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Thread: 51 Sqdn J R Gaddes

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    Default 51 Sqdn J R Gaddes

    I am told that J R Gaddes (believed to be a navigator) was posted from 51 Sqdn to 138 Sqdn, most likely 1942/3.
    There is no mention of him in the Tempsford records, so my question is - Does he appear in any 51 Sqdn records?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    I am told that J R Gaddes (believed to be a navigator) was posted from 51 Sqdn to 138 Sqdn, most likely 1942/3.
    There is no mention of him in the Tempsford records, so my question is - Does he appear in any 51 Sqdn records?
    237 views but no answer, does this mean that he does not appear in a crew list for the Squadron?
    Thanks
    Bob

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    Bob

    You could contact this website:

    http://www.51history.org/

    They have a James Geddes listed, but you can't access the info without a password, so maybe drop them an e-mail and see if he's your man? Use the 'Contact Us' link at the bottom of the main text on the home page - the 'Contact' hyperlink in the top blue bar doesn't work.

    Or is it this chap, 1091241 John Robert Gaddes, found in Air 78/59:

    https://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/a...6-a53e013765cf

    The sale mentions his involvement in dropping supplies to the French.

    Regards

    Simon
    Last edited by wwrsimon; 5th September 2016 at 10:36. Reason: added extra link

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    Bob, Hi,
    You don’t tell us whether he was Commissioned (I can’t find him in the LG), or NCO (have you checked him in AIR 78 to find his Service Number? There were also Australian and N Zealand ‘Gaddes’ in WW2).
    If you can confirm he was a UK Gaddes then the only ‘J. R. Gaddes’ I can find on FREEBMD died in 1962. This might (rpt might!) be yr man. If so, then he died more than 25 yrs ago and you can apply to Cranwell for his Service Record. That will give you all his postings!
    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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    I have been given little and conflicting info from the relatives.
    Firstly was told that he was a LAC with 161 Sqdn, then I was told that he was a navigator with a crew on 138 Sqdn. This was then change from navigator to despatcher. As he does not show in the 161 ORB nor Battle orders and neither does he appear in 138 ORB I am beginning to think he was ground crew and the tales of his wartime experiences have got corrupted.
    As I write another relative says he was 56 Sqdn not 51 Sqdn.
    Sorry to have misled you all.

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    Hi Simon,
    just picked up your edited post with the second link....that's my man! Very many thanks.

    Now have to find out why he does not show in the 161 records.

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    From the earlier link it appears that Gaddes was a Leading Aircraftman. In the Special Duties squadrons (138 and 161) the role of Despatcher was usually taken by an LAC or a Sergeant. They were forerunners of the present-day Loadmaster. Not regarded officially as aircrew, they were usually volunteers from the ground trades. The earliest Despatchers in 1940-41 were officers or NCOs from the parachute training school at Ringway. Training was informal, 'on the job' within the squadron; after a few sorties with an experienced Despatcher, a trainee would do the job solo. Sometimes Ringway training staff would fly on operations. Over the target the Despatcher might be assisted by other crew-members, regardless of rank, but on a busy sortie dropping several agents there might be two trained Despatchers. He was responsible for the correct stowage of the agents, their parachutes and the equipment to be dropped with them from the tightly-confined rear fuselage of the Whitley, the slightly roomier Halifax, and, in 1944, the cavernous Stirling. The role required considerable organisational skill, to ensure that the right packages and agents were dropped over the correct dropping-point, and the personal qualities to reassure nervous agents. It was a responsible role for a junior rank, and some progressed to Sergeant fairly quickly; this may have been some incentive to volunteer, but keenness to 'do their bit' was a significant incentive.

    You might find a trace of Jack Gaddes in the files of pilots' operational reports, which usually record the names of the crew. (ORBs do not.) For 161 Squadron in 1942-43 I would suggest AIR20/8456, or AIR20/8474 for 1943. These files usually have the pilot's original handwritten report, completed on a proforma sheet by the pilot or debriefing Intelligence Officer, and a typed version.

    Nick Livingstone

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