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Thread: F/E low rank

  1. #1
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    Default F/E low rank

    Hi All,

    Does anyone have any thoughts as to why a F/E would still be a Sgt or F/Sgt while all the others in the crew may be officers. It seems to me that the F/E was very slow in getting promotions.

    Regards,

    John.

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    Hi John,

    Of all the trades involved in aircrew the Flight Engineer was the one with the least amount of time flying before going on operations.

    I have spoken to several F/Es who have told me they didn't even get into an aircraft until they reached HCU. All prior schooling was done on mockups.

    If you look at the Pathfinder squadrons you start to see more commissioned F/Es, most of whom had completed a first tour as an NCO.

    Regards,

    Dave

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    John,
    Flight Engineers were generally members of ground staff (any rank from LAC to F/Sgt I think, but preferably with a minimum required period of service in their trade) drawn almost exclusively from the Group I trades of Flight Mechanic or Fitter IIE, although sometimes Fitter IIAs could also be trained a such. They volunteered for temporary duty as aircrew (which carried a minimum rank of Sergeant as well as flying pay) when such volunteers were called for in AMOs, etc, with the understanding that at the end of one (sometimes two) operational tours they would revert to their permanent trade and appropriate rank in that trade. Some, however, may have served longer, and a very few seem to have been commissioned. In truth though, the vast majority served out their "flying tours" in the lowly ranks of Sgt or F/Sgt. The reason that these airmen were restricted in their operational flying careers to a limited number of tours was simply that the Air Ministry considered them far more valuable as technical personnel, often with years of service in their trade which tended to give them valuable technical knowledge and expertise, and as aircrew had only to complete a short trade conversion course, plus acquaintance with the type of aircraft on which they were to complete their tour (Lancaster, Halifax, Sunderland, Catalina, Liberator, etc). Thus each applicant from among the Group I tradesmen was protected to a certain extent by his masters in his exposure to the hazards of operational flying, which meant that spaces for other tradesmen would be made available.
    David D

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    Hi David & Dave,

    Thanks for the information, that explains why, in the crew I am interested in the F/E joined the RAF in Sept 1940 but did not do his first Op until August 1943.

    Cheers,

    John.

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