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Thread: Senior Meteorological Officer, G/C Reginald C. Sutcliffe

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    Default Senior Meteorological Officer, G/C Reginald C. Sutcliffe

    I am a Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin (USA). I am conducting research on the life of Prof. Reginald C. Sutcliffe, FRS, OBE, CB who was a prominent British meteorologist of the mid-20th century. Sutcliffe was the Senior Meteorological Officer at HQ (Newmarket) of No. 3 Group from October 1940 - April 1944. I am looking for any and all information, recollections, and or stories from others about Sutcliffe's years at 3 Group. Thank you all


    __________________ Jonathan E Martin

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    Jonathan

    Sorry for causing chaos; I tried to link your threads together for you

    See responses at: http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...or-the-Met-men

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    This is all highly confusing, so I will copy this reply to both threads to avoid it being missed:

    Jonathon,

    This is not meant to be a silly question, but just exactly what are you after - and what do you know already? A huge amount of information about Sutcliffe has already been published in terms of interviews, retirement notices and obituaries, to say nothing of his papers, all of which appear in magazines or other documents held by the Met Office library. I have some of the documents to hand, but if you are specifically interested in his time at 3 Group that is never mentioned - it was just another job. He was an intensely private man; was interviewed on three occasions between 1981 and 1983 covering the whole of his career, but the interviews were conducted with the proviso that the tapes and typscript were not released until after his death. It's unclear why he took this stance as there's nothing I can see that is particularly contentious. Whatever - 3 Group receives no mention at all in the interview - which runs to about 50 pages.

    Brian

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    The pedant in me rises to the fore!!!!!

    I think Sutcliffe's post nominals might be the wrong way round. A CB takes precedence over an OBE. However, whether an FRS trumps most other awards, I'm unsure.

    Colin Cummings

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    As I caused some confusion by starting a link for Jonathan, who then started his own link on this subject, I have transferred all the responses from http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...or-the-Met-men into this post so that it is in chronological sequence here and marked my thread as CLOSED. I apologise for any inconvenience caused. (One of the mods. may be able to provide a better solution)

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ____________________________________________

    I first have him as being located, on 25 Aug 1939 on the Met Office War Postings Signal, in the Met Office at RAF Thorney Island as a civilian.

    Next:-
    METEOROLOGICAL BRANCH.
    The undermentioned are granted commissions for the duration of hostilities in the ranks stated. 10th Oct. 1939: —
    Squadron Leader.
    Reginald Cockcroft SUTCLIFFE (75080).

    Then I have him located as a Sqn Ldr S Met O HQ 3 Grp from a Jun 1941 AFL.

    Then 24 Sep 1941 Awarded MiD as Sqn Ldr R C Sutcliffe.

    Then I have him located as a Sqn Ldr S Met O HQ 3 Grp from a Jul 1942 AFL.

    METEOROLOGICAL BRANCH.
    Promotion.
    Sqn. Ldr. granted the rank of Wg. Cdr. (war subs.): —
    R. C. SUTCLIFFE, O.B.E. (75080). 26th Aug. 1945.

    Next he is noted (from Dec 1943 AFLs) as being (a) S Met O HQ 3 Grp, AND (b) S Met O HQ 2ATAF – but BOTH as “Dr Sutcliffe”! So, we can assume a posting from one to the other at that time – but the AFL compiler was a bit in error when reporting his status!

    Then a Jun 1945 AFL notes him as S Met O HQ 2ATAF as a Grp Capt.

    Then, on 26 Aug 1945 he is Promoted from (Substantive?) Sqn Ldr to Wg Cdr – so any previous ranks above that would have been held as Acting, or Temporary?

    And in an AFL of Apr 1946 he is noted as the Grp Capt S Met O of HQ BAFO.

    Air Ministry, 11th August, 1954.
    EMERGENCY LIST.
    The undermentioned relinquished their commissions under the provisions of the Navy, Army and Air
    Force Reserves Act, 1954, and have been granted permission to retain rank, as stated, with effect from 10th Feb. 1954:—
    ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE.
    Wing Commanders, retaining the rank of Group Captain:—
    R. C. SUTCLIFFE, O.B.E., B.Sc., Ph.D. (75080).

    Not all of the above currently comes up on the LG web site, but I think it is relatively accurate (bearing in mind that the Substantive/Acting/Temporary status is a bit of a mine-field!!).

    I have no information as to what happened at HQ 3 Grp Met Office. There are those who might know. I might be able to extract, from my database, some of those persons who worked with him at 3 Grp Met. But they will only be the Uniformed staff. The Civilian staff (too old/unfit for uniform) files were, unfortunately, destroyed years ago.

    HTH

    Peter Davies
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ____________________________________________

    And from the LG of 7 Jul 1936:-
    UNDER CLAUSE 8 OF THE GENERAL REGULATIONS.
    Air Ministry: Technical Officer, Reginald Cockcroft Sutcliffe. (this was a Promotion into/within the Met Office).

