Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19

Thread: Transport Command Squadron x Ferry Unit difference

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    3,971
    Thanks
    41
    Thanked 47 Times in 46 Posts

    Default Transport Command Squadron x Ferry Unit difference

    Hi all,
    I am trying to find out what was the difference betwen a squadron of RAF Transport Command and Ferry Unit?
    In the case I have compared I cannot see any difference both ferrying passengers and both inside and outside the UK.

    I will be thankful for any explation.

    TIA

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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    537
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts

    Default Re: Transport Command Squadron x Ferry Unit difference

    I thought that ferry Units were formed to ferry aircraft out to overseas Commands. They would need other types available to bring back the ferry crews. Are these what you are seeing? Such types on strength would often be available for an assortment of odd jobs involving moving people or equipment around.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    3,971
    Thanks
    41
    Thanked 47 Times in 46 Posts

    Default Re: Transport Command Squadron x Ferry Unit difference

    Good point Graham, thank you. I think it would be what I was looking for - the original assignment. But I have a case of pilot flying with FU in June and July 1945 both months with only two different aircraft delivering cargo and passengers. So maybe when the war has ended FUs were not needed for their original assignment and were used as additional units for transporting passenger and freight?

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Posts
    1,090
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 7 Times in 7 Posts

    Default Re: Transport Command Squadron x Ferry Unit difference

    Transport squadrons had permanent crews and were expected to fly whatever was priority to their destination, and were engaged on such duties until they were posted elsewhere. They frequently flew scheduled services if operations in the theatre they were part of were largely static, but could also respond to changed situations. Some of the schedules were over very long routes to the other side of the World. Practically all the long-range squadrons operated Liberators, Dakotas, Yorks, etc, with "in theatre" squadrons flying a mix of available twin-engine types, including Dakota, Hudson, Lodestar, etc.
    .
    Some Ferry Units were also manned by permanent personnel, and were engaged in ferrying aircraft (and possibly a bit of freight, mail, etc.), but their primary role was to deliver the aircraft allocated to them to where-ever they were demanded, and arrangements would have to made to get the ferry crew (including sole pilots who might ferry single-seaters) to their next ferry duty, or to the "home base" of the unit. One such unit may well have been that which ferried RAF aircraft from Tokaraidi (check that spelling) on West coast of Africa, across the continent and north to Egypt and Middle East Command. These were usually (but not exclusively) American aircraft, and were normally shipped to the port for assembly, included such aircraft as Hurricanes, Blenheims, etc. This route had to be developed in the first place because the Germans were sitting across the Mediterranean to an extent, and causing severe loses to Allied shipping carrying stores to Egypt. When the Germans were no longer a menace, this route ceased to operate.

    Then there were ferry units with temporary crews, who delivered aircraft from UK to Malta or the Middle East, or on the North Atlantic Ferry route from Canada to UK. The UK to ME crews were trained at an OTU (No. 15 early in the war) and generally flew out twin-engine craft required in the operational theatre, the crews being permanent ones (that is, they were intended to stay together as an operational crew) and they only ferried out the one aircraft to its destination (usually!) They had received additional training post-OTU, which concerned long range flying, and details of the ferry route to North Africa, including all sorts f flying techniques, and hoe to avoid enemy aircraft en route. These flights, because of the risk of interception, were counted as operational, and numbers of aircraft were lost due to various causes. These crews were then generally posted straight to the RAF's bombers or anti-sub squadrons in the theatre, their short ferry career having served its purpose.

    The North Atlantic Ferry route was very demanding, but generally did not have to worry too much about enemy interception. The original ferry crews were very experienced men (many pre-war airline experience, first aircraft ferried over this route were Hudsons, starting in, I think, November, 1940), but as time went by, the decision was made to utilise "green crews" just out of their OTU courses in Canada, to ferry USA-built aircraft across to UK, and later Canadian-built aircraft were also included in the stream of aircraft speeding east. Thus, these later crews were also "one-timers". Somewhat like the ferry routes to Africa, these flights were generally one-way only, so additional aircraft (Liberators, Catalinas, etc.) were employed to return the early ferry airmen who were the pioneers of this route. Originally the North-Atlantic ferry flights were only flown during the more settled periods of the year, but later, with increasing confidence, better navigation aids and superior training, these flights were carried on throughout the year, weather permitting. Some of the stage lengths were fairly long, but it was possible to get across this ocean in relatively good time if the weather gods were smiling.

    A South Atlantic ferry route was also inaugurated at a fairly early date (again, practically all USA-built aircraft to North Africa), although some continued on to the UK. I think this route was somewhat longer than the Northern Atlantic crossing, but weather was of course generally better and definitely warmer.

