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Thread: Trades called CLK. G.D. and A.C.H.

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    Default Trades called CLK. G.D. and A.C.H.

    Hi,

    What are the significations of the trades called CLK. G.D. and A.C.H. ?

    Thanks in advance,

    Bertrand

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    Bertrand,

    Clerk General Duties.

    Aircrafthand.

    Cheers,
    Errol

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    To embellish Errol's post, an Aircraft Hand was not really a trade as such (for instance, there was no trade test for it as was normal for the usual trades), but more like a general "catch-all" for anybody who was not mustered to any other trade. It was also a Group V trade (unskilled) for pay and advancement purposes, but they were essential in the RAF as a large pool of able bodied young (or not so young in some cases) men with a very wide range of experiences (some of which were probably of not much use to the RAF). However they were a great asset to the Service because they were generally fit, some were strong, and all were under military discipline, so could be ordered by their NCOs or COs to do any physical or practical jobs (including office assistants) that needed to be done, right there and then. Need 30 men to help manhandle 30 Tiger Moths returning to their aerodrome where there were strong winds blowing? (Tiger Moths and other light types of aircraft are prone to being blown over on the ground in such conditions, and in such instances it would not just be ACH GDs being summoned, but every able-bodied man available, whatever his trade); or perhaps 50 men might be urgently required to assist with washing down some very dusty or oily aircraft. The W/O in charge of workshops might have a large number of filthy aero-engine parts from dismantled engines with gummed up grease all over then requiring cleaning, or maybe a lot of engine parts received from stores which required unwrapping and cleaning (grease-paper) prior to being incorporated in engines - send for the ACH GDs (General Duties). They could also end up as "mail-men" (transporting mail several times a day from the HQ of a station to scattered units), on foot or bicycle, or with sorting files, or being allocated to pretty well any section on the Station or at a stores depot that had a standing requirement for a pool of ACH's. They could be allocated to messes to help move food or other supplies about, and do most of the cleaning and hygiene jobs. They could even be given a broom and be told to sweep out all those huts. Humans are infinitely versatile creatures. Perhaps 5% of the airmen at any station might have been ACH GD's; all would be under the general control of NCOs in charge of each section, but they could be transferred to other sections as dictated by urgent needs.
    David D

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    Thanks Errol and David for these info.These "trades" came from a list of French airmen recorded in RAF VR in ME in mid 1941. We had 18 "GD" for a total of 135 NCO, corporal and 2eme Classe (13.5 %)

    Bertrand

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    Bertrand - a warning!! In the wartime RAF (and for many years after), "other ranks" (officially "Other Airmen", or OA in abbreviated form, that is, non-commissioned personnel) were organized in trade GROUPS, from Group I to V (Roman letters) plus Group "M" (Medical). Commissioned officers, on the other hand, were organized into BRANCHES, and the "Flying" Branch was officially known as the GD (General Duties) Branch. If you are familiar with the RAF List publications, you will know most of this already. It is most unfortunate that the short expression GD (General Duties) thus had two ENTIRELY DIFFERENT MEANINGS meanings and uses in the organization of the RAF. However reading your message immediately above, I think you are rather aware of this important distinction in the use of GD. So I apologize for preaching to the converted, but other readers of this Board may not be so aware of these interesting details.
    David D

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