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Thread: Help with my grandfather’s service record.

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    Default Help with my grandfather’s service record.

    Hi all,

    I am posting this again in the hope that someone can help me as everywhere else I have tried suggests asking here.

    Hopefully I am posting in the right place and hopefully someone here can help. I am trying to do some research on my grandfather’s (Peter London, No. 1394519) service during the Second World War. I have obtained his records from the RAF but, in addition to giving me a lot of information, it has left me with a lot of questions.

    If I have understood this right he went to the Initial Training Wing (Blackpool) and 3 Elementary Flying Training School. After this is an entry for “TRNSFERD M of P. Victoria M of P” and I have no idea what that is.

    He was then at 4 Bomber and Gunnery School in Canada until he returned to RAF Eastchurch in July 1943. Then he trained at 1 School of Photography for 3 months. After that he goes to RAF Elsham Woods, until he transfers into the Army (Royal Signals) in May 1945 - apparently because he was convinced, wrongly, that he would be demobbed quicker from the Army. My main issue is what his actual service and squadron was at RAF Elsham Wolds. He had been trained at the EFTS and the School of Photography as well as the Bombing and Gunnery School. He is listed at various times as ‘U/T Pilot’, ‘Photo’, ‘ACH’, AND ‘AB U/T’on the ‘Mustering’ and ‘Trade’ parts of the records and his ‘Brief Statement of Service and Certificate of Discharge’ has his discharged signed by a G/Capt from RAF Kirmington. However, none of this tells me a squadron or the actual role he performed.

    Based on the limited research I have been able to do I am guessing he was possibly in 166 Squadron as they were based at Kirmington and that he may have been an Air Bomber (or Bomb Aimer) based on the ‘AB’ but I have also read that these were usually commissioned officers.

    Can anyone out there help me clear some of this up or point me in the right direction?

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    Default Re: Help with my grandfather’s service record.

    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015 to 2021 - All rights reserved.

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    Default Re: Help with my grandfather’s service record.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross_McNeill View Post

    Sorry, I hadn’t seen your reply to my previous post. If I understand it properly then essentially he trained for 2 years (1941 to 1943) as a pilot, air bomber and photographer in Britain and Canada. But he only qualified as a Photographer, as it is the only one without u/t next to it. If the minimum rank for air crew the whole time he was in the RAF was Sgt then he could never have done any of those jobs anyway with 4 or 5 promotions.

    He then spent the rest of the war at Eastchurch or Kirmington and I can find out what he was doing. It seems odd that they spent 2 years training him, including sending him to Canada, to do jobs they wouldn’t have let him do anyway and then kept him at an airbase where he didn’t utilise any of his learned skills for a further 2 years.

    sorry if this sounds grumpy as I do not mean it too, I am just confused. It seems like a colossal expense in time and money for nothing.

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    Default Re: Help with my grandfather’s service record.

    Hi
    I think Ross has got it right and I know how frustrating researching and trying to make sense of all of the abbreviations etc and trying to make sense of wartime logic can be.

    It is totally plausible that your grandfather volunteered for aircrew and was sent to Canada for pilot training as he had displayed suitable aptitude and had also volunteered. At the time there was limited capacity to train people in the U.K. So Canada was a sensible/logical option.

    Having commenced training he was found not to be suitable as a pilot, which maybe because he couldn't complete the training to a suitable standard or in the time allocated and was taken off of pilot training and remustered to Air Bomber training.

    This is exactly what happened to my uncle, who also failed the Air Bomber training and elected to become an Air Gunner.

    It maybe that your grandfather had some medical condition whichwas undiagnosed or developed during training, e.g. Chronic airsickness, which prevented him from flying and as a result he was retrained as a photographer; this may have been something he already had experience of or an interest in and was a logical progression once it had been decided that he wasn't suitable for flying duties.

    It's also important to note that aircrew were often trained as LACs or AC2s and only promoted to a Sgt on successful completion of their training course.

    As a photographer he may have been on the Station staff taking photos etc., or on an operational Squadron in a ground role, fitting cameras to aircraft, developing bombing images etc. In my experience if he had been on a Squadron it would show on his movements part of his service record, but I could be wrong. Whatever he was doing, it was a job that needed to be done and everyone had a role to play. Whilst you may be disappointed that he wasn't aircrew, it's important to remember his service, the fact that he was willing to volunteer and that he helped defeat Hitler and his gangsters.
    Still a man you can be proud of in my view.
    Daz
    Last edited by 78SqnHistory; 29th August 2021 at 23:15. Reason: Correction

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    Default Re: Help with my grandfather’s service record.

    Quote Originally Posted by 78SqnHistory View Post
    Hi
    I think Ross has got it right and I know how frustrating researching and trying to make sense of all of the abbreviations etc and trying to make sense of wartime logic can be.

    It is totally plausible that your grandfather volunteered for aircrew and was sent to Canada for pilot training as he had displayed suitable aptitude and had also volunteered. At the time there was limited capacity to train people in the U.K. So Canada was a sensible/logical option.

    Having commenced training he was found not to be suitable as a pilot, which maybe because he couldn't complete the training to a suitable standard or in the time allocated and was taken off of pilot training and remustered to Air Bomber training.

    This is exactly what happened to my uncle, who also failed the Air Bomber training and elected to become an Air Gunner.

    It maybe that your grandfather had some medical condition whichwas undiagnosed or developed during training, e.g. Chronic airsickness, which prevented him from flying and as a result he was retrained as a photographer; this may have been something he already had experience of or an interest in and was a logical progression once it had been decided that he wasn't suitable for flying duties.

    It's also important to note that aircrew were often trained as LACs or AC2s and only promoted to a Sgt on successful completion of their training course.


