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Thread: HCU 1664 and 1659 training schedules

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    Default HCU 1664 and 1659 training schedules

    Can someone tell me what the basic course at an HCU involved? I am looking at one service record (my dad's) where his crew was assigned two both HCU 1664 (Oct 44) and HCU 1659 (Apr 45).

    The assumption might be that it was to switch from Halifaxes to Lancasters, but Dad said he never flew in Lancs so I am wondering why he went twice. His crew did get into some minor mishaps (off-duty ground variety, not flying) and so might have had a do-over. Or was it perhaps that they were close to the end of the war and it was part of the slowdown?

    Does anyone have an ORB from either of these?
    David

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    Hi David, I can recommend you to check my thread with similar topic:

    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3376

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Thanks Pavel, you've caught me out being lazy again! Actually, what I was most interested in was the question about doing a tour through HCU twice. Was that common? As I said, Dad only flew Halifaxes, so I'm wondering about the need for another conversion course on the same a/c.
    David

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    Default HCU's

    David. I have the ORB's for both. There very little in them except to note crashes and when each crew is posted in or out. Nothing about the training except to say, so many did a cross country or practice bombing etc.
    richard

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    hello

    I have the case of a R.A.A.F. airman who did two courses in HCU in a short time. I've found that his pilot was shot down and killed during his first op with another crew, as "second dickey pilot" in november 1943. I don't know so far if the whole crew, now without a captain, had to go back to HCU to reform a new crew with a 'lone' captain, or if it was only him, but he was posted back to an HCU in December 1943.

    At least an explanation for one case.

    Joss

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    Hi chaps,

    I have similar case - crew made 2 ops after HCU, crashed on landing from 2nd one.
    Pilot was grounded, navigator transferred to another crew and the rest passed HCU again with new pilot and navigator.
    This all happened just between March and September 1944.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Thanks all. That might explain Dad's two trips to HCU. I know from his tales there was an accident involving some of the crew, a motorcycle and beer, so they might have gone through HCU again after that incident. I might even have pictures of the motorcycle now that I realize the significance of the story.

    Richard, I will e-mail you with details. If you could confirm the crew's arrival and give me the names of the others besides Dad, I'd appreciate it.
    David

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    My dad did his HCU training at 1659 (Topcliffe) in Late August-mid September 1944 on the Halifax 2's and 5's--terrible aircraft. This HCU was under RCAF (6-Group) command. Do you have his log book for this training? Dad covers this training in his audio memoirs. His log book includes the various excercises he did and the number of hours he put in.

    At HCU, they added the F/Eng to the crew. Much of the training involved interaction between the F/Eng and the pilot to ensure coordination with going over to the 4-engined aircraft. Training also involved flying on 3 and 2 engines, over-shoots and so on. Also they did do some radar X-countries as part of the training. I will check these records tonight.

    I should point out that Murray Peden covers training in his excellent book "A Thousand Shall Fall"

    Jim
    Last edited by JDCAVE; 17th March 2009 at 15:41.

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    Joss: When a pilot was shot down on his 2nd dickie trip, the crew--now without the pilot, would go back to HCU, or even OTU, to pick up a pilot. This was referred to as "going headless" Some pilots preferred picking up a "headless crew" rather than going through the initial training with the crew. My dad felt he wanted to make his own mistakes in choosing a crew, rather than picking up another pilot's baggage. His close friend, also a senior pilot, chose picking up a "headless crew" because of the experience they had and also that there would be less training. Typically, more senior pilots would have picked up a "headless crew".

    Jim

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    Dad has the following in his log book for Halifax Vs and IIs:
    Aug 29, 1944, Dual; Familiarization; Circuits and Landings; Overshoots; 3-engine flying and landing.
    Aug 29 Self and Crew; Circuits and Landings; Overshoot.
    Aug 30 Dual; Check & Overshoot Procedure; 3-engine flying.
    Aug 30 Self and Crew; Circuits and Landings; 3-engine flying.
    Aug 31 Dual General flying; 2-engine flying.
    Aug 31 Self and Crew; General flying, SBA; 3-engine flying.
    Sep 1 Self and Crew W/T Practice; Bombing; Map Reading; Air/Air firing; General flying. (Hydraulic Leak R.T.B) [note, I assume RTB means "return to base"]
    Sep 3 Dual; Fighter Affiliation
    Sep 4 W/T Practice; Bombing; Map Reading; Air/Air firing; General Flying.
    Sep 4 (Dual night) Circuits&Landings; Overshoots.
    Sep 4 (Self and crew night) Circuits&Landings; Overshoots.
    Lots of "As Above"
    Sep 8 Self and Crew; Radar Demonstration. Base. Kings Lynn. Northampton. Base.
    Sep 8 (Night Self and Crew) "Bullseye" Bristol.
    Sep 9 (Day) Fighter affiliation - Solo Corkscrew Manoeuvre.
    Sep 9 (Night Self and Crew) "Flashlight" [A Delta symbol] Bristol Solo Radar. Stick Bombing, St. Tudwais Light. SBA Homing H2S and GEE.
    Sep 13 (Night Self and Crew) Radar Cross country. Stick Bombing Culnas. Recalled Near 56degrees00"N 06degrees00"W
    Sep 15 (Night Self and Crew) Bombing at Pickering.
    Sep 16 (Night Self and Crew) Bombing; Night Fighter Affiliation.

    A total of 7:15 Dual, 36:46 Pilot and 5:25 2nd pilot.

    I know they did Dingy Drill and probably classroom work as well. In his audio tapes he talked only about the flying, not the classroom material. He mentions it was a "short course"

    Bullseyes and Flashlights are discussed elsewhere on this forum.

    Jim

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