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Thread: RAFVR WWII age considerations

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    Default RAFVR WWII age considerations

    I have seen a memorial in a local cemetery and on the CWGC website to LAC William Alfred Brown 1108191 who died in 1947 age 47 while serving in the RAFVR. I have confirmed that his age is correct. My understanding is that he could have ben an LAC as result of not reaching the required standard for aircrew training but retained as a ground based wireless operator. If this is not right could someone please correct me. What I dont underdstand is how he could have been in the RAFVR in 1947 when aged 47. Surely he would have been too old even at the earlist opportunity to join the RAFVR.

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    Default Re: RAFVR WWII age considerations

    Examples from: Table of Trades, ABC of the RAF (Amalgamated Press c 1942)

    "AIRCRAFTHAND
    Age limits 18-38.
    Medical grades I, II (a) Feet, II.
    No special qualifications are required"

    "WIRELESS OPERATOR (Group II).
    Age limit 18-25 for men with no previous knowledge of the trade ;
    18-32 for suitable applicants with some knowledge of the trade ;
    18-50 for fully skilled wireless operators ;
    17 1/2 for candidates capable of transmitting Morse at a speed of 20 words per minute, or in possession of P.M.G. Certificate.
    Medical grades I, II (a) Feet, II.
    No previous knowledge of wireless is necessary, but candidates must possess keenness for training in this trade. They should have sufficient intelligence to be able satisfactorily to complete their course of training, but need not necessarily have had a Secondary School standard of education. Candidates must be able to spell and read clearly ; a knowledge of Morse is an asset, but is not essential."

    "* Men for training in trades so marked may be accepted up to 43rd birthday"
    [incl Electricians, eg]

    Service nos 965000 to 1149977 issued from Sep 1939 Padgate, next block starts Apr 1941: LAC Browns service no 1108191 suggests entry there early 1940.

    If I recall correctly, an applicant's statement of age at application was generally accepted at face value without further check.

    Open to correction.
    Don Clark
    www.211squadron.org



    Postscript
    "he could have ben an LAC as result of not reaching the required standard for aircrew training"
    Possibly, but not necessarily.

    Hoping for selection/training as aircrew or simply aiming for a ground trade were both possible on entering the RAFVR in 1940.
    On entry he'd have started as Aircraftman Second Class (AC 2).
    Whether aircrew or ground trade, advance thereafter to Aircraftman First Class (AC 1) and Leading Aircraftman (LAC) followed according to time, quals, and assessments of proficiency and character.
    Further advance to NCO ranks (Cpl, Sgt, Flt Sgt) depended on more demanding conditions.

    Only his service record will record the details of his trade and mustering progress and reason/s for remaining an LAC after seven years.
    Open to correction/amplification
    DC
    Last edited by Don Clark; 24th April 2020 at 04:18.
    Toujours propos

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    Default Re: RAFVR WWII age considerations

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Clark View Post
    Examples from: Table of Trades, ABC of the RAF (Amalgamated Press c 1942)

    Thank you, Don Clark, for that information. Can you tell me if this applied to RAFVR as well as RAF. My understanding was that the RAFVR was only for applicants for aircrew training although some would stay grounded if they did not meet expectations while training.
    David Railton
    Last edited by Jagan; 26th April 2020 at 02:55. Reason: Quote Function to be used sparingly please...

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    Default Re: RAFVR WWII age considerations

    I thought that anyone who joined the RAF after the break out of war went into the VR, regardless of prospective air crew or not. Certainly the servicing echelons, and medics I've seen were all VR.

    Chris

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    Default Re: RAFVR WWII age considerations

    After 3rd Sept 1939 all personnel joining as groundcrew would have been 'RAFVR',some may even have 'volunteered'.

    Pre war Groundcrew/Aircrew would continue to be 'RAF' until their original release date when I would imagine they would be transferred to a reserve classification if their release date was during the war (quite a complex subject probably).
    Last edited by bvs; 25th April 2020 at 12:49.

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    Default Re: RAFVR WWII age considerations

    I suppose that one other point to consider is that as far as Rank/Seniority/Branch etc was concerned - WW2 did not finish in 1945 and it took a few years to sort everything out.
    AFAIK the wartime 'RAFVR' ended sometime in 1947 (date) so presumably it was (mostly) sorted out by then.The postwar RAFVR from 1947 had VR Aircrew but I believe that most if not all groundcrew were regular RAF.It is quite probable that there were still anomolies of service classifications after 1947.

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    Default Re: RAFVR WWII age considerations

    RAFVR was a volunteer reserve! The formal regulations for The Regulars, and The Reservists, have overlapped – and often been at cross-purposes – up until the recent Reserve Forces Acts (2006, 2018). I could bore you with how many RAFs I’ve been in (RAF, RAFRO, RAFVR, RAFR, - there may be more (they were illegal), but I’ve forgotten!) but suffice it to say that you are correct. The various anomalies went on well after 1947!
    HTH
    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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    Default Re: RAFVR WWII age considerations

    To summarise quickly and to add a very useful simple ref...

    "Can you tell me if this applied to RAFVR as well as RAF"
    Yes. See below.

    "My understanding was that the RAFVR was only for applicants for aircrew training."
    No, I'm sorry, incorrect in war-time: all new civilian Air Force applicants entered the RAFVR.
    The pre-war, part-time, RAFVR is what you were thinking of.

    Service conditions dealt with in exhaustive detail by the airman's bible for the whole Service:
    The King's Regulations and Air Council Instructions (Air Publication 958)
    Enormous, labyrinthine and very expensive, esp for a good wartime copy.
    Or online: https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk...ir-force-1943/

    However, help is at hand.

    Subtitled Handbook for All Branches of the Air Force, Sir John Hammerton at Amalgamated Press produced several editions (1941, 1943 eg) of The ABC of the RAF
    This officially sanctioned war-time booklet replicated and summarised essential information, at very affordable war-time prices.
    "It is full of accurate information and will be especially useful to all those who hope themselves to enter the Service" (Portal, CAS, Preface)
    "Apart from apprenticeship and a limited number of special commissions the only means of entry into the RAF is by enlistment in the Volunteer Reserve" (p12)
    ABC of the RAF 1943

    Today it is still invaluable and an affordable intro to RAF war-time life.
    Numerous vintage copies currently on offer at modest to silly prices at www.bookfinder.com

    May I just add, please, when replying to the immediate preceding post, it's really not necessary to quote the whole of that post.
    The forum has discussed this before, here
    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...ply-with-quote

    wishing you well

    Don Clark
    www.211squadron.org

    Postscript
    The present case is a war-time civilian entrant airman.
    Finer points for other cases, like what about returning retired pre-war men, transfers in from other services, the pre-war RAFVR, the taking of pre-war SSC officers into the Reserve of Air Force Officers in war-time, and promotions RAFVR vs pre-war permanent RAF men (war-time vs post-war), and post-war demob vs shake-out: these are all separate topics, equally labyrinthine.
    Last edited by Don Clark; 25th April 2020 at 22:35. Reason: addnl, addnl, too brusque
    Toujours propos

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    Default Re: RAFVR WWII age considerations

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Clark View Post


    If I recall correctly, an applicant's statement of age at application was generally accepted at face value without further check.

    DC
    Absolutely Don.

    The youngest RAF Pilot I am aware of was...

    Thomas Dobney

    Joined RAF aged 14yrs 3months
    awarded wings 15yrs 5months
    Flew (I believe) 20 ish operations on AW Whitley bombers before being grounded.

    'Shopped' by his Father (separated parents) after being photographed meeting the King...the RAF immediately grounded him but told him he could rejoin when old enough.
    He later became a Captain on Kings/Queens flight !
    He wrote an autobiography but I cannot remember the title.


    The oldest Pilot operational casualty I am aware of was ...

    Wing Commander VJ 'Pop' Wheeler MC,DFC,I had always assumed he was a WW1 'retread' pilot but he was actually a rifle brigade officer in WW1(lied about his age ) ,learned to fly between the wars,volunteered for RAF(lied about his age again!!) and was a night fighter pilot on Hurris,Havocs,Beaus and Mossies.After being grounded by Fighter Command he volunteered for Bombers but was unlucky and his Lanc was hit by flak within a few weeks of being made OC 207 sqdn aged 46.


    The oldest Gallantry award I am aware of was to ...

    https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org...r-lionel-cohen


    Wing Commander Lionel Frederick William Cohen, DSO, MC (World War I), DFC (World War II)
    War clouds gathered in the 1930s and in 1937 he single-handedly founded the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) from among ex-RAF, RFC and RNAS officers to help in case of war. He successfully persuaded Lord Trenchard, father of the RAF, to be its President. He managed to get a Commission as a Pilot Officer (no. 72629) in the RAF in Feb.1939 and when war did break out he was aged 64 years! He served, now in his fourth war, as RAF Coastal Command Liaison Officer with the Admiralty, volunteering to take part in 70 operational flights as Observer and Air Gunner.He was awarded the DFC aged 69 years, and had been the oldest Aircrew member of the RAF

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    Default Re: RAFVR WWII age considerations

    Thanks, bvs, wonderful examples.

    Hard to check via the online KR&ACI copy, but I do seem to recall a specific enlistment provision on accepting age as stated.

    Don Clark
    www.211squadron.org
    Toujours propos

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