This is rather an unusual case and I would appreciate your thoughts before I approach the AHB.

1. During the spring and summer of 1944 six civilian meteorological assistants were successful in completing a Met Office forecasting course. They were then promoted to the forecasting grade, which was promulgated in a Met Office document dated 23 September 1944. Most were subsequently mobilised, their service numbers being in the block 182996 to 183000. Numbers from 183002 refer to experienced civilian forecasters being commissioned as F/Os - in other words a different group.

2. Unfortunately one of the six, Jack Davidson, was killed on 14 September when the 206 Squadron Liberator in which he was travelling as a passenger, crashed whilst attempting to land at Leuchars.

3. The commissions of the remaining five as P/Os in the Met Branch, with seniority of 1 September 1944, did not run sequentially when Gazetted; ie:
two on 13 October 1944 (182996 and 182998)
two on 27 October 1944 (182999 and 183000)
one on 23 January 1945 (182997)

4. The service record of 182999, D G Armour, shows he was forecasting at Little Snoring on 1 September and at No 5 PDS waiting to travel to ACSEA on 26 October, the day before his commission was published. Which suggests/implies he was on the RAF's payroll as of 1 September.

5. Returning to Davidson the few references there are show he was considered a civilian at the time of his death. However, I have been made aware of an entry in the Book of Remembrance at West Linton where his is buried:

Jack Davidson was a civilian attached to the RAF and, because he did not have a uniform, he had to go through more rigorous security when going from base to base. In order to avoid this he was to be given a uniform and was flying south to get measured for this when the plane crashed.

6. I'm trying to find when this was written and by whom; but ignoring the rather confused statements, I think the important element is the reference to him being measured for a uniform. He had boarded the Liberator at Tain, so I'm assuming that was where he was based. If he was to be measured for a uniform that implies an officer's uniform from a bespoke tailor - I'm guessing in Edinburgh, not far from Leuchars.

If I'm correct the authority to make arrangements and travel would only have come from the RAF. I'm sure Armour, and others in the group, would have received similar orders to obtain kit.

7. My thinking is that the missing service number, 183001, was allocated to Davidson, but as he was dead by the time the first commissions in the group were Gazetted it was never activated.

However, if Armour was considered an RAFVR officer in his previous civilian post as of 1 September 1944, should not the same similarly apply to Davidson?

My apologies for the length of this unusual story, but hope I've explained the relevant aspects. My one caveat is that 182995 might have been the number allocated to him, but previous numbers were allocated to the Training or GD branches.

Which brings me back to the thread heading, when is a service number activated?

Brian