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Thread: Gaps in Grandfathers flying logs. Confused?

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    Default Gaps in Grandfathers flying logs. Confused?

    There are some gaps on my grandfathers flying logs that I'm trying to understand and work out what he may have been doing. To my knowledge he wasn't injured or in any hospitals.

    The first one is -

    Last flight 102 Squadron - mid November 1943.
    Join 1667 Conversion Unit - 20th January 1944. Where had he gone in between?

    Another gap is from his first flight at 150 Squadron on Nov 29th 1944 to next flight in Feb 1945. Again what were the airmen doing between operations? Especially a gap of several months. Confused ?

    Thanks for your help
    Sam

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    Hi Sam,

    it will be very useful if you can provide us more information like if for exmaple he was ending a tour with 102 Sq?
    It general the gaps should be (except stay in hospital):
    - leave after end of operational tour,
    - some courses.
    From my own eperience gap of a week or two is not uncommon but few months are not so usual.

    HTH

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

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    The period in question is of course in the middle of winter, when many airfields throughout southern England (where most of Bomber Commnad was located) as well as Scotland would be deep in snow. Early in the war this could be a major problem, with many airfiflds out of commission and closed for flying, for weeks on some occasions. However by winter of 1943/44 I would have thought that that the equipment available for clearing snow, as well as enabling aircraft crews to return to their own airfields safely would have been much improved, but this is mere supposition on my part. However some winters were real shockers, although the worst one I know of during the 1940s period was actually after the war, in 1946/47.
    David D

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    Hi Guys

    I've been studying my Grandfathers flying logs and I'm struggling to understand some gaps between flights/Squadrons

    My Grandfather was at 150 Squadron from Nov 1944 to May 1945 - below is his history whilst at that Squadron.

    Pilot F/O Tolman on Nov 29th 1944, Lancaster JB613, Operation Dortmund. Notes say Shot up over target, 16 flak holes in starboard wing. Day flight lasting 5.05 hrs.
    F/O Marriott on Feb 3rd 1945, Lancaster no serial, Operation Bottrop. No notes. Night flight lasting 6.05 hrs.
    Attachment to B.D.U - F/O Andrew, Feb 13th, Halifax III, Loran Familiarisation. Day flight lasting 2.00 hrs.
    F/O Jackson, Feb 13th, Halifax III, French Cross Country Loran. Night flight lasting 5.15 hrs.
    F/O Shaw, Feb 22nd, Lancaster U, Operation Dusseldorf D.N.C.O. He was Captain and Navigator instead of just Navigator on this flight. Day flight lasting 3.30 hrs.
    F/O Shaw, March 1st, Lancaster no serial, Operation Mannheim. Captain and Nav again. Day flights lasting 7.00 hrs.
    F/O Shaw, March 11th, Lancaster no serial, Operation Essen. Captain and Nav again. Day flight lasting 5.45 hrs.
    F/O Shaw, April 9th, Lancaster R, Operation Kiel, Night flight lasting 6.25 hrs.
    F/O Talbot, April 14th, Lancaster R, Operation Pottsdam, Night flight lasting 9.00 hrs.
    F/O Shaw, April 22nd, Lancaster N, Operation Bremen, Night flight lasting 5.00 hrs.
    S/Ldr Hare, April 30th, Lancaster A, Supply Dropping The Hague, Day flight lasting 3.30 hrs.
    S/Ldr Hare, May 2nd, Lancaster A, Supply Dropping Rotterdam, Day flight lasting 2.50 hrs.
    S/Ldr Hare, May 3rd, Lancaster H, Supply Dropping Rotterdam, Day flight lasting 3.00 hrs.
    Wing/Cdr Rippon, May 26th, Lancaster S, Ruhr Tour, Day flight lasting 6.00 hrs.

    The gap I am curious about is between flights 1 and 2. A gap of just over 2 months. Then a 10 day gap before his attachment to B.D.U for a week. Only 2 flights in March 10 days apart. 4 in April then a gap of 13 days in May.

    Similar gaps on his Flying Logs appear with other Squadrons - he completed his first tour with 102 Squadron on 12th Nov 1943 but then had a gap until 20th Jan 1944 when he joined 1667 Heavy Conversion Unit.

    His last flight with 1667 was 15th March 1944 then a gap until 29th November 1944 when he first flies with 150 Squadron at RAF Hemswell.

    Im just wondering what airmen did between flights. To survive one flight is an achievement so I understand not flying 7 days a week. I'm curious of gaps of weeks and months. What did they do whilst between Squadrons?

    Thankyou

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    Sam
    I'm not able to provide answers to your specific questions as I have limited knowledge on the subject.
    So, please excuse what may be stupid questions concerning the following:

    =================================
    F/O Shaw, Feb 22nd, Lancaster U, Operation Dusseldorf D.N.C.O. He was Captain and Navigator instead of just Navigator on this flight. Day flight lasting 3.30 hrs.
    F/O Shaw, March 1st, Lancaster no serial, Operation Mannheim. Captain and Nav again. Day flights lasting 7.00 hrs.
    F/O Shaw, March 11th, Lancaster no serial, Operation Essen. Captain and Nav again. Day flight lasting 5.45 hrs.
    =================================

    What is meant when it states that he "was Captain and Navigator instead of just Navigator" on these ops?
    Does it mean that he was the Navigator on those ops but he had higher rank than the Pilot?
    Does it mean that he was the Pilot actually flying the Lancaster (Captain) and also did the Navigating?

    You see, the wording seems to imply that he was both flying the Lancaster plus performing the duties of Navigator.
    Also, if you are permitted, what is your grandfather's name, rank, service number, and trade qualifications (Pilot, Flight Engineer, Navigator, bomb aimer, etc.?

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    Hi Sam,

    A couple of thoughts but until you get his service record they are just assumptions on my part.

    After he finished his tour with 102 Squadron he would have been screened from further ops and sent to 1667 Heavy Conversion Unit for a period as an instructor to new aircrew who were converting from twin engined aircraft to the four engined 'heavies'. As a Navigator Instructor his flying time while at HCU would be minimal as the crews would already be expected to get from A to B and back again without any hands on instruction unlike Pilot Instructors who would often accompany pupil crews at HCU.
    His time would be taken up instructing aircrew on the use of new navigational equipment, classroom based lectures and generally giving the fledgling crews the benefit of his experiences flying on ops. Some hated it and couldn't wait for a return to operations while others were found to have qualities beneficial to teaching new crews and so were kept on as instructors rather than commence a second tour.

    It looks like he might have had a bigger role at 150 Squadron other than just a Navigator on a crew, I'm thinking possibly Squadron or Station Navigation Leader or similar as he doesn't seem do that many ops but as you show he is Navigator and Captain on some of these flights so he does seem to have a greater responsibility than you would normally see.

    Hopefully when his service record comes through it will list the courses he undertook and give a clearer picture of his roles.

    Rgds

    Pete

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    grounded, Hi,
    There is a possible comparison here to the Navy, and a Battleship, and a Fleet. The Admiral goes to sea in charge of a Fleet (or similar). He is actually on a Battleship. He is the Mission Commander, but the Captain of the Battleship has overall Command over the ship and all who sail in her!! Same like now in Air Forces! Mission Commanders, nowadays, may not even be qualified aircrew (Wiggly-Amps experts!). Indeed, they may not even be in the aircraft (or those, today, who are actually 'flying' it?!). The Pilot/Captain of an aircraft has as far as I am aware overall command of the airframe, and those therein. But where he flies it may well be the task not of him/her!
    But when the subtle change from Pilot In Command to Mission Commander came about is, I would suggest, a bit blurred. Your Nav/Captain may be one of the earliest occasions?
    I flew, as a Reserve Officer Met Observer, in an Andover some 20 mins ahead of a huge stream of 36 x JATFOR Hercs fullof paras. We - that is the Andover Captain and me - were The Weather Recce! If we entered cloud the Captain (and/or Nav) would count "One, Two, Three, Four". If we were not out of the murk the Captain would look at me and raise an eyebrow. If I raised my thumb we would continue. If I put my thumb down then he would issue the command "Scatter, scatter, scatter". At this point 36 Hercs would (according to a carefully planned system) climb from low-level to safety altitude (and, incidentally, give SRATC an immediate order for new underpants!!!)
    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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    Sam, apologies for butting in on your thread...

    Peter,
    In the case of Sam's grandfather being the Captain/Navigator of a Lancaster on ops, did he have the authority to give orders to the Pilot?
    Also, how would an aircrew member other than the Pilot, onboard a heavy bomber on a WW2 operational sortie, come to be designated as Captain?

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    Hi Sam,

    While you are waiting for his service history you might look at the back pages of his logbook where airmen would document their postings. You might find units where no flying would occur thus no log book entries. Also, the state of medical science was not like it is today (penicillin was only sporadically available in the early 1940's) so it was not uncommon to be sick/medically grounded for weeks - this should be documented in his service history - this explains a gap in my uncles flying while the rest of his crew was flying. You might also want to get a copy of the ORB's of 102 and 150 squadrons to see what flying was going on during those gaps?

    Cheers
    Rodger
    Last edited by rmventuri; 24th May 2014 at 18:24. Reason: correction
    In remembrance of the crew of Halifax HR732
    51 Squadron Snaith - All LWT Leipzig 4 December 1943

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    Hi Grounded,

    Regarding "who is the Captain?". I have spoken to a Halifax Pilot about this years ago. While on ops at 51 squadron the C Flight Squadron Leader (Nav) would occasionally spare bod with him and his crew. He told be that once aboard the aircraft the Pilot was Captain and in command (of his aircraft) no matter what the rank of the rest of the crew. This was during 1943-45 but I believe it was consistent throughout the war.

    Cheers
    Rodger
    In remembrance of the crew of Halifax HR732
    51 Squadron Snaith - All LWT Leipzig 4 December 1943

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