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Thread: S/L Thomas Roberts - commissioned from the ranks

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    Default S/L Thomas Roberts - commissioned from the ranks

    I'm currently struggling with some research into the life and career of Thomas Roberts who commanded the Transit Camp at Pollsmoor in S Africa 1945. He was commissioned from the ranks in 1939 and his service records are proving hard to find. He joined the RAF in about Aug 1919 under SN 332986 rising to the rank of WO. Commissioned in 1939, he then was allocated SN 43741, rising to the rank of S/L before retiring in 1950, the same year he died. I particularly want records from his airman service, but AIR79 is bare. Will his airman service be attached to his Officer service and still held by the MoD? Is a foray into the abyss applying for records at the MoD necessary?

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    Default Re: S/L Thomas Roberts - commissioned from the ranks

    That will still be with MOD RAF, yes you'll need to apply, pay the fee and attach a copy of his death certificate.

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    Default Re: S/L Thomas Roberts - commissioned from the ranks

    Moonraker, Hi,
    Welcome to the Forum.
    PeteS is right. You will almost certainly need to go through “the system”. Nobody has come back to you with any new info, and I’m not going to be much use either!

    Thomas Roberts
    b. 1901?
    e. 332986 in Block 331001-333000 RAF Civilians issued from May 1919.
    c. 4 May 1940 332986 W/O Thomas Roberts as Fg Off(p) (43741), A&SD Branch.
    conf 4 May 1941 as Fg Off Thomas Roberts (43741).
    prom 1 Mar 1942 Fg Off T Roberts (43741) to T/Flt Lt.
    prom 1 Sep 1945 T/Flt Lt T Roberts (43741) to Flt Lt (ws).
    aw. MBE A/Sqn Ldr Thomas ROBERTS (43741) Royal Air Force(A&SD). LG 13 Jun 46 supp 37958 p 2781).
    transfer. Thomas ROBERTS, MBE. (43741). 30 May 1946. (sen 1 Sep 45) (transferred to the Secretarial Branch with effect ,from 1 Jan 47 in the rank of Flt Lt(A/Sqn Ldr)).
    ret. 29 Jan 1950 Flt Lt(A/Sqn Ldr) T. ROBERTS, M.B.E. (43741). Medical unfit.
    d. 1950.

    Assuming he was 18 when he Enlisted, that would put his birth year 1901. There are 41 Thomas Roberts b. reg on FREEBMD in 1901! If he d. in 1950, there are 44 Thomas Roberts reg on FREEBMD in that year. Too many (at each end of his life) to do any meaningful BMD excavations?
    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: S/L Thomas Roberts - commissioned from the ranks

    Quote Originally Posted by Resmoroh View Post
    Moonraker, Hi,
    Welcome to the Forum.
    PeteS is right. You will almost certainly need to go through “the system”. Nobody has come back to you with any new info, and I’m not going to be much use either!

    Thomas Roberts
    b. 1901?
    e. 332986 in Block 331001-333000 RAF Civilians issued from May 1919.
    c. 4 May 1940 332986 W/O Thomas Roberts as Fg Off(p) (43741), A&SD Branch.
    conf 4 May 1941 as Fg Off Thomas Roberts (43741).
    prom 1 Mar 1942 Fg Off T Roberts (43741) to T/Flt Lt.
    prom 1 Sep 1945 T/Flt Lt T Roberts (43741) to Flt Lt (ws).
    aw. MBE A/Sqn Ldr Thomas ROBERTS (43741) Royal Air Force(A&SD). LG 13 Jun 46 supp 37958 p 2781).
    transfer. Thomas ROBERTS, MBE. (43741). 30 May 1946. (sen 1 Sep 45) (transferred to the Secretarial Branch with effect ,from 1 Jan 47 in the rank of Flt Lt(A/Sqn Ldr)).
    ret. 29 Jan 1950 Flt Lt(A/Sqn Ldr) T. ROBERTS, M.B.E. (43741). Medical unfit.
    d. 1950.

    Assuming he was 18 when he Enlisted, that would put his birth year 1901. There are 41 Thomas Roberts b. reg on FREEBMD in 1901! If he d. in 1950, there are 44 Thomas Roberts reg on FREEBMD in that year. Too many (at each end of his life) to do any meaningful BMD excavations?
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Thanks Peter, that looks to coincide with all the Gazette notices and all that I know already. I'm afraid this one will have to go on to the back burner while the MoD take their time as usual. Great to be aboard such a helpful site!

