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Thread: Looking for help finding RAF court martial record for a cook! RAF Valley 456 Sqn 1941

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    Default Looking for help finding RAF court martial record for a cook! RAF Valley 456 Sqn 1941

    I am researching for a book I am writing and trying to find if there are records of a court martial relating to a crashed Defiant of 456 (Australian) Squadron at RAF Valley on 26 July 1941. My father, Bryan Wild, was pilot of the Defiant, and as he came in at night to land he hit a cookhouse tender wagon being towed by a tractor. The Defiantís oleo leg was shorn off and Dad crash-landed the plane in the sand dunes beyond the runway. Thankfully, both crew survived. The accident happened because the wagonís driver had ignored the signals and crossed the runway in the dark. My fatherís memoirs mention that the driver was court-martialled. As I donít know the driverís name I canít search for the court-martial record on the National Archive site (I donít think).

    I'm wondering what the status would be of a cook or just the driver of the wagon, and whether they would have been not RAF at all but attached from the army: Naafi? Royal Army Service Corps?

    Any help gratefully received.

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    Default Re: Looking for help finding RAF court martial record for a cook! RAF Valley 456 Sqn

    Hi Elizabeth, welcome aboard.

    I have been once browsing the Count Martial records in the TNA study but they were not helpful as I expected - only very brief and not useful information.

    I would recommend in your case to get Flying Accident Card (Form 1180) from RAF Museum Hendon where will be the accident description and who was blamed. You should know the serial + date of accident.

    HTH

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

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    Default Re: Looking for help finding RAF court martial record for a cook! RAF Valley 456 Sqn

    Hello Elizabeth (and others),

    For those amongst you who would like some background information on the accident involving Defiant N1569/1057445/(128556) Bryan*James Wild and Stanley Walker, I suggest the following volume:

    Eyes Of The Night The Air Defence of North-Western England 1940-1943.
    Bamford,Joe & Ron Collier
    Barnsley:Pen & Sword Aviation,2005.
    pp.117-119, 141, 166-8, 186, 194-5.

    (Chapter 24. 456 Squadron: July 1941- pp.117-119)

    Towards the end of their course at 56 OTU, pilots were asked if they would volunteer to join a night-fighter squadron but only three of them did so. Sergeant Wild was posted to 456 Squadron at Valley, along with his colleagues Sergeants Ward and Wills. No.456 Squadron was sponsored by the Australian Government and for the first few weeks after he arrived at Valley Sergeant Wild was forced to fly alone as the Australians had not yet arrived. Eventually Sergeant Wild was temporarily teamed up with a Sergeant (Stanley) Walker, one of a number of RAF air gunners who were filling in for the Australians.
    On 26 July (1941), they had a lucky escape when Wild was forced to make a crash landing on the airfield. The accident happened as they were about to land in Defiant N1569, when to Wild's horror, something suddenly appeared out of the gloom straight ahead, There was nothing he could do to avoid hitting the obstruction, which turned out to be the tall chimney of a mobile field kitchen being towed under the approach to the runway without permission from flying control. Fortunately he managed to maintain control, but he was forced to overshoot, go around again and make a crash landing on one wheel. He and Walker ere very lucky to get away unscathed, but their Defiant was badly damaged. It was sent to Reid & Sigrist to be repaired, but was later involved in a fatal accident in June 1942, while in the service of 289 Squadron. The mobile kitchen that had been delivering meals to the airmen working on the dispersals, was a write-off. Many airmen at Valley went hungry that night and there was a lot of grumbling from empty stomachs and raised voices about careless fighter pilots.

    * The authors use "Brian"

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 30th June 2020 at 05:40.

