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Thread: Crewing of O.T.U. Wellingtons

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    Default Crewing of O.T.U. Wellingtons

    Hello All,
    I am aware that an O.T.U. comprised of airmen having completed an operational tour & airmen on final training prior to being posted to an operational squadron. Knowing this my question is how would a Wellington crew be made up? I.e., would all crew be doubled up instructor and pupil for all trades (unlikely I think) or one or two trades being trained or gaining experience, the other positions being crew by “resting” airmen.
    Secondly when O.T.U’s joined 1,000 bomber raids were the aircraft crewed only by those airmen that had already completed a tour.
    T.I.A.
    Regards Alan

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    Hello Alan,
    As I understand it from my researches, each airman would have been expected to be proficient in his "trade" by the time he reached OTU. The point of OTU was crewing up and then starting to work as a team towards a high standard of efficiency. I think, though I stand to be corrected, that it was usually only a pilot instructor that flew with the crew, mainly because they were flying "new" aircraft such as Wellingtons, whereas at AFU it was probably Oxfords or the like. I do know that often 2 air gunners were carried and they took turns in the rear turret, Wellingtons of course having no mid-upper as the heavies did.
    Regards
    Max

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    Thank you Max for your reply. It is interesting that you mention mid upper gunners. My late father, like so many others did not speak much of his war service, but one thing he did say as an AG/WO that on the way out and back that he would act as wireles operater but of-ver target would take up the possition of Mid Upper. While discussing this with someo0ne they correctly said Wellingtons did not have Mid Upper turrwets, but then Dad's second tour was on B24's. Oh how I wish I had spoken more on the subject while he was with us. thanks again Alan

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    From the crew lists for OTU Wellingtons and Whitleys I have visited the crash sites of I have found and average crew number of 5.5.

    The normal five man crew was, pilot, navigator, air bomber, wireless operator and air gunner.

    Of the aircraft which had more than five I found 8 extra pilots, 6 extra wireless operators, 3 extra air gunners and a single case with an extra navigator.

    Hope that is of help.
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

  5. #5
    Eddie Fell Guest

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    Hi Alan

    The OTU's contributed about a third of the total force on the first 'Millenium' raid and crews were comprised of instructors and senior pupils - no fewer than 49 pupils flew as pilots.

    Source: RAF Bomber Command in the second world war - Denis Richards

    Hope this helps

    Eddie

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    Hi Eddie,

    I know of one crew who went on the raid to Bremen on the 25/26 June 1942 from 27 OTU they joined 27 OTU on the 2/4/42 and were lost on this raid. I have the service record of the rear gunner 400442 Sgt James Murry SYNNOTT RAAF. It was their only trip.

    Cheers,

    John.

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    The pilots were the first "pupils" to arrive at a Bomber OTU (ditto for a Coastal or Night Fighter OTU), and they completed a conversion course on the aircraft type which equipped the unit (normally a Wellington), usually only flying with an instructor or another "pupil". As already noted, only fully qualified aircrew were posted to OTUs for their operational training. Once the new bomber pilot was considered as qualified (usually day and night) as competent to operate the new aircraft he would he be crewed up with the other four or five crew members, the latter having been posted in at the end of the pilot's conversion stage. The new crew would then practice the full syllabus of stnadard exercises to complete the full course prior to posting to their new squadron, of (later in war) to a Heavy Converison Unit for conversion to larger 4-engine bombers, at which stage an additional air gunner as well as a flight engineer would join the crew. Thus OTUs were normally organised to include a pilot conversion flight as well as crew training flights. Offhand I do not have available a logbook to indicate the respective lengths of the conversion and crew training stages of training, but it was probably roughly equal periods of time.
    David D

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    Just to follow on from Alan Clark's email about additional crew on board O.T.U. aircraft. When Wellington X3171 crashed near Bellingham, Northumberland on 1st March 1943, it had the following crew:

    1 x pilot
    1 x navigator
    1 x wireless/air gunner
    1 x air gunner
    2 x bomb aimer

    I'd be interested in any comments on the two bomb aimers!

    Jim
    Jim Corbett

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    Default OTU crewing

    Hi David Duxbury,
    I have my logbook in front of me at the moment and I am reminded that my first flight at OTU was with the crew plus a pilot instructor. My pilot was second pilot. This first flight was on 18th August '44, a day flight of 2 hours, the second on the 23rd with another pilot instructor of 25 minutes followed immediately by my pilot's first solo flight of 2 hours. Our crew flew the next day for 1 hour 5 mins, another dual two days later on a night flight, and a further 3 duals interspersed with solos. The whole of the supervised flights were spread over 3 weeks. I was the wop/air (signaller).

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    Default Crew in OTU

    Hello ,

    oenof the crew that crashed in my region in Belgium had an accident when they were forming at 27 OTU on 5/7/43 with a Wellington bomber the crew was composed with
    A staff pilot and a pupil pilot
    A staff navigatos and a pupil navigator
    A staff wireless operator/air gunner and a pupil wireless operator/airgunner
    and also 2 air bomber
    That a crew of 8

    Best regards
    Rene

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