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Thread: Interpretainon of terms/initials used on my fathers record as a WWII RAF Pilot

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    Default Interpretainon of terms/initials used on my fathers record as a WWII RAF Pilot

    Can anyone help with the meanings of the following items from my fathers RAF service record please?
    He was James Wilson Lauder Sergeant Pilot 969289

    After the Air Bombing and Gunnery School he went to IRW but I can't find what that was or where.

    Under "Mustering" the word "Elect" is used several times - as is the term "LTI" and "LTI(2)" - what do they mean?

    Under "Special Qualifications" it has Beaufighter, Mosquito but in the date column, only the year 1943 and not where he flew them. Any clues would be much appreciated.

    And under MISCELLANEOUS is written:
    22/44 PROG PAY 1.3.44
    3270/44 Awarded 4 yearsWS9 3/9/44
    3270/44 Awarded 5 years WS9 10/9/44


    Do one of you experienced researchers know what these mean please?

    Ian

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    Ian,
    "Elect" under the word mustering states his trade in the RAF, that is (in full) "Electrician". In this context (although not stated) it is most likely that he would have been an (Aircraft) Electrician, that is, not qualified to work on domestic (home, buildings, or industrial electrical systems), at least whilst he was a member of the RAF.
    The Terms "LTI" and "LTI(2)" indicate Link Trainer Instructor. Google "Link Trainer" if you wish to know more about this famous training aid. I have no idea what the (2) in the second form indicates, but possibly it may indicate that he is also qualified in Link Trainer Maintenance, but this is only a guess.
    Reading "between the lines" I get the feeling that your father originally qualified as a Sergeant Pilot, but may have been permanently grounded for any number of reasons (although it is possible that he may have still been entitled to wear his flying badge; however if he had his flying badge withdrawn, this would be clearly indicated on his Record of Service). Whatever the reason, he was permitted to remain in RAF and elected to chose a "Ground" trade and remustered (changed his trade), and looks as though he was selected to be put through a course as an (Aircraft) Electrician; it is entirely possible that in civil life he may have been a qualified (domestic) electrician - if this were the case, I imagine you would know of this. Later he seems to have remustered to LTI (this was not unusual for persons with flying experience, although ironically this trade in fact did not really require any previous flying experience - but a flying badge would give added prestige in the eyes of his "pupils"! The references to specific aircraft types in 1943 (under "Special Qualifications" heading) in no way indicates that he FLEW these aircraft types, much more likely that he was fully familiar with their electrical systems. I take it that you do not have access to your father's flying log book, which is a pity, as your reference to "Sergeant Pilot" indicates that was actually qualified as a pilot in that rank. Cannot help with the other references I am afraid, although they are obviously concerned with his pay. The unit names "IRW" is unknown to me, but others on this Board will no doubt recognize it. Best of luck with your research.
    David D

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    David
    I am so grateful for your long reply. I have only just been able to obtain my fathers record as my mother lpassed 100 when she died and had no interest in letting me apply for it. It did fill in some of the snippets I picked up from unguarded conversaions as I grew up. He did indeed join as an Electrician and volunteered for Pilot Training. He initially became an instructor as a sergeant and had flown operations in Wellingtons as part of an OTU but was eventually posted to 218 squadron to fly Stirlings. He bcame ill but it is obvious that the dear old RAF thought he was faking it and grounded him taking his stripes, classifying him as a "Waverer" and putting him on Electrical Maintenance around the airfields. a short while later however, he was admitted to hospital for a serious operation when some MO realised his kidneys really were packing up and this left him with a huge scare on his side. He was then re-mustered, given back his stripes and sent to train Stirling pilots to tow Horsa gliders. He finished his RAF career training pilots to land twin engine aircraft on instruments only. What really upset him all his life was that his crew that he had trained with and arrived together at 218 Squadron, went off with another pilot and failed to return.
    So - not a hero but obviously a good and useful pilot.
    Thanks again
    Last edited by Ian Lauder; 12th March 2020 at 08:00. Reason: correction

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    Ian,
    No mention of him being a Link Trainer Instructor then? As this was clearly marked on your record of his service (I presume his Form 543, for Airmen only), he must have served in this trade somewhere with some unit, perhaps during period he was grounded. The Form 543 is the only more-or-less complete record of his service, and all the parts of it should mesh together like a glove, and tell the full story (well at least the bare outlines of the full story then). As I have done quite a lot of work on Form 543s (perhaps 2 - 3,000 of them, microfilmed only, not the originals) I am pretty familiar as to what they can and what they cannot tell us, but you should be able to match up the original enlistment, then the continuous record of service (with columns for Posted From, Posted To, Authorisation for same, and date). There are separate but associated sections which give a chronological list of his remusterings, another section on reclassifications and/or promotions, reversions, etc, which should also be in chronological order. Another section will detail all (or sometimes only some) of the courses he may have completed, along with final marks, and any qualification badges he may have earned. Sometimes courses undertaken in civilian organizations are listed, including dates of attachment, but these are not so common. There will also be a section on honours and awards (including campaign medals) which should have been filled out, and another section covers sickness and wounds or injuries, as well as sick leave. Any disciplinary matters will also be found in in another section. Yet more sections cover his home address, next of kin addresses, etc., and from memory the final parts are annual assessments of character and proficiency in trade. Incidentally you mention he flew Wellingtons on operations "as part of an OCU", although there were also "Conversion Flights" attached to Wellington squadrons when they were undergoing conversion training on re-equipping with Stirlings in late 1941 and on into 1942. This was likely to have been an OTU at the time - I wonder if that was during Operation Millennium during late May 1942 (the famous "Thousand bomber" raids? You have probably already worked out most if not all of this, but I have come across a few Form 543s where it seems that the clerical staff who are charged with keeping these records up to date seem to have got confused when perhaps one of the Personnel Occurrence Reports (PORs) coming in from the units to advise of comings and goings has managed to get itself lost, so when the next change of unit arrives at the RAF's Central Records, the "from" unit does not match up with the previous "to" unit. Occasionally also if the clerk fails to double check the person's service number, they may enter the details on the wrong person's card. Still, these are minor nuisances we just have to try and negotiate.
    David D .

