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Thread: Bomber Command terms used on Battle Orders 'Drying Room' 'Ration crew' 'Transport'

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    Default Bomber Command terms used on Battle Orders 'Drying Room' 'Ration crew' 'Transport'

    Can anyone tell me what these terms used on Battle Orders for a 1 Group Lancaster Squadron mean? Members of crews who were not flying on the operation that the Battle Order relates to are assigned duties on the Station. 2 crewmen in the 'Ration Crew', 1 in 'Transport'(to report to Flying control one hour before take off) and others in the 'Drying Room'. Any ideas what these jobs were.
    Also a duty WOP(Air) is assigned for each Battle Order with a 'spare WOP(Air) as well. What is the difference between the two? Presumably the spare WOP could be called on at the last minute to take the place of an absent/sick WOP who was assigned to fly the op but what is a 'Duty WOP'!? Any help appreciated

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    Barnsley, Hi,

    Sheer guesswork (in the absence of ‘them wot know’!).

    Ration Crew. Most of the in-flight rations (sandwiches, coffee, etc) would probably have been prepared in the Airman’s Mess. There would have been a large number of packs to be handed out in a short period of time. A couple of ‘spare bods’ to make sure every crew got what they were supposed to get would be a good idea.

    Transport. A ‘spare bod’ in ATC to take care of any unforeseen MT circumstances with gharries/coaches/drivers, etc, etc, would be a good idea.

    Drying Room. No idea! One supposes that some bits of kit went to be dhobi’d – but why they needed a ‘spare bod’ there prior to an Op escapes me! Unless the Drying Room was where the crew parachutes were hung, and dried, before the SEWs packed them. He who accidentally snagged the ‘D-handle’ on the way to the a/c would need a new chute (and – I suspect – a large amount of money to pay the subsequent Bar Bill!!)

    Duty WoP(Air). ‘spare bod’ to cover any pre-flight changes (from Main Briefing) in frequencies, colours-of-the-day, etc, and whatever devices were used for coding.

    Spare WoP(Air). Presumably it was easier to find spare Pilots, Navs, BAs, Gunners, than it was to find a spare WoP (who’d been at Main Briefing) with all the codes and frequencies?

    Best I can do! We’ll see what the ‘real answers’ are later!!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 19th June 2014 at 12:15.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Hi Barnsley - the following extract from Tee Emm (August 1943) details the Drying Room system on a Bomber Command station:
    ‘…longer evenings are slowly approaching – and all too soon the Met. Merchants will be handing out a new and forbidding line in Icing Indices. [At R.A.F. Slapham Down] we found the drying room quite easily, which is a good sign. It was a standard – pardon, Type Design – affair, attached to the locker room; as we arrived, crews were streaming in just before final briefing, through a door, down one side of a dividing rail past a counter – just like a lot of well-disciplined punters oozing Totewards – and out the other end in no time, happily laden with all their flying clothing, including helmets, boots, parachute and harness, and Mae Wests. …we asked the blonde about the password system, and she told us that you just mention your captain’s name and your position in the crew, and she then hands you the complete works. …parachutes having been withdrawn from personal issue, are kept in bulk storage in the drying room and issued as required. They are stacked in several layers on two long benches across the room, are signed for against their Station serial number in a log, and signed off by the parachute packers when handed in. The girls’ first duty each morning is to check all parachutes for serviceability, withdrawing all in need of repair or repacking. Then follows a little Domestic Science with a couple of brooms (the floor, lacking lino, is treated with silicate of soda to keep the sawdust down). After that, clothing is checked over, crew by crew, and unserviceable Mae Wests replaced. Whilst one is doing the checking, the other is pushes round a small two-decker trolley (like the pastry wagons they used to wheel around in the more up-market teashops in the good old days). On the top deck is a helmet tester for intercom, and an ammeter for electrical clothing; down below are batteries. Any defective clothing or equipment is noted in the girl’s clear, round hand, and the owner warned to get it replaced or else… …the clothing racks – four rows of double bars, anchored to the wall at one end, and supported by uprights. Each crew is allocated its quota of space on the bars, and there is room for 32 crews. Each section has the captain’s name above it, and on the floor below are squares marked ‘Cap.’, ‘Nav.’, ‘B/A’ etc. Above each square is a double clothes hook, from one half of which hangs a parachute harness, Mae West and canvas bag, and from the other half a coat hanger from which neatly hangs all flying clothing. …So far, the system has been in use about two months…losses in clothing have been nil, while mix-ups in such items as flying helmets ae avoided by painting the owner’s names on them. …drying system used only at night… girls only show the strain when there has been a scrub and all crews try to hand in clothing at the same time..’
    HTH,

    Richard

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    Tks Richard - I wasn't too far out with my guess?
    Rgds
    Peter Davies
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    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Spot on, Peter!

    Follow up question on Duties - I have a reference to a Flight Comd on duty in the Watch Tower during an operation. Presumably not duty pilot; what duty might he have been rostered for?

    Cheers,

    Richard

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    Thank you both very much. I have another one as well, 'Flying Control M.P', again with an aircrew man listed. Any ideas on that one?!!

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