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Thread: 2 SFTS, Woodbourne, New Zealand - help needed to interpret service record

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    Default 2 SFTS, Woodbourne, New Zealand - help needed to interpret service record

    The Danish volunteer in the RNZAF, Hjalmar Lorens Tambour was posted to 2 SFTS following 4 EFTS. I am not certain how to interpret different entries in his service record re this school period.

    In a Form 280, Certificate of the Service and Discharge, the following information is given (posted to):

    09.11.41 ITS Levin
    21.12.41 4 EFTS, Whenuapai
    07.02.42 Ohakea
    08.03.42 Blenheim

    Later in the same form, when stating special qualifications and courses of instruction, etc., the following information is given

    07.02.42 - 08.03.42 3 SFTS Ohakea
    08.03.42 - 13.06.42 2 SFTS Blenheim

    In a Form 364 (RAF) his training is summarized as

    09.02.42 - 12.06.42 2 SFTS Woodbourne

    I am confused. As I understand it, 2 SFTS was located at RNZAF Station Woodbourne which is/was near the town of Blenheim. Ohakea commenced as a satellite airfield for Woodbourne. I also understand, that the training at 2 SFTS was divided into two parts: Initial Training Squadron and Advanced Training Squadron. Ohakea became an operational station of its own at some point, but I cannot find references to it as 3 SFTS.

    Would I be correct in assuming that Tambour was posted to RNZAF Woodbourne and 2 SFTS on 07.02.42 and that he was part if the ITS at Ohakea from 7.2.42 - 8.3.42 and then to ATS at Blenheim (Woodbourne) on 8.3.42. He followed course 25B on Harvards from 5.-29.5.42, but no location is given in the service record.

    Thank you.

    Mikkel Plannthin
    Last edited by Mikkel Plannthin; 6th June 2022 at 05:23. Reason: Edited autocorrect error substituting Ohakea for Osaka …
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    Default Re: 2 SFTS, Woodbourne, New Zealand - help needed to interpret service record

    Mikkel,
    Not as hard as you think! But please delete all reference to "Osaka" - that is a huge city in enemy territory (Japan!) I think this is confusion with RNZAF Station Ohakea, in the Manawatu, not too far from town of Palmerston North, it is still there to this day (Google it!)

    Ohakea (and Whenuapai) were both envisaged pre-war as Bomber stations, with each to house one squadron of Vickers Wellingtons (12 aircraft per squadron, plus reserves). They had large, allegedly bomb-proof concrete hangars, and grass runways. From about mid-1942 onwards both these fields were equipped with multiple concrete-block runways, taxiways, etc, for potential sustained all-weather operations.

    Firstly in chronological order we have ITW, Levin (Initial Training Wing, NOT ITS), thence to 4 EFTS (Whenuapai), no problems there.

    Next is Ohakea (3 FTS, or as it soon became renamed, 3 SFTS). As with the RAAF at this time, the RNZAF was also using the pre-war RAF training syllabus, divided into ITW, EFTS, FTS (Intermediate Training Squadron (ITS), then Advanced Training Squadron (ATS)). At about the outbreak of WW2, or possibly in 1940, the RAF (and also the Canadian schools then under construction under the EATS) introduced a revised syllabus which deleted the division of these schools into two squadrons, and this had the effect of removing all the more "operational" aspects of the syllabus, such as all armament training. Incidentally, Ohakea was NEVER a satellite of Woodbourne, which was much smaller than Ohakea and intended only for training purposes. Note that the RNZAF did not get around to changing the designation of it's FTS's to SFTS's till about January 1942 (the RAF undertook this change at about the outbreak of WW2).

    When Japan came into the war, a considerable reshuffle of the RNZAF's training organisation was introduced, although this was in reality spread over a period of about six months. No. 4 EFTS was disbanded at Whenuapai in March 1942, leaving this station free for operational units. No. 3 SFTS at Ohakea was also disbanded to free up station for operational units at about the same time. The remaining two SFTS's and three remaining EFTS's were enlarged with regard to aircraft and staff establishments so as to continue producing approximately the same numbers of graduates, but the training was actually sped up to increase annual output. It was also decided to concentrate all M.E. (multi-engine) training at Wigram (1 SFTS) and similarly concentrate all S.E. (single-engine) training at Woodbourne (2 SFTS), although this took some time to carry out, with this process completed in June 1942. Incidentally the output of pilots was heavily biased in favour of M.E. pilots, on a basis of about 3:2 until near the end of the war (actually late 1944) when all M.E. training was halted in favour of S.E. pilots (result of wind-down in European war and change of Pacific air force to largely S.E pilots (F4U/FG Corsairs), and planned to change over to P-51 Mustangs, with PV-1s to be phased out completely. I think the initial bias in favour of M.E. pilots was insisted on by Air Ministry as the thirst for replacement pilots in early days of war was predominantly for M.E. pilots for Bomber and Coastal Commands, most of whose aircraft were multi-engined, and many of these also needed two pilots per aircraft.

    As you may have gathered by now, Tambour was caught out by the closure of 3 SFTS, and his ending up with 2 SFTS at this time also indicates that he was almost certainly training on Harvards (as an S.E. pilot), in fact highly likely he had been on Harvards since starting at Ohakea. Please also note that Woodbourne was originally known as RNZAF Station Blenheim from the time of its opening, but this designation changed to Woodbourne at about the time of the big reorganisation, as there were several stations around Blenheim and the Air Department decided to attempt to reduce a certain amount of confusion which had arisen concerning identification of these three fields, and use the local, and recognized names in future rather than the nearest LARGE town as previously.

    Incidentally, my notes, taken from official records state that Tambour (NZ416182) had almost identical dates of postings to the dates you have already noted. He was originally (at Ohakea) with Course No. 25C (34 course members, at this stage both S.E. and M.E.). When posted to Blenheim (2 FTS/SFTS) as from 8/3/42, the number of trainees transferred came to 13 from Woodbourne, with remainder (21) going to Wigram for M.E. training on Oxfords. Those at Wigram were now with Course 25A, with those at Woodbourne becoming part of Course 25B. Of course the receiving schools already had plenty of their own trainees at the same stage of training, but the number of trainees was the same overall.

    Hope this is not too confusing, but course photographs were taken at each stage, which was helpful in compiling these notes.
    Last edited by David Duxbury; 6th June 2022 at 01:40.

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    Default Re: 2 SFTS, Woodbourne, New Zealand - help needed to interpret service record

    David,

    THANK YOU!

    The reference to Osaka was an error of course. Thank you for a very elaborate answer. I had tried to figure out what happened with the schools from J M S Ross' Royal New Zealand Air Force, but I had not, it is obvious from your answer, understood anything.

    I guess my confusion was fueled by the fact that some of the documents in his service record refer to the schools as the organisation was then, and not as it was when he attended training.

    Mikkel
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    Default Re: 2 SFTS, Woodbourne, New Zealand - help needed to interpret service record

    David,
    For your information, I post a link to an article on Tambour, that I published earlier today (Danish time) on my website. Thanks again for explaining the SFTSs to me.
    http://www.danishww2pilots.dk/profiles.php?person=269

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
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    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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    Default Re: 2 SFTS, Woodbourne, New Zealand - help needed to interpret service record

    I hope you chaps don't mind me jumping onto this thread, but I'm interested in an RAF chap who, according to the ORB for the RAF's No.56 OTU was posted to that unit from 2 FTS sic (New Zealand) on 25/11/1940. His name was James Allen (914547)who apparently enlisted in September 1939.

    David, if you could confirm, and/or throw any light on, his attendance at No.2 SFTS, I would be very grateful.

    Cheers

    Andrew

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    Default Re: 2 SFTS, Woodbourne, New Zealand - help needed to interpret service record

    Woodbourne and 1940 gives the following photo for Allen. Course N. 5. Coulis it be your man?
    https://fotoweb.airforcemuseum.co.nz...Allen%25201940
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    Default Re: 2 SFTS, Woodbourne, New Zealand - help needed to interpret service record

    Thanks Mikkel, that is amazing!

    I'm sure it is him as names the Julian and Jordan, which appear on the photo, are also listed as arriving at No.52 OTU as Allen on the same day and from No.2 FTS. That nails it for me! All I need to find out now is when he joined No.2 SFTS and from whence. I don't want much, do I?!!

    Many thanks again

    Andrew

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    Default Re: 2 SFTS, Woodbourne, New Zealand - help needed to interpret service record

    Andrew,
    A.40217 John Herbert ALLEN (DoB 10/5/21, Hamilton) was with 2 FTS (Flying Training School), Blenheim, from 6th May till 24th August 1940 (Course No. 5), and embarked for UK per TAMAROA from Wellington 14th September 1940, via Panama Canal, arrived Liverpool 2nd November 1940. Other two RNZAF pilots mentioned were also on this course (A.40650 Lawrence Peter JORDAN and A.40235 Ivon JULIAN. All three graduated from this course as Sergeant pilots. Allen was posted to 1 Depot 3 Nov 1940, 56 OTU 25th Nov, to 232 Sqdn 9th January 1941; killed on air operations from the UK on 8th April 1941 (232 Squadron). Flying Officer Julian returned to NZ in July 1944, but Julian became a PoW of the Japanese. Special Note. The "A" prefix originally allocated to these airmen with their service numbers, was replaced later in 1940 by the better known "NZ".

    A full biography of Allen appears in Errol Martyn's "By such Deeds. Vol. 3, page 61. He was enlisted in RNZAF at Levin (GTS) 15/1/40, to 2 EFTS (New Plymouth) 11/3/40., etc.

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    Default Re: 2 SFTS, Woodbourne, New Zealand - help needed to interpret service record

    Well thanks Dave, you've certainly cleared that query up for me, but here’s the weird thing…….

    The record book for the RAF’s No.56 OTU names JA Allen as being posted in from ‘No.2 FTS (New Zealand)’ in December 1940, accompanied by Sgts Julian and Jordan, who are both named as appearing on the same photo! I now realise, from what you've posted, that this is an error – it should have read JH (John Herbert) Allen. What didn't help was that James Allen was also posted to No.232 Squadron (though he survived the war.) So, it's back to the drawing board for me, but thanks for rubbing out the wrong lines for me! I would never have been able to clear this up without your help!

    Many thanks again

    Andrew

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    Default Re: 2 SFTS, Woodbourne, New Zealand - help needed to interpret service record

    Glad to be of service Andrew - it is rather rewarding to see that the compilation of this sort of data by keen types on different parts of the World's wrinkly surface can still be useful to (sometimes) solve these ancient mysteries!

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