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Thread: Whitley & Battle at 9 B&GS Penrhos

  1. #1
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    Default Whitley & Battle at 9 B&GS Penrhos

    During his time of training as an Air Gunner at 9 B&GS Penrhos my father logged ten flights in a Whitley and four in a Battle.

    During these flights of between one and two hours of duration he and the other trainees would fire at drogues.

    My questions are, how many student Air Gunners would the Whitley take up on a training mission? How long would the student have on the guns? A set amount of time or rounds fired? Would they have to become proficient from each gun position?

    The same questions for the Battle.

    What type of aircraft would the target towing aircraft been in December 1940 and January 1941 and how far behind the target towing aircraft would the drogue be deployed?

    I would be grateful for any help the forum can be in clearing up this confusing part of my father's service.

    Regards, David.
    Last edited by David Layne; 11th October 2010 at 17:22.

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    I have an entry from June 1941 of a Whitley crashing on the airfield with a Pilot and 7 other crew. The Battle aircraft typically carried a pilot and two other crew.

    The target towing aircraft were referenced in the ORB as being Hawker Henley aircraft provided by No.1 Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit.
    Last edited by alclark; 11th October 2010 at 19:07. Reason: Added info about AACU
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Thanks, your comments duly noted.

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    Default Raf Penrhos

    Dave , hope this bit of gen helps .
    Residents at Penrhos .
    4/12/39 to 6/41-C flt,No 1 AACU with Henleys at Penrhos
    2/40-1/1/41-J Flt .No 1 AACU with Henleys at Penrhos

    Organisation of Penrhos at various dates were as follows
    APRIL 1940 A,FLT-WALLACE AND HENLEY (TARGET TOWING).
    B,FLT-BATTLE (BOMBING).
    C,FLT-DEMON (GUNNERY).
    D,FLT-HARROW AND DEMON ( GUNNERY).

    OCT 1940 - ALL HENLEY'S TO 1 AACU,BEGAN TO USE WHITLEYS
    A,FLT-BATTLES AND WALLACES (TARGET TOWING ).
    B,FLT-BATTLE (BOMBING).
    C,FLT-BATTLE (TARGET TOWING AND GUNNERY).
    D,FLT-WHITLEY (GUNNERY).

    DEC 1940 - A,FLT-BATTLE (TARGET TOWING).
    B,FLT-BATTLE AND WHITLEY (BOMBING AND GUNNERY).
    C,FLT-BATTLE (TARGET TOWING AND GUNNERY).
    D,FLT-WHITLEY (GUNNERY).

    PRACTICE GUNNERY , ground instruction was mostly of lectures on the Browning .303 machine gun,and the old Vickers G.O ,the Fraser Nash and Boulton paul Turrets
    and all this theory was put into practise flying around in Battle and Whitleys.
    The Whitleys were MKII with Armstrong-Siddeley tiger radial engines, they were taken up 6 pupils at a time and they crouched in the draughty fuselage as they waited their turnto climb into Fraser Nash rear turretand have a go , they made there up their own belts of ammo and if they had a stoppage they lost marks , wartime economy allowed them to use only one gun .
    hope this helps
    Phill jones

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    Many thanks, most helpful. Do you have any idea how as to how far the drogue was behind the towing aircraft?

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    Thanks to forum member Tim Bishop I have determined the drogue was deployed 1200 feet behind the aircraft.

    Next question, did the Whitley and the Battle have different types of turrets?

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