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Thread: Looking for information on Father's service

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    Default Looking for information on Father's service

    I hope I am in the correct section to ask my question on the forum as I am new to this concept. I have been trying various methods for years to verify my father's service with the RAF (for strictly interest sake) and have not had any luck so hopefully someone can help. All this information was given to me by him about 25 years ago. According to my notes, my father, Kaye Burke Harvey (born Giffnoch, Scotland Feb. 7, 1923) at age 17 in 1940 went to Cranwell Military College Training School for 18 months. In 1941-1942 he was a Cadet in the Elementary Flying Training School EFTS in Loughborough, Leichester, Baldoon, Witkinshire, Scoon. He was in the Test Pilots Air Crew, put in 18,000 flying hours and earned the rank of Flying Officer for the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, Hampshire. He was grounded at Farnborough in 1948-1949. He said the RAF wanted him to work in Air Traffic Control after the war but he decided to immigrate to Canada with his parents where his two brothers had previously gone. Possibly he was in the Engine Research Squadron where his brother, James Harvey (b. 1926) was prior to 1947. Another brother, Richard Thomas Burke Harvey (b. 1929) was with the Boffins for a short period prior to 1947. I have a list of 17 British planes that my dad said he had flown (test purposes, not active battle obviously), 7 US planes and 7 German planes. I have a couple of pics of him but no Regimental Number or ID shown. I am trying to verify that he was indeed there and to date have found no reference to him or his two brothers. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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    Hi kburke15

    You should probably apply to the RAF for a copy of his record, which is kept at RAF Cranwell. You'll need to fill in a form and pay £30 for the privilege, but you should then receive a copy of everything they have. For more information, you can go here: http://www.raf.mod.uk/links/contacts.cfm and here: http://www.raf.mod.uk/contact-us.cfm but the forms themselves are here: https://www.gov.uk/requests-for-pers...ervice-records

    It looks complicated, but I helped a family apply for a record recently, and it was a case of only two documents (one one-sided and one double-sided) plus a cheque for £30. Fairly straight forward in the scheme of things.

    I hope this is of assistance.

    Regards and good luck
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Hi Steve. Thank you! I will check in to it. I did apply for a service record about 5 years ago for my mom after my dad died in 2008. My mom passed away in 2014. I recall I did not pay anything as the form said if you were the spouse you did not have to. I never heard anything back and in all honesty forgot about it! I cannot find that copy so can't say for sure if it is the same department of not but I recall a 30 pound fee mentioned for anyone other than spouse requesting information.

    Could I please run a little bit of information by you that my father had told me years ago and I had written dow. I am just looking for your opinion if how I interpreted it makes actual sense. The Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) was an experimental base and a division of the Ministry of Aircraft Production(MAP) staffed and financed by the British Federal Government. All aircraft was maintained by civilians and flown by Royal Air Force (RAF) crew. At age 17, my father was with the RAF from 1940-1949. He was a pilot student cadet. Spent 3 months in Elementary Training Flying School (ETFS) and took 12-14 months for wings. He had 18,000 flying hours and his rank was RAF Flying Officer Test Pilot. He also was Acting Flight Lieutenant for 8 months. All planes were unarmed and had a circled P on the side meaning Prototype. He tested British, American and German planes, no Japanese or Russian. His favorite plane was the Mosquito. (I actually have an old cockpit compass of his that he said came from a Mosquito fighter bomber circa 1934 as well as handwritten student notes, a small book called The Ground Engineers Manual 1941. The student notes are not in his handwriting and he said it was his best friends notebook who was killed in an experimental plane.) I can remember him having the compass and notes most of my life. He tested single engine, twin engine and triple engine - German planes only. He said that they all called themselves 'glorified bus drivers'. He said the highlights were the Mosquito and Spitfire. He tested 4 engine aircraft Rolls Royce Merlin which was used by TransCanada airlines (now Air Canada) which could fly from Britain to Vancouver direct. The plane was called the Constellation a modified version of the Lancaster bomber. I also have a small booklet called the Inside Story of the Viscount Propeller Turbine Skyliner - not dated.

    He said there were 4 Flights (Departments) in the RAE of the RAF: the Engine Research (ER) flight which was his flight. Aircraft were all standard and engines were experimental (not sure what that means). The Armament and Radio (wireless) (AR) where aircraft were all standard, radios were experimental; the Stress & Strain Mechanical Engineering (SME) where aircraft were all standard and they tested the breakups, power dives and loads. (His brother was a Junior Scientific Officer in the Think Thank (Boffins), civilian staff of the MAP. The last flight was the Aerodynamics where aircraft were all standard and they tested capabilities.

