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Thread: Cessation of National Service

  1. #1
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    Default Cessation of National Service

    A bit off topic, but could anyone advise on the impact of the cessation of National Service on RAF establishment numbers in the 1960s?

    Did squadron aircrew establishment numbers reduce significantly or were the vast majority on National Service serving in the ground trades?

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    PeteT, Hi,
    I spent the last 18 months of my RAF Nat Svc (in the mid-50s) at a N African desert Staging Post, so I can only look at the problem through that end of the telescope!
    Most RAF Nat Svc blokes served in ground trades (there were the odd exceptions who flew – but not many!).
    Several things were happening at the same time. A/c endurances were getting better/longer, so the need for a large number of intermediate Staging Posts was reducing. It was the time when “The Empire” was proving too expensive to maintain – so we didn’t need to be “in” a lot of places (quite apart from the politico-military aspects of various UK govts!!). Technicalities were rapidly improving.
    To example from just one small, minor, Staging Post. In the Comcen there were about 5 H/F W/T circuits – each with its own W/Op. We had 2 W/Ops in Met. That’s 7 W/Ops on a ‘watch’ (8 with a trainee). 4 watches, and you’re talking 32 W/Ops + their JNCO/SNCO supervisors! All could have been done (and, eventually, were) with 2, or 3, radioteleprinter (RTP) circuits watched over, on each shift, by a Cpl + 2 ORs (who didn’t need to be taught morse!!).
    In Met, 1, or 2, RTPs replaced the W/Ops. The Nat Svc Met Assts had been a form of cheap labour. When Nat Svc ended the pay of civilian Met Assts had to be increased to attract those to fill the shortfall.
    ATC, the Fire Section, and a/c servicing did not change all that much – but RAF Regular volunteers had to be ‘attracted’ to fill the shortfall.
    That’s just a microcosm. I suspect that there are a large number of degree Dissertations, and/or PhD Theses, that have been written and that are lurking in Uni libraries. This might well be the area in which your research might well be directed.
    PM, or email, me if you want more detail!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

  3. #3
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    Peter

    Thanks, as always.

    I will see if I can find a table somewhere which provides figures, but I think you are right in suggesting that aircrew numbers were not significantly affected

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

  4. #4
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