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Thread: FAA Squadron ORB's?

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    Default FAA Squadron ORB's?

    Hi all

    Two simple questions:

    Did FAA squadrons have ORB's or the equivalent (or were they just for RAF squadrons)?

    If so, are they held at Kew or at Yeovilton? The 'blurb' for each isn't clear whether they're held at one or t'other. But that might just be me misunderstanding what records the FAA kept.

    Wouldn't want to traipse all the way down to Yeovilton's research room only to find they don't have the required info there.

    Thanks

    Ian

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    The general answer to your question is yes.

    Those that I have obtained came from the PRO at Kew.

    I have transcribed the available records (ORB) for 802 and 810 Naval Air Squadrons. 810 is incomplete as is 853.

    I also have the book Ordinary Naval Airman written by Jim Spencer (deceased) which tells the history of 853 NAS from start to finish.

    I also own the copyright for the only known film (originally from liberated gun cameras) of 853 NAS operating in the North Sea in the first half of 1945.


    David

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    Ian,

    The FAA ORBs at Kew are under ADM 207. Quite a few but still a fraction of all the FAA squadrons. As David states many are incomplete, in that they only cover part of a unit's history. The quality of detail certainly varies and there is usually less than one would hope for. I cannot recall seeing a naval equivalent of the Form 541 part of an RAF ORB, the section that lists the crews and aircraft on a daily basis. Most of the small number I have seen are in hand-writing.

    I have no idea what Yeovilton holds. Does anyone know ?

    Regards,

    Martin Gleeson.

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    Martin is quite correct with his observations.

    ORB is probably a misleading abbreviation when compared with the RAF ORB's.

    Towards the end of 1945 one can feel the tone and interest change. The ORB's that I have were hand written - one was regularly seen by a senior officer in the squadron and the other was more of a private diary.

    Here is an extract from the last entry in the 802 NAS diary (ORB) -- Saturday 5th January 1946.

    The new CO arrived last evening and has commenced taking over operations. Pat Budge paid us a fleeting visit (ha ha) from Theseus and related a story which has wounded our pride and finally extinguished the last dying embers of respect we felt towards those in high authority. He told us that the reason we are not aboard Theseus is that our morale is low. Had we been told we were just not wanted, it would have been different, but to be told we are in fact ..

    That's how it ended and the squadron were flying Seafire XVs.


    David

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    One I had a look at a few years ago was hand written and full of drawings, one was accompanied by an entry about a dog which wandered into a minefield with the predictable result that the dog flew in lots of different directs at the same time. The entry signed by the CO was "for information; yesterday afternoon a dog ran on to the mine-field at Fife Ness and is now no more. May this be a further warning to those reckless persons who are in the habit of walking through the mine-field". Another was a cartoon of a squadron defence exercise which was just funny with what appear to be otters marching in formation in the background.
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    OK, thanks guys. So I'll give Kew a go sometime and see what they've got although it doesn't sound like there'll be much, detail-wise.

    Does anyone know whether Yeovilton would have anything more?

    Thanks again

    Ian

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    Ian,

    10 ~12 years ago the staff at Yeovilton were reasonably helpful to me, but staff change. In more recent years I did offer a copy of my book plus a host of research material to them, but they wanted to cherry pick. I gave up in the end and paid for my gratis book to be returned to me.

    Yeovilton did at one stage not enjoy favour with authors and researchers because "they" concentrated on filling a restaurant, walking around vintage aeroplanes and so on. Much material has been donated to Yeovilton by many former FAA aircrew over the years and the last I heard (more than 5 years ago) was that it was being stored in a suitably air conditioned place. Whether or not the present boss of Yeovilton has got to grips with the documentation of the archive so that it can produce lucre and satisfy people like you is unknown to me.

    I would contact them by e-mail in the first instance and state precisely what you are after and see how the staff respond.

    I know for certain that Jim Spencer (deceased, and former Avenger pilot with 853 NAS made a scale model of HMS Queen and took it on a lecture circuit to show people how deck landings were made on a WWII carrier. Before he died this model was donated to Yeovilton - I wonder where it is now?

    Perhaps you could let the forum know how you get on; things may have changed for the better.

    David

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    Thanks David, that's very informative and helpful.

    Unfortunately I don't get a huge amount of time for research these days, Kew is much closer to home for me, and my inquiry would only be for a small detail about an FAA a/c which turned up at RAF Woodbridge emergency airfield one day in '44 or '45 (can't remember which, offhand), so it might have to stay on the 'further to do' list for some time yet. But if they are able to assist and I do go down to Yeovilton I'll certainly let people know if it was worthwhile, or what else I might discover down there.

    Thanks again

    Ian

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    Ian,

    Fleet Air Arm aircraft turning up unexpectedly at any airfield in the UK was not uncommon. This example may be of interest to you and other readers.


    Extracts from the Log/Diary of 802 NAS

    On 1st May 1945 802 Squadron reformed at RNAS Arbroath, Scotland.

    26th May to 31st May 1945.

    These last days of May were the most productive days of flying that we had so far carried out. On the average over 20 hours were flown each day, navigation being the main item on the programme. Pair flying left room for considerable improvement although pilots were noticing snoopers far better than previously.

    The CO went away on a course to Donibristle while the Senior Pilot was at Hinstock doing the instrument course. Certain members of SSU went over to Copenacre* to collect urgently needed spares for the XVs. The Vickers Armstrong representative arrived and so did the Rotol representative, the latter commenced modifications to the Pitch Controls on Seafire XVs.

    Copenacre RN Depot had some co-location connection with the modern day Government bunker but the distance from Arbroath to this place is some 350 miles round trip around 700 miles. It seems that FAA pilots thought nothing of flying in a Seafire Mark XV on the off chance that a certain storage depot had the spare parts they required.

    Its also worth asking how the Rolls Royce and Rotol representatives reached Arbroath perhaps they had a hack aircraft.

    Another interesting extract from my book (HMS Queen):-

    Friday 26th day of January 1945 HMS QUEEN, at anchor and at sea.

    0812 Proceeded with courses and speeds as requisite carrying out Admiralty flying trials off Little Cumbrae Island. S/Lt Bristow lands (by helicopter) on the flight deck and takes Captain DArcy for a flight. Bristow and many other helicopters had just been taken off HMS Thane a few days before - some still boxed whilst others flew off. Thane had come across the Atlantic, discharged some material at Northern Ireland, and was torpedoed whilst en-passage to the Clyde. I have photographs taken in Thane's hangar which show assembled helicopters.

    771 Squadron (Fleet Requirements Unit) Helicopter Flight formed at Twatt around February 1945.

    Bristow is none other than Alan Bristow, the founder of Bristow Helicopters. A tough no nonsense man.

    Good luck with your research.

    My last post on this subject.

    David

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    Dear Ian
    It may be worth asking Yeovilton if they have the appropriate Line Books for the time/squadrons you are after. These unofficial scrapbooks kept by the squadrons are very amusing. The museum can be cagey about letting you see them though. Not all books have ended up there either.
    Happy hunting
    James

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