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Thread: Fg Off Horace Nicholson's 'Secret' Met Posting

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    Default Fg Off Horace Nicholson's 'Secret' Met Posting

    Hello All,

    This is one of those famous ‘long shots’! I am trying to extract a Horace Nicholson from the fog/smoke.

    On 11th May 1943 1116604 Flt Sgt Horace NICHOLSON was Cmd Plt Off(p) (148006) in the RAFVR GD Branch.

    1116604 (Block 965000-1149977, RAFVR, Padgate) was allocated wef 01-Sep-39 to 31 Mar 1941. So it seems likely our Horace Nicholson came into the Recruiting Office “off the streets” – i.e. he had no RAF ‘previous’, and no clues as to his age.

    There are 10 ‘Horace (no 2nd forename) Nicholson” in FREEBMD 1910-1922. So that’s a blind alley.

    Nicholson was Promoted to Fg Off (still in the GD Branch) on 11 Nov 1943 – i.e. 6 months after Cmd (so he hadn’t put a foot wrong so far). No indications of any "Met" so far!

    The next I hear of him was in a Tarrant Rushden ORB (tks Lyffe!):-

    May 27th, 1944. Flying Officer H. NICHOLSON posted from NETHERAVON for meteorological duties. What ‘meteorological duties’ I ask? Bear in mind that 27 May 1944 was a Saturday, but it was 9(10) days before D-Day. Lots of people were being posted from A to B for reasons they were not yet able to be briefed on. Many of the airfields (inc Netheravon and Tarrant Rushden) in S England were hives of activity, and although many could guess ‘why’ it would be several days before they could be told ‘where’/’when’.

    Does anybody know (or knows who does know?) what our Horace Nicholson was up to?

    TIA

    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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    Peter, Your man (148006) appears to be in the GD Branch throughout his service. His emergency commn is finally relinquished as a FL wef 18 May 59. There is no indication throughout his time of Met Branch service. Regards, Terry

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    Terry, Hi,
    Tks yrs. Precisely!! We don't even know if he was a Nav, or a Pilot? Navs often did 'in-flight' met reports, and MAOs (Met Air Observers) were taught the rudiments of navigation (to a reasonable level) on the MAO course.
    It was just that it was a very strange posting, and my antennae started twitching! "What was he up to, who sent him, and why?" are just a few of the questions!! Unless something fortuitous falls out of the woodwork, we shall probably never know!!!
    Tks yr interest.
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 10th September 2017 at 12:04. Reason: QSD
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Hi,

    A little late replying, but I can tell you more about 1116604 Flt Sgt Horace Nicholson as he was my Grandad.

    This is him:

    And here's a hospital card found with that photo showing the number 1116604:

    I've recently found a collection of his stuff incluing photos, flight log books, RAF clothing, etc. and so have found it very interesting to find out more about RAAF 459 Squadron, and particularly why a man from Lancashire ended up with the RAAF.

    Here's a photo of him with some of the RAAF (He's second from the right without a cap):

    From the flight log books it seems he was an Observer/Navigator:

    There are also lots of photos where it looks like they've been out to drop some bombs!



    He also had a brother called Geroge Nicholson who was also based in Egypt.

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    pnicholson, Hi,
    Sorry for the delay. This one fell off the back-burner!
    I’m afraid I have nothing further to report about Horace Nicholson.
    Some of our Australian experts may be able to add something from his time in 459 Sqn (RAAF) before his Commissioning.
    He doesn’t come into my area of research until his Commissioning Flt Sgt>Plt Off(p) on 11 May 1943, and then not until 27 May 1944 (just before D-Day) when he is posted from Netheravon for “meteorological duties”. I note, from the photo, that he is wearing the “O” brevet. This is what Navs wore before the “N” brevet was invented (and some continued to wear the “O” brevet – in defiance of the regulations – after that time!!!).
    I think it is most likely that many of his movements will be revealed in his Service Record. If you haven’t already obtained it then I strongly advise that you do so. Go to https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records. You will have to ‘jump through all their hoops’, it will cost £30, and (currently) takes about 5 weeks to arrive. It will be full of RAF short-forms, acronyms, abbreviations, etc, etc. And many of the places listed no longer physically exist, or are now under a different national jurisdiction with a different name!! The forum has many experts who will help you decipher what is written/printed – they will help (they are as good as GCHQ!!!!)
    Sorry not to have better news, but it’s the best I can do!
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 17th October 2019 at 16:52.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    pnicholson

    Amazing stuff. Does the log book show any flying activity in May or June 1944? Could you scan those pages or... big ask... would you be on for scanning and sharing it all?

    Thanks so much for sharing

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    Thank you for your replies. I'll certainly look into getting his service records and yes, I'll scan in those log book pages soon and share.

    Regards,
    Phil

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    Hello,

    Take a look here:

    https://www.454-459squadrons.org.au/fraserrj

    The bottom strike photo (Post # 4), depicting Kalamata Harbour, was taken by a No.454 RAAF Sqn aircraft:

    454 Sqn unsuccessfully bombed Kalamata Harbour on 14 May, 1944, and ... A second attempt on the 18th went a little better. On this occasion, Squadron Leader Don Beaton , F/O Ken 'Fiji' Thompson and Lieutenant Alex Dryden, one of several South Africans with the squadron, attacked from seaward. Hits on a 200-ton caique and harbour facilities were observed. Inaccurate light flak failed to score in return. Kalamata was visited for a third time on the 21st. Led this time by Squadron Leader Cashmore, Flying Officer Gray and Pilot Officer Johnston did more damage to the town than the port.

    See:
    Alamein To The Alps 454 Squadron RAAF 1941 - 1945.
    Lax,Mark
    Wanniassa:Author,2006.
    p.120

    Col
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 22nd October 2019 at 15:00.

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