me.

    Today an air plot is a sort of a log, a graphical way of keeping track of airspeeds, headings and times. If you can compare the air plot to your actual position, you can determine average winds, or, if you know the winds (from a forecast for example) you can turn the airplot into a ground track and predicted present position. Depending on the accuracy of the wind forecasts, and the navigator's skill, this prediction may or may not be your present position. It might be the best you can get if you are flying over an overcast.

    A Recce. Report (Reconnaissance Report) would be written notes on observations made along the way. This was part of a navigator's training. This information would be collected after a flight, and used for things like updating information on the location of searchlights and flak.

    The exercise numbers varied from school to school. They are exactly the sort of things you describe, but it saves a lot of writing in logs and reports. If you can get any of the records of the schools you may be able to put full names to the numbers.


    Everything else you have looks good to me.

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    Thank you Bill,

    Once I get finished with this I will edit my original post. As ever, I'm grateful that a group such as this exists and is so helpful.

    Would anyone out there have information of the curriculum used at 5 LFS 1668 CU "A" flight RAF Syerston, late December '43-January '44?

    Thanks again,

    Kenny

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    Hi,

    A air plot is when you plot the course without accounting for wind. So when you get a land fix fix, you can determine the wind effect. Or if you know the wind, you can get a D.R. position.

    Pinpointing is when you determine your location by recognizing a landmark. So you may see lighthouse etc, and use this to fix your position on the ground.

    Although D.R. is dead reckoning in this case, it can also be used when talking about the distant reading compass (D.R. Compass). On the Lancaster, the main compass (master unit) is located down by the crew door to reduce interference, and the reading is displayed (repeated) to the pilot and navigator.

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    Default HCU Curriculum

    This is from an old post in 2006 , it's the curriculum at 1664 HCU rather than 1668, but the time frame is bang on.

    HughAHalliday (1354 posts) Click to EMail HughAHalliday Click to send private message to HughAHalliday Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
    30-Dec-06, 09:22 PM (GMT)
    "HCU Curriculum"

    I was recently looking at the RCAF service file of Gordon Ridge Vincent, DFC (killed in action, 28/29 July 1944). Among the things shown was a description of his course at No.1664 HCU (4 December 1943 to 12 January 1944). The detail was quite striking. Whether this was (or was not) typical I cannot say, but I reproduce it here for any who might be interested or may have comments:
    1. Familiarization (45 minutes dual).
    2. Dual Circuits and Bumps (2.00 dual)
    3. Dual Circuits and Bumps, Overshoots (2.00 dual)
    4. Three-Engine Flying (30 minutes dual before going solo)
    5. Solo Circuits and Bumps (2.10 solo)
    6. Dual Check Including Overshoot (25 minutes dual)
    7. Circuits and Bumps with Three-Engine Flying (1.30 solo)
    8. Circuits and Bumps in general flying and bomb aiming (1.20 solo),
    9. Three Engine Landings and Overshoots (1.10 dual)
    10. Solo with complete crew, air-to-sea firing, bombing, W/T practice, Gee and map reading (3.10 as captain).
    11. Solo with complete crew, air-to-air firing, 16,000 foor climb, general flying (3.10 as captain)
    12. Dual, complete crew, fighter affiliation, air-to-sea firing, SBA (1.00 dual)
    13. Complete crew fighter affiliation - apparently not carried out.
    14. Complete crew, air to air firing, bombing - apparently not carried out.
    15. Dual night Circuits and Bumps (1.55 dual)
    16. Solo night Circuits and Bumps (2.15)
    17. Solo day cross-country with full crew (4.15 as captain)
    18. Solo night cross-country and night bombing with full crew (4.30)
    19. Solo night cross-country with full crew - apparently not carried out.

    Totals at No.1664 Conversion Unit were 9.45 dual and 22.20 as captain.

