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Thread: The Pathfinders by Will Iredale

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    Default The Pathfinders by Will Iredale

    I've just read a review of this new book and it states that once the creation of the force had been agreed upon, the men selected for it were shipped to the US and Canada for training. Does anybody know who these people were and how long all of this shipping, training and shipping back to the UK took?

    Greg

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    Default Re: The Pathfinders by Will Iredale

    I have not come across this requirement during my research and the document I have regarding the creation of the PFF has no mention of it; it will be interesting to see what others have on this matter

    Regards

    PeteT
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Default Re: The Pathfinders by Will Iredale

    Thanks for replying Pete. While I am no expert on PFF, everything I have ever read on them suggested that they were agreed upon, created and operating in a very short space of time and I had never heard of selected aircrew being sent to the US and Canada for training. As you said, it will be interesting to hear what others think.

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    Default Re: The Pathfinders by Will Iredale

    Doesn't sound correct to me Greg.
    Most Pathfinder Crews (although not all ) were at least reasonably experienced main force Aircrew.
    From the Pathfinder Craig website ...

    RAF PFF NTU Warboys 14th March to 28th March 1944 (12 Days) PFF Training
    There is a special Pathfinder School (NTU Upwood Special School). All new Crews, however, are sent on a special Navigational Course lasting 8-14 days at a Navigation Training Unit, where particularly experienced Instructors, who have already completed their Pathfinder Tours, Train the Crews in the Operation of the Special Equipment and put the final polish on their already good Navigational Training. New Pathfinder Crews fly Training Flights over Great Britain. These were usually made Southwest of the Cambridge area, the course being set for the Isle of Man. On the return Flight, a large City, such as Birmingham or Manchester is approached, dummy Bombing Run using H2S is carried out, and Target Photographs are brought back to the Home Base. Flights of this kind are flown to a strict Time Schedule, just as in the case of a large-scale Raid

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    Default Re: The Pathfinders by Will Iredale

    Two of those allegedly chosen were Colin Bell and John Kelly (no ranks given). There is a chapter in the book called Hooray for Hollywood where some of the people were feted by film stars, so there seemed to be no rush in getting these people back to the UK and on ops. John Kelly was sent to No 2 British Flying Training School in the Mojave Desert and Colin Bell was sent to Florida for training. Doesn't sound like urgent specialist training to me, could he be getting confused with the basic flying training courses that were held in the US?

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    Default Re: The Pathfinders by Will Iredale

    Greg; your comments reflect my thinking on the matter (ie it was trade rather than operational training) ..... have you got a link to the review that you are referring to?

    Regards

    PeteT
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Default Re: The Pathfinders by Will Iredale

    Pete

    It's in the book review section of October's Britain at War. Not sure how to put a link in for that, being a confirmed Luddite!

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    Default Re: The Pathfinders by Will Iredale

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteT View Post
    Greg; your comments reflect my thinking on the matter (ie it was trade rather than operational training) ..... have you got a link to the review that you are referring to?

    Regards

    PeteT
    If that is indeed the case Pete then that is quite a howler to make and would make me seriously question other statements or facts that might be in the book. I recently bought another book called the Lost Airman. It is an account of a B24 crewman who was shot down on his second op and evaded through Spain. He flew from Seething, which is local to me and that spurred my interest. When setting the scene for the mission the author stated that, at the same time as the lad in question was taking off, other US aircraft on the same raid were also taking off 'all over England, Wales and Scotland'. At that point the book went in the bin!

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    Default Re: The Pathfinders by Will Iredale

    Hi Greg,

    Iím researching 28 Aussies that were on Course 58, 4 SFTS IN Saskatoon June-October 1942. Two went to PFF one as a pilot the other as a Bomb Aimer. One to 7 Sqn the other 35 Sqn they both went from ops on a normal Sqn to PFF without leaving the UK. Both survived the war although the bomb Aimer was shot down an evaded to Switzerland.

    Cheers,

    John.

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    Default Re: The Pathfinders by Will Iredale

    Greg: We need to bear in mind that it may be the review that is wrong, rather than the book

    Regards

    PeteT
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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