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Thread: Newly Discovered Meteorological Air Observers

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    Default Newly Discovered Meteorological Air Observers

    Hello All,
    As part of a new investigation (sparked by Hugh Halliday’s recent post) I have just discovered I have 6 Meteorological Air Observers (MAO) that I didn’t know I had (there may be more!). They are:-
    Sgt Denness
    Flt Sgt Macfarlane, DFM
    Sgt Byers
    Sgt Russell
    Flt Sgt Haigh(?)
    Sgt Bowditch
    They were all flying with 224 Sqn on the NOCTURNAL Met Recce route out of Gibraltar in 1951. There were no Forenames, initials, or Service Numbers on the limited bit of ORB I looked at. I am particularly interested in the Flt Sgt Macfarlane (definitely Macfarlane – not McFarlane). An MAO with a DFM is extremely unusual. I would like to know more. I can find a Macfarlane with a WW2 DFM – but he was an A/G! To become an MAO from A/G is a very unusual career path. I would like to know more.
    It does, however, nearly repeat later. In the late 1950’s there was an extreme shortage of civilian ground Met Assts on RAF airfields. There was also a large number of Kipper Fleet redundant NCO W/Ops. They gave a number of the W/Ops a quick Met course and churned them out as Airfield Met Assts (the names Sgts Moore-Tabb, and Faringdon) are the pair that I remember.
    Does anybody know anything? – particularly about MAO(?) Flt Sgt Macfarlane, DFM???
    TIA
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 6th September 2021 at 14:02.
    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: Newly Discovered Meteorological Air Observers

    Peter

    A quick look at the 224 Sqn ORB has an O.I. MacFarlane in the Form 541 of February 1950 - no mention of a D.F.M. at that date.

    August 1951 Form 541 has a Gun.I. MacFarlane, again no D.F.M. mentioned.

    I see by January 1951 he's got his D.F.M. mentioned in the O.R.B., assuming it's the same chap?

    I'm guessing you think it's perhaps Charles MACFARLANE D.F.M. 993788?

    http://madeinperth.org/flyers-from-p...es-macfarlane/

    Regards

    Simon
    Last edited by wwrsimon; 6th September 2021 at 14:32. Reason: added link
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: Newly Discovered Meteorological Air Observers

    Simon,
    You are right. You think this guy is 993788 Charles Macfarlane, DFM. You've probably got the right bloke!
    What troubles me is how does this air-gunner get a DFM and then, when the war is over(?), transfer to being an MAO? Very strange.
    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: Newly Discovered Meteorological Air Observers

    DFM for 993788 MacFarlane was Gazetted 16/11/43 when he was with No.10 Squadron.

    http://madeinperth.org/flyers-from-p...es-macfarlane/

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/.../5026/data.pdf

    Ross
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    Resmoroh (7th September 2021)

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    Default Re: Newly Discovered Meteorological Air Observers

    Please forgive me if I my interpretation is imperfect, but my understanding is that with the disbandment of the wartime met reconnaissance squadrons in 1946, the MAO trade became defunct. 202 Squadron, which had been disbanded in June 1945, reformed by renumbering 518 Squadron in October 1946 to become the sole peacetime met reconnaissance squadron. By that time the wartime MAOs had been demobilised and the met observing role was taken on by surplus aircrew from other trades - such as AGs. This continued until 1949 when approval was given for qualified Met Office observers, called up for National Service, to assume the met observing role as Air Meteorological Observers. I've not looked at the subsequent history of the AMOs, but three were killed in 1949; LAC James Lister was on his last sortie under instruction when his Halifax (RG843) crashed on 16 June on Achill Island

    The other two, Sgt Stuart Gordon Purches, and Sgt Gerald William Walklate both died on 29 December 1949, when their Halifax (ST798) which was returning to Aldergrove on three engines crashed in flames near Barra Head.

    Consequently, Peter, I don't think your men were MAOs, but were probably all redundant AGs marking time/continuing flying until they could retrain in other trades or were demobilised.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 6th September 2021 at 21:51. Reason: A/C numbers inserted

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    Resmoroh (7th September 2021)

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