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Thread: Polish Depot at Blackpool records

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    Default Polish Depot at Blackpool records

    Can someone please help with information on the location of records from the Polish Air Force Depot at Blackpool during WW2. Specifically, I am interested in what happened to one airman who was half way through his tour of duty when he suffered a long term sickness (6 or 7 months) probably malaria. He was not discharged from the Air Force but did not finish his tour of duty and was transferred to "the Polish Depot" in August 1944. Many thanks.

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    Hi
    Check Sikorski Institute.
    Cheers

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    What did airmen actually do at the PAF Depot? My reason for asking is that I have a Polish airman (meteorologist) who arrived in the UK circa early July 1940 and was subsequently sent to Gloucester for two months. Although he was already a qualified met observer I am pretty sure this posting was for training in British met procedures at the Met Office Training School.

    At the beginning of October he's posted to the PAF Depot at Blackpool, and remains there until being sent to RAF Harwell at the end of December. Three months at a non-operational location seems rather a long time, and it crosses my mind that the posting was for language tuition and lessons in RAF procedures. I should add that after Blackpool all his postings were to met offices at RAF airfields with no obvious Polish connection (Harwell, Exeter, Fairwood Common, Predannack, Aircrew Recruiting Centre, St John's Wood)..

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 8th February 2019 at 21:52.

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    It was their first real point of contact with the armed forces. They did basic training and square bashing and learned the King's Regulations. They also did basic English courses before the selection process began and familiarisation with British aircraft which were very different to the Polish and French aircraft they had been used to working on. There were also regular courses for ground crew training and only those selected for aircrew needed to go elsewhere for training.

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    Thank you, A. I think that would probably fit the circumstances of my man.

    He enlisted in the Polish Air Force (or aviation arm of the Polish Army) in November 1939 but, along with his colleagues, was ordered to make his way to France on 17 September 1939. After spending the bitter, record breaking winter of 1939-40 in a Hungarian interment camp they escaped and eventually arrived at Marseilles in April 1940; two months later the capitulation by the French government forced them to make their way to the UK.

    Thus he was obviously familiar with military life, but needed training in respect of his new environment, which is as you describe. Your reference to aircrew selection has also provided an answer to a bit of a puzzle. His service record includes an entry, dated 3 March 1941, indicating he was assessed as fit for aircrew duties. As he had been at Harwell for two months by then I cannot help but feel that this entry was delayed from his time at Blackpool.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 9th February 2019 at 16:17.

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    The PAF Depot at Blackpool was also a holding unit for aircrew who had finished a tour of duty and were awaiting a posting. Probably the same with ground crew for whom there was a limited need such as Met observers who were airfield based rather than squadron based. This would literally be until a vacancy became available and would also explain why Polish Met observers would move freely in British units rather than just in Polish manned airfields

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    Knew – and worked with – a large number of Polish Met Forecasters and Met Assistants. Good guys! Some mastered the nuances of the English language – some didn’t! Some mastered the Anglo-Saxon Brit sense of humour – some didn’t! But if you wanted to be on shift when (a) the weather, and (b) the comms, were both going ‘pear-shaped’ – they were good guys!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 9th February 2019 at 16:49.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Thank you, both. I now have a better understanding of his service record.

    Brian

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