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Thread: "Pupil Pilot" Designation

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    Default "Pupil Pilot" Designation

    Does anyone know if the term "pupil pilot" was exclusively used by those pilots who would be offered a commission on completion or any NCO pilot as well?

    It is just that the ones I have checked (admittedly not many) all become later Acting P/O

    Thanks

    Paul

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    As a bit of a background I am looking for a "Pupil Pilot G Hobbs" parachute incident in early 1940

    Now.. If you google "Pupil Pilot Hobbs" you get the following entry


    Joseph Bedo Hobbs 41926 in Wynn Men of BoB
    It says
    "Hobbs of Folkestone, joined RAF on Feb 76, 1939 on a short
    service commission and began his ab initio course as a pupil pilot"

    Interestingly

    The next Hobbs is Sydney John Hobbs 742901 who joined RAFVR Jan 1939
    as an Airman U/T Pilot

    Again not proof, but it appears SSC were Pupil Pilots, Airman 'Pilots Under\Training'



    Actually I don't think it is any of those two, it might be "Arthur George Frederick HOBBS" #77118 who was commissioned in Feb 1940 as Acting Pilot Officer

    However, he was a Air Gunner - I wonder if he might have been transferred as a result of his training

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    Either the designation Pupil Pilot died out in 1940 or they got better at selection as the term is used less in the F1180s.

    68 Pupil Pilot incidents in 1939 against 4 in Jan to June 1940

    Pupil Pilot (P/P) are all against EFTS in 1939 and nearly all were the civilian operated schools.

    In a similar manner the Flight Cadet designation for Cranwell bods also dies out in 1940 after the college was turned over to general flying training courses rather than Permanent Commission.

    So it looks like P/P was a prewar/early war designation for Officer and Airman pilots under training. The large percentage of P/P who were subsequently commissioned seems to be due a shortage of service experienced officers to balance the influx of ACH/LAC Sgt Pilots being generated post Sept 1939.

    Ross
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    Just to complicate matters when Paul may have been nearing an answer, it may be that the phrase remained in peoples' minds even after the official usage had evolved: see ...

    AIR 4/202 Description:
    Rank and Name: A/P/O R. Nieder, Remarks: Pupil pilot's progress book and Form 5060
    Date: 1962 July-1962 Oct.

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    New Zealanders selected in New Zealand for RAF short service commission in the late 1930s, and who were then sent direct to the UK to begin their training, were first posted on arrival to an Elementary & Reserve Flying Training School. If they passed muster after completing 50 hours of flying there they were then commissioned as SSC officers and send to Uxbridge for uniform and instruction in how to behave as an officer and a gentleman, etc. While with the E&RFTS the wore civilian clothes and were referred to as 'pupil pilots'.

    Errol

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    All

    Thanks for your input and especially the analysis of usage Ross and the NZ view Errol


    I can see now when the P/P reference started and ended and it looks to be a purely E&RFT designation and fell out if use when war started all current trainees ended training and the new ones directly enrolled in RAF

    I have a few p/p names and will see if all commissioned not 100% proof but a good indicator

    I note all Cranwell cadets were enrolled with Airman Service
    Numbers cans then commissioned en-mass later

    Thanks again
    Paul

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