    I do appreciate any comments you have and I will look into getting the records again.

    Regards,
    Beth

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    Dear Beth,

    A few comments and observations from me, for what they are worth.

    I can not find mention of your father in either the AIR 78 Card Index (the official RAF list of airmen and women - see the UK National Archives website for details), nor can I find him in the London Gazette (available online). If he served in the wartime RAF as either a commissioned officer or 'other rank', I would expect to see mention of him there. I also can't find him on either Ancestry, Find My Past, nor Scotlands People. You may have better luck than me.

    18,000 hours of military flying is not realistic for the period he served (1940 - 49) and the nature of the job. Modern civilian airline pilots on long haul passenger work would struggle to get that amount during their whole careers.

    As Steve has already suggested, you should contact the RAF Disclosures folk at Cranwell to get a hold of his Record of Service. I believe that it is probably the only way that you can satisfy your need for detailed information.

    Best of luck.

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    Hallo Beth - I presume you have the following obituary? I realise that it doesn`t help with your father`s RAF career, but is interesting nonetheless.

    HARVEY, Kaye “Kye“ Burke - It is with much sorrow and sadness that
    we announce Kye's passing after a short illness at the Greater Niagara
    General Hospital on Sunday November 2, 2008 at the age of 85 years.
    Beloved husband of 55 years to Lee (Emily). Cherished father of Cathy
    Fusco (James) and Beth Rybus (Ted) of Ohio. Dearly loved grandfather
    of Christopher, Brett and Mark Fusco, step-grandfather of Larissa and
    Colton Rybus. Kye was born in Giffnoch, Scotland and served as an
    RAF test pilot during World War II before emigrating to Canada. He
    was in the Advertising Department of the Niagara Falls Review for over
    25 years and also operated the family business, House of Tartans, on
    Clifton Hill for many years. After retiring, he was a Bylaw Enforcement
    Officer in Sauble Beach, a Seasonal Police Officer for the Niagara
    Parks Police and operated Oaklands Campground and Golf Course. A
    member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Chippawa Branch and the
    Masonic Lodge, Kye was also one of the founding members of the
    Niagara Falls Music Theatre Society.


    Best wishes Jean

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    Hello Beth

    I'm very impressed about the information you recalled in your last post #3, regarding the Flights you mentioned. Aircraft flying would only be a part of the work at RAE.

    R.A.E. S.M.E. (Structural Mechanical Engineering) and F Grinsted was associated with accident investigation. The Materials Department Head, being Dr W. D. Douglas.

    Aircraft were tested, for stress and strain as you put it and they would be investigating break-up, aviation related problems and any trial modifications, to prevent them.

    Post war, was your father a member of any Society or Institution?

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 29th June 2015 at 09:49.

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    Hello All,
    Something does not quite fit with this one! I got very much the same results as Jonny - and I agree with his comments. One or two other "facts" do not hang together (nothing could have come from the Mosquito c. 1934 - that a/c did not actually fly until after WW2 had started!) I suggest that much of this should be treated with some caution until evidence from primary sources can be quoted/verified.
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Hello Beth,
    Clearly you have presented an interesting case for the experts! The status of people serving in a 'civilian' capacity within the machinery of the war effort, or serving in a branch technically outside the armed services, often produces a new perspective on the subject.
    It may help those doing the digging to know how your information was recorded: did someone interview your father, did he keep a diary of events or perhaps a family member took notes? It may allow us to cross reference the events.
    Bruce
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    Default R.A.E. Experimental Section 1940

    Hello Beth

    Regarding the flights in August 1940 the "Experimental Section R.A.E." mentions postings to the following flights:-

    Research Dept Flight, Exeter
    Wireless and Electrical Flight
    Engine Research Flight
    Instrument, Armament, Defence Flight

    Just need the later info, which I have not got.

    Mark

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    Hello Beth

    I'm wondering if part of your father's aviation flying was with Airwork Ltd? The Airwork company were under Contract with the Air Ministry.

    You mentioned:- "In 1941-1942 he was a Cadet in the Elementary Flying Training School EFTS in Loughborough, Leichester, Baldoon, Witkinshire, Scoon."

    Loughborough, Leicestershire was used by Airwork.

    Baldoon is RAF Wigtown, Wigtownshire and an Airwork civilian was a "passenger" on a night test from Wigtown (Anson W2630).

    Scone [pronounced Scoon] Airfield is near Perth and Perth was used by Airwork Ltd., No.11 EFTS, Airwork under Contract with the Air Ministry. There is also a reference online to being sent to Scone for Advanced Flying Training.

    But your father's name does not show up online London Gazette etc.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 29th June 2015 at 11:15.

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