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    Ian,
    No mention of him being a Link Trainer Instructor then? As this was clearly marked on your record of his service (I presume his Form 543, for Airmen only), he must have served in this trade somewhere with some unit, perhaps during period he was grounded. The Form 543 is the only more-or-less complete record of his service, and all the parts of it should mesh together like a glove, and tell the full story (well at least the bare outlines of the full story then). As I have done quite a lot of work on Form 543s (perhaps 2 - 3,000 of them, microfilmed only, not the originals) I am pretty familiar as to what they can and what they cannot tell us, but you should be able to match up the original enlistment, then the continuous record of service (with columns for Posted From, Posted To, Authorisation for same, and date). There are separate but associated sections which give a chronological list of his remusterings, another section on reclassifications and/or promotions, reversions, etc, which should also be in chronological order. Another section will detail all (or sometimes only some) of the courses he may have completed, along with final marks, and any qualification badges he may have earned. Sometimes courses undertaken in civilian organizations are listed, including dates of attachment, but these are not so common. There will also be a section on honours and awards (including campaign medals) which should have been filled out, and another section covers sickness and wounds or injuries, as well as sick leave. Any disciplinary matters will also be found in in another section. Yet more sections cover his home address, next of kin addresses, etc., and from memory the final parts are annual assessments of character and proficiency in trade. Incidentally you mention he flew Wellingtons on operations "as part of an OCU", although there were also "Conversion Flights" attached to Wellington squadrons when they were undergoing conversion training on re-equipping with Stirlings in late 1941 and on into 1942. This was likely to have been an OTU at the time - I wonder if that was during Operation Millennium during late May 1942 (the famous "Thousand bomber" raids? You have probably already worked out most if not all of this, but I have come across a few Form 543s where it seems that the clerical staff who are charged with keeping these records up to date seem to have got confused when perhaps one of the Personnel Occurrence Reports (PORs) coming in from the units to advise of comings and goings has managed to get itself lost, so when the next change of unit arrives at the RAF's Central Records, the "from" unit does not match up with the previous "to" unit. Occasionally also if the clerk fails to double check the person's service number, they may enter the details on the wrong person's card. Still, these are minor nuisances we just have to try and negotiate.
    David D .

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    David
    Once again, thank you so much. Yes I have his form 543 with another large sheet that has no number which I assume is part of the same form 543 .
    I edited my reference to OCU as it should of course have read OTU.
    Unfortunately it is not quite as complete as you describe. Final marks, and any qualification badges or detail courses he may have completed, are not shown other than under SPECIAL QUALIFICATION IS WRITTEN (1943 Mosquito, Beaufighter) and (3365/44 ExRemust LTI 2/10/44 'B'). The only awards, honours medals or awards mentioned are those awards I referred to before and which remain a mystery. No specific disciplinary matters are described other than change in rank without reason given. The only clue as to sick leave is in the general list of Units he was posted to, which includes dates admitted to and discharged from hospitals with no reason given.
    I have just noticed where you live and am reminded that when I was about 11 or 12 years old around about the time his period on the reserve list ended, he asked me what I thought about moving to New Zealand as their air force still took pilots of his age. I was all in favour but my mother was not. My sister does not remember being asked. Great shame that you are not nearby.
    Cheers
    Ian
    Last edited by Ian Lauder; 12th March 2020 at 13:15.

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    Thanks to help from this forum I have answers to many of my queries from my fathers service record - I now just need to understand what the following mean:
    Under
    MISCELLANEOUS
    on Form 543 is written:
    22/44 PROG PAY 1.3.44
    3270/44 Awarded 4 yearsWS9 3/9/44
    3270/44 Awarded 5 years WS9 10/9/44
    Can anyone interpret these please?
    Cheers, Ian Lauder

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    Ian - I am not sure if they may be an 'Increment' increase of pay for so many years of War Service,I have seen it written as WSI = War Service Increment.

    The extract below is from Rootschat about a Naval Rating,so perhaps the RAF equivalent might have had a different 'shorthand' acronym.

    WSI - War Service Increment. Introduced near the end of the war it entitled an additional daily rate after three years war service. For your father's rank it would have been 1 shilling and 6 pence. For every year more than the 3 years his rank would get another 6 pence a day. Though that doesn't sound like a lot, even those at Commodore rank onlt got an extra 3 shillings a day.

    I think the following maybe file references at the National Archives:
    PR195218 (2)
    A2 348731 (2)
    SKGY or SKCY 183 3.

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    Ian
    Alternatively (and perhaps more likely)
    Is the 'WS9' written in lower case ??
    If it is lower case could 'ws9' actually be 'wsg' and therefore it could be WSG = War Service Gratuity - which would be a lump sum paid on demob.
    Last edited by bvs; 16th March 2020 at 15:12.

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    Thanks for the additional thoughts bvs but 'WS' is definitely in upper case and it is followed certainly a '9'. It was also awarded over a year before release from the service.

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