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Thread: Curious blank weeks between RAF training postings. Any thoughts?

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    Default Curious blank weeks between RAF training postings. Any thoughts?

    Hi everyone,

    I have a bit of a tough question, as by definition what I'm asking about is a bit of a time vacuum. I wonder if anyone has any conjectures as to what my uncle may have been up to in the seven weeks (16 April 1943 - 8 June 1943) between being struck off charge 9 Elementary Flying Training School and being taken on strength 3 Observers Advanced Flying Unit.

    I have read a few memoirs that relate what the lads got up to while waiting at 3 Personnel Receiving Centre Bournemouth, but this one I can't imagine, if for no other reason as he doesn't seem to be attached to any unit, if only even a holding unit like 3PRC.

    Obviously I'm not expecting much here, but just a guess.

    Thanks again,

    Kenny Horne
    Edmonton, Canada

    EDIT - Boy as soon as you hit the post button, something strikes a memory... There is a line in his service record that I skipped over months ago because I did not understand it. I still don't understand it, but I am certain that it is the key to my question. The line under "Postings, Attachments & Temporary Postings" looks like it reads "Att. 3PRC to 54 Div. 7/19-5-43." The first "A" is a guess, tough to read the script. Under the heading "Type of Leave," it reads 25-5-43 to 28-5-43, 4 days, Priv. Leave."

    So it looks like he was back to 3PRC to do naught, with a 4-day leave in the middle to break apart the naught.

    Anyway, still any thoughts would be helpful.

    Thanks
    Last edited by Kenny Horne; 15th May 2014 at 02:27. Reason: Faulty memory

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    Hi Kenny,

    I my past researches there were situations when an airman was with some unit like depot or any other unit waiting for further posting, mostly due to the reason that there was no free capacity in courses and he had to wait for the new one when the previous ones will be finished.
    May be this your uncles case?

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

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    Hi Pavel,

    Thanks for the reply. I suspect that you are correct. If one was posted to 3PRC Bournmouth, was it a physical requirement to be in Bournemouth, or was it a bit more of a bureaucratic posting? I'm not even sure what I'm suggesting, but as I understand it if you were on strength to "Y" Depot Halifax, Canada, you may just as likely be in New York, awaiting transport. I may be simply thinking out loud here...

    Just trying to fill in some of the less obvious blanks in mu uncle's career. Still this respite accounts for over 8% of his short life. Ouch.

    Kenny

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    Kenny, Hi,
    When one was at Square Bashing and one was required to go to some far part of the Square Bashing Camp, one would be best advised to have a piece of paper in one’s hand so as not to be apprehended by some DI/Discip Cpl, on the way, and given some other order.
    You might need to investigate the profession/art of “Skiving”. This is a way of avoiding unpleasant duties. The upper levels of this profession/art are about “Skiving”, and with a “Chit” to prove it!
    Hands up all those who have been in the RAF (or associated with it) and who have not – given the opportunity – ‘skived’? Not a movement was seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    I have an RCAF Sergeant-pilot training in England who went to 20 (P) AFU on 1944.Feb.17.
    Next entry is to 1520 BAT Flt on1944.May.09.

    During that time-period, in a letter home dated 1944.April.26, he writes that he is back flying after about 4 weeks holiday.
    There is an anomaly in his service career during that time (1944.Mar.14):
    Another RCAF man with the same first name, middle initial, surname, and close birthdate was killed on ops.
    After a series of unfortunate clerical errors, my man was temporarily listed as KIA.
    I have been wondering if the mistake of him being listed as KIA had anything to do with him being given 4 weeks leave.

    It goes to show that various situations could have arisen that, when found out, may contribute to the accuracy of your service profile.

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    Thanks guys,

    These un- or under-recorded moments are fascinating in a way, as they account for quite a period of time. About clerical errors, I'm always wondering if any of those poor clerks ever imagined or gave a second thought that these records, their notations, would be scoured over all these years later.

    In my original post I mentioned a notation "Att. 3PRC to 54 Div." Any ideas what 54 Div might be?

    Kenny

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    Hi Kenny

    54 Div will be 54th Division, an Army unit.

    Malcolm

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    Thanks Malcolm,

    That's interesting. Do you imagine that this was common? I'm sure at the time the airmen would have been a little frustrated being temporarily assigned to an army unit, but in hindsight, it might have been a bit of an adventure, even if it was only digging slit trenches, or unloading trucks.

    Kenny

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    Kenny,
    I imagine that an attachment of an RAF airman to an Army formation such as a Division (strictly speaking, a Division ws NOT a unit, because most were generally of a temporary nature, that is, wartime only, and were very large in size - an infantry Division probably included 15,000 or so personnel, all members of various units or of other formations) and would have to have been organised and approved at a moderately high level, and would have to be for a good reason. At least it would have to be justified in some way, and somebody either in Air Ministry or War Office would be the instigator, or at least approved it, but the actual reason for such an attachment may or may not be mentioned in the personal file - even it a copy of the attachment was originally included in the file, much of the miscellaneous documents have been 'purged' during the intervening years. Possibly surviving documentation from 54 Division may include a brief reference to this attachment, if you are really lucky, and might even include the reasons behind it. It should not be too hard to find where this Division was located at this time by reference to Mr (or Mrs?) Google.
    David D

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    Also worth noting that from quite early in 1944, all the operational training establishments in the UK (and in Canada) were going flat out to build up reserves of aircrew for the coming "Great Day", the long-awaited invasion of mainland Europe. The courses were booked up for months ahead, and the giant training machine was going full throttle, but if you happened to arrive from Canada as a newly graduated 'sprog' during this time you might well be kicking your heals for several months waiting to get into a course at one of the Advance Flying Units, let a lone the OTUs. Most of these men had to mark time, and could go and track down long-lost relatives in the UK, or be posted to short training courses (such as anti-gas), or go and see all the new movies and shows in London, or even study Scotland or the English countryside! Others were also encouraged to investigate their chances for participating in the post-war boom in industry, and attempt to gain some advantage for themselves by arranging visits to any modern industry which held interest for them. Of course you had to have a reporting address with one of the PRCs, so that you could be found again at reasonably short notice, as it was a fact that, with the best will in the world, you would not be a member of an operational crew before the Great Day arrived, and probably not even for many months after that. I have seen histories of men in this situation who barely got operational by VE-Day. Also by July off 1944 (after suffering unexpectedly light losses during the invasion stage) the training schools in Canada (and Australia and NZ) were told not to send any more trained aircrew to the UK because accommodation there had reached crisis point, and the whole Empire Air Training Scheme (known as BCATP in Canada) had to slow down, by cutting new intakes, and in Canada by slowing and extending the courses. You can imagine that there were many 'blanks' in the records of service of these men, through no fault of their own.
    David D

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