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Thread: Who wrote the ORB?

  1. #1
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    Default Who wrote the ORB?

    Generally speaking, who would have been responsible for writing a Squadron's ORB? Would this have been one of the Adjutant's tasks?

    Cheers
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Steve,

    41 Sqn's ORB was written by the Sqn Intel Officer. There is a paragraph about him in the Van Goens material I gave you. I'm not claiming that this would be the case in all Sqn's.

    Rob

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    No rule as far as I know, and it could have been well one of the aircrew, especially if he was a talented writer. In short, the man designated by OC to do so.

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    Greetings,

    I remember a few years ago the late Air Commodore 'Bill' Tacon saying to me with a big smile "Oh possibly a former shop floorwalker" (Such as Capt. Peacock in 'Are You Being Served")'. This was after I found some error in an ORB .

    So it appears sure there was no hard and fast rule.

    Cheers,
    Digger.

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    Steve,

    It would stand to reason that the one writing the ORB would be the one who formally debriefed the aviators after a mission. As ORB texts of various Sqns vary greatly in exactitude and detail, I subscribe to the Captain Peacock theory of Digger. The other thing is that, if ORB-writing officers held that post for years, as in 41 Sqn, then weariness could set in. Routine could take over from a keen interest in exactitude and detail.

    Rob

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    Thanks Gents

    I thought this may have been the case, i.e. a mixture of various people, is it becomes clear over a period of time that the tone (dryness, joviality, etc.), and particularly detail, of entries changes.

    My query comes about as I decypher the detail included in the following excerpt from 41 Squadron's ORB from the end of November 1942. The writer is clearly a gifted English speaker, but as both the Adjutant and Intelligence Officer are named and praised, as are the Flight Commanders, it left me wondering who could have written it. In fact, the only person not mentioned is the CO, so I feel it may well have been, exceptionally perhaps, the CO himself who wrote it. He did, after all sign below it - as was normal at the end of each month, of course - but this would in the least suggest that he 'signed off' on the sentiment of the passage. Was it perhaps a subtle hint to decision-makers further up the food chain?

    Steve

    "The following resume of our ‘Fortune’ – or perhaps it should be said ‘Misfortune’ for the last three months is worthy of note. :- When originally the motto SEEK AND DESTROY was decided upon, it was indeed a cruel jest. Or would anyone have visualised in this far off days the tearing asunder of the great 41st. Seldom has there been a more poignant instance of the ‘Biter’ being ‘Bitten’. On September 20th, 11 pilots were posted. It is said that the best are first to go. Words are but mockers of the truth. Two days later our gallant Engineer Officer P/O. Whipp fell to the ‘Poster’s Pen’; will our aircraft ever be the same? And then, the most cruel cut of all. Our diminutive F/Lt. F. N. Gillitt, together with P/O T. R. Scott and P/O. R. Harrison, died on active service, when ‘Gilly’ misjudging his position, led the Section into the hills. ‘41’ will miss and remember them. Misfortune followed tragedy – taxying accidents, engine failures – it was inconceivable that any one squadron could suffer so much – aircraft, pilots, personnel, posted, lost, injured.

    The spirit was low, only a nucleus remained. Let all tribute be paid to ‘Adj’ (F/O. Smith) and the indomitable ‘Gizzy’ (F/Lt. Lord Gisborough). Their efforts and the combined response of F/Lt. Hone F/Lt. Poynton, and the rest, not excluding the remaining Sgt. Pilots, who, although lacking in experience, were full of spirit, tided the squadron over an unhappy period. F/O. Slack’s humour, F/Lt. Poynton’s thoroughness, coupled with the energy of F/Lt. Hone and the soundness of our binding F/O. Haywood, has set the squadron on its feet again. From the depths of O.T.U. came the new blood, with a sprinkling of experience in the shape of P/O. Boyd, P/O. Newman and P/O. Hollow from Australia, P/O. Banach, our Polish ally, Sgts. Downing and Rowe, staff pilots, Sgt. Clarke N. Zealand, succeeding Sgt. Schou (posted) and the rest. In one month and less these boys have done more than respond; in one month the Squadron is living again, not shooting down ‘Huns’ admittedly, but putting up a good show.

    A total of 120 hours night flying were completed in 4 weeks with one excusable accident – plus 100 hours Link trainer exercise. THAT IS PROOF ENOUGH. Above all, there is the harbinger of a SPIRIT, that something which makes all good squadrons what they are. It is not indefineable [sic]. It is keenness, together with team work. The squadron plays well – it is a good sign. Given a month ‘41’ will do more than well. Everything is here, the guts, the energy and the will. It only remains for us to try just a fraction more, and we shall be at the only worthwhile position – ‘The Top’."
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Good analysis, Steve. Definitely a message, in fact a collection of factual statements provided with opinions and explanations, quite possibly directed at higher levels. The main message is Sqn morale surviving and even building under adverse conditions, as a result of the spirits and efforts of named individuals. The writer felt the need to highlight the individuals rather than give the usual bare table of facts. The message still has something to tell to those who write about WW2 military aviation with the machines rather than the men as the main characters.

    Rob

  8. #8
    John Wright Guest

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    While I was with 2 Armoured Car Company in 1946 on light duties afer a slight injury was assigned to work in the orderly room for about a month writing up the ORB became my job,in my opion the job was given to anyone handy.John

  9. #9
    buffnut453 Guest

    Default ORB Authors

    Just to add to the general tenor of this thread, the RAF never dictated who wrote ORBs. It could be a member of the aircrew, the unit intelligence officer or the unit adjutant. There was also little clear direction as to what should go into the ORB. Some authors provided masses of detail, including aircraft serial numbers, specific information on operations etc, whereas others were far less punctilious, and only provided the bare minimum (one presumes aircrew would form the majority of the latter group) and record, for example, "Sqn engaged in combat operations this date".

    I have never heard of a Sqn CO writing the ORB, although they did sign off on it because it was a formal record of the unit's activities. A CO typically has far more important things to worry about than the ORB - training, manpower, aircraft availability, the next operations etc - and so a record of what they've done isn't always high on the priority list. Again, it rather depends on the CO - some would scrutinise intensely every document they signed (including the ORB), whereas others trusted their subordinates, who drafted the documents, to do their jobs properly in the first place.

    I know this doesn't help much but that was (and still is) the reality of ORBs in the RAF.

    Kind regards,
    Mark H

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    Mark I fully agree with you.

    According my knowledge the ORBs from different periods have different records (style, amount of information) so it is clear that the authors were changed time to time.

    But I personally suppose that it was task of airmen attached to the orderly room (standard staff or grounded airmen for injury etc.)

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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