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Thread: Bomber Command Squadron appointments

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    Default Bomber Command Squadron appointments

    Calling all experts,

    Is my interpretation of Bomber Squadron appointments during W.W.II, particularly heavy bomber squadrons, correct? Are there any I've missed? (Compiled from reading books and squadron ORBs)

    COMMANDING OFFICER, normaly a Wing Commander (Pilot)
    FLIGHT COMMANDER/S, normaly a Squadron Leader (Pilot, Navigator)
    ADJUTANT, normaly a Flight Lieutenent (ex aircrew)
    INTELLIGENCE OFFICER, normaly a Flight Lieutenent (aircrew)
    ENGINEERING OFFICER, normaly a Flight Lieutenent (Flight Engineer)
    GUNNERY LEADER, normaly a Flight Lieutenent (Air Gunner)
    NAV LEADER, normaly a Flight Lieutenent (Navigator)
    SIGNALS LEADER, normaly a Flight Lieutenent (Wireless Operator)
    BOMBING LEADER, normaly a Flight Lieutenent (Air Bomber/Bomb Aimer)
    GROUND CREW - and how did the squadron ground crew fit into the organisation? They never appear in Squadron ORBs ? Thank you

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 10th September 2009 at 17:39. Reason: minor punctuation

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    Hi Norman

    OCs - Wg Cdr, but could be any aircrew trade, at least one was an air gunner, but non-pilots were rare.

    Flt Cdrs - same applied as above

    Adj and Int Offs - often Non-aircrew in Admin and Special Duties Branch (quite a few teachers were employed as Int Offs)

    Eng Off - Usually Technical Branch Officers (not Flt Engs), Engineer Leader was a Flt Eng.

    In late 1943/early 1944 most ground crews elements had actually been hived off into Servicing Echelons in the 9000 series and were threfore technically no longer part of the 'parent' squadron and may have kept a separate ORB.

    Malcolm

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    Thanks Malcolm,
    What were the duties of the 'Navigation Leader' (or was it 'Navigation Officer'?) Thank you
    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 11th September 2009 at 09:20.

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    Norman,

    Have a peek at this website from the South African Military History Society about the Nuremberg raid:

    http://samilitaryhistory.org/vol043lf.html

    If you scroll down to the section marked "The Briefing" and then follow that to "Navigation Leader" it gives you just exactly what the Navigation Leader did as it pertained to this raid.

    A Bomber Command veteran I know referred to these as "specialist" briefings.

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Norman,
    "Navigation Officer" was the early term in RAF squadrons (Bomber, Coastal, Transport), as well as many larger training units, although this was an appointment "in addition to his normal duties". Squadrons also had many other "part-time appointments in the early days (1939/41 approximately) such as "photographic officer", and "officer in charge of ....(various other duties which required somebody to be in charge of such things as parachutes, or keys, things like that). Later the full-time posts of "Leaders" were created within the various Commands, although as has already been pointed out, the latter individuals were also free to partake of actual operations if it took their fancy, which apparently most did, although not at the expense of their primary duties of supervising all the airmen who came under their care, and acting as advisor to the CO, flight commanders, at briefings, etc.
    I also second pretty well everything that Malcolm states in his message, with proviso that the appointment of any individual to a "Leader" post carried with it the rank attached to that post, so if a Pilot Officer Air Gunner is appointed to be Gunnery Leader on a squadron he will be automatically appointed to the acting rank of Flight Lieutenant, and be paid as such. It was quite common for a squadron to have practically all leader posts filled by individuals with acting rank appropriate to the post (W/C for OC, S/L to flight commanders, F/L to Leader posts), and their war substantive ranks could be considerably lower.
    David D

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    My father's 97 Squadron Lancaster, JA 708 was shot down over Mannheim 23/9/43.

    She carried the squadrons navigation leader and gunnery leader, both of who were squadron leaders and both were killed.

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