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Thread: Civilian Technical Corps deaths - WW2

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    Default Civilian Technical Corps deaths - WW2

    Similar to Alex's query on ATC Cadets - I have a question about the Civilian Technical Corps

    https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/fi...ize=100&Page=1


    They are listed in the results when you try to search on "Air Force" deaths in the CWGC database.

    There are 21 names, with almost all but two deaths occurring on 15th October 1941, and IIRC - lost on a ship sunk in the Atlantic

    Initially they were part of our RAFCommands Search but i had removed them later on as I was not sure if they were really 'airmen'.

    It seems they were raised to be trained at Radio Trade by the RAF.

    Do they really belong in the Unaccounted "Airmen" database?. If the answer is yes, I will add them back.

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    Default Re: Civilian Technical Corps deaths - WW2

    Is the Wiki description of “Civilian Technical Corps” an accurate description of what you are talking about?
    I was involved (before my met career) in amateur radio. Some of these guys (who might not have been fit for military service) could tx/rx morse at 30+ wpm (and rx into a typewriter, drink tea, smoke a fag, and read a book at the same time!). They could tell who/how the morse was being sent (the “fist”) – invaluable when listening to the radops from occupied territories in WW2!
    Were these shipping casualties “coming this way”, or “going your way”?
    If this gets a +, then they should be “included in”!
    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: Civilian Technical Corps deaths - WW2

    Jagan

    An explanation of sorts here. https://api.parliament.uk/historic-h...echnical-corps

    DaveW

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    Default Re: Civilian Technical Corps deaths - WW2

    Given the date and number of casualties I suspect they were passengers aboard the m.v.Vancouver Island sunk in the Atlantic west of Ireland by U 558, she had sailed from Montreal bound for Belfast and Cardiff with a cargo including substantial tonnage of ingots of various metals. Her 32 passengers were all presumed lost.
    cheers PeteS

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    Default Re: Civilian Technical Corps deaths - WW2

    Dave,

    Thanks

    Sir A. Sinclair Skilled men overseas whose services are available, who possess the requisite qualifications and are otherwise suitable, are free to enlist in the technical branches of the fighting Services; but, in order to afford a wider opportunity for skilled technicians overseas to respond to the appeal which was broadcast last night by my noble Friend the Minister of State, His Majesty's Government have decided to establish a Civilian Technical Corps in which will be enrolled 624men who volunteer to come to this country for service in the repair and maintenance establishments of the Navy, Army and Air Force in a non-combatant capacity. The corps is being established by the Defence (Civilian Technical Corps) Regulations, made under the Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts, 1939–40.
    Considering they were raised to help all the three forces - Navy, Army AF, i am debating if these are exclusively "air casualties" that need to be included. CWGC had bundled them under air force...

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    Default Re: Civilian Technical Corps deaths - WW2

    Do they have service numbers or anything which would specifically suggest their service, if not then I'd think that they were not specifically RAF given what I'm reading.
    cheers PeteS

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    Default Re: Civilian Technical Corps deaths - WW2

    Hello,
    Just to address PeterS's remarks. Would these "Civilians" have know to which service they would be allocated too. Before they embarked on ship.
    Or would that only be known after arrival, when they would be despatched to a particular destination ?
    Just adding some wood to the fire ��
    Alex

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    Default Re: Civilian Technical Corps deaths - WW2

    A little bit more, taken from a memoir of service at RAF Hartlebury.

    "There were also two Americans on the site. They wore RAF uniforms with black buttons and on the shoulders of their tunics were badges with the letters CTC Civilian Technical Corps. They were the only ones I ever saw. One was named Elmer and the other, tall and gangling who came from the deep south went by the name of Alabammy, and he would sometimes be seen in Kidderminster wearing a trilby hat with his uniform."
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peop...a7787325.shtml

    DaveW

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    Default Re: Civilian Technical Corps deaths - WW2

    I think perhaps I can answer all the queries that have been raised. I have been researching the Civilian Technical Corps in some detail, with the eventual aim of producing a book, but that it still some way off.

