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Thread: What flying duties would a fitter armourer in Bomber Command be doing in 1944?

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    Default What flying duties would a fitter armourer in Bomber Command be doing in 1944?

    Hi

    I'm working on my father's service records, doing my best to translate them for the benefit of the rest of the family. He joined the RAF as a boy entrant in 1936 and trained as an armourer, later retraining as a fitter armourer and going to South Africa as an instructor. In 1943 he went to RAF Bathurst (Coastal Command) in what is now Gambia, and at the end of 1943 returned to the UK. He was posted to RAF Syerston - the Lancaster Finishing School - and in April 1944 his rank changed from Sergeant to Flight Sergeant.

    He always told us that being a Flight Sergeant meant flying duties, and that the rank was to ensure better treatment in the event of capture.

    What sort of flying duties would a (by now very experienced) fitter armourer have?

    I'd be very grateful for any help!

    Regards
    Granny Pat

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    GrannyPat, Hi - and welcome to the Forum

    A Sergeant (3 chevrons on each arm) is a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO).
    A Flight Sergeant (3 chevrons surmounted by a crown) is an SNCO - but superior to a Sgt.
    The term 'Flight' in that rank does not mean any actual flying duties status.

    BUT - a very experienced Flt Sgt fitter armourer (often known as "Chiefy" by his subordinates!) could, quite conceivably, have done a number of flights in the bigger aircraft (like a Lancaster) to sort out snags in any of the armament system(s) on that aircraft - but not as regular aircrew.
    BUT - what you have to realise is that aeroplanes, and their aircrew, do NOT operate properly unless Flt Sgts, etc, in the Ground Trades make sure all is well!

    I, even as a Junior Officer, was very respectful of senior Flt Sgts - it's the way the RAF works!

    HTH
    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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    Thank you.

    That makes sense to me.

    Regards

    Granny Pat

    Quote Originally Posted by Resmoroh View Post
    GrannyPat, Hi - and welcome to the Forum

    A Sergeant (3 chevrons on each arm) is a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO).
    A Flight Sergeant (3 chevrons surmounted by a crown) is an SNCO - but superior to a Sgt.
    The term 'Flight' in that rank does not mean any actual flying duties status.

    BUT - a very experienced Flt Sgt fitter armourer (often known as "Chiefy" by his subordinates!) could, quite conceivably, have done a number of flights in the bigger aircraft (like a Lancaster) to sort out snags in any of the armament system(s) on that aircraft - but not as regular aircrew.
    BUT - what you have to realise is that aeroplanes, and their aircrew, do NOT operate properly unless Flt Sgts, etc, in the Ground Trades make sure all is well!

    I, even as a Junior Officer, was very respectful of senior Flt Sgts - it's the way the RAF works!

    HTH
    Peter Davies

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    I think your father was 'pulling your leg' when he said being a flight sergeant would get him better treatment than a sergeant, if he became a POW.

    No: 5 Lancaster Finishing School was formed at Syerston on 21 Nov 43 and was eventually disbanded on 1 Apr 45 and the idea was to put the final touches to preparing crews from the Heavy Conversion Units for front line service. 5 LFS, as the number suggests, prepared crews destined for 5 Group Sqns.

    The RAF Forms 540 and 541 are available at the National Archives at Kew (the 540 is a narrative diary, whilst the 541 deals with sorties flown). Chorley's volume dealing with HCUs also covers the LFSs and he lists a number of accidents but no operational losses from the school. Incidentally, there will be 540s and 541s for the other flying units on which your father served and these might provide interesting reading to enhance the information you are collecting - it's just such a pain to get to Kew!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Colin Cummings

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