Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Ground Crew "tour" / Bomber Command WW2

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    51
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Ground Crew "tour" / Bomber Command WW2

    Did Commonwealth ( RCAF, RAAF etc) have a set time of service? Would a Canadian LAC for example, an armourer or engine mechanic, spend a year at a station and then be sent home? Or were they there for the duration?
    Thanks for any info!
    Cheers, Clint

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Posts
    1,007
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    From my note taking on RNZAF service personnel (non-flying, mostly instrument mechanics, armourers and some wireless operators [ground]), it seems that these men (no RNZAF women sent over to UK in WW2 to best of my knowledge) remained in the UK for a considerable period. All the ones I have seen were sent over between 1940 and 1942, and from memory most were returned to NZ in 1944/45. They served with al sorts of units, including operational squadrons, OTUs, all Commands, and one (an armourer) even ended up serving with an RAF Spitfire squadron located in Australia, having been posted to this squadron originally in the UK. So he was attached to the RAF from RNZAF, then attached to the RAAF from the RAF! Actually it may have been one of the EATS Article XV squadrons, possibly 458 (RAAF). So far as I know, tradesmen had no "tours of duty" as such as they basically had to put up with similar risks (perhaps slightly higher risks as they were mostly working on RAF stations which were legitimate targets for the enemy) as those endured by the long-suffering British public, and unless they were on leave, sick leave, or a training course (usually upgrading their skills by studying new types of equipment, or undertaking a course with a civilian organisation), they were on normal service duties carrying out their trade to keep the aircraft flying, or operating technical equipment such as radar, etc. Thus they probably had pretty well identical conditions of service as normal RAF (mostly RAFVR) ground personnel, except that their families were 12,000 miles away. As indicated above, they would serve in the UK, or anywhere else that their duties on squadrons, other units, or even higher formations took them; they had to serve until their masters ordered otherwise. However I think there were some fairly vague general instructions as to the period they should serve overseas, something like a maxim of 3 years unless their presence was required to be extended by operational circumstances or some such. These periods were almost certainly contained in another Article of the Empire Air Training Scheme schedules, which might be worth looking up.
    David D

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    51
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thank you David! Great information, and my admiration for the "erks" increases the more I learn about their work. Very much the unsung heroes of Bomber Command!
    Cheers, Clint

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •