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Thread: Crew failure to became a Pathfinder crew???

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    Default Crew failure to became a Pathfinder crew???

    Hi all,

    I have a crew from 467 Sq RAAF which after 7 raids has been posted to 97 Sq (Pathfinder at the time - late 1943) but aftersome tranining made only two raids with 97 Sq and was returned back to the 467 Sq.

    As I was not able to find any reason ofor the return in neither ORB, how should I understand this posting a withdrawal?
    I suppose the crew was selected to replace 97 Sq losses but for some reasons has not been accepted?

    I was not able to find any other similar case. There were two other 467 Sq crews posted to 97 Sq earlier but but have been lost while with 97 Sq few months later, so I suppose they "passed through" and became Pathfinders.

    Any ideas will be much appreciated.

    TIA

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

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    Default Re: Crew failure to became a Pathfinder crew???

    Hello Pavel

    I have a similar case, with a Lancaster crew from No. 408 Squadron being selected for PFF duties. After additionnal training at PFF NTU (about a month) they did 3 ops with No. 405 Squadron, and then were sent back to No. 408. There's no explanations in either ORBs or I really failed to find them. The only clear mention is in a letter by one the air gunners, to his family in Canada, in which he explains that they had two mishaps while flying with the PFF and after the second one, they were sent back to their original Squadron. He's quite bitter about it, because with the extra month of training, they didn't fly ops, and if they had remained in 408, they would have ended their tour. They unfortunately were lost with 408 in June 1944.

    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 16th May 2022 at 08:02.

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    Default Re: Crew failure to became a Pathfinder crew???

    Hi Pavel, the 1 Group Summary of Operations for January 1944 includes the following on Pathfinders, which I suspect sums up the situation across PFF at the time:

    For the first time for several months, the news of our affiliated P.F.F. Squadron [156 Sqn] is depressing. Many of their most experienced and first-class crews have finished their tours and losses have been higher than usual. These included some second tour crews sent from this Group who were reported as showing considerable promise last month.

    Against this, replacements sent by this Group have in several cases been most unsatisfactory and have been returned to us to continue Main Force operations.

    The chief reason for this sorry state of affairs is the lack of experienced crews in this Group, but Squadron Commanders must appreciate that only the best are good enough for P.F.F. The effect of bad marking should be obvious to all concerned. A separate instruction has been issued on this subject by this H.Q. recently.
    Cheers,

    Richard

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    Default Re: Crew failure to became a Pathfinder crew???

    Hi Joss and Richard, thnak you for your posts, it exactly fits into my thoughts!

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

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    Default Re: Crew failure to became a Pathfinder crew???

    My thoughts are with the caveat “if I recall correctly,” so take it for what it’s worth, but I recall reading “somewhere” that for a while the Main Force “Groups” sent some of their lesser crews to Pathfinders and the results were not good. Later, Hamish Mahaddie became involved as an active recruiter, and the results were better.

    Jim

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    Default Re: Crew failure to became a Pathfinder crew???

    Pavel,

    It would be most appreciated if you could name the 467 (RAAF) Sqn crew you refer to in your opening post.

    Col.

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    Default Re: Crew failure to became a Pathfinder crew???

    Hi Pavel
    Can’t remember where, sorry, but I’m pretty sure I read once a story of an ‘apprentice’ crew sent to the Pathfinders who were worried that they would be rejected and RTU’d (Returned to Unit) for not getting their navigation spot-on and arriving a bit late at the target. The raid timetables obviously required them to be on target very precisely so they couldn’t afford to be several minutes late. Can’t recall the details but their timing might even have been to arrive within seconds (less than a minute) of a Time on Target? They’d be no good to anyone if they couldn’t navigate their way there on time.

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    Default Re: Crew failure to became a Pathfinder crew???

    Hi all,

    @ ianh - thank you, it sounds reasonable, I have read another report by Main Force crew who was supposed to move to the PFF but during their last raid with the Main Force the navigator make a navigational error and they found out if they will speed up to the target they will be 5 minutes late so they turned back and their transfer to the PFF was then out of question. So precise timing was very important.

    @ Col - I have not my research in hand at the moment, but it was crew led by P/O A. D. Riley and the period Oct-Nov 1943. The whole crew except for one later perished with 467 Sq RAAF on 30-31.1.44. I have already full details about their tour from the ORB and also details about their fateful flight from Riley's files available online.

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

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    Default Re: Crew failure to became a Pathfinder crew???

    Pavel,

    Thanks.

    Col.

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