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    Default Re: Looking for help finding RAF court martial record for a cook! RAF Valley 456 Sqn

    Elizabeth, Welcome.
    Saturday 26 Jul 1941.
    If the accident happened on that day then it was only “dark” from about 2100GMT (2200BST, or 2300DBST(don’t know when that started!)). There was a light NW’ly wind and good vis, so the Active r/w would probably have been the (then) 31. There were (possibly in 1941, but probably in 1944), two points at which traffic could cross that Active. One is at GE 53.240516 -4.520345, where the peri-track crosses the touchdown end of 31, and the other is at GE 53.243109 -4.525611 (some 500 yards from the end of 31). The “sand-dunes” off the end of 31 are at GE 53.257516 -4.553098.
    The weather at the time, at Valley, can be seen in https://digital.nmla.metoffice.gov.u...-219d9c1892ef/. The precise weather (a Crash Observation) at the time of the accident will (very probably) still be in the Daily Register for RAF Valley held at Met Office Library archives. It will, almost certainly, have been part of the evidence’ at any Court Martial. But this will need people (and cost!) to extract – pandemics permitting!
    It is, I suspect, highly likely that cooks/drivers, etc, would have been RAF.
    The deliberations of most Courts Martial are very tightly controlled. I doubt if even FOI action will lever any significant details out of “the system”!
    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: Looking for help finding RAF court martial record for a cook! RAF Valley 456 Sqn

    I have copies of the wartime RAF CM registers from Kew, and having looked through them, nothing leaps. If you can get a name of the 'guilty' party, I may be able to tell you what the result of a CM was. As previously highlighted, the records are very thin.
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    Default Re: Looking for help finding RAF court martial record for a cook! RAF Valley 456 Sqn

    I have looked up Court Marshal papers, so this what to do. The following two pages from William Spencer's exellent guide to Records at the National Archives helped very much.





    You know the approximate date, it would have been soon after the event of 26 July 1941, look at AIR 43 for the charge books, they are massive books about the size of an A3, and list all the General Court Marshals day by day. The following is a page , my subject being Court Marshalled on 28 January.



    You will look out for the mention of 'RAF Valley' and the name adjacent will be your subject. I then pulled the AIR 21/3 and AIR 21/4B, thick A4 phone book sized volumes, and waded though until I came across the relevant papers. Should work for you also when the National Archives open.
    Andrew

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    Default Re: Looking for help finding RAF court martial record for a cook! RAF Valley 456 Sqn

    Perhaps the event and name(s) are within the Squadron ORB ?


    https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/Sear...msListing.aspx

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    Default Re: Looking for help finding RAF court martial record for a cook! RAF Valley 456 Sqn

    But Cooks, Bottle-washers, and Mess drivers, etc, etc, would all be on the Station strength?
    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: Looking for help finding RAF court martial record for a cook! RAF Valley 456 Sqn

    Alex
    that ORB is actually at Kew, not Oz, but it is very scant and no mention of the incident.

    http://discovery.nationalarchives.go...ils/r/D8405468

    Peter,
    yes they would have been on station strength, not squadron.

    Elizabeth,
    go the route I told you, I have gone there. William Spencer was the no.1 military authority at TNA and has published his guides to research at TNA, those pages helped me find what I was looking for. Even though he does not work there any more, I bumped into him there while he was researching something a few months ago, and he helped me with a DFC I was looking into.




    The following are samples of the AIR 21/3 which you will find after the charge sheet listing:
    They happen to be five Canadian and RAAF pilots from an OTU that decided to fly their aircraft under the Severn Railway Bridge ! The outcome of their CM could not have been good for them.



    Last edited by cyflyer1; 30th June 2020 at 20:54.
    Andrew

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    Default Re: Looking for help finding RAF court martial record for a cook! RAF Valley 456 Sqn

    Gentleman,

    It is a matter of fact that a good number of RAF units had drivers (and cooks) on their establishment during the war. For example, 17 (F) Sqn took their MT drivers to the Far East in late '41. There also plenty of PORs available in Bomber Command ORB Appendices that list DMT pers. being held on unit strength. From research, I know that 225 Sqn certainly had cooks / butchers on their strength in the UK from 1939, and took them when they deployed to the Med. Theatre 3 years later.

    Whilst I recognise that many ground trades were assigned to Stations, to suggest that drivers, cooks and 'bottle-washers', were only held against these establishments, is not quite correct.

    Rgds

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to jonny For This Useful Post:

    Alex Smart (1st July 2020)

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