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Thread: No 7 (P) Advanced Flying Unit

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    Default No 7 (P) Advanced Flying Unit

    Can anybody tell me where 7 (P) APU was located in Oct 1943? What type of airplanes were flown & what type of training was done, in particular for pilots who would fly Typhoons?

    Thank you - very much - for all assistance.

    John Dean

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    Default Re: No 7 (P) Advanced Flying Unit

    Hi John

    7 (P) AFU formed 1.6. 42 in Petersborough as stay there till 21.12.44 when redesignated 7 SFTS.
    5.43 establishment 150+25 Master

    Sturtivant - Flying Training and Support Units since 1912, pg 34

    HTH

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Default Re: No 7 (P) Advanced Flying Unit

    As his time at 7 (P) AFU was intended to acclimatise him to wartime British flying and operating conditions, the type of aircraft he was to fly later was not really a consideration, in fact this was unknown at this time. As he was flying Miles Masters, it was likely that he would end up on some sort of fighter aircraft, although he could just as easily be posted to another (P) AFU as a staff pilot - many hundreds of staff pilots were required to keep the acclimatisation courses going, and some stayed on this sort of work for 18 months to 2 years. Any budding fighter pilot may well have been frustrated about this, but somebody had to do that job. Then again, all sorts of circulating rumours would probably reach them through the "grapevine", that Typhoon squadrons were suffering heavy operational casualties, and that the aircraft also had "engine issues", so a cautious pilot might be wise NOT to accelerate his subsequent posting to an operational unit, at least for a few more months!
    David D

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    Default Re: No 7 (P) Advanced Flying Unit

    Peterborough (Westwood) Airfield is now the inevitable housing estate and business-park. There are few indications (road names, etc) that the area had an aviation background – even “Cottesmore Close” is probably named after a famous fox-hunting pack. However, the Officers’ Mess of RAF Westwood still stands at GE 52.583321 -0.267009. Mr Google’s excellent ‘street view’ seems to indicate that it is still in good repair (many Messes of the type/age are currently in ruins), and being put to good use!
    I was born within a few hundred yards of the airfield some 4 years after it opened!
    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: No 7 (P) Advanced Flying Unit

    Quote Originally Posted by Resmoroh View Post
    I was born within a few hundred yards of the airfield some 4 years after it opened!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Interesting Peter,I lived in P'boro from 1965 - 70,during which I was a member of 115sqn ATC,our wooden hut (adjacent to the Halcyon and close to the O Mess) was an original airfield hut and much of the airfield was still (mostly) unchanged.115 moved into a new building some years ago.

    rgds baz

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    Default Re: No 7 (P) Advanced Flying Unit

    David D & All

    Thank you very much for this. Really great stories.

    My question was actually related to a Canadian who would become a Typhoon pilot at 182 Sqn. Just have a few more questions:

    (a) at 7 AFU did trainess do the full range of gunnery, bombing & dogfighting practice in their Miles Masters?
    (b) after 7 AFU the pilot in question was posted to 55 OTU 2 Mar 43. When did trainees at 55 OTU find out which sqn they were going to be posted to?
    (c) did trainees have any say in which sqn they were posted to?
    (d) even if the trainees did not where they were going to be posted, did the RAF know and so make the training at 55 OTU specific to the sqn the trainee would be posted to?
    (e) did 55 OTU trainees ever fly on live combat ops?

    Really appreciate the help.

    John Dean

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    Default Re: No 7 (P) Advanced Flying Unit

    John,
    Your questions:
    (a) Definitely NO!! Read in my first post what the purpose of the "Advanced Flying Unit" actually was, nothing to do with armament training, everything to do with acclimatising an overseas-trained pilot to British wartime flying conditions, often initially with a staff pilot to keep them safe! Such things as poor weather generally, mist and drizzle, industrial smog, aerodromes packed closely together, barrage balloons all over the place, other anti-aircraft facilities to keep clear of, and hazards of flying low whilst lost, trying to read location names on railways stations! (actually just made up the last one, but I imagine this was a real hazard at any time!)
    (b) Unable to state anything useful on this; they may all have been told even at beginning of course what their LIKELY posting might be, but only in a general sense I would think; they certainly would know at end of course when they all received their posting instructions, these might even have been put up on the notice board!
    (c) Definitely NO SAY would be my first response, but, if say his brother was already flying in a particular fighter squadron that had a vacancy for a new pilot, whether experienced or not, possible that a kindly Flight Commander or CO might make an attempt to link the two brothers up, but I would say this would be unlikely - after all, purpose of the (P)AFU was merely to acclimatise single-engine pilots for duty in UK. However an OTU would have provided a full syllabus of training to suit the individuals posted to each course to suit them for particular duties, in the case of 55 OTU I suspect this was single seat, single-engine day fighters, for "home" establishments (almost certainly Fighter Command, or ADGB).
    (d) Rather difficult to say, but certainly each course would normally be trained on the same standardised syllabus (unless there was a small requirement for some other special purpose which might require a "Tailored" kind of mini-course, but this just a guess. Obviously if this requirement was to suit a posting to a twin-engine fighter unit, then suitable twin-engine aircraft would have to be supplied for this sort of training, perhaps some Oxford twin-engine trainers to convert the pilots at least.)
    (e) I doubt that pupils of a Fighter OTU would be deliberately ordered to participate in actual operations, but in an extreme emergency it might be considered. However I imagine that only pupils either near completion of their course, and particularly pupils who seemed to have a good grasp of the tactics, as well as good general flying skills, would be considered, and they would be allocated to fly in No. 2 position to an experienced staff pilot. Often in 1944, Typhoon ground attack pilots, having completed their OTU course in UK, had to have further advanced training in the latest tactics and weapons, at Tactical Exercise Units in UK, then be posted to Group Support Units on the Continent before they ever reached a front-line squadron. But I am getting a bit ahead of myself here! You could attempt to obtain a copy of one of the books specialising in the operational employment of the Hawker Typhoon/Tempest during WW2, no doubt another Board members or two will provide some useful titles. These often also give individual personal accounts of some of the training required prior to going on ops, and these are sometimes more interesting than the operations themselves.
    David D

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    Default Re: No 7 (P) Advanced Flying Unit

    Hi

    Just to expand a little on what David said for (e) - The Advanced Training Squadrons of Fighter OTUs were allocated 'Shadow' squadron numbers with that of No 55 OTU being No 555 Sqn and these would have been employed operationally in the event of an invasion.

    At the time your airman was with No 55 OTU, it was only operating Hurricanes so his conversion to Typhoons may have been carried out on the squadron

    Malcolm

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    Default Re: No 7 (P) Advanced Flying Unit

    RAF Peterborough (Westwood) is also famous for the trials of Chopper Mail (see https://www.postalmuseum.org/blog/helicopter-mail/).
    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: No 7 (P) Advanced Flying Unit

    David D

    Thank you - very much - for this. For sure. Read your original post. I though that there might be a chance that trainees would do aerial combat trg at same time they acclimatized to UK flying conditions. Always learn something new here.

    Just an aside. Poix-en-Picardie was a frequent Typhoon sqn target in July 43. ORB's & other records referred to it simply as POIX. Had trouble figuring out which POIX it was. Then I found this website https://www.forgottenairfields.com/a...rdie-1121.html. Really neat to see old aerial photos. Looks like you can see the bomb craters in the 1947 photo.

    John Dean

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