    This very quick once-over typed from top of my head, which is why dates are scarce!

    David D.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    3,971
    Thanks
    41
    Thanked 47 Times in 46 Posts

    Default Re: Transport Command Squadron x Ferry Unit difference

    David thank you for comprehensive answer. Your overview give me an excellent description for the theme I am now researching.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    983
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default Re: Transport Command Squadron x Ferry Unit difference

    Pavle
    I understand that the difference was in the structure. Ferry Units were essentially pilot pools with no unnecessary bodies, like maintenace, etc.
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Posts
    1,090
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 7 Times in 7 Posts

    Default Re: Transport Command Squadron x Ferry Unit difference

    I would not go so far as to say Ferry Units had no maintenance staff, as heavily loaded and fuelled aircraft setting out on long ocean crossings or across deserts, or through skies over the Mediterranean Sea within range of enemy radar and fighters had to be prepared fully for the flight, and be fully equipped (defensive armament) and provisioned (rations, safety equipment) and with full crew in case enemy opposition intervened. Also the aircraft crews were normally up to full operational standard for obvious reasons, as most of these crews were intended to be posted straight to operational squadrons on arrivals. A few crews might have been full-time ferry crews on some routes, but certainly on the long flights to Egypt the vast majority were "once only" ferry crews, and there was a constant demand for more and more Wellingtons, for service in the Middle East from late 1940 till well into 1943, which of course would otherwise have been posted to Bomber Command. Most of these aircraft going to the Middle East would have been new or near-new, and probably already had specialised desert modifications already incorporated, although others had such modifications undertaken within the theatre. Ferry crews (or just pilots for small aircraft, as required) for aircraft within a theatre would often be permanent unit members, and would usually be used to ferry aircraft to maintenance depots or units for major inspections or repairs, or ferry such aircraft back to the front-line squadrons, or to storage units (or even training establishments) if they were becoming obsolete. Most of their flights were considered non-operational if they did not impinge on enemy-contested areas. The (Overseas) Aircraft Delivery Units also had to have further specialised staff to supervise the additional training of the crews before they set off on their long "voyages" across the seas to their destinations, as well as seeing that the crews (and aircraft) had all been equipped to the full scale required, including all the maps and navigation equipment, so they were a lot more than skeleton units.
    David D

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Posts
    1,090
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 7 Times in 7 Posts

    Default Re: Transport Command Squadron x Ferry Unit difference

    Further to previous post, the (Overseas) Aircraft Ferry Units would have on their staff meteorologists, operations officers, medical staff and pay accounts people to cater for all their needs and conduct final medical examinations, various "shots" for tropical diseases, as most of these would remain in the new theatre for an extended period. Getting the aircraft and crews ready was a comparatively short but intensive period of training which also included test flying the chosen aircraft and making extensive notes on oil and fuel consumption (in preparation for the long flight), etc., and ironing out any "bugs" in the aircraft/engines/wireless equipment. Incidentally another British aircraft type delivered out to the Middle East from UK in late 1943 or 1944 would have been the Vickers Warwicks, for anti-submarine operations.
    David D

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Reading, Berkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,972
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked 35 Times in 34 Posts

    Default Re: Transport Command Squadron x Ferry Unit difference

    Just a minor point re David D's post #8.
    By and large, meteorologists on most airfields were not posted to any Units on the Station. They were posted to the Station, and were an integral part of SHQ (indeed, the Met Office at Benson was on the top floor of SHQ for many years!), like the Messes, Sick Quarters, Stores, etc, etc. Some highly specialised Units may have had a dedicated Met Man/Woman but they were not on the strength of the Unit. You will be aware that in the hundreds of flying Unit ORBs the Met staff are very rarely mentioned (it makes tracking them down almost impossible!!). It may also have been the case that the Met staff on the Stations of Ferry (etc) Units became - by virtue of much experience - specialists in that "trade"! For much of my Met Office career - at any gathering of Met folk - you could, from their conversation, tell whether they were from Fighter Command, Bomber Command, Transport Command, and/or Civil Aviation/Weather-Centres!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    983
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default Re: Transport Command Squadron x Ferry Unit difference

    David, I must not agree. The ferry crew (RAF, apart of ATA) were airmen found not fit for operational service due to age, poor health, or other deficiences, or those who were on operational rest. They were collected by passenger aircraft once delivery, and brought back to the starting point. Most of the maintenance and othr issues was handled on Station level. It would not be feasible to put all services on stage airfields under ferry unit control.
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •