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Thread: Gd (s)

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    Default Gd (s)

    Can anybody elucidate on what this means? I have a crew list with ranks and their positions but one 'bod' has GD (S) beside his name. He is a Flying Officer and the eighth man in a Coastal Command 58 Squadron Halifax GRIII (normally a crew of six) in February 1945.

    Regards
    Malcolm Macdonald

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    "GD": 'General Duties' or 'Ground Defence'.

    Henk.

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    Hi Malcolm
    I am guessing but I was an Air Signaller,on Coastal Command in the late 50's and our practices on Shackletons may well have had their origins in late wartime practice. I suspect the GD = General Duties(not the same as the GD Branch of the RAF) and the S = Air Signaller which came into existence as an Aircrew function towards the latter stages of the war. The GD could mean that he had no fixed position on the a/c and during a patrol could well have spent time on Radio, Radar(if fitted) ,as a Gunner and visual lookout reflecting the fact that a Coastal crew would not have known where their target was, even if they were given a good idea of the area in which it might appear. They would have to search for it and much of that search would have been visual backed by Radar or vice versa. In the 50's the Signallers were rotated through all the positions for which they were qualified and the changeround was based upon the belief that in a fixed position,particularly on Radar, more than 1 hr would reduce an individual's efficiency and so a change "freshened" everybody up. Just how far back into WW2 this practice went I do not know and as I said I am guessing but it doesn't seem entirely unreasonable.
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 14th January 2009 at 10:22.

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    Dick and Henk

    Thanks very much for that. As the aircraft was searching for enemy shipping in the Skaggerak/Kattegat area at night, then a surplus observer (or indeed radar) role is the most likely.

    Regards
    Malcolm Macdonald

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    Malcolm/Dick,
    GD(S), for those of us Airmen that flew as Supenumary Crew with the Shacks out of El Adem in the mid-50's, stood for Galley Duties (Slave)!!!
    The GD(S) was i/c Tea, Coffee, Soup, Sarnies, and whatever else some devious Master Signaller had been able to obtain as In-Flight Rations!!
    In between producing Masterchef meals for the crew you got to do a bit of time in all the crew positions (except the Secret bits). You did time in Co's seat, you did an hour in the Nav's seat, and you did an hour's Lookout from either port, or starboard, plexiglass blister. But even there it was important, if you were at the starboard window that after 30 mins you changed with the bloke at the port window. Different sun-angle on the waves!
    I also learned that when the Galley Slave gets rid of the gash down the flare chute he puts it in a Puke Bag first!!! I didn't. My 'offerings' were therefore spread neatly along the underside of the Shack. Very large, and very angry, Master Eng instructed that I "clean it up"!!
    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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    Yes the Halifaxes operated at night and used flares to illuminate the ships they found so that they could see the targets better before bomb release. The CD (S) would have had the job of dropping the parachute flares as well as undertaking the donkey work!

    Lovely story about the fuselage Peter - what was on the menu?

    Not carrots again!

    Malcolm Macdonald

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    Malcolm,
    The mess aft of the flare chute was mixed. The tea leaves, and coffee grains, were fairly easy to remove. The bacon rinds had gone down into the Med. It was the tomato skins that proved difficult!!! Not only that but whilst I was cleaning this a/c up all my mates on El Adem VASF were falling about. I suffered some considerable 'loss of face'! But the same crew took me again!!!!
    Made mental note 'Do not join Coastal Command' (sorry, Ross!).
    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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    Despite the opinion offered that the "GD" of the GD (S) designation does NOT indicate the General Duties (Flying Branch) of the RAF Officer corps, if he was of rank of Flying Officer in 1945 aboard a Halifax, then it would seem to me that this is almost certainly exactly what is indicated. Although the descriptions of life aboard postwar Shackletons are very enlightening and interesting, I feel that they do not fully cover the probable duties of a wartime officer signaler, although an NCO signaler might well have been doing exactly the same chores as described by Peter. Numerous accounts I have read of life aboard wartime RAF Sunderlands, Liberators and Catalinas, etc, tally very well with what went on aboard Shackletons in the 1950s, and indeed in even more modern maritime types such as P-3 Orions in various air forces to this day.
    David D

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