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Thread: Former RAF Officer re-joining RAF in late 40s

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    Default Former RAF Officer re-joining RAF in late 40s

    Hi all,

    I would like to ask for help with identification of units which a candidate for a RAF Officer should went through during the receiving procedure. I have some notes from his own reminiscences:


    "Before Christmas 1948 I received further instructions to report to RAF Innsworth near Gloucester
    for an interview and examinations. Next day I sat a literacy exam – I was to write a small essay,
    given English dictation and some simple maths. I was quite surprised as I thought that as a former
    Squadron Leader they would accept some sort of education! The “interview” consisted of a discussion,
    reading aloud an article from a newspaper and an explanation of its meaning. The Examining Officer
    told me that I passed."

    Any idea in which unit this procedure was done? I know that RAF Innsworth was main administrative station but was there any specific unit in late 1948?

    Further stage was in January 1949:

    I was summoned to RAF Hornchurch for the medical and an interview. The medical took one day and I
    passed all the tests suitable for aircrew. The next day we had our interview.

    I suppose this procedure was done at Combined Selection Centre based there from 25.10.1948?

    He entered the service at RAF Station Waterbeach - was there any specific receiving unit in early 1949 or he joined there just because he was supposed to became Transport Command aircrew and the station was under Transport Command?

    TIA

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

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    It appears that there is a possibility that the person to whom you refer was not British. Please can you confirm this, as it suggests that the tests being applied were specific and not the general checking of an officer re joining the RAF after a break.

    Colin Cummings

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    Hi Colin,

    good guess! Yes this is one of the Czech Officers serving with the RAF during the was till sumer 1945, returning home, continuing military service in Czechoslovakia and in summer 1948 after communist coup leaving again for the UK.

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

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    I don't know of a particular unit which would deal with officers who had returned to the UK but it would be entirely appropriate for the RAF to confirm that the officer who might be offered a commission in the post-war RAF, was 'suitable' in every respect and so interviews and tests designed to satisfy the air force would have been appropriate.

    I do not intend any disrespect but the British have (possibly - had) a pompous and prejudiced attitude when dealing with those of other nationalities, even when they were allies in the recent war. The treatment of Polish personnel who came to this country in 1939/1940 and who had considerable experience of fighting the Nazis, is well known. The officer to whom you refer would have been tested to ensure he had a good command of the English language and could write it reasonably well.

    When I joined the RAF in 1963 there were many Czechs and Poles (particularly) serving in the RAF but some were being employed in posts and ranks which were obviously lower than their experience and ability deserved. There was even a Czech officer, with whom I served at RAF St Athan, whose name (apparently) was not in the RAF List because his family remained in his home country and would be at risk, if his presence in the RAF was revealed. Whilst in Borneo, I served with a Warrant Officer who had been an officer during the war but on rejoining afterwards, did so as an NCO - this was also true of some Brits as well.

    Given the modest numbers of personnel involved, I suspect that the interviews and tests would have been conducted by a small group within an already established personnel management structure which existed at the 'Record and Pay Office - RAPO' which was the major unit at Innsworth - and nearby Barnwood - in Gloucester. Hornchurch was the aircrew selection centre and so a medical and interviews would probably have been done by the existing staff who were simply asked to arrange the interview/examination/testing of a certain number of foreign applicants.

    Colin Cummings

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    Hi Colin,

    many thanks for additional comments - I agree with your conclusions.
    May I ask you if you still remember names of any Czech you met in the RAF (you can contact me offlien if you want). In 1963 some of the "old chaps" were still active - sure not flying - but in different commanding posts. My officer retired in 1971!

    TIA

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

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    Pavel,

    My first posting on joining the RAF in 1953 was to No. 275 (S&R) Sqn. The squadron had a number of Czech officers and SNCOs, none of the officers appearing in the Air Force List.

    In 1968, I was at HQ RAF Gulf (Bahrain). The Command Flight Safety Officer at that time, a good friend of mine, was Sqn Ldr Marion Kotlarz. By this time Czech officer's names were published in the Air Force List. When I think about, Marion was the last Czech officer I met, but there must have been others still serving.

    Regards

    Jim

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    Jim,

    many thanks but P-1686 Marian Kotlarz (14.7.19-23.3.73) was of Polish origin, no Czech:)

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

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    Pavel,

    Memories and records are inclined to stray! I could have sworn that my friend was Czech. M Kotlarz (500032) lived a lot longer than 23 March 1973. He retired on 14 April 1974 on his 55th Birthday and was still alive in 2002. But, you could be right about him being Polish!

    Jim

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    Hi Jim,

    well, info about him I took from book Krzystek Tadeusz Jerzy - Polskie siły powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii w latach 1940-1947, STRATUS, Sandomierz 2012 as Polish airmen are not my cup of tea:)

    Provided Service Numbeer just confirms that he was Polish who were re-joining RAF with the new number mostly from 500xxx range while the Czechs were given again their war numbers as Czech officers during WWII had numbers from standard RAF range not special as Polish P-xxxx.

    But this is only for explanation, never mind.

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

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    Marian Kotlarz died in 2003, it seems it is one of many errors and omissions on the list.
    Czech officers were RAFVR, hence no need of assigning new numbers. Those Poles, who initially were RAFVR retained their numbers as well. Officers assigned with 500 range numbers were those, who were previously assigned with PAF numbers. NCOs numbers were retained.
    Jim, any memories on Kotlarz? We could go off board, not to make mess here.

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