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    Default Re: S/L Thomas Roberts - commissioned from the ranks

    Moonraker,
    I am not trying to hijack this thread, or change its direction, but it is just possible your man, Roberts, may have had some Army service before Enlisting in the new RAF.
    He Enlisted – 332986 – in Block 331001-333000 which, as far as I am aware, was for Civilians and was issued from May 1919. WW1 had ended in Nov 1918.
    I have had a look (in the LG) for a few either side of Roberts’ Officer’s Number (43741). There are a couple of surprises.
    A large number Enlisted in the Block 340001-360000 Civilians(?) issued from Sept 1919. There are two that caught my attention. They are:-
    John Bowran Currie, b. Q1 1899 Newcastle 10b 86. Enlisted 352262, Comm 43750.
    Alfred Ernest Coote, b. Q4 1896 Shoreditch 1c 62. Enlisted 347695, Comm 43749.
    Currie is said, in the LG, to have been awarded the MM (Military Medal).
    Coote is said to have been awarded the DCM (Distinguished Conduct Medal).
    The DCM, as I understand it, ranks just after the Victoria Cross!!!!!!
    The MM “came up with the rations”, but you will be lucky if Hugh Halliday has the DCM citation!!

    Another interesting snippet is that:
    347082 Alexander Allen Taylor (43737) and
    347083 Arthur Frederick Walter Howell (43731)
    had sequential OR Enlistments numbers!! Probably knew each other in Basic Training?
    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: S/L Thomas Roberts - commissioned from the ranks

    Hi Peter
    There was a Thomas Roberts who transferred to RFC from the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
    Trouble is it is such a common name.

    From Airhistory people

    Roberts AM3 T Thomas Royal Welsh Fusiliers Pte

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    Default Re: S/L Thomas Roberts - commissioned from the ranks

    ROBERTS, Thomas, A/S/L (43741, Royal Air Force) - Royal Air Force Transit Section, Westlake, South Africa - Member, Order of the British Empire - awarded as per London Gazette dated 13 June 1946. Commissioned 4 May 1940. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 1 March 1942. Retired as Squadron Leader, 29 January 1950. Public Record Office Air 2/9668, courtesy of Tom Thorne, has citation.

    Squadron Leader Roberts has commanded this unit since December 1945. In October 1941 he was posted to the transit camp at Pollsmoorto act as Assistant Adjutant. Owing to his experience of administrative work, he was eventually selected to fill the post of Royal Air Force Liaison Officer to the Commanding Officer, a post he held until the formation of the Royal Air Force Transit Section, Westlake, where he assumed the duties of Reception Officer. Later, he was chosen to command the unit. He is held in the highest esteem in the Capetown area by all units dealing with the embarkation and disembarkation of personnel. He has also assisted Union Defence Force personnel. Squadron Leader Roberts has worked many hours of overtime in order to cope with shipping requirements, accepting all demands on his time in a very cheerful manner. By his devotion to duty this officer has set a splendid example.

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    Default Re: S/L Thomas Roberts - commissioned from the ranks

    Quote Originally Posted by Resmoroh View Post
    Moonraker,
    I am not trying to hijack this thread, or change its direction, but it is just possible your man, Roberts, may have had some Army service before Enlisting in the new RAF.
    He Enlisted – 332986 – in Block 331001-333000 which, as far as I am aware, was for Civilians and was issued from May 1919. WW1 had ended in Nov 1918.
    I have had a look (in the LG) for a few either side of Roberts’ Officer’s Number (43741). There are a couple of surprises.
    A large number Enlisted in the Block 340001-360000 Civilians(?) issued from Sept 1919. There are two that caught my attention. They are:-
    John Bowran Currie, b. Q1 1899 Newcastle 10b 86. Enlisted 352262, Comm 43750.
    Alfred Ernest Coote, b. Q4 1896 Shoreditch 1c 62. Enlisted 347695, Comm 43749.
    Currie is said, in the LG, to have been awarded the MM (Military Medal).
    Coote is said to have been awarded the DCM (Distinguished Conduct Medal).
    The DCM, as I understand it, ranks just after the Victoria Cross!!!!!!
    The MM “came up with the rations”, but you will be lucky if Hugh Halliday has the DCM citation!!

    Another interesting snippet is that:
    347082 Alexander Allen Taylor (43737) and
    347083 Arthur Frederick Walter Howell (43731)
    had sequential OR Enlistments numbers!! Probably knew each other in Basic Training?
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    An interesting thought and thanks for the input! I have now identified the two service numbers issued either side of his (332986) and they did go to civilian recruits on 8 Aug 1919 so Im resasonably confident he was similar and it fits with a suspected birth year of 1900. Ive also found he was at Netheravon at the time of his marriage in 1926 and in the Electoral Roll in Quarters at Henlow in 1938 as a WO. Small steps!

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