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Thread: Norman Frank Catt "Scratcher" - 53 Squadron

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    Default Norman Frank Catt "Scratcher" - 53 Squadron

    HI guys, this is a long shot really....


    My grandad flew within the 53 squadron during the second world war,but very little is known by the family as to what he did during his service. He never spoke to my nan about his experience and passed away when my dad was very young Just recently his wife (my nan) passed away and am finding bits and bobs about him but, such as his pilot going by the name of "Cactus" who cantacted the family in the early 90's with help of surprise surprise. Im going through the correspondence between him and my nan, but only a few letters have survived over the years (i have got his real name, but those are located elsewhere at the time of writing this)


    Any information, is greatly appreciated or advice and help

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    Welcome Catt84,

    Your best way to start is to obtain his RAF service record; the procedure for so doing, and the forms you require, can be found at #2 of the Geoffry Raymond Deeley thread at http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...Deeley-1579913. For the record it is unlikely he was only associated with 53 Squadron during his service career, but his service record will list all the units with which he trained and served, and the time-frames of each. Once you have these you can access each unit's operational record books at the National Archives; these are essentially diaries and his name will be found for each operation he flew.

    It may be copies of some of the ORBs are held by forumites, and they may be able to help.

    When making the application it is best that you provide his service number if at all possible. A quick search of the London Gazette indicates he was a Flight Sergeant by the beginning of May 1945, at which time his service number was 1390696. This changed to 198301 on 14 May 1945 when he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer.

    A brief history of 53 Squadron is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._53_Squadron_RAF/

    If you have trouble deciphering the entries in the service record members of RAFCommands would be only to happy to help.

    Good hunting

    Brian

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    Hi Brian

    Thanks for your response. I will be requesting the forms through the MOD, as have been advised this is a good place to get concrete info. I did try looking through the London Gazette but never found anything, you obviously have the magic touch :) Looking through the information i have one of his fellow crew mates believed he came a warrant officer circa 1946. Is this the next level on or could this be the mist of time having an affect?

    Thanks for your help

    Dave

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    If you get a copy of United in Effort by Jock Manson - ISBN 0 85130 260 2 there is a crew picture of him on page 129 at Reykjavic 1944.

    F/L C Waldrop crew - F/Sgt N F Catt.

    Ross
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    Thanks Ross, i have a copy on the way to me. The correspondence to my Nan is from Calybounre "Cactus" Waldrop, its with his help we know what we know so far. We have a few pictures but with no names attached

    Dave
    Last edited by Catt84uk; 17th June 2017 at 22:01.

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    All the crew is named so you should be able to put faces to names.

    Looking closer iits captioned Dec 1944 so if you download that month from The National Archives it will give you a start on his operational flights.

    http://discovery.nationalarchives.go...ils/r/D8451596

    and

    http://discovery.nationalarchives.go...ils/r/D8451597

    Ross
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    Mists of time I think, Dave. According to the London Gazette he was never a Warrant Officer, which is the next rank up from Flight Sergeant. Go to https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...upplement/3550 and scroll down the right-hand column to 14 May 1945 and you will see he was a Flt Sgt before he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer. What I can add is that he was Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) for his work before he was commissioned (https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...37407/page/107).

    Brian

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    Hello,

    Your grandfather's pilot, Claybourne WALDROP, also received a mention in January, 1946:

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...37407/page/126

    Some interesting backgound material on Waldrop, here:

    http://rcafassociation.ca/heritage/search-awards/

    Enter Waldrop in Search Keyword box, click on Last Name, then Search

    Notice the variation in Waldrop's service number; LG - J/11581, Halliday - J/14581. It appears that J/11581 is the correct one.

    Unfortunately, no longer with us:

    http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dal...ory&pid=877217

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 18th June 2017 at 09:33.

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    Thanks Brian

    It appears that claybourne has got his wires crossed on the warrant officer (can't fault the main really, looks like he tracked down a lot of his crew without the technology we had today). Roy Stansfield had his information correct though, was it rare for a wireless operator/air gunner to be promoted to flight officer as he states?? It's fascinating finding out about my grandad, in this last day we've learnt more than we had in the previous decades

    Thanks for your help

    Dave

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    Hi col

    Thanks for putting me on the right track about claybourne. Never knew that about him, even though our family and a very young me met him in the early 90s. My dad was saying the other day he suspected him of being somewhat of a secret squirrel in the war, more of secret work rather than a rapscallian by leaving the US army.

    Thanks for your help

    Dave

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