    The CTC was formed as a result of the rapid expansion of radar units in the RAF in 1940 and early 1941, As a result of this there was a huge demand for trained radar personnel, and in particular a critical shortage of radar mechanics. It was decided to recruit civilians with radio experience from the USA and thus on 17 June 1941 the existence of 'radiolocation' was publicly announced with a pleas to American citizens to "join this venture, here on the frontier of science." Recruitment started immediately and it was anticipated that 30,000 volunteers would come forward. Although the CTC was established to resolve a shortage in the supply of radar mechanics, recruiting was opened to a number of trades which it was considered would be of value to the war effort. Thus, the Corps was open to men from any of the following trades: radio mechanics and engineers, electrical technicians, instrument makers, and repairers, watch makers, meter mechanics, metal workers, machine tool setters and operators, wire-men, ships electricians, sound engineers, automobile engineers, ordnance artificers and engine-room artificers.

    Volunteers accepted for the Corps were classed as paid, non-combatant, employees of the British Government and had to agree to serve for three years, or for the duration of the war, whichever was the shorter. They had to be between 18 and 50 (40 for those volunteering for marine trades), physically fit and also technically qualified for the various trades required. In return they would receive free board and accommodation plus a uniform with a distinctive insignia. The uniform was the standard RAF uniform with black Bakelite buttons instead of brass; the insignia included a cap badge made of chrome plates metal with the letters 'CTC' surrounded by a wreath, a cloth shoulder title reading 'USA' and a cloth rank badge of horizontal bars surrounded by a wreath. This was the same rank insignia as used by the Royal Observer Corps. The rates of pay were between 5 5s and 9 7s 4d per week, according to grading.

    A transit centre for the CTC was established in Montreal with the CTC Reception Depot in Bournemouth. The first batch of volunteers arrived at Bournemouth on 19 August 1941, with additional groups arriving over the next few days before the first men were posted out on 26 August. On 15 October 19 members were lost on the SS Vancouver Island, which was torpedoed by U-558 in mid-Atlantic. These are the 19 men lived on the CWGC website with the date of 15 October 1941. Charles Woodhouse was working as an electrician at No 15 Squadron at Wyton and went on an air test for Stirling W7523 on 19 May 1942. Soon after take-off the aircraft suffered an engine failure and caught fire, crashing at 12.15pm near Graveley. Mr Woodhouse died of his injuries the following day. Wilfred Bratherton was the Radio Operator on Hudson AE640 which crashed on the Mull of Kintyre on 25 July 1941. There was another CTC fatality which does not seem to be listed by the CWGC. Raymond Voss enrolled in the CTC on 8 January 1942 as a Welder (Electric) and arrived in the UK on 9 February. He was posted to HMS Dinosaur at Troon on 20 May 1942, HMS Quebec at Inveraray on 26 January 1943 and then to HMS Roseneath on 10 February 1943. On 2 June 1943 a welder was needed to work underneath the ramp of a landing craft in order to complete tasks considered extremely urgent due to the fact that the landing craft had to be ready in time for the convoy sailing from the Clyde to take part in the invasion of Sicily on 10 July 1943. Owing to a mechanical failure, the cause of which was never established, the ramp was suddenly released and struck Mr Voss, killing him instantly. He was awarded a posthumous commendation for gallantry by Sir Archibald Sinclair, the Secretary of State for Air.

    Many CTC men served on RAF radar stations in the UK, as well as other units in the UK and overseas. The entry of the US into the war on 8 December 1942 meant that US servicemen could now be involved in British radar and many officers of the Signal Corps would be trained and serve at radar stations around the UK. In view of the involvement of the US military, and the increasing supply of Royal Canadian Air Force personnel from radar schools in Canada, the need for the CTC had declined. A total of around 1,000 men had joined the CTC by the time recruiting was suspended in February 1942. Many men already in the CTC started to leave during 1942 and by April 1943 only 329 men remained. However, some elected to stay and some men even served beyond the end of the war. One radar mechanic served at Poling Chain Home station from November 1941 until October 1945.

    I hope the above answers the questions. The Civilian Technical Corps comprised US civilians working for the RAF in RAF uniform, hence why they were categorised as RAF. Some died to protect this country and they should be remember alongside other RAF service personnel.

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    Default Re: Civilian Technical Corps deaths - WW2

    Thanks Ian, that seals it . They are Air Force. I will use your post as the 'reference post' for their entries.


    The CTC entries are now in our DB - along with the cause of death added.. i have added Raymond Voss' entry as well, the first of the many "Non-CWGC" Entries in the RAF Commands DB.

    http://www.rafcommands.com/database/...php?qforce=CTC
    Last edited by Jagan; 5th September 2020 at 16:59.

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