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Thread: RAF service number

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    Default RAF service number

    RAF Service Numbering. The section 505001 to 549999 is recorded as civilian allocation, on researching an Air Gunner who served Battle of France with No. 543883 this falls within the above allocation.

    Has anyone come across a similar problem like this, any suggestions most welcome.

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    Colin, Hi,
    As I understand it this block (and others like it) was for Joe Public, wandering into a recruiting office, and demanding to be allowed to become one of His Majesty's Royal Aeroplane men. This block was released in Oct 1939 - barely 3 weeks after war had been declared - and obviously used up a batch of numbers that had not been used before.
    Now who, when, and why, the various blocks of numbers were (a) invented, and (b) released, is something that I am not able to answer - and I doubt if anyone knows the detail. Your bloke got his number depending on where he was in the line at the time. My knife, fork, and spoon all bear my NSA number stamped on by some vast press. I'll bet his were too. You got those fairly early in the system. It meant you couldn't forget your number in the next stage of the system. You just looked at your knife handle!!
    I'll bet 99.99% of all Service blokes might forget their wife's birthday, or their wedding anniversary, but show me one who's forgotten his Service Number!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Hi,

    I have details of 543821 enlisted September 1937 RAF !

    Mark

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    Thanks this explanation all appears to fit into place. Great knowledge on this forum, as always.

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    Mark, Hi,
    This is slightly disturbing! Not (you understand) that I make myself out to be an expert in these matters!!!
    The definitive paper on the RAF numbering system was written by Wg Cdr Jim Routledge (who, I think, is still with us!) and appeared in a publication by The Orders and Medals Research Society in their Miscellany of Honours No 9 in 1992. The version that appears in the Research Papers, etc, section of this Forum was originally copied from the airforcedeaths website - and all due recognitions were copied/pasted at the time.
    If your 543821 guy is correct then there's a problem - I've never yet found Routledge's paper to be wrong!!! At first sight it would appear that either your bloke's number is wrong, or the narrative quoting his Enlistment date is wrong.
    I am about to wrap Mrs Resmoroh's Xmas pressies. Can't be doing with 2 difficult problems at the same time!
    Can we agree to revisit this problem in the NY??
    Rgds
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    I think Peter has skipped a line his list of block numbers; the block 505001 to 549999 was first allocated in October 1925. I'd suggest that your man joined during 1937 as implied by Mark, in some other trade than Air Gunner but changed trades later.

    Brian

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