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Thread: Miles Messenger - did it serve in RAF Squadron use?

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    Default Miles Messenger - did it serve in RAF Squadron use?

    Hello

    I'm trying to do some research into the RAF use of the Miles Messenger M.38 liaison aircraft and can find no definitive references for it being assigned to any RAF Squadrons. There is no mention of it in the Airlife publication "RAF Squadrons 2nd Edition" and the Putnams book "Miles Aircraft since 1925" also includes no mention of RAF squadron service.

    Did it actually serve with any squadrons, AOP or otherwise? I can find a reference that one was used as the personal VIP transport of Field Marshall Montgomery and another for the use of Marshall of the RAF Lord Tedder but I guess these weren't assigned to RAF squadrons?

    I am particularly looking for evidence that this aircraft served with one or more RAF squadrons during WW2 but at the moment can find nothing. I can see various vague references on various websites (e.g. Wikipedia) but nothing concrete. If someone can help with any evidence and particularly provide squadron numbers and period of service that would be much appreciated.

    Thanks very much.

    Andy

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    Yes, the Messenger did serve in the RAF and briefly there were twenty one in the serial range RH368-378 and RH420-429.

    Credit to Owen Thetford "Aircraft of the RAF sine 1918".

    I could find no trace of squadron service in A/B serials and most were allocated to Comms Sqns/flts although one is shown as being at an EFTS and another at A&AEE

    Colin Cummings

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    Many thanks for that information Colin. I shall have to try to find out where all 21 ended up.

    I also found a reference to orders for a further 229 (RH379-409, RH430-468, RH483-525, RH539-580, RH595-635, RH648-680) being cancelled. This from Bruce Robertson's "British Military Aircraft Serials".

    Thanks again.

    Andy
    Last edited by AndyBB; 30th July 2014 at 20:37.

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    Look in Air Britain RAF Serials PA100 to RZ999. If it is not still available, then your local library should be able to get a loan.

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    ...... and if Graham's suggestion meets with a blank stare at the library counter, post again and I'll ferret in my copy of A/B serials for you; but not today!!

    Colin Cummings

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    From Air Britain Serials PA100 to RZ999

    RH368 - 2 TAF CS/RAE - sold 26/05/48 - became G-ALAP
    RH369 - FTCCF/BCCF/83 GP CF/BAFO CS - sold 02/06/48 - became G-AKZU
    RH370 - MKrs - sold 29/09/48 - became G-AJDF
    RH371 - AEAF CS/BAFO CW - sold 26/05/48 - became G-ALAF
    RH372 - BCCF/21 EFTS - sold 26/05/48 - became G-AKZC
    RH373 - AAEE/84 GSU - SOC 30/01/48
    RH374 - 2 TAF CS/BAFO CW - SOC 02/10/46
    RH375 - 2 Gp CF/84 Gp CS - SOC 13/11/47
    RH376 - 2 TAF CS/BAFO CS/BAFO CW - sold 29/07/48 - became G-ALBP
    RH377 - DH - sold 26/05/48 - became G-ALAH
    RH378 - DH/BAFO CW - sold 29/07/48 - became G-ALBR
    RH379 TO RH409 CANCELLED
    RH420 - DH/Blackburn - sold 04/05/50 - became G-ALAC
    RH421 - - sold 26/05/48 - became G-ALAK
    RH422 - - sold 26/05/48 - became G-ALAG
    RH423 - - sold 26/05/48
    RH424 - TTCCF - sold 02/06/48 - became G-AKZX
    RH425 - - sold 26/05/48 - became G-ALAF
    RH426 - - sold 26/05/48 - became G-ALAW
    RH427 - TTCCF - sold 01/07/48 - became G-AKVZ
    RH428 - - sold 26/05/48 - became G-ALAV
    RH429 - - sold 26/05/48 - became G-ALAJ

    Chris
    Last edited by Chris Davies; 30th July 2014 at 11:03. Reason: Addition

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    Many thanks everyone for the replies, and especially for adding the extract Chris. It's much appreciated and helps a lot with the research.

    I notice that several of the aircraft were part of the Second Tactical Air Force (2 TAF) but I don't really understand how the TAF's worked and how they related to squadrons of the RAF. Does this mean that the aircraft themselves weren't actually assigned to a particular squadron? Is that also the case for the Flying Training Command Communication Flight (FTCCF) aircraft, the Bomber Command Communication Flight (BCCF) aircraft, the Technical Training Command Communications Flight (TTCCF) aircraft and the British Air Forces of Occupation (BAFO) aircraft?

    Thanks again.

    Andy
    Last edited by AndyBB; 30th July 2014 at 20:55.

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    AndyBB,

    In essence, 2TAF (also 2 ATAF) was an RAF Command in its own right and controlled Groups, Wings and Squadrons - it was eventually to evolve into the sharp end of RAF Germany via several stops in between.

    At the time in question, 'communications' aircraft were held at many levels and so aircraft were assigned to communications sqns or flts, at command and group level for example. These flights or squadrons would have their own 'establishment' of aircraft and staff to fly and maintain them but also they could be used by (mostly) staff officers at the particular formation being supported. Commanders in Chief might have a personnel aircraft allocated to them - that's why Leigh-Mallory was going to India in a York, on which his ADC was the co-pilot. In this pot of aircraft, one could also lob: station flights. This latter group might comprise a couple of light aircraft to be used by station personnel to get around to meetings, staff visits etc or just to keep their hand in.

    It's a bit more involved than I've described but just think of 2 ATF (No: 1 was actually the Desert Air Force) as a functional command, rather in the way that the NEAF, AFME and FEAF operated. That is, multi roles operated within a single command overseas, often with a high degree of autonomy.

    Hope this helps.

    Colin Cummings

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    Thanks very much for the explanation Colin. I thought it would turn out to be somewhat complicated but that helps a lot.

    Best Regards

    Andy

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