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Thread: Aircrew (Navigator) "Special Group"

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    Default Aircrew (Navigator) "Special Group"

    I have the above phrase on a RCAF discharge certificate dated Jan 45. It is a new one on me. Can any kind soul explain what the term "Special Goup" means, please?

    TIA

    Jonny

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    Hi Jonnym

    was he an officer? I know that they were joining RCAF Special Reserve. So it can be as a Special Group...

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Pavel,

    He was definately still a Sgt at his time of demob.

    Jonny

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    Jonny,
    I have raised a query on this subject previously on this board with little response, and we seem to be no further ahead as yet! However I can say that it may have had something today with the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) as many of the RNZAF graduates were classified as such on graduation as Sergeants (but NOT officers), with trade stated to be Pilot (Special Group), Observer (Special Group), etc. My guess is that it was some sort of administrative device to clearly indicate that these were not "normal" RAF graduates, but EATS graduates from the wider Commonwealth, or something similar. However the "Special Group" suffix did not seem to be used in the earlier years (1940 - 1941).
    David D

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    David,

    The subject of my query completed AOS in Canada and then (O) AFU and OTU in the UK. All normal, so far! However, he then went on to "11 Base" for a 5 months stint, before being repatriated to Canada. During his time at "11 Base" he does not seem to have seen any action and I can only presume that he did some instructing - but as a Sgt Nav? Could it be anything to do with that?

    Jonny

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    Default RCAF Special Reserve

    Stumbled upon a partial answer to one of the questions raised here, while looking for something else. From "Military Relations Between the United States and Canada 1939-1945" By US Col. Army S.W. Dziuban, paraphrased:

    The RCAF Special Reserve was formed by Order in Council on 14 September 1939, to permit non-British subjects to serve in the RCAF. Otherwise, Canadian law did not permit this. The target was initially US citizens, but as the war progressed some Europeans joined the RCAF through this mechanism.

    It is still not clear to me if this was actually associated with "Special Group".

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    Bill,
    As members of the RNZAF training in Canada under the EATS were all British citizens, and they were included in the "Special Group" category, it would seem that the "Special Reserve" scheme you mention is not necessarily connected with this group.
    David D

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    Bill,

    The subject of my initial post was a Canadian citizen, born in Montreal. I think I might have to continue looking for an answer on this one.

    Cheers

    Jonny

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    A small correction to my last post; members of the RNZAF undergoing training in Canada under the Empire Air Training Scheme were classed as being of British "nationality" rather than "citizens", to be strictly correct (and presumably the same could have been said for members of the RAAF and RCAF). This was the custom within the British Commonwealth at the time, and also had the effect of making other Commonwealth citizens eligible for acceptance into the RAF on pretty much the same basis as native-born citizens of the British Isles. However all those New Zealanders trained in Canada were members of the RNZAF.
    David D

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    John Wright Guest

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    Prior to 1947 there were not any Canadian citizens but British citizens resident in Canada

    JOHN

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