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Thread: RAF/RAFVR recruitment 1939

  1. #1
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    Default RAF/RAFVR recruitment 1939

    I would like to know when the policy of all Air Force recruits joining as RAFVR came in. I have the service record of a man who is shown as enlisting and commencing as ground crew on 9 August 1939. His listing shows that he was ACH/FM/FR on entry. He was RAF not RAFVR. He joined at No 3 RC Padgate.
    On the other hand, I know of a man who joined as a trainee wireless op/air gunner sometime in late July 1939. I don't have his exact date of enlistment, but he was at RAF Cardington by 16 August 1939. He was RAFVR. in a letter to his family, he says he was turned down for pilot training just before this date. Was direct entry pilot training still going on at this time?

    Thanks in advance.
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    Default Re: RAF/RAFVR recruitment 1939

    One of those short questions with an ever changing answer depending on the month and resolve of the treasury.

    In essence "all Air Force recruits" joining as RAFVR commenced 24 Aug 1939 when regular recruitment ceased and stopped summer 1944 when regular recruitment resumed. However some service number blocks created under prewar entry limits continued giving present emergency intake numbers associated with different manpower allocation schemes - some commissioned officer being given prewar direct entry planned Personal Numbers in 40/41/42 sequence.

    For a blow by blow chapter and verse see the RAF Air Historical Branch publication on Manning - free download here
    https://www.raf.mod.uk/our-organisat...ns-and-policy/

    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 4th November 2022 at 07:02.
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    Default Re: RAF/RAFVR recruitment 1939

    Quote Originally Posted by Chas View Post
    On the other hand, I know of a man who joined as a trainee wireless op/air gunner sometime in late July 1939. I don't have his exact date of enlistment, but he was at RAF Cardington by 16 August 1939. He was RAFVR. in a letter to his family, he says he was turned down for pilot training just before this date. Was direct entry pilot training still going on at this time?

    Thanks in advance.
    Hi Chas
    Just had a quick look through manning document mentioned by Ross and wondered if your man joined on the final (1939) pre war VR scheme,the pilot vacancies filled up quickly (and/or lack educational requirements ?) but they were also actively recruiting Air Gunners as well - this paragraph is at 47/316

    Development of the Reserve and Auxiliary Forces during the Last
    Year of Peace


    The Secretary of State then announced that a new type of
    reserve, enl~stment was being prepared whereby the reservist would
    join initially for a six months period of continuous service on
    full pay for training, the inducement being a bonus at the end of
    the period and a substantial .retaining fee during his period of
    reserve service. The respons~ to this plan was good and the
    first R.A.F.V .R·. pilots .began their continuous training early in
    1939. By July 1939, about 180 undergoing training and all
    vacancies were· filled. Meanwhile, it bad been decided in March
    1939 to launch a similar scheme for RAFVR observers and air gunners.
    rn A.M. File s.51698.
    C.P.218(38).
    SECRET
    (90532)47
    SECRE.r
    39


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    Default Re: RAF/RAFVR recruitment 1939

    Thank you Ross for the explanation and the document, and thank you BVS for reading the whole thing. I have glanced through it, but haven't attempted the entire document. My first man joined on 8 August as a ground crew mechanic (he became a flight engineer in the summer of 42) so I guess that he must have been amongst the last of those who beat the deadline of 24 August.
    The paragraph you quote at 43/716 would explain why the second man was turned down for direct entry pilot training, so thanks also for this.
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