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Thread: finishing first tour after 27 missions?

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    Default finishing first tour after 27 missions?

    P/O Kenneth Derek Whisken DFC was KIA June 26,1942 whilst flying as an instructor on board of a Halifax of 1652 HCU.In november 1941 he finished his first tour with 102 squadron.
    When I visited the National Archives in Kew last month I checked his career with 102 squadron.I found out he flew 27 missions with 102 squadron and not the regular 30 missions which were flown with one tour.I double checked it and could not find a gap in the ORB.
    Would it be possible for an airman to finish a tour before he reached 30 missions?Or have I overlooked something?

    Mike

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    Default Finishing a tour

    Dear Mike,

    Some aircrew finished their tours with fewer than the generally expected 30 if they'd had a difficult tour, or several operations of long duration. I've spoken to a flight engineer who did 28 trips and a bomb aimer who did 29, they were with different squadrons at different times.

    Hope that is of interest,

    Sam

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    There are numerous references in the works I have read that talk about a pro-rating system based on the difficulty of certain missions - both up and down. There was also the short-lived and detested points system.

    Another account I just read talked about a US example where an aircrew man had reached his alloted number of trips, just as it was being raised to 30. He was allowed to cycle out after a lesser number.
    David

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    My father's first tour with 50 Squadron was concluded at 200 hours.

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    Mike, have you checked to see whether he had done any whilst at OTU or HCU? Or as a second pilot when first joining the squadron?

    A
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

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    Mike

    it is completely possible that the crew were "screened" and it was decided to end their tour at that point; this could be because they had had a number of narrow escapes and may have even ditched, crash landed or had to bale out. Each member of the crew would be assessed and one or more or even the whole crew would then be taken off of ops and given a rest. Normally they were sent to training jobs.

    Regards

    Daz

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    Thanks a lot guys for your responses.It's now clear to me that it is quite possible P/O Whisken did 27 missions on his first tour.
    To answer the question of Amrit,I could not find evidence he did missions as a second pilot when he joined 102 squadron.I could not check his 1652 HCU activities.The ORB was not on microfilm and I had no time more to obtain a readers ticket.The only thing I know he took part on all three ' 1000 Bomber raids' with a 22 OTU crew in training.With the tragic end on the third to Bremen June 26,1942.

    Mike

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    Mike,

    Don't forget the Commanding Officers had some powers to say a crew had finished their tour. Especially when no crew had finished a tour for some time, it helped improve morale and encourage other crews to complete missions.

    Also if a crew was popular or had taken many photographs of the aiming points etc !

    Mark

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    A couple of years ago I conducted a series of interviews with an Australian MU gunner who served with 9 and 514 Sqns. They joined the new 514 as an experienced crew having flown a handful of ops with 9 Sqn. In short order, their pilot was promoted to F/L and then S/L and after 10 trips to Berlin the entire crew received notice (from Harris apparently) their tour was over in the mid-20s. 'My' gunner stayed on with 514 as gunnery leader while the majority of the crew went on to do another tour. I believe the rear gunner, Twinn IIRC, has included some of his memories on the BBC website.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marks View Post
    Mike,

    Don't forget the Commanding Officers had some powers to say a crew had finished their tour. Especially when no crew had finished a tour for some time, it helped improve morale and encourage other crews to complete missions.

    Also if a crew was popular or had taken many photographs of the aiming points etc !

    Mark
    Hi,
    I remember speaking to the late F/Sgt John McQuillian DFM, 61 Sqn, who said exactley that, his crew had completed 28 Ops and the CO announced in a briefing one day - right your crew can stand down, it's about time somebody fininished a tour. he told me that this was in late 1943 when bomber command were suffering heavy losses due to the Berlin raids, and several crews had been lost on during there 28/29th Ops. John later went on to serve in 635 Sqn (Pathfinders) and was the sole survivor of his crew who were shot down on the penultimate Op of their 2nd tour over Chemmnitz. He blames the demise of the crew on bad luck, they were revving up ND709 ready for her 100th op when they were told by the base commander to change aircraft just before take off and the crew were all moanng and saying this is not on, something is bound to happen tonight, and he didn't have time to take his "lucky" pee on the tail wheel as he had done on every occasion before.........


    Rick

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