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Thread: 6 man Wellington crew positions/roles

  1. #1
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    Default 6 man Wellington crew positions/roles

    Hi, I'm doing some research on Wellington R1374 . It was shot in May 1941 and I believe was a Mark 1C.

    Six men are listed as the crew, though most Wellington descriptions I have seen show a 5 man crew. Is there a description of these roles ? I assume the front a rear turrets were permanently manned, with additional side gun positions manned by crew who doubled as wireless. I think some Wellingtons also had a ventral gun too. I think there was one Pilot position in a Wellington

    What would the Air Observer do ? Is this bomb aimer or navigator or both ?
    The Crew details from CWWGC are listed below

    Name: SAVAGE, FREDERICK HENRY Initials: F H Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Flight Lieutenant (Pilot) Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Unit Text: 150 Sqdn. Date of Death: 08/05/1941 Service No: 40263 Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Plot L. Row A. Grave 18. Cemetery: NANTES (PONT-DU-CENS) COMMUNAL CEMETERY

    Name: FULFORD, JOHN MICHAEL Initials: J M Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Sergeant (Pilot) Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Unit Text: 150 Sqdn. Age: 22 Date of Death: 08/05/1941 Service No: 969220 Additional information: Son of Horace Frederick and Edith Mary Fulford, of Dinnington, Yorkshire. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Plot L. Row A. Coll. grave 20-22. Cemetery: NANTES (PONT-DU-CENS) COMMUNAL CEMETERY

    Name: HARRIS, LEONARD FRANK Initials: L F Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Sergeant (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Unit Text: 150 Sqdn. Age: 23 Date of Death: 08/05/1941 Service No: 909974 Additional information: Son of Cecil Frank and Alice Harris, of Dagenham, Essex. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Plot L. Row A. Grave 19. Cemetery: NANTES (PONT-DU-CENS) COMMUNAL CEMETERY

    Name: HEYWOOD, WRAY WILLIAM Initials: W W Nationality: Canadian Rank: Sergeant (Air Obs.) Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force Unit Text: 150 (R.A.F.) Sqdn. Date of Death: 08/05/1941 Service No: R/52038 Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Plot L. Row A. Grave 17. Cemetery: NANTES (PONT-DU-CENS) COMMUNAL CEMETERY

    Name: READ, PETER VERRALL Initials: P V Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Sergeant (W.Op./Air Gnr.) Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Unit Text: 150 Sqdn. Age: 20 Date of Death: 08/05/1941 Service No: 1152158 Additional information: Son of Charles and Alice Mary Read, of Shirley, Southampton. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Plot L. Row A. Coll. grave 20-22. Cemetery: NANTES (PONT-DU-CENS) COMMUNAL CEMETERY

    Name: HART, JOHN LEWIS Initials: J L Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Sergeant (Air Gnr.) Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force (Auxiliary Air Force) Unit Text: 150 Sqdn. Age: 22 Date of Death: 08/05/1941 Service No: 818222 Additional information: Son of James and Frances Hart, of Cardiff; husband of Monica Hart, of Gabalfa, Cardiff. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Plot L. Row A. Coll. grave 20-22. Cemetery: NANTES (PONT-DU-CENS) COMMUNAL CEMETERY

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    Hi it was quite simple:

    Front turret - front gunner, in most cases also with the WOP training as the 2ND WOP
    Pilot seat - captain or second pilot, they were changing the position, the common was that echa pilot was fyling one way (to target or back)
    2ND pilot seat - collapsable - the second pilot who was not at the controls
    Air Observer = navigator/bomb aimer - fix place in the fuselage where was a chart table, near the target he moved to the front position to the bombsight
    WOP - this is clear
    Rear turret - rear gunner

    Additional side guns can be manned by anyone from the crew as all of them have basic air gunner training, but in most cases it can be the WOP or also the observer.

    Hope this helps

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

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    I agree with Pavel. Between Apr and Jul 40, 75 Sqn flew missions with both five- and six-man crews. When six the positions were:
    Pilot, 2nd Pilot, Nav, W/T, Front Gnr, Rear Gnr. When five the front gnr position was not filled. Regards, Terry

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    Default Wray Heywood

    Wray Heywood is my Great Uncle. Can you provide me with more info about the crash?

    Thank you

    Curtis

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    I've always been a bit sceptical of the front turret being manned for the whole flight. I can't imagine it was any fun to be expected to look into a 200+ mph gale blowing through the gun apertures, rain, snow etc and then be expected to do anything when another aircraft closing at 250 mph towards you... In darkness you've no real hope of seeing, let alone hitting, anything. The range is insufficient to hit searchlights on the ground plus the tracer rounds give away your position..... Perhaps over the target, as an extra pair of eyes, but he'd probably be of more use manning the side guns (if fitted).

    It makes more sense in daylight, which is what the Wellington etc design specifications called for, but at night time all you'd achieve is quick cases of frostbite!

    PS As Sgt Heywood was Canadian, you can apply for his Service Record, specifically including all details about the circumstances surrounding the crash. RCAF records appear to be more comprehensive than RAF, so you'd do us all a favour by coming back with additional details once you have his records.

    It may be that his RCAF uniform helped identify him for a separate grave, whereas some of his comrades were not able to be individually identified. That would indicate a severe impact, explosion or fire.

    Pals here may be able to tell if a night fighter claimed them, but more likely flak.
    Last edited by KevinW4; 20th May 2010 at 14:32. Reason: Added response to Curtis

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    My understanding is that early in the war the trade of Air Observer intially covered both the navigator and bomb aimer tasks. As these tasks became more specialized, seperate trades, and training courses, were established for the two tasks.

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    Default Sgt Wray William HEYWOOD RCAF

    Quote Originally Posted by Curtis Hagley View Post
    Wray Heywood is my Great Uncle. Can you provide me with more info about the crash?

    Thank you

    Curtis
    The mayor of Pont Saint Martin near Nantes in the Loire, Mr Yves Francois, is planning a 70th anniversary on 7/8 May 2011 to commemorate the aircrew of Wellington R1374 of 150 Sqn which crashed in a field adjacent to the village on 8 May 1941. Your uncle was one of the aircrew who died and is now buried in Nantes. Would you be interested in attending such a ceremony? Do you know any other family members of the aircrew who may be interested?

    Terry Dennett

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    Default Crew Positions

    Could it be that one of the pilots was being taken for his two lead-in operational flights before going off with his own crew?

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    In 1940 it was still mandatory to have two pilots, and the second pilot might fly up to dozen ops in that role before being given a crew of his own. The front gunner also manned the turret at all times, uncomfortable or not.

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Dennett View Post
    The mayor of Pont Saint Martin near Nantes in the Loire, Mr Yves Francois, is planning a 70th anniversary on 7/8 May 2011 to commemorate the aircrew of Wellington R1374 of 150 Sqn which crashed in a field adjacent to the village on 8 May 1941. Your uncle was one of the aircrew who died and is now buried in Nantes. Would you be interested in attending such a ceremony? Do you know any other family members of the aircrew who may be interested?

    Terry Dennett
    My family will be attending the anniversary next May. We know we are going, not to sure on the travel yet.
    My son is 12, he will be in his Air Cadet uniform.
    We would like to see Paris for a couple days, then start traveling down towards St. Nazair and Nantes. I believe my Uncle Wray Heywood is coming as well as my Mom for sure. It is in seeding time, so will be hard for Dad to take the time, but he does not want to miss this. I am sure he will do his best.

    We are all very excited. Would renting a car in Paris to travel down to Nantes be wise?? Or should we take the fast train down, then rent a car there?

    Curtis

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