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Thread: Rank jumping promotion 1944 RCAF pow

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    Default Rank jumping promotion 1944 RCAF pow

    I have just traced via the Canadian Gazette the strange announcement of a Flight Sergeant R158758 taken Prisoner of War 27 May 1944 being promoted to Pilot Officer 28 May 1944 and allocated the Officer Number J90287.
    I am at a loss to make sense of such a jump in rank.
    Can anyone offer any suggestions.

    Thank you.

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    It's been visited here a few times, Colin (I recall Hugh Halliday, I believe).
    It was rather common for NCO RCAF POWs to be commissioned. I've spoken to quite a few over the years.
    Googling "commissioning RCAF POWs" throws up quite a few entries.

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Dave.

    Thank you for that, something I never knew.
    I presume the next ranks followed annually meaning that Canadians received more pay as pow's than the British crews.

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    Under RAF administration, British Commonwealth personnel serving on attachment with RAF units (including Article XV squadrons) seem to have operated (more or less) under similar rules as the RAF regarding appointments to commisisoned rank, and promotions from perhaps 1942 or early 1943, in either commissioned or non-commissioned ranks, with promotions automatically occurring on a time basis (unless some major indiscretion was committed by the individual). Promotion in the officer ranks prewar in RAF was fairly slow, from A/P/O to P/O (6 months I think), then F/O, then quite a long period before attaining the giddy heights of F/L. After outbreak of war these promotion steps were considerably speeded up for various reasons, but typically (in GD Branch) in one years steps. This was later changed to six months as P/O, then F/O for 18 months to attain F/L. Those showing promise and receiving appointments carrying additional responsibilities in addition to normal duties (such as Flight Commander or Squadron Leader) were awarded acting higher rank from date of appointment, along with the higher pay of that rank.
    The awarding of commisisoned rank in the RAF (specifically we are talking here of those being commissioned from the ranks of airmen and NCOs) depended on the individual actually requesting consideration for the award of a commission through his commanding officer - nobody apparently had a God-given right to a commission under the British system (this probably a universal trait in armed forces ever since man began throwing stones at one another). I have seen diaries kept by NCO aircrew where, after a suitable period of service they might apply for a commission, and then wait for weeks, if not months, for any indication that anything had actually happened. Seems it was not uncommon for the applicant to suspect that his CO had thrown the application into the waste paper basket ("He always looked on me with contempt - obviously reckons I'm not real officer material!"). However, usually after an interminable period of suspense, word would come though in Routine Orders (and in the Gazette!) that he had been awarded a commission (usually in the rank of P/O on probation) with effect from such-and-such a date. in the interim it was not entirely unusual for the applicant to have been killed, injured, or fallen into enemy hands. If killed, the new commissioned rank would become posthumous (and would appear as such on the Commonwealth War Graves web-site!) but this was only if it had been approved prior to the date of death. I doubt that anybody was awarded a commission for being killed, but it may have happened at some time in history, somewhere. However, as I stated earlier, RAF personnel also operated under these same rules, so could also be going up in rank, more or less in step with RCAF PoWs, and their pay would acccumulate in the special "Non-effective accounts" held by the Air Ministry for this purpose. However so far as I know, RCAF personnel were generally paid at higher rates than RAF personnel anyway; RNZAF and RAAF crews were also paid higher rates than the RAF, but less than RCAF. However these higher pay rates were mostly bestowed on NCO ranks, with lesser margins falling to the officer class.
    Interestingly the British government in fact paid almost all of this pay, at RAF rates; Commonwealth governments had only to top them up to match their "parent service" rates of pay.
    David D

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    The Canadian government tried throughout the war to get around the RAF class-based system of only promoting limited numbers of NCO flying crew, and often stated publicly that they felt all RCAF pilots, navigators and bomb aimers should be officers from graduation, regardless of where they served. This was resisted by the RAF at various levels and in various ways, although the UK government came to accept it in various small steps over the course of the War. The RCAF Overseas HQ in the UK tried all kinds of "end runs" around these RAF policies at every opportunity. This looks to me like your Sgt. transferred from RAF control to RCAF Overseas HQ control on becoming PoW. You might find Part 1 of "The Crucible of War", Vol. III of the official RCAF history, ISBN 0-8020-0574-8, an interesting read. This discusses this issue, and other aspects of the "Canadianization" of the RCAF Overseas, and also points out that RCAF members serving overseas always received a higher pay then their RAF counterparts of equal rank.

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    Gents.
    This is all very interesting, thank you for your input on my question. In the case in question the RCAF Sergeant was captured and immediatly Commissioned to Pilot Officer in 1944 and by late 1945 was a Flying Officer - Temp Flight Lieutenant. That rapid promotion is now easier to understand.

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