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Thread: 1920s Meteorological Section photo

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    Default 1920s Meteorological Section photo

    Hi all,
    you might like to follow this link
    http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/topic,287542.0.html
    where Rootschat (family history orientated) members are discussing a wonderfully informal photo of a 1920s Meteorological Section.
    Would be splendid if the CO could be identified - he has enough medal ribbons!
    Regards
    Dave

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    There I was just enjoying Wales beating Italy at rugby, Ireland well on the way to beating Scotland, and who cares what England and France do to each other? And you give us, in the RafCommands Met Section, a picture like this to disembrangle!!!!
    Leave it with us. We will take the necessary investigative actions.
    I have had easier tasks!!!!
    Rgds
    Peter Davies

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    Default 1920s Meteorological Section photo

    Peter,
    delighted that you have seen my post. I knew there was a Met specialist on the forum, but could I find your posts on the search function?
    Perhaps my grey matter would be improved by watching the Six Nations.
    Enjoy the investigation!
    Regards
    Dave

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    Looking for a AFC/DFC between wars holder who had something to do with the Met section.

    I would suggest our Met boys start with

    Stafford Berkley Harris.
    F/O 1st April 1918
    F/L 30th June 1923
    S/L 5th March 1930
    W/C 1st July 1936
    G/C 1st Jan 1940

    His first DFC was gazetted 30/05/1924
    In recognition of distinguished services rendered with Waziristan Force between Jan 1922 and April 1923.

    His bar was gazetted 26/06/1931
    In recognition of gallant and distinguished service rendered in connection with the operation on the North West Frontier of India between 23rd April and 12th Sept 1930.

    His second bar was gazetted 08/09/1933
    In recognition of gallant and distinguished service rendered in connection with the operations on the North West Frontier of India during the periods 28th Jan 1932 to 6th Fen 1932 and 6th March 1932 to 18th March 1932.

    He was serving with No.39 Sqn for the Bar and Second Bar.

    Not 100% sure that he is the man in the centre of the group. Just a strong hunch.

    Regards
    Ross

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    Could that be a Military Cross ribbon next to the DFC?? Might narrow it down even more....

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    Harris was Jennifer Ehle's (of Camomile Lawn, Pride & Prejudice etc fame) grandfather. So if things getting really stuck it maybe worth asking her via her management company. One never knows, it may work.

    A

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    Keep her Mum in mind too. British actress Rosemary Harris is G/C Harris' daughter.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary_Harris

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    Ross, well thats a turn up for the books, and Amrit - I am indeed going after the Harris/Ehle family to see if an eyball can be done.
    I never fail to be impressed at the expertise in evidence on this site.
    Cheers to all
    Dave

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    Metman coming in Dave, with thanks for posting this link. I'm a retired forecaster with a strong interest in met history, and I was sent this photo some time ago, by a colleague in the Royal Met Society with a view to identifying the civilian. (There is nothing in the Met Office Archives that would help.)

    The quality of 'our' photo was not very good, the medal ribbons were indistinct and the writing on the folder illegible, but I felt the photo had to be between 1922 and 1930. My logic was (1) the uniform and (2) the chestful of ribbons of the Flt Lt - I thought if they'd been awarded it was probably WW1, in which case he would have had a higher rank at a later date. If Ross is correct in his thinking then I was on the right lines - if for the wrong reason.

    I thought there might have been an Indian connection (the F/O in my photo had an Indian appearance), but having spoken to Somnath Sapru, author of 'Skyhawks' (about WW1 Indian RFC pilots) without success, decided to give that a miss.

    The two chaps, back left, are probably the W/T operators allocated to the met office; there were no teleprinters in those days and data were received by W/T.

    The two seated chaps appear to be holding the sort of slide rules used to calculate upper wind speeds from balloons followed by theodolite. I'm not sure what the object is between the Flt Lt's feet, but now I have a clear photo I can chase that up.

    Ross encourages me to think this is definitely between 1923 and 1930, in which case the location can be whittled down to possibly one of 9 UK airfields. Very few airfields had met offices with a forecaster between 1923 and 1930; it varied from year to year, but was rarely more than 9. These included Andover, Grain, Cranwell, Calshot, Leuchars, Shotwick (Manchester) and Farnborough (although this is probably best considered a civilian station). I can post a comprehensive list, but I need some documents form the Met Office Archives.

    However, airfield met offices in the UK were manned by civilians - usually 2-3 assistants and one forecaster. As those in this photo are predominantly servicemen it is possible the photo was taken overseas, an idea supported by the sandy nature of the soil. The Air Estimates for 1927 includes a statement that "It is not practicable to give RAF officers the highly specialised training and long experience in meteorology now required for an aviation forecasting service, and the remaining officers and airmenof the RAF hitherto employed on meteorological work overseas are being replaced by civilian members of the Meteorological Office."

    This leads me to suspect the civilian might be a first replacement at an overseas station and that the photo dates to between 1927 and 1930. However, if this was the case I'd assume the civilian would occupy a more prominant position in the photo.

    Going back to Ross again, and if the Flt Lt is Harris, I wonder if this is a light-hearted photo to celebrate his promotion to S/L - which would date it to 1930.

    The big (and it is big) flaw with the whole of my above arguement is that I'm assuming the civilian is a forecaster.

    My colleague and I would be very interested in chasing this to a definite conclusion.

    Dave,

    Would it be possible for the originator of this thread on the other forum to copy me the high resolution image? It would help me chase this up from the met side.

    Brian

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    Hi Brian,

    If the bod is Harris then I put the photo July/Aug 1928 on his appointment as Personal Assistant to Air Officer Commanding RAF India and Air Staff Duties 31st Aug 1928.

    Harris took over as C.O. of No.39 Sqn from S/L Champion de Crespigny on 28th April 1930.

    Regards
    Ross

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