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Thread: W/O W.M.F. Moffatt, RAF

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    Default W/O W.M.F. Moffatt, RAF

    I'm looking for BoB service information on this pilot, who was killed in the crash of Harvard AJ687 at No. 31 SFTS at Kingston, Ontario on 19 December 1943. The School diary describes him as a 2,000 hour pilot, and a veteran of the Battle of Britain, but a quick Google didn't turn up anything.

    Am I correct in assuming that a W/O would be a fairly senior person?

    The CWGC lists him as F/O William Michael Florence Moffatt, with parents living in New Zealand.
    Last edited by Bill Walker; 17th December 2007 at 19:53. Reason: added last paragraph

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    Bill,

    One of the more interesting BoB men. Bio details from draft for Vol Three of my 'For Your Tomorrow':

    MOFFATT, Fg Off William Michael Florance.
    53837 (prev. 566018);
    b Tapanui 29 Sep 15;
    Cathedral Grammar, Chch;
    student.
    Recommended for Aircraft Apprenticeship in RAF c.May 32,
    emb for UK 30 Jun 32;
    RAF Cranwell/E&WS as Aircraft Apprentice 19 Aug 32,
    remust as Wireless Operator Mechanic 23 Aug 35,
    58 Sqn (Virginia) Nov 35,
    209 Sqn (flying boats) 4 Feb 36,
    to Singapore & 100 Sqn (Vildebeest) 13 Oct 36 [att to 'workshops' (at Seletar?) 2 Mar 37-4 Apr 38],
    to UK Nov 38,
    remust as Pilot u/t 23 Jan 39,
    2E&RFTS,
    11FTS [redesignated 11SFTS 3.9.39] 22 May 39,
    Pilot Badge & Sgt 22 Oct 39,
    11 Gp Pool (Hurricane) Oct 39,
    151 Sqn (Hurricane) Nov 39,
    605 Sqn (Hurricane) c.Mar 40,
    shot down by e/a on Arras op (wdd?) 22 May 40 ['missing but later reported safe'],
    remust as Wireless Operator Mechanic 22 Jul 40,
    remust as Pilot 26 Oct 40,
    7SFTS [moved to Canada during 28 Aug 40-7 Jan 41 to become 31SFTS RAF] (Harvard) as staff pilot Oct 40 [att CFS RCAF (Harvard) 10-27 Nov 41, FI on rtn to SFTS],
    Comm 22 Dec 42,
    kaa 19 Dec 43.
    Kingston (Cataraqui) Cemetery - G.7.15, Ontario, Canada.
    Son of the Rev Arthur Stanley Moffatt & Mrs Ethel Jane Moffatt (née Florance), The Vicarage, Sheffield, Canterbury; h of Winifred Florence Moffatt, Parkeston, Essex, England.
    Note: credited with 1 e/a shared dest.
    [phot. TWN 12.6.40].

    Errol

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    Thanks Errol. I was hoping you would jump in when I saw the New Zealand connection. I have more info on the Harvard accident, if you want it. His funeral was at St. George Cathedral in Kingston on 22 December 1943, with full military honours and a guard from the School.

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    Bill,

    I have a copy of the accident card which gave me all I required for my Vol Two, but thanks for the funeral detail, which I did not have.

    Errol

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    Moffatt wasn't a Battle of Britain Veteran. Not in "Men of the Battle of Britain", "The BoB Then and Now", "Battle Over Britain" and is not on the BoB Memorial on the Embankment.

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    Default Can you expand Errol, please ?

    Hello,

    I'm quite puzzled by the biographical details of W.M.F. MOFFAT.

    Do you think he was "invalidated" (sorry if the word is not correct for that meaning) after he was shot down near Arras, as a pilot, hence he had to revert to his previous trade.

    I understand he became a staff pilot from october 1940, do you consider this as an instructor job ? In my understanding, a staff pilot was not directly instructing pupils, but the pilot of a "flying classroom".

    Thanks in advance

    Joss

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Larder View Post
    Moffatt wasn't a Battle of Britain Veteran. Not in "Men of the Battle of Britain", "The BoB Then and Now", "Battle Over Britain" and is not on the BoB Memorial on the Embankment.
    Quite right. I should have read his bio properly before posting that comment!

    Errol

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    Joss,

    "invalidated" - pretty close, you mean invalided.

    "staff pilot...do you consider this as an instructor job" - no.

    "but the pilot of a "flying classroom"." = yes, one of his roles. I suspect that Davd Duxbury will probably come to the rescue here shortly with a detailed explanation.

    Errol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Errol Martyn View Post
    Joss,

    "invalidated" - pretty close, you mean invalided.

    "staff pilot...do you consider this as an instructor job" - no.

    "but the pilot of a "flying classroom"." = yes, one of his roles. I suspect that Davd Duxbury will probably come to the rescue here shortly with a detailed explanation.

    Errol
    "Staff pilot" at some units was just a driver of a flying classroom, but 31 SFTS was producing fighter pilots, and didn't have much need of this type of pilot. The only staff pilots of this kind that I am aware of with this school in 1943 were tugging targets with Lysanders, or flying Ansons as targets on radar training flights. Moffatt had been to instructors school for Harvards, and was engaged in practice bombing, with a student pilot, when he crashed.

    There were a couple of other accidents at the school in 1943 where it was noted that the instructor was not authorized for the maneuvers being flown, but there was no mention of this in Moffett's case.

    There were "staff pilots" operating Harvards at the Wireless Schools, but I think this didn't start until mid or late 1944. Most of these pilots were SFTS grads, but not necessarily instructors school grads. Some of them were civilians.

    Perhaps Moffatt was a bus driver from the tower flight or the RDF flight who hitched a ride on what should have been a solo mission, but I strongly suspect he was an instructor at the time of his death.
    Last edited by Bill Walker; 19th December 2007 at 02:33. Reason: typo

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    Bill,

    "Perhaps Moffatt was a bus driver from the tower flight or the RDF flight who hitched a ride on what should have been a solo mission, but I strongly suspect he was an instructor at the time of his death."

    I don't think you have properly read the bio details I posted, viz:

    "7SFTS [moved to Canada during 28 Aug 40-7 Jan 41 to become 31SFTS RAF] (Harvard) as staff pilot Oct 40 [att CFS RCAF (Harvard) 10-27 Nov 41, FI on rtn to SFTS],"

    And to further quote from an RNZAF bio of the late 1940s compiled with access to his three log books: "...Moffatt proceeded to Canada...for staff Pilot duties...[and] was employed in this capacity until the 10th November [1941], when he was posted to the Central Flying School...for a Flying Instructor's Course, returning [to 31SFTS] on the 28th of the month. From this date he was employed as a Flying Instructor..."

    However, one thing that worries me a little about this is the very short time of his course at CFS. Was perhaps his previous staff pilot flying experience taken into account, thus allowing him to pass out as an FI in well under the usual length of time (of about six weeks?)?

    Regarding staff piloting at 31SFTS. I note that the support aircraft there included Anson, Lysander, Walrus, Menasco Moth and Yale - so plenty there for a staff pilot to be putting in the hours on.

    Errol

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