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Thread: 149 Squadron Lawrence Nicholson Air Gunner

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    Default 149 Squadron Lawrence Nicholson Air Gunner

    Hi

    I'm new to the forum and was hoping that someone may be able to help me or point me in the right direction. I'm starting to research my uncle, Sergeant Lawrence Henry Nicholson 1353479 who was an air gunner serving in 149 Squadron.He died on 21/08/1942. I'm not sure where to start. I'm planning on sending for his service record but is there a squadron war diary or history that I could get?

    Thanks in advance

    Dave

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    Killed in Stirling R9329 that crashed Gibhill Forestry, Cornwood, S. Devon on this date

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    Hello,

    Welcome to the board.

    The Service Record will be a very interesting document, but full of mysterious acronyms for you, but we'll be happy to help you decipher them.

    No. 149 Squadron is the subject of the book "Strong by night" by John Johnston and Nick Carter, published by Air-Britain in 2002 (ISBN 0 85130 313 7). That should be a good starting point.

    From the appendix of that book, the crew was made of
    P/O G.E. ROBERTSON
    Sgt C.J. BOND
    Sgt F.S. CLARKE
    Sgt D.A. HARRIS
    Sgt P.E.J. JENKINS
    Sgt L.H. NICHOLSON
    Sgt D.R. SIMPSON

    Stirling R9329 coded OJ-V, mining off the coast of France, crashed on return, Cornwood Devon. In the main body of the book, page 56 I quote : " Then on the 21st R9329 'OJ-V' was damaged by anti-aircraft fire in the target area while mininng off the French coast. The pilot Sergeant G.E. ROBERTSON managed to bring the aircraft back to England, crashing at Cornwood in Devon on return. In both cases all of the crew were killed."

    the CWGC database online will give you the first names and other details of the other crewembers.

    You may wish to consult Bill Chorley's Bomber Command Losses volume 3 "1942", in your local library.

    A good book on the Stirling is "The Stirling Story" by Michael Bowyer, published by Crécy.

    And if you are able to go the The National Archives in Kew, you can consult there the Operations Record Book and find all the missions flown by your uncle.

    Good luck

    joss

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    Hi Paul and Joss

    Many thanks for the information. In particular, Joss the offer of help with the Service Record interpretation was most welcome and I'll certainly take up the kind offer when I receive the document. Also the list of books was just what I was looking for.

    Many thanks once again for taking the time to respond

    Regards

    Dave

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    Hi Chaps

    I'm still waiting for my uncle's service record to arrive but I've come across the following information in a letter from the RAF dated 1980 giving the units he served in. The bits in brackets are my assumptions based on some preliminary research:

    12/07/1940 9 RC Blackpool (9 Recruit Centre, Blackpool)
    27/08/1940 10 BGS (10 Bombing and Gunnery School)
    25/01/1941 Aldergrove (RAF Aldergrove was a Coastal Command Station 18 miles north
    west of Belfast, now Belfast airport)
    03/02/1941 Limavady (RAF Limavady was a Coastal Command Station in Londonderry)
    20/06/1941 Ballymena
    27/07/1941 Limavady
    11/08/1941 754 Squadron (RAF Regiment?)
    22/11/1941 14 ITW (14 Initial Training Wing Bridlington)
    11/05/1942 9 AGS (9 Air Gunnery School – RAF Llandrog – now Caernarfon Airport)
    22/06/1942 149 Squadron

    He went to 149 Sqdn as an air gunner and was kia on 21/08/42

    I hope someone will be able to help me firstly to confirm my assumptions are correct and then:

    a) where was 10 Bombing and Gunnery School located? I've found a reference to one in Canada was there also one in the uk?
    b) would his time in Northern Ireland have been at training units or operational bases? I've not found out what type of base RAF Ballymena was.
    c) was 754 Sqdn an RAF Regiment Unit?
    d) why would he have gone to an Initial Training Wing almost 18 months after joining up?

    I know it's a bit of a big ask but any help would be gratefully received

    TIA

    Dave

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    Hi Dave

    10 BGS was at Dumfries at that time

    Northern Ireland housed a variety of bases, many operational in Coastal Command.

    Ballymena was a sub-site of No 55 MU (Equipment Park)

    754 Sqn RAF Reg was formed at Limavady on 19 Dec 1941, so technically in August it didn't exist, but it had been in operation since April as an un-numbered unit. I suspect he was posted to Limavady in July and was allocated to the 'Ground Defence unit' there in August but by the time the paper work reached theRecord Office the unit had been redesignated 754 and so this is what was written on his record.

    He may have gon eto ITW as an instructor

    Malcolm (from down the road in Hornsea)

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    Hi Malcolm

    Many thanks for that, it's really useful information.

    Typical of how these things go I received the service record today! It doesn't really add much to the information contained in the 1980 letter from the RAF. There are a couple of further bits though. Between the dates for 754 Squadron and 14 ITW he was in/went to A.C.R.C. could this have been an Air Crew Refresher Course? It's also noted that that he completed No. 13 AG course on 19/06/42 with a score of 83.15%, sounds pretty good to me.

    Dave

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    Hi Dave

    ACRC = Air Crew Reception Centre

    Malcolm

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    Cheers Malcolm

    It looks like he was initially trained for a ground role and then volunteered for aircrew duties. I think it was the time spent at 10 Bombing and Gunnery School that confused me.

    Dave

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    Default Interpretation of RAF Service Record

    I've now sorted the mystery (to me!) of why he went to a Bombing and Gunnery School. On enlistment he was an ACH.GD(GG) which I think was Aircrafthand General Duties (Ground Gunner). Simple really. The only thing left to solve are the codes used in the 'Reason' column on why he moved from station to station. They are a combination of 'G' and 'H' including 3 H's in a triangle (Two at the top and one below, between the two above). Has anyone any ideas?

    Cheers

    Dave

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