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Thread: Age of air crew 1661 HCU

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    Default Age of air crew 1661 HCU

    Can anyone tell me more about this young lad from Dundee who was killed in a flying accident near Pudsey, Yorkshire?
    I'm really curious about his age. Could he have been a qualified flight engineer at just 17???

    The details I have are:
    Sergeant/Flight Engineer (1574423) Alfred Keith Moncur was 17 years old when he died on 20 July 1944. He is buried in Dundee Eastern Necropolis.
    He was born in 1926 in St. Clement, Dundee, the son of the late Alexander John Moncur [died 1937] and of Francis Mary Moncur of 131 Kingsway, Dundee.
    He joined the RAF, aged 16, from the 1230 Squadron, Air Training Corps (Morgan Academy) and had been serving for 18 months. (Source: Dundee Courier 22/7/1944 p.2)
    He was on board a Stirling bomber of 1661 Heavy Conversion Unit which had taken off from RAF Winthorpe near Newark, Nottinghamshire on a training flight. The aircraft had engine problems and crashed near Pudsey. Alfred was killed when his parachute failed to open.

    Ken

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    Something not quite right here?
    Enlisted Number 1574423 is in the block 1425001-1649900 (Apr-Oct 1941). So if he was 18 in, say Jun 1941 then he should have been born in 1923. But if it was him then not only has he, apparently, lied quite considerably about his age to the Recruiting Officer, but he would not have been shaving too often, and still singing treble in the church choir???
    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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    My gran had a group of friends in her village which included a John Welling. As war approached, they all discussed what they would do once war broke out. John stated that his dad was going to hide him in the garden shed until the war was over & under no circumstances would he be enlisting in any of the armed forces. As it transpired, John was one of the first to enlist when war was declared.

    1080999 Sgt J W Welling was killed when his 43 Sqn Hurricane crashed on a night training flight on 1st September 1941. At this time he was 17 years old. He's buried in the village he grew up in, one of four boys from my grans group of friends who were killed in the first two years of the war.

    So Ken, yes it was perfectly possible to serve as aircrew at 17 - I guess it just depended on whether you looked the right age, and could fool the recruiting staff.

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    Edward James Wright RCAF, Airgunner with 428sqdn when killed in April 1945, 16yrs old when he died, so he was very young when he enlisted.

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    Thank you for your replies folks.

    Ken

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    Hello All,
    But what of the Ancient Warriors at the other end of the age scale? Some of these KOS' were also lying about their ages! There is a University Dissertation in the making here on the statistical Age(s) At Death of (a) WW2 RAF Aircrew, and (b) ditto RAF Ground(etc)crew. The resultant Bell Curve(s) will be instructive!
    I merely let this 'hare' loose to see what transpires!!!!!!!!!!!
    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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    I have seen the service file of Edward James Wright. He had clearly lied about his age, and considering the photo on file it amazed me that he was not stopped at some point before reaching the squadron. He was not killed on operations but on a cross-country training exercise.

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    I've just run across William Stewart Collins, Sergeant/Air Gunner 591325 KiA 3/9/42. He was aged 20.
    A local newspaper report (which, sadly, doesn't give dates) has "educated at Dumfries Academy before he joined the RAF as a boy entrant. He had two years of training at the RAF School and was employed on administrative duties before transferring to operational work as a rear gunner."
    So it would seem that there was a route for "youngsters" - and I think I remember something about an engineering training establishment for ground crew and flight crew?????

    Ken
    Last edited by kenmorrison; 22nd June 2016 at 08:17.

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    Rich and anyone else, I would like to add a page on the Aircrew Remembered website about this young lad, a volunteer has kindly sent me a photo of his family grave.

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