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Thread: Who was responsible for deciding RAF personnel postings?

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    Default Who was responsible for deciding RAF personnel postings?

    Can someone in the know provide me a brief overview of how postings worked, please?

    Who (or how was it) decided who was posted to which unit? I get it that if a squadron had a need for personnel, it would effectively make a request, but who decided that Fred Smith would be posted to a unit, and not John Jones? I presume there were criteria or sorts?

    I ask as I'm trying to understand how 41 Sqn had a cadre of just six officers in May 1923, soon after its re-formation, and two of them were named Hugh Jones. Appreciating that there was no convenience of computer cross-checking then as there is today, was there any attempt to regulate who was sent where, any rhyme, reason or logic (notwithstanding specific trade or duty requirements) or was it a simple case of 'we need a man on 41 Squadron, and Jones is the next available man on the list'?

    A little insight would be appreciated, please, if someone is able to assist.

    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: Who was responsible for deciding RAF personnel postings?

    Hi Steve

    The Distribution Section of my site gives the 'Who': -

    P.3
    Wg Cdr A D Cunningham (from Jul 1924)
    Sqn Ldr C E Maude (up to Jul 1924)
    Sqn Ldr L L MacLean
    Flt Lt A H Pearce
    L J Banford - Higher Clerical Officer

    Duties -

    Personal questions affecting officers.
    Posting and promotion.
    Posting to and from the Reserve, retirement and half-pay.
    Selection for courses.
    Overseas roster.
    Liaison with War Office regarding seconded and attached officers.
    Selection Board for candidates for commissions.
    University candidates.
    Medical Boards.
    Honours and awards.
    Chaplains other than C of E.
    Individual cases of pay, pensions and allowances.
    Cadets after passing entrance examination.

    Although two of the above officers were not in place in 1923, the composition of the branch would have been the same, these officers would have set the policy, and the Record Office would have issued the paperwork.

    Malcolm

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    Steve Brew (23rd November 2022)

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    Default Re: Who was responsible for deciding RAF personnel postings?

    Sorry for the delay in responding, Malcolm

    Many thanks for explaining how it worked

    Regards
    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: Who was responsible for deciding RAF personnel postings?

    There is a possibility that the 'posters' sometimes had a well developed sense of humour as well :)

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    Default Re: Who was responsible for deciding RAF personnel postings?

    I had considered that option :-)
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Default Re: Who was responsible for deciding RAF personnel postings?

    Remember that postings could be "adjusted" or "reversed" by other officers in influential positions, and COs of units could nominate (useful to them) individuals already known by previous experience, but serving in other units. If a new unit was formed, and it was a high priority unit, all vacancies could be filled fairly quickly by raiding appropriate personnel pools (provided for the purpose), or direct from latest convenient output from relevant OTUs, or nabbed from staff aircrew serving with non-operational units. Before any posting could be enacted, their medical grading had to match the needs of the receiving unit, and most particularly if this unit was warned for embarkation overseas, and a harsh operational climate was anticipated. This would be followed by an appointment with the local medical section for examination and inoculations, etc., and before actual departure, the usual check of all kit, including special items for unusual conditions if required. Commanding officers seemed to have the power to post out individuals carried on their strength, and considered unsuitable for various reasons, although these probably had to be considered carefully, as this meant another unit would have to take them (I think individuals' character, skill in trade, and discipline records would be noted by receiving units as a matter of course), although these were probably not available till the actual individuals arrived in person. Just a few thoughts. If you can get hold of contemporary KR&ACI, and read through sections on discipline, administration and the like, that a certain amount of interesting information might be encountered.

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    Default Re: Who was responsible for deciding RAF personnel postings?

    I recall hearing from one Lancaster pilot who, having finished his tour and rest, was going to "the ministry" (or wherever) for an interview about his next posting. He met an acquaintance on the way, who warned him that he'd be offered a Typhoon posting, but to avoid it because of the chop rate. Following this advice, he finished his war training up on Mosquito night fighters. Presumably only second-tour flyers were offered any such courtesy as to their employment.

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    Default Re: Who was responsible for deciding RAF personnel postings?

    Graham, that sounds more like good luck than courtesy to me, and excellent advice! Sometimes it all depended on who you know, and what they thought of you. Also worth bearing in mind that non-operational aircrew were often in demand too at various times, such as staff pilots or Navs for various types of training units. The various Schools of GR, OTUs, and particularly the (Observer and Pilot) Advanced Flying Units always required good steady types to provide their services all throughout the UK, and also similar units overseas. These units provided plenty of flying (or navigation) practice and you could build up your experience which could be extremely valuable when some staff officer at Air Ministry decided the time had come for you to get some real operational experience!

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    Default Re: Who was responsible for deciding RAF personnel postings?

    Thanks gents, that's all helpful information to know.

    Good point, too, David; it was one thing to have a man removed from a unit, but he then became another unit's problem - what we would call today just 'kicking the can down the road' for someone else to deal with. Not ideal...
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Default Re: Who was responsible for deciding RAF personnel postings?

    In the Met Branch the responsibly for postings lay with the Met Office itself in the guise of a W/C Britton (I think that was his name), himself a meteorologist mobilised early in the war. I am aware that the two commissioned officers posted to the two weather ships in 1940 were promised the postings would be for three months, but this became open-ended and both were still in post when the weather ships were torpedoed with the loss of all hands during the summer of 1941. The four non-commissioned personnel accompanying them were selected at random, but promised a single rank promotion in recognition of the conditions and hazardous nature of the work. The promises were never kept which in turn affected the pensions of the wives of the married men.

    Brian

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