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Thread: RAF Service Record - Trades BR/FW and F/ARM

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    Default RAF Service Record - Trades BR/FW and F/ARM

    Hello,

    I've recently obtained my grandfather's RAF service records from 1940 - 1945 and I'm trying to decipher his trades.

    Initially he was mustered as ACH/B.Optr which I understand to mean Aircrafthand Balloon Operator (with 924 and 930 Sqns) with the corresponding trade of "BR/FW" or "BR1FW" - does anyone know what this means?

    In 1942 he spent several postings back and forth between 10 School of Technical Training (10 SofTT) and just the entry "Defford" (which I take to be RAF Defford, home of the Telecommunications Flying Unit at the time). It appears his trade changed around this time to "F/ARM" - again, what does this mean?

    Finally, was it normal to expect a demotion with a change in trade? He progressed from AC2 to AC1 and LAC, but then became AC2 again when he was reposted to 10 SofTT.

    Thanks for any help,

    James

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    James

    Welcome to the forum

    As a start point for you:

    The first trade was Balloon Rigger / Fabric Worker and I am guessing (others may be able to confirm) that the second one was Fitter / Armourer.

    It was normal for Aircraftmen (*) to be reclassified whenever they started to learn a new trade

    Good luck with your research

    Regards

    Pete

    (*) Word "ranks" replaced by "Aircraftmen"
    Last edited by PeteT; 23rd October 2015 at 09:28. Reason: Word "ranks" replaced by "Aircraftmen"
    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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    Hi

    Just to clarify a little, AC2, AC1 and LAC were not actually ranks, they were trade classifications, indicating the level of skill in the trade and carried no command responsibility. Therefore if the airman took on a new trade, they would have to revert to AC2 during training before progressing through the classifications by means of the usual trade tests. The first rank an airman could be promoted to was Corporal.

    Malcolm

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    Thanks Malcolm for clarifying; I have amended my original post to say "aircraftmen" rather than "ranks" to ensure accuracy.

    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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    Thank you both - that's been a great help. Could I ask your opinion on some other lines in the Mustering section please? I've attached/linked to the service record.

    Line 2: "BR.FW/1308" - does '1308' relate to anything? NB The date follows so it's not that
    Line 3: "BR/FW u/t Armt" - does this say "u/t", if so then Under Training I assume. And does that say "Armt"? It could make sense given the subsequent trade.
    Line 4: "Armourer up f/Arm" - do you think this says "Armourer"? And "up" or maybe "u/t" (again)
    Line 5: "Fitt/Arm" - now I know what F/ARM means I've interpreted this to be "Fitt/Arm"

    Thank you again,

    James


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    James

    The service record usually shows the trade that he was qualified in, followed by U/T (under training), followed by the trade he was training in.

    I believe your record shows:

    Balloon Rigger / Fabric Worker U/T Armourer
    Armourer U/T Fitter Armourer
    Fitter Armourer

    I also think the "1308" = BOP (Balloon Operator) thereby making that line "Balloon Rigger Fabric Worker / Balloon Operator"

    You may be able to confirm this using the details in the "Qualification" section of the record (as it may show his exams and the relevant results)

    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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    Thank you - what you describe makes more sense of the record.

    I'm unclear about the exams and courses he attended though. The first ones are relatively easy: AC1, 3 x LAC (resits or was it a three-part exam), but then on 25/11/42 what looks like "Ex Remo Arm", followed by "Ex Rummax"? This would take him up to the period when his trade changed to F/ARM in July 1943.

    After that the exams/courses for 1944/45 cover the period while at RAF Defford (and/or attached to 10 SofTT). I'd be grateful of any insight into what these courses covered to try and establish what he did there. e.g. "R P Apparatus", "40mm Before Fitts/Arm", "No28 Special Marten Turrets"



    James

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    Hi James

    As he had three separate trades, then he would have had to revert to AC2 on the second two occasions and then would have had to have retaken trades tests to move up to AC1 and then LAC, hence the three LAC tests.

    RP = Rocket Projectile
    40mm may refer to a course on the 40mm cannon carried by types such as the Hurricane IID or the 40mm Bofors Gun.
    No 28 Special Marten turret may have been a specific type of gun turret, although I've never heard of it.

    Malcolm

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