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Thread: Australian Aircrew Arriving in UK

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    Default Australian Aircrew Arriving in UK

    I'm trying to tidy up some loose ends as to my grandfather's training days in the UK.

    Following training (ITS, EFTS, and SFTS) in Australia, he arrived in Belfast, Ireland (via South Africa) on 30 Aug 41, and was posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre on the same day.

    After reading various references, I came to the conclusion that his next most likely step was a ferry ride across the North Channel to Greenock, Scotland (just west of Glasgow on the River Clyde). However, after checking a map, I see this is some 160km north-east of Belfast. A more obvious landing point, to me at least when considering his final destination of southern England, would have been Liverpool (or thereabouts). Can anyone confirm typical movements for Australian aircrew at this time?

    Similary, I've assumed that the next phase of his journey would have been a night train to Bournemouth. But I've also seen reference to RAF Uxbridge as a possible destination. Can anyone please clarify?

    Regards

    Adrian
    Interests include Spitfires in Malta 1942 and 460 Sqdn 1943-44 (including Black Thursday)

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    Adrian,

    3PRC moved from Uxbridge to Bournemouth on 1 Jul 41.

    From my own research, i have found that New Zealanders arriving at Belfast (which was not often, as most ships carrying them tended to disembark at Scotland or Liverpool) were then ferried across to Scotland or Cardiff (also possibly Liverpool). From there it was by train to Bournemouth, a night journey from Glasgow and sometimes the same from Liverpool, depending on the time of day of disembarkation.

    Do you know the name of the ship that he arrived at Belfast on?

    Errol

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    Thanks Errol, that's not the first time you have helped me. Bournemouth it is then.

    Unfortunately I have not been able to determine what ship my grandfather was on. There is no mention in his service record, and nothing in Peter Plowman's 'Across the Sea to War' correlates with his embarkation date (27.5.41) from Sydney.

    I know (from his younger brother) that he stopped over in Durbin, South Africa, but I don't know the dates or duration of that stopover or what ship was next for the leg to Belfast.

    My main trouble is that I'm a novice researcher and not exactly sure where to look for these things.
    Interests include Spitfires in Malta 1942 and 460 Sqdn 1943-44 (including Black Thursday)

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    Adrian,

    After giving this some thought I tried a search on the National Archives, Kew, London, catalogue by entering 'disembarking at Belfast' and restricting the search to the 1941 year. Struck it lucky and came up with the following file reference:

    BT 26/1192/2
    Belfast: SS Sarpedon (Blue Funnel Line) travelling from Sydney to Belfast. Embarking at Sydney, Fremantle, Cape Town and Durban. Official Number: 147214. List of passengers disembarking at Belfast.
    1941 Aug 29

    BT = Board of Trade series of files. The 'list of passengers' should include your grandfather and his mates.

    Note that not all passengers necessarily disembarked on the same day. He could have crossed the Irish Sea on the 29th or the 30th. Most likely arrived mainland UK on 30th and boarded train that date, and may have arrived Bournemouth either late 30th or early 31st.

    Sydney Harbour Board logs (possibly held by NSW Archives?) could perhaps confirm date of sailing from there.

    Errol

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    Errol, that is simply amazing! I owe you a beer or three.

    That certainly helps. I wonder if that file specifies the amount of time in each port? I'll find out in due course.

    It is interesting in that the file reference has disembarking in Belfast on 29th, as my grandfather's file distinctly has in the 'movements' box of his Record of Service form that he:

    "Embarked at Sydney 27.5.41 2ED 61/48"
    "Disembarked at Belfast 30.8.41 UK 32/41"

    Regards

    Adrian
    Interests include Spitfires in Malta 1942 and 460 Sqdn 1943-44 (including Black Thursday)

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    Adrian,

    "I owe you a beer or three." - I'll have to add you to my expanding beer-collecting itinerary (which, apparently, will also include a long stopover at Greg's in Wales)!

    "I wonder if that file specifies the amount of time in each port?" - From the odd copy I've seen of this type of file it appears not.

    "It is interesting in that the file reference has disembarking in Belfast on 29th". Yes, but see my note above. It was not unknown for disembarkation to take place over more than one day. I expect that the file reference is to the day that disembarkations commenced.

    Errol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Errol Martyn View Post
    ...It was not unknown for disembarkation to take place over more than one day. I expect that the file reference is to the day that disembarkations commenced.
    Okay, now I understand.... Thanks. And now I'll have to buy some beers to put in the fridge in case you ever get to Canberra.

    BTW Thanks for loaning us your best coach!
    Interests include Spitfires in Malta 1942 and 460 Sqdn 1943-44 (including Black Thursday)

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    Adrian,

    "Thanks for loaning us your best coach!"

    It's all part of a cunning Kiwi plan. We are already have three of our chaps coaching WRC teams. This greatly improves our chances of being able to claim credit for whatever team that wins in 2011!

    Errol

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