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Thread: Age Limits For Flying Withing Bomber Command

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    Default Age Limits For Flying Withing Bomber Command

    A big hello to everyone,

    Whilst browsing through the Bomber Command Losses series, I have come across a few entries where aircrew members who were lost were in their late thirties and some in their forties. It was stated that these aircrewmen were well above the age associated whilst flying with Bomber Command.

    Was there an age limit to flying operationally? And if so, why was these airmen allowed to fly after reaching the required limit of age for operations. Or was it perhaps, unusual seeing that a lot of aircrew were in their teens or early twenties and an older crew member stood out from the rest of his crew.

    Whatever the reason, no matter what age these brave men were, it will not deflect the sacrifice given by all members of Bomber Command and other Commands come to that whilst trying to overcome the problems of the day.

    Regards.

    Steve.

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    Steve
    I am not aware of any offical age limit but it seems to have made a difference as to whether you ended up with a combat role in some cases.
    The pilot that my father flew 73 operations with held his private pilot's license when he enlisted in 1940. He was told that operations were a young man's game and sent to Training Command to be an instructor. He was 26 at the time. He spent over 3 years in Training Command before he managed to get to posted to Bomber Command and I believe it took some effort on his part. He ended up flying 91 operations with The Pathfinders, made Wing Commander and got a DSO and DFC. Not bad for an old man. I think age diverted many men away from a combat role and the older men I have come across that ended up in combat squadrons all seem to have had a combination of talent and persistence that worked to their favour.
    Regards
    Dave Wallace
    Last edited by David Wallace; 10th July 2008 at 13:49.

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    Hi Steve,

    as I was asking on this forum before:
    the oldest BC killed crewmember was probably Sir Arnold Talbot Wilson (75 684) - age 56 (KIA 31.5.40).

    Some more examples from 311 (Czechoslovak) Bomber Squadron:

    CO in 1941 was W/C Mares-Toman, age 43
    as AG occasionaly was flying member of Czech Inspectorate General G/C Berounsky, age 46 let.

    So I suppose there was not official age limit for BC aircrew, mostly the older pilots were moved from FC to BC.
    It was similar when 311 Sq was with CC - AG F/Sgt Veitl got killed in 1944, age 41.

    Hope this helps a little

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

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    Steve,

    Looking at pre war recruitment into the RAFVR (1939) for aircrew duty the age limits 18-32. (Pilots 18-25) For ground duties 18-50 !

    I know of several wartime volunteers who were over 30 when they commenced pilot training !

    I also remember the wartime film Captain of the Clouds- Jimmy Cagney. When an RAF Squadron Leader tells a group of older Canadian pilots that at 25 he was too old to be a fighter pilot !

    Back to Bomber Command a good example is Great Escaper P/O Bernard GREEN M.C (WW1) taken P.OW 20/7/1940 44 Sqn Air Gunner, age 53 !

    Mark

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    Default Aged crew

    I am in the process of helping find 460 Sqdn RAAF crew relatives for a forthcoming memorial in Denmark.

    The RAF rear gunner !! was a man of 39 .

    Anne

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    "I have come across a few entries where aircrew members who were lost were in their late thirties and some in their forties."

    The operative word is 'few'.

    The following is appendix from Vol Three of my 'For Your Tomorrow' trilogy. The figures are for New Zealanders and include training and operational deaths in all theatres.

    Aircrew only deaths by age (WWII)
    (excluding those who died as a result of a non-aircraft event.)

    Age 18 - 10
    Age 19 - 90
    Age 20 - 308
    Age 21 - 475
    Age 22 - 493
    Age 23 - 501
    Age 24 - 436
    Age 25 - 360
    Age 26 - 315
    Age 27 - 242
    Age 28 - 197
    Age 29 - 171
    Age 30 - 119
    Age 31 - 96
    Age 32 - 72
    Age 33 - 51
    Age 34 - 40
    Age 35 - 19
    Ages 36-43 - 19

    Total - 4014

    Some of the older casualties had 'forgetten' their actual year of birth when enlisting. Others were there for various other reasons (exceptions proving the rule).

    Errol

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    Errol


    Very interesting

    A typical Bell Curve

    I do not know if you could provide a detailed distribution of the last Ages 36-43 - 19?

    I have an idea....

    Many Thanks

    Paul

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    Hi,

    The younger than I found, the MIA 27/01/1943. Sergeant. LEWIS, DESMOND, 17 years. 429 (R.C.A.F.) Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

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    Default Age Limits For Flying Within Bomber Command

    Hello again,

    Gentlemen, thanks for your contributions to this thread very interesting indeed, age knows no bounds in the face of adversity.

    Regards.

    Steve.

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    To see a chart of this

    http://www.swivel.com/graphs/show/28763588

    Paul

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