    Thanks, I am just trying to understand how it all worked. Looking back it just looks like a lot of training. Training as a photographer makes sense as he had an interest in it as an amateur photographer and had worked in the movie industry.



    As a photographer he may have been on the Station staff taking photos etc., or on an operational Squadron in a ground role, fitting cameras to aircraft, developing bombing images etc. In my experience if he had been on a Squadron it would show on his movements part of his service record, but I could be wrong. Whatever he was doing, it was a job that needed to be done and everyone had a role to play. Whilst you may be disappointed that he wasn't aircrew, it's important to remember his service, the fact that he was willing to volunteer and that he helped defeat Hitler and his gangsters.
    Still a man you can be proud of in my view.
    Daz

    I am nothing but proud of my grandfather, for his service in the war and everything else he did in his life. This is purely me trying to understand what he did and getting frustrated that I can’t find more information. I am just as proud of his father who was in the RFC when it became the RAF during the First World War as a Driver. They both served and both did valuable work, I am just trying to work out exactly what that work was.

    Thanks.

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    Default Re: Help with my grandfather’s service record.

    If you would like to post a copy/photo of his service record you have then we can guide you through the progress.

    A copy of the musterings sections with the trades and dates is useful as well. This is related to his role on the posting shown for the corresponding dates.

    Ross
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    Default Re: Help with my grandfather’s service record.


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    Default Re: Help with my grandfather’s service record.

    That helps a lot.

    He enlisted at Euston and was considered for training as pilot.

    Returned to civilian life to wait available place on Aviation Candidate training scheme.

    27/10/41 returns to aviation candidate reception centre

    period of classroom training in UK to bring education level up to par ready for commencement of pilot training.

    on passing out of Initial Training Wing graded as u/t pilot and sent to No.32 Elementary Flying Training School at Shellingford UK

    the posting is HHH ie Home Establishment, Headquarters Holding is some pilot training on Tiger Moth while awaiting posting.

    On 22/10/42 the ACCB assessed him and remustered him as u/t pilot so the ACCB considered that it was due to circumstances that were unusual (release from MoP demand) rather than a lack of aptitude.

    The MoP transfer is out of sequence and happened before his posting to No.3 EFTS - not sure but I think this was to the embryo Ministry of Power which formed a few weeks later - possibly something to do with his civilian occupation as Cable Hand and loss of essential occupation.

    30/10/42 he is posted to Canada to continue pilot training.

    However No.4 BGS at RCAF Fingal mostly trained Observers rather than Pilots - this corresponds to the remustering as u/t AB and reclassification in rank to ACH

    While at RCAF Trenton his medical condition changes and on 20 May 1943 he is re-classified as A4 eg non combat passenger.

    Returned to the UK RAF Eastchurch and shortly after is remustered as u/t photo while kicking heels at 54 Maintenance Unit.

    School of Photography - confirmed in trade and posted to RAF Elsham Wolds as Headquarters Holding where he continues when it was re-organised into No.13 Base.

    Ross
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    Default Re: Help with my grandfather’s service record.

    "RAF Elsham Woods, until he transfers into the Army (Royal Signals) in May 1945 - apparently because he was convinced, wrongly, that he would be demobbed quicker from the Army"

    Got to think of the events at the time he applied for transfer - War in Europe winding down but War against Japan still waged. He could not have forseen the A Bomb but he would have been aware of embodiment of units and support ground staff for the Lancasters at Elsham Wolds and surrounding aerodromes for Tiger Force.

    Those enlisted first into the RAF would be priority release - as a late 1941 enlistment he must have considered that his current posting made him a prime candidate for Tiger Force.

    Ross
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    Default Re: Help with my grandfather’s service record.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross_McNeill View Post
    That helps a lot.

    He enlisted at Euston and was considered for training as pilot.

    Returned to civilian life to wait available place on Aviation Candidate training scheme.

    27/10/41 returns to aviation candidate reception centre

    period of classroom training in UK to bring education level up to par ready for commencement of pilot training.

    on passing out of Initial Training Wing graded as u/t pilot and sent to No.32 Elementary Flying Training School at Shellingford UK

    the posting is HHH ie Home Establishment, Headquarters Holding is some pilot training on Tiger Moth while awaiting posting.
    This makes sense as I do have a little story he wrote to Readers Digest about training to fly in a Tiger Moth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross_McNeill View Post
    On 22/10/42 the ACCB assessed him and remustered him as u/t pilot so the ACCB considered that it was due to circumstances that were unusual (release from MoP demand) rather than a lack of aptitude.

    The MoP transfer is out of sequence and happened before his posting to No.3 EFTS - not sure but I think this was to the embryo Ministry of Power which formed a few weeks later - possibly something to do with his civilian occupation as Cable Hand and loss of essential occupation.
    Thanks, I have wondered what MoP could be. It would make sense given his occupation on enlistment.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ross_McNeill View Post
    30/10/42 he is posted to Canada to continue pilot training.

    However No.4 BGS at RCAF Fingal mostly trained Observers rather than Pilots - this corresponds to the remustering as u/t AB and reclassification in rank to ACH

    While at RCAF Trenton his medical condition changes and on 20 May 1943 he is re-classified as A4 eg non combat passenger.
    Sorry for the many questions but what does being classified as a ‘non combat passenger’ mean? Would that mean someone who may have been on flights but not in a combat role, such as taking reconnaissance photos or a radio operator or the like? Or does it mean someone who could only be air crew on a non combat flight, such as cargo flights or the like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross_McNeill View Post
    Returned to the UK RAF Eastchurch and shortly after is remustered as u/t photo while kicking heels at 54 Maintenance Unit.

    School of Photography - confirmed in trade and posted to RAF Elsham Wolds as Headquarters Holding where he continues when it was re-organised into No.13 Base.

    Ross
    Thanks a lot for all of this.

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