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Thread: crash Halifax of 1652 HCU June 26,1942

  1. #1
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    Default crash Halifax of 1652 HCU June 26,1942

    Hi all,

    I have two questions regarding a Halifax of 1652 HCU which crashed June 26,1942 near my hometown.Two men were KIA and five became POW.The crew was:

    F/O K.D. Whisken DFC- RAF-KIA
    F/S H.F. Spratt- RCAF
    Sgt. IR. Watson- RCAF- KIA
    Sgt. V.A. Martin RAF
    P/O W.H. Andrews RCAF
    F/O D.B.E. McKenzie RCAF
    Sgt. R.W. Wagstaff RCAF

    F/O Whisken from 102 squadron accompanied the crew as an pilot instructor because the crew converted from a Wellington to a Halifax.F/S Spratt was delegated to second pilot for experience.
    At first I thought it was a quite experienced crew looking at some ranks on board.However after receiving the service record of Sgt.Watson I became doubtful.The record states that Watson never was attached to a squadron.April 1942 he went from 22 OTU to 1652 HCU.
    My question is was it possible for a training crew who was yet to became attached to a squadron that airmen had already reached ranks like P/O and F/O?
    Or is it possible that this was a mixed up crew?

    About F/O Whisken is it likely that he finished one tour and voluntarily became an instructor before he started with his second tour?

    regards Mike

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    Hi Mike,

    first of all I would note that HCU is not operational unit but Heavy Conversion Unit. For 4-engine bombers the training was - OTU - HCU - Squadron.

    Yes it is possible to get P/O-F/O before posting to operational squadron. For example the best students in pilot, navigator courses were promoted to P/O on finishing the course before OTU.

    Yes it is quite common that airmen after finishing the first tour became instructors before second tour.

    HTH

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

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    Just to add to Pavels' comments:

    From the beginning of the BCATP a fixed per centage of the graduates were selected for promotion to officer after completing SFTS or OTU. In the RCAF, a large portion of freshly graduated aircrew returned to the BCATP schools for at least one tour as instructors in 1940 and 1941, without ever leaving Canada. Also, in the RCAF promotions were usually automatic after a fixed time of service (as long as you hadn't made any major mistakes!).

    As a result of all this, it was common for an RCAF member to show up at final training in the UK or at his first operational posting as a P/O or even a F/O. I think this was also possible in the RAF, for similar reasons.

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    Bill and Pavel,

    Thank's a lot for your responses.

    Mike

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