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Thread: Pilot's training schedule is a puzzle

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    Default Pilot's training schedule is a puzzle

    I am having trouble interpreting a pilot's training history. Can anyone make sense of this chronology? I am puzzled that he moved from an OTU to a squadron but then appears to have been put back onto training stops. The best I can figure is that he was caught up in a series of special assignments (wireless interrogation at 1474 Flight?) and a/c conversions.

    13 Jun 1942 No. 18 Sqn, RAF Wattisham, Suffolk, England (Blenheims - Squadron moved to RAF West Raynham, Norfolk 23 Aug 1942)
    22 Oct 1942 No. 1474 Flight, RAF Gransden Lodge, Cambridgeshire, England (wireless interrogation work in Wellingtons?) [this appears to be an error as noted above]
    24 Feb 1943 No. 1482 Bombing & Gunnery Flight, RAF Swanton Morley, Norfolk, England [should read West Raynham]
    10 Jun 1943 No. 22 Operational Training Unit, RAF Gaydon, Warwickshire, England
    21 Aug 1943 No. 432 Squadron, Skipton on Swale, Yorkshire (Gardening ops)
    25 Sep 1943 attached to No. 1 ECDU (Engine Control Demonstration Unit) RAF Westcott, Bucks.
    26 Sep 1943 No. 11 OTU, RAF Westcott, Buckinghamshire
    16 Oct 1943 attached to Base 62
    6 Nov 1943 Died of Injuries at 1679 Conversion Unit, East Moor, Yorkshire, England (Lancaster II DS649, radial engines)

    (If anyone spots any mistakes in the dates/locations, please let me know).
    Last edited by dfuller52; 27th December 2009 at 12:09. Reason: spelling, addt'l info, corrections
    David

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    Hi Dave
    There are a few possible clues from Jefford's RAF Squadrons and Sturtivant and Hamlin's Flying Training and Support Units.I would guess the same as you that he was diverted to short term tasks and it interrupted a smooth flow from training to ops. Do you know what his status was on 18 Sqn which flew Blenheims? Your man must have done enough conversion training to fly Wellingtons on 1474 Flt and was probably on the flight because they needed a "driver" whilst the real work was done in the back of the a/c.The work seems to have interrupted his conversion to Blenheim Vs on 18 Sqn and a transfer with the Sqn to Blida in Algeria(Nov 42).It would also cover his employment at Swanton Morley, again as a reliable driver( I am not sure what A/c the Flight used).
    The rest seems to be preparation for continuing as a Bomber Pilot.
    22 Otu prepared night bomber crews, using Wellingtons, and with his past Wellington and possible operational experience (on 18 Sqn) he could have been sent to 432 SQn in the short term where they flew Wellington Xs.11 OTU was also a Wellington user and it is likely that this would be where he finally began the conversion to full ops status, his time at ECDU may have been a course to prepare for the Radial engines on Lanc IIs and it may be significant that almost in parallel 432 Sqn were converting to Lancaster IIs(Oct '43) themselves.Your man's death stopped any further progress, but I would suspect that he was destined to have joined 432 Sqn.
    You will appreciate that this is pure speculation, but it seems to hang together reasonably plausibly I hope I am not being misleading.
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 26th December 2009 at 22:22.

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    Thanks Dick, that helps clarify a few things. Does it seem odd that he would go from Blenheims on an operational squadron straight to Wellingtons at 1474 Flight?

    I don't have his log book or the ORB, so I don't know what his status was.

    Does anyone know what "wireless interrogation" means? I saw it in a description of 1474 Flt.
    David

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    I must say I find the move from a Blenheim unit to No.1474 Flight very odd when one considers what that unit was doing. In essence, it was despatching aircraft to Germany with the intention of discovering the radio/radar frequencies of German night nighters. This involved looking for such fighters, picking up their transmission and reporting the information to base BEFORE one was shot down. For more on this, see the RCAF awards data base and entries for the following:

    BIGORAY, FS Wm Walter
    BARRY, P/O Wm Alexander R
    VACHON, FS Everitt Thomas
    GRANT, FS Frederick Percy
    PAULTON, P/O Edwin Amos

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    Thanks Hugh. I thought that was strange. And I don't know why this happens with the ones that I get your help on but there are two sheets for his service record and only one has the entry for 1474 Flt.

    Here is exactly what the entries say:

    SOS 17 OTU to 18 Sqd 13 6 42 RAF38
    SOS SHQ West Raynham to 1474 Flt 22 10 42 MAF74
    xSOS 18 Sqdn. to West Raynham (above "Sup-y" [hard to make out]) 17 10 42 RAF73
    SOS SHQ to 1482 BGT 22 10 42 RAF86

    On the other sheet it has no listing for 1474 Flt.

    TOS at 18 Sqdn 13 6 42
    SOS 18 Sqdn RAF West Raynham 17 10 42
    SOS West Raynham 1482 Flt (sup-y cancel 22-10-42 1/1)
    TOS at [small no. 5] 1482 Flt 27 2 43

    I guess the cancel note on the bottom file is correcting the 1474 reference?
    David

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    In reviewing this chronology, I see my man spent June to October flying with 18 Sqn but was left behind when they moved to Algeria. He then spent a week at the station HQ before joining 1482 Flight where he stayed for eight months - all of this was at RAF West Raynham.

    Was this a case of a tour completed and a period as a target tow pilot before converting to Wellingtons at 22 OTU and preparing for his second tour? The notice of his death in the paper said he had flown "numerous" operational missions.

    How long was a normal period of training school duty before starting a second go-round?

    If he had that much flying experience, it's a shame to read that later, at No. 1659 CU, he flew his Lanc into a tree while doing circuits and bumps and was killed.
    Last edited by dfuller52; 27th December 2009 at 12:05. Reason: edits, addt'l info
    David

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    I see now from Joss' reply to my query of 18 Sqn, that my man was with the half of the squadron that was left behind when they went on to Algeria. Since the squadron wasn't on ops for a good part of the time he was with them, it would have been impossible for him to do a tour, although he may have done a few ops on shipping and such as Joss's source describes. He was posted to 1482 Flt.
    David

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