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Thread: WW2 RAF Service records and US bible

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    Default WW2 RAF Service records and US bible

    My father Sgt 959843 Eric.D.SEED died in 1949 aged 28years when I was a baby. As a result of my mother passing away a few years ago I have received his RAF Service records and a bible.
    The bible with his details in was the one issued to the Army of the United States. Why would this have happened?
    In the back of the bible is a list of places that I presume is where he ended up. With the help of Wikipedia I obtained the co-ordinates of these airstrips and located them in Google Earth.
    The countries covered are:Algeria, Tunisia, Corsica, Sicily, Malta and Italy.
    I have been able to interpret some of the details of his service records but any assistance would be very much appreciated to put the below details into plain English.
    18 Squadron HH 29/6/41 (Query on the HH)
    Watchfield
    A & AEE Boscombe Down 27/1/42 (He qualified as WOM)
    18 Squadron 29/4/42
    NWA(333 Group)
    18 Squadron C 10/10/42 (Query on the C)
    2 BPD 4/8/43
    HQ unit 242 Group 31/?/43
    HQ 286 Fighter wing 12/11/43
    HQ 328 wing 2/12/43
    2GR ? Unit 6/9/44
    1. Base area 16/10/44
    301 ASRC

    In order to go to 2 BPD ,how many operations would the crew have to do in order to get there?
    Can someone give me a start point with any ORBs so that I can trace/track my father?
    What books would anyone suggest reading in order to get an insight into the man and the various operations he was involved in?

    Many thanks for taking time to read,

    Roger Seed

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    Hello Roger,

    Air-Britain published a book on the Squadron : "With Courage and Faith the story of No. 18 Squadron Royal Air Force" by A. Butterworth, in 1989. ISBN nį 0 85130 137 8. It's a rather slim volume (64 pages) but that should be a start. There's no name index, so it's quite difficult to check if your father's name is mentioned in it.

    As for the Squadron ORB at Kew, it's under AIR 27/243 for the period October 1931 to December 1941, AIR 27/244 for 1942 and 1943, AIR 27/245 for 1944 and 1945. Appendices are in AIR 27/246 (September 1939 to December 1940), /247 (September 1939 to January 1942), /248 for 1941, /249 for January to September 1942, /250 for February to June 1943, /251 for July 1943 to December 1945.

    All these references are on microfilm.

    Joss

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    Hello Joss

    Many thanks for coming back to me with some info.
    Its a start point and very much appreciated

    Roger

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    Default Possible information?

    Try the following from the RAFRA site:
    18(B) Squadron Association: The Secretary, 18(B) Squadron Association, RAF Odiham, Hook, Hampshire, RG29 1QT: pegasusassoc AT yahoo.co.uk (change the AT to @)

    I wonder if his flying training was at an US Army Air Base and the bible as with hotels over here was in the drawer of his bedside table...
    Courtesy of Glider on Warbirds forum:
    RAF Training in the USA.
    In May 1941 Presidential permission was given for the RAF to set up and train RAF pilots on American Soil. Six British Flight Training Schools (BFTS) were set up and between June and August 1941 they started training their first students.
    The staff were nearly all American Civilians with a very small number of RAF staff for weapons, radio and some specialist training and the Aircraft were American. Around 20% of the students were USAAF and the rest RAF.

    Compared to the training in USAAF schools, one difference was that each level of training Primary, Basic and Advanced was undertaken at the same base. This saved a considerable amount of time as the students didnít have to be transferred and allowed an extra week of training making 28 weeks instead of 27. Initially the aircraft and syllabus was exactly the same as the USAAF schools, but the RAF decided to follow RAF practice and delete the Basic flying training scheme. Instead the Primary training was extended from 9 to 12 weeks and the curriculum extended to cover night flying. The Advanced training scheme was extended from 9 weeks to 16 equalling the original 28 week timescale.