    HTH

    Peter Davies

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ______________________________________________

    Jonathon,

    This is not meant to be a silly question, but just exactly what are you after - and what do you know already? A huge amount of information about Sutcliffe has already been published in terms of interviews, retirement notices and obituaries, to say nothing of his papers, all of which appear in magazines or other documents held by the Met Office library. I have some of the documents to hand, but if you are specifically interested in his time at 3 Group that is never mentioned - it was just another job. He was an intensely private man; was interviewed on three occasions between 1981 and 1983 covering the whole of his career, but the interviews were conducted with the proviso that the tapes and typscript were not released until after his death. It's unclear why he took this stance as there's nothing I can see that is particularly contentious. Whatever - 3 Group receives no mention at all in the interview - which runs to about 50 pages.

    Brian
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ____________________________________________

    Hello,

    Besides the MiD on 24 Sep 1941, Sutcliffle was also mentioned in the New Year's Honours List of Jan 1945 (as Acting Gp Capt):

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/.../supplement/62 (see also: pp6-1)

    and in the New Year's Honours List of Jan 1946 (as Acting Gp Capt):

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/37407/page/89 (see also: p.88)

    Col.

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________

    Sutcliffe was made an OBE in 1942; one version describes this as being for his work at HQ 3 Group. However, that is extremely unlikely as he had been at 3 Group for only about 15 months (assuming the award was announced in the 1942 New Year Honours), and I strongly suspect it was for some pre-war research work, together with his time with the BEF in France between October 1939 and 18 June 1940 (and two evacuations from said country). He makes no reference to it in his interviews.

    Although Sutcliffe was commissioned for his service with the BEF (1939- June 1940), he reverted to civilian status on returning to the UK where he (briefly) became the Command Met Officer (CMetO) of Bomber Command (July 1940). He didn't stay long, moving to HQ 3 Group as Senior Met officer (a junior post to that held previously) during September/October 1940). He retained his civilian status until his commission was reactivated sometime between July and September 1944 (again, Sutcliffe makes no reference to this and I'm making an assumption as to the date from someone else's diary).

    Brian

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____________________________________________

    The pedant in me rises to the fore!!!!!

    I think Sutcliffe's post nominals might be the wrong way round. A CB takes precedence over an OBE. However, whether an FRS trumps most other awards, I'm unsure.

    Colin Cummings
    Last edited by PeteT; 9th August 2015 at 08:25.
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Colin,

    OBE was 1942, FRS - 1957, CB - 1961. A FRS (Fellow of the Royal Society) is an honour within the scientific community and, while important as such, is trumped by the other two. Thus CB, OBE, FRS - but you knew that anyway. (Being really pedantic there should be a B Sc, Ph D after the FRS - or have I got that the wrong way round!)

    Brian

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    Oh dear, I guilty of starting a Thread Drift - how naughty of me.

    Strictly speaking a PhD effectively renders a BSc unnecessary if both are in the same academic discipline.

    Perhaps we ought not to go there as I fear I am detracting from an interesting man's service.

    Colin Cummings

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    Hello,

    You will find Sutcliffe's OBE here:

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/.../supplement/13

    Interesting entry on Ernest Gold, D.S.O.,O.B.E., F.R.S. D.D of the Met Office here:

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...9/supplement/3

    Col.

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    Ah, we won't sidetrack to Gold's story, Col, but his is probably more interesting than Sutcliffe's.

    For what it's worth as a Sqn Ldr, Sutcliffe evacuted twice from France in the summer of 1940. The first time was on, or about 22 May from Boulonge, but he then returned to France to take charge of a small Mobile Met Unit at Orleans. Leaving Orleans on 5 June the unit drove south reaching Salon on 7 June, where it was to provide met support for Haddock Force; this had been formed to attack Italian targets in the event of that country joining forces Germany. Haddock Force, some 900 strong including various 'lost' Army units[/I], evacuated from Marseille on the SS Coultarn, a small collier that had just completed unloading its cargo of coal. The men eventually arrived in Liverpool on 4 July, so filthy and caked in coal-dust that one meteorologist, according to his wife, needed three baths before he began to look presentable. (Source: Squadron Leader C Crichton-Miller and the origins of meteorology for the army's airborne forces in the Second World War. Weather, March 2008)

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 9th August 2015 at 12:39.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyffe View Post
    This is all highly confusing, so I will copy this reply to both threads to avoid it being missed:

    Jonathon,

    This is not meant to be a silly question, but just exactly what are you after - and what do you know already? A huge amount of information about Sutcliffe has already been published in terms of interviews, retirement notices and obituaries, to say nothing of his papers, all of which appear in magazines or other documents held by the Met Office library. I have some of the documents to hand, but if you are specifically interested in his time at 3 Group that is never mentioned - it was just another job. He was an intensely private man; was interviewed on three occasions between 1981 and 1983 covering the whole of his career, but the interviews were conducted with the proviso that the tapes and typscript were not released until after his death. It's unclear why he took this stance as there's nothing I can see that is particularly contentious. Whatever - 3 Group receives no mention at all in the interview - which runs to about 50 pages.

    Brian
    Dear Brian,

    I am looking for any and all anecdotes that others might have of Sutcliffe during these years. I have all of the documents that you allude to in your reply. My intention is to add as much personal detail as possible to my biography though I know it is a difficult challenge as he was intensely private, as you say. I am hoping to hear from anyone, or about anyone, who may have worked with him at 3 Group so my attention is restricted to just those 3.5 years. Thank you for your response

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