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    I know this is a bit later than your timescales but when this was previously discussed (not sure if it was on here or another forum), there were various schedules submitted including this one which I believe was contained in a memo entitled "Heavy Conversion Flying Syllabus" sent from Bomber Command HQ (for approval by the various Groups) in July 1944:

    Familiarisation: Demonstration by instructor of taxiing, take-off, landing and general flying (DAY)
    Dual - Drills, take-off, landings, climb, turns, overshoot, 3 engine-flying (DAY)
    Dual - Take-off, landings, prevention of swing, feathering, fire drills, two engined flying, stalling, overshoot on three engines (DAY)
    Solo - Take-off and landings, general handling (DAY)
    Dual - Check (DAY)
    Solo - Take-off and landings, general handling (DAY)
    Dual - Fast climb. Banking, diving turn, corkscrew, instrument flying, fighter affiliation (2 files? Per air gunner) (DAY)
    Solo - Tactical manouvres, three engine flying, fighter affiliation (2 files per air gunner), boming (6? Bombs) (DAY)
    Dual - Bombing run, crew co-operation, standard beam approach, bombing (? Bombs) (DAY)
    Solo - Tactical manouvres, two engine flying, instrument flying, standard beam approach, bombing (6 bombs), air over sea firing (100 rounds per gun) (DAY)
    Solo - Fighter affiliation (2 files per air gunner), bombing (1 stick of 2 bombs) (DAY)
    Solo - H2S manipulation, bombing (1 stick of 2 bombs) (DAY)
    Solo - Climb to operational height, H2S training, bombing (1 stick of 2 bombs) (DAY)
    Solo - Cross country, H2S training, bombing (1 stick of 2 bombs), air over sea firing (200 rounds per gun) (DAY)
    Dual - Circuits and Landing (NIGHT)
    Dual - Circuits and Landing (NIGHT)
    Solo - Circuits and Landing (NIGHT)
    Dual - Tactical manouvres, evasion from searchlights, crew co-operation, engine handling, night fighter affiliation, bombing (1 stick of 2 bombs or flashlight exercise) (NIGHT)
    Solo - Tactical manouvres, evasion from searchlights, crew co-operation, engine handling, night fighter affiliation, bombing (1 stick of 2 bombs or flashlight exercise) (NIGHT)
    Solo - Cross country or bullseye exercise, bombing (2 sticks of 2 bombs or flashlight), night fighter affiliation, air over sea firing (200 rounds per gun) (NIGHT)
    Solo - Cross country, H2S training, bombing (1 stick of 2 bombs), air over sea firing (200 rounds per gun) (NIGHT)

    Regards

    Pete

    (Note: I did put the four different listings that were submitted onto a spreadsheet, so if you want to see the variations, e-mail me and I will send a copy to you)
    Last edited by PeteT; 13th February 2014 at 12:07.
    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]

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    Hi Guys,
    Thanks for the details,

    David, yes I saw that post, but I neglected the fact that is was nearly to the date the same as my Uncle's. Makes it just that much more interesting :-)
    Pete, thanks for that detailed description of the exercises, it gives me a clearer idea as to what each of these days would have felt like. This would have been a very stressful and busy time for the students. (What are pre-operational aircrew referred as?) I am beginning to appreciate how difficult the pre-operational time was, from the first days in the Manning Depot to the final Bullseye with, in my Uncle's case, 619 Squadron.

    Thanks again,

    Kenny Horne
    Last edited by Kenny Horne; 13th February 2014 at 15:38. Reason: spelling mistake on my own name...

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    Kenny

    You may be interested in reading the content of this thread as it sheds more light on HCU: http://sas.raf38group.org/forum/view...php?f=6&t=2072

    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]

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    Thanks for the link Pete,

    Of course now I have an entirely new web forum's archives to read :-)

    In my journey to understand and document my uncle's life, I essentially began at the end, wondering how his final flight wound down, but more and more I have found that researching and writing about his pre-operational days has informed me on so many levels. Many thanks to all who have helped me so far,

    Kenny

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    Kenny,

    I too am researching a navigator’s logbook for 2AOS Edmonton.

    LAC Sharp’s logbook shows first flight at 2AOS on 28-Mar-1943 and last flight 30-Sep-1943. His logbook shows no flying for July and August 1943. It appears he started one course and finished another. His navigator’s certificate states, Navigation Course from 31/5/43 to 15/10/43. Do you know what course number this is please?

    I went to the Edmonton museum in March 2014 but found little. I was hoping for a course description and photos for each course. All I found was a museum photo of an Anson Mk I with the same serial number as one of the entries in Sharp’s logbook. I did however meet Jerry, who was a flight line mechanic in 1943 who told me about the number of navigation training flights per day and preparing the Anson aircraft outside in the bitter cold. “A” Flight put up 30 Ansons daily in three shifts, morning, afternoon and night.

    Any info you might like to share with me would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    David

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