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Thread: RAF Wireless Operator/Air Gunner who wasnt?

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    Default RAF Wireless Operator/Air Gunner who wasnt?

    I have the records of an RAF Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, and a photo of him with his crew in January 1943 where he is clearly wearing the AG half wing, 'fist and sparks' sleeve badge of a wireless operator and sergeant stripes. His service record has his units as:

    No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre 21/9/40
    No. 10 Recruit Centre 18/11/40
    No. 2 Signals School 21/2/41
    RAF Driffield 7/6/41
    RAF Foley 21/7/41
    No. 9 Air Observer School 19/12/41
    No. 19 Operational Training Unit 24/3/42
    106 Squadron 17/6/42
    83 Squadron 16/3/43

    I cannot see any provision for his gunnery training. Wireless training would have been carried out at No. 2 Signals School, and I would have thought bomb aiming training at No. 9 Air Observer School (as I believe it had bombing ranges close by and observer training containing bomb aiming). Apparently No. 9 Bombing and Gunnery School was at RAF Penrhos at the same time as No. 9 AOS.

    Would he have gained any gunnery training at No. 9 A O S or is this most likely an error in the transcription from his service record (sent by the MoD) and he actually went to No. 9 B & G S?

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    I stand to be corrected but as a secondary role to his Wireless Operator duties his Air Gunnery would have been basic and your reference to 9 B & G S would fit ideally here.

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    The 9 AOS ORB often refers to trainee air gunners, while they didn't specifically carry out gunner training they certainly took on AG u/t, his training would have continued at 19 OTU.

    The following is an entry from the 9 AOS ORB from Jan 31st 1942, "No.3 W/OP(AG) Course completed. 27 Cadets commenced course. 24 successfully completed. 2 failed examination and 1 killed in flying accident. Average Results Wireless 84.67%; Gunnery 77.9%. Draft of 100 gunners proceeded to 15 P.D.C. Blackpool on posting overseas."
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Thank you both. I wondered if it was a typing error when they did the transcript for me, but reading alclarks post it seems that indeed gunnery training was carried out at Air Observer School. Interesting, its the first time I have come across that, although in the case of Observers, whilst they trained mostly in bomb aiming and navigation I have seen gunnery training for some too.

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    Some random thoughts, which may help (or hinder!)

    The information that I have on aircrew training shows that air gunnery training was re-organised around that time, with five schools being set up at Jurby, West Freugh, Dumfries, Penrhos and Millom to provide "combined navigation and air gunnery training" (observers only) (AOS).

    In parallel, air gunner schools were established at Pembrey, Dalcross, Stormy Down, Llandwrog and Castle Kennedy for air gunnery training (Wireless Operators) and at Evanton and Barrow for air gunnery training (Air Gunners). (Note: Barrow was mixed WOP and AG)

    This suggests that as a WOP/AG, he should have been at one of the air gunner schools rather than at an AOS. However, the air gunner school at Llandwrog is described as a "satellite of No 9 AOS, Penrhos" so that may explain the posting.

    It would be interesting to see if the ORB that Alan has supports the information regarding the two locations (Penrhos / Llandwrog)

    Regards

    Pete
    Last edited by PeteT; 10th February 2016 at 08:16.
    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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    That entry came from the Penrhos portion of the ORB.
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Albeit slightly later than the airman in question, my father did his Air Gunner training at Penrhos between 19-06-43 to 31-07-43, 9 (0) A.F.U.
    The Air Gunnery and Bombing range is shown on wartime maps off the coastline to the south, south west of Penrhos off a beach known locally as Hell's Mouth.

    Type683

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    Evening Gents,
    From my father's log book, he was WOP/Ag No 9 (o) A.F.U. Penrhos 19/5/42-8/6/42 Total W/t flying 230.05hrs. Time on set 20.45hrs plus gunnery course. Went to 21OTU then M.E. Airman 1,could it be that your man failed observer course and was then trained as WOP? The observor brevet was much sort after I believe at that time.

    Regards,
    Rob Jerram.

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    All RAF air observers were cross trained as air gunners up till 1942, as well as photographers, so had many responsibilities in crews of bombers, coastal command aircraft, etc.
    David D

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    Thank you all, very helpful and interesting.

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