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Thread: What did it mean to be "reduced to cadre"?

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    Default What did it mean to be "reduced to cadre"?

    Many units were 'reduced to cadre' after the 1918 Armistice, but what exactly did that mean?

    One discussion on the Great War Forum explains, "In essence they become purely administrative, awaiting an outcome i.e. reform or disband". That roughly sums up my assumption, but they are specifically referring to British Army units. Was it the same with RAF units?

    In my case, I am trying to understand what 41 Squadron did, i.e. what it looked like and how it was occupied, between 7 February 1919, when it was reduced to cadre and returned to England, and 31 December 1919, when it was disbanded at Croydon. The records I have located are vague and lack detail.

    However, broader than just 41 Sqn, I would like to understand the general concept better. What did this period as cadre look like for former front-line squadrons? I presume their role would have included administration relating to the disposal of men, machines and equipment, but is that a correct assumption?

    If so, it seems to me to have been an extremely long period (ca 10 months) for 41 Sqn to undertake such activity, if that's all it was, but I am happy to be corrected. Was there more to it?

    Lastly, after the Armistice, were all units that were not retained as operational squadrons reduced to cadre before disbandment, or were some just disbanded outright without becoming a reduced cadre?

    Thanks for your feedback
    Steve

    [Also posted on The Aerodrome forum but no response yet as I write this; hence seeking input from the RAF Commands forum Brains Trust]
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Default Re: What did it mean to be "reduced to cadre"?

    A cadre strength effectively means the Squadron is a desk paper exercise controlled by a few officers and nco operating out of one or two office rooms. It has no operational equipment except desks and filing cabinets.

    Why a cadre - it's the lowest cost formation that treasury will fund but one with a pre planned embodiment plan that relies on having an established normal Squadron Admin system of required publications/local files, updated and amended led by an officer capable of rising to command along with supporting staff that have the skills necessary for establishment positions eg Equipment, Discipline etc.

    After armistice the cadre was normally located on an established station of the role that was intended eg for Bomber Command from expansion period the cadres used as mostly C flight for an stood up squadron. After Munich they then got an airframe or two and were used for providing operational style training for new pilots joining the Squadron before they moved to A or B flights.

    On mobilisation it was intended that the cadre was stood up as a full squadron, with the number assigned when reduced to cadre, obtain full IE and IR equipment and be embodied by allocated returning reservists. If the reservists reported directly to the new squadron then the squadron was also responsible for kitting from stores.

    Quite a nifty bit of foresight from the Air Ministry - set the ability to rapidly expand the RAF from peace to war footing with minimum of paperwork orders/transfers/new staff training etc.

    Number of cadre fluctuated as peace years went on - mostly driven by treasury limits on number of squadrons to be formed eg the 10 year rule led to a drop to minimum but expansion and Munich led to more cadre being allowed.

    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 14th October 2022 at 07:38.
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    Default Re: What did it mean to be "reduced to cadre"?

    I came across mention of bombing ranges for cadre units in the thirties and took these to mean the 500 series squadrons but not the auxiliaries which were 600 series - at least that was my interpretation. I'm not sure what it meant in those circumstances but assumed it was a reduced strength or perhaps a supply unit, rather like an OTU. The bombing range requirement meant they did have aircraft and pilots.

    As this was not part of my research these are merely assumptions or guesses.

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    Default Re: What did it mean to be "reduced to cadre"?

    Equipment for the cadre varied as the threat increased - just post 1919 no new rearmament was taking place so it was mostly manpower where the cadre was a group of skilled personnel capable of forming a new unit if required and training others.

    Between the wars the RAF was slanted at that - Halton to provide the cadre of trained mechanics and aircraft apprentices who could grow and train the re-mobilised RAF, RAF College Cranwell for the permanent commission Officer cadre and Andover for the Staff College of senior ranks.

    Into Expansion period the Special Reserve was overshadowed by the rise of the AAF and RAFVR but more advanced front line equipment meant a need to train on new types so the C training flight was used.

    Even post war when the AAF was being reformed it was initially cadre status

    "The AAF was authorised to re-form on this basis. Recruiting was to begin in June 1946 with the force being equipped to cadre scale by the end of July. Cadre scale involved a single nine-aircraft operational flight plus a training flight (to be maintained largely by regular airman)with half-a-dozen additional aeroplanes, including a couple of Harvards or Oxfords. It was envisaged that all squadrons would be fully manned, with a second flight and eighteen operational aircraft, by the end of December 1947."

    The RAF Historical Society paper is a great source for the changing face of the system. Especially Jefford paper on the Special Reserve.
    (as aside pages 5 and 6 list the reserve classes - including difference and date range between Class E and Class F)

    https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/documen...ary-Forces.pdf

    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 14th October 2022 at 11:55.
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    Default Re: What did it mean to be "reduced to cadre"?

    Thanks very much for this explanation, Ross; it's really helpful.

    Could one expect to find any records of cadres and their personnel in 1919, or is it more 'pot luck' of finding a posting mentioned on a man's service record, e.g. AIR 76?

    Many thanks
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Default Re: What did it mean to be "reduced to cadre"?

    Ross, you made my day by sharing this information with us. Thanks a lot.
    Stay happy

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