    One advantage of this was that the students only had to learn how to fly two types of aircraft bypassing the BT-9 and BT-13. As it took a week to train the students to fly each type of aircraft this time was spent on extending the skills of the students, not learning the taps and systems of a new aircraft type. After graduation the students were sent to the UK for O.T.U. training as were those students trained under the Arnold Scheme.

    The USAAF started to requisition the flying schools from May 1943 the last one closing down in November 1944. A total of 18,000 RAF Trainees were training in the USA under both the Arnold Scheme and BFTS and 1,000 USAAF cadets also passed through the BFTS scheme.

    Summary
    Clearly the training received by RAF students in the USA was at least as good as the USAAF students. The main reference used is BBC - WW2 People's War - The British Flying Training Schools in the U.S.A. 1941-1944

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    Roger,

    I might be mistaken, but I can not see anything in your original post to confirm that your father was a flyer, and if my guess is right, it is most doubtful that he completed any operations or was ever part of "a crew". I am not sure if you are aware, but the RAF trade of Wireless Operator Mechanic (WOM) was a ground based trade. In addition, if the list of units that he served with is correct and there are no gaps, I can not see he ever attended an aircrew training school as a student (or that he ever went to the States to pick up a Bible - I think Oggie's post on US flying training might be slightly misleading in this respect).

    He may well be mentioned in the ORB, but an awful lot of wartime ORBs do not mention ground crew movements, so I would advise that you do not get your hopes up, just in case.

    As an aside, his service number suggests a post Sep 1939 intake through RAF Cardington.

    Rgds

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    I'd imagine that the bible was picked up sometime during his time in the service, possibly he swapped it with a GI for something the American serviceman wanted. I don't think you should assume any offical reason for your father, in the RAF, having an American Service bible.

    As Jonny points out above, can you advise what his trades were throughout the war and what ranks he held? Was he air crew? Many of his units are non Squadron ones so point towards maintenance operations?
    Last edited by dennis_burke; 22nd October 2010 at 10:01. Reason: My attrocious spelling!!
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Hello Dennis

    Thanks for your comments. I have all these years been convinced that he was aircrew, I was not told any different, so it makes sense that he could have been ground crew.
    According to his record he joined 2RC Cardington 9/4/40. Reserve 3E & WS Calne 28/6/40 which apparently was the Electrical and Wireless school at Calne in Wiltshire.
    On 9/5/41 he was at 1S. S H W H, could you translate that bit please?
    On entry his trade was W.OP and thereafter in his records he is WOM.
    Re the question on ranks held, they were AC2, AC1, Sgt.
    Its with the 2 BPD posting that I thought he could have been a flyer as apparently that was the Base Personnel Disposal where crews who had done so many operations went according to the internet.

    I`ve taken onboard about the bible and not reading too much into it.

    Jonny and Oggie, many thanks also for your assistance, all is much appreciated.

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    Roger (et al),
    Slightly 'odd' set of ranks?
    If he'd been NCO aircrew then one would have expected AC2 - AC1 - LAC (Pupil Pilot) - Sgt (when he got his Wings). But to go from AC1 to Sgt in a Ground Trade doesn't seem to me to be quite right? This one might not be as straight forward as initially seemed?
    Mind you, there was a bloke in my NSA Square Bashing lot who had City & Guilds qualifications in Drain Laying, Trench Digging, Surveying, etc, and all sorts of other black arts. When he passed out as AC2 "They" needed a bloke like him in one of the Airfield Construction Sqns. Next thing he knew was he was a Flt Sgt in 5001 Sqn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Hello Peter,
    I looked in the wrong column, started off AC2 then LAC,Cpl, and then Sgt.

    Sorry for the confusion

    Roger

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    Roger,
    That figures!
    But on many previous threads on this Forum some very slight deviation from "the normal" - in terms of rank progression, or postings, has led the eagle eyed experts on this forum to be able to find out things which were not, at first sight, apparent!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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