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Thread: WOP training - WWII

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    Default WOP training - WWII

    My father started RAF Signals training at Blackpool on Course 18 No 3 Wing Signal School Blackpool in late 1941 immediatly after square bashing there. This was followed by 2 Signals School at Yatesbury from February to May 1942 then further training at Feltwell. He was then on a course at 1 Signal School Cranwell followed from September 1942 followed by another course at 2 Signal School at Yatesbury in January 1943. After that there was AG training and a posting to Coastal Command.

    Can anyone one please tell me anything about what was involved with these 5 signals courses?

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    Drailton
    I can only suggets that his first proper technical course (at 2 SS, Yatesbury) was in the trade of Wireless Operator (Group II) and that the subsequent courses were more specialised "post-graduate" courses to suit him for employment on particular types of equipment of for particular duties. Please note that "Wireless Operator" as a trade was NOT, repeat NOT a flying trade - it was strictly a GROUND trade, although early in the war such operators could be carried on training aircraft as volunteers and were eligible for flying pay, which was similar to the "employment" opportunities for ground-borne wireless operators in the pre-war RAF. The usual wartime flying wireless operator trade in the RAF was Wireless Operator - Air Gunner, although "straight" AIr Gunners soon made their entrance, usually after being terminated from W/Opr-AG courses. Much latr in the war the "new" trade of Signaller was intriduced, with no requirement to undergo air gunner training.
    David D

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    Default WOP Training - WWII

    Thanks, David, for your reply. I believe that the proper designation from 9 November 1943 was WOp(air). I know that about that time the designation WOP/AG was abolished. My father was posted to a Sunderland squadron where there was still a requirement for the dual role athough the AG was very much secondary. In his log he refers to himself as a WOP and is referred to as such in his service record. It appears that everyone did not catch up with the new disignation as his squadron records also all refer to WOPs rather than WOp(air)s.

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    David,
    Let's not leave the impression that all Air Gunners (AG) were washed-out Wireless Operator -Air Gunners (WAG).
    My father was an experienced pre-war regular whose trade was Radio Operator and he graduated as a 'straight' Air Gunner (AG) during the war.

    (I could speculate that he was not trained as a WAG because he was considered to be proficient in the wireless side and there was no point in him taking the training again, but that is only speculation).

    So, all take note; an AG was not always a washed-out WAG.

    To be fair, you do say 'usually' but I want to emphasize that not all AG gunners were not rejects from another trade.

    Ian Macdonald

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    Ian,
    Sorry to give the impression that ALL straight A/Gs were "failed" W/Opr A/G trainees. However the vast majority were, at least in the earlier years of WW2, until somebody realized that an awful lot of effort was being put into the very long training of Wireless Operators when so many of them were only required for A/G duties. Thus "straight" courses of A/Gs were trained as such from about 1942 onards. I had considered the case of the interwar W/Oprs (NEVER RADIO Operators in those days, never, never! Radio then meant what became known later as RADAR), practically all of them were wireless operators who were trained as A/Gs on the squadron as part-time A/Gs so that they could become aircrew. My uncle did this in 1939 on Blackburn Baffins of the Christchurch "T" squadron as a part-time crew member! However ne missed out on the famous "winged bullet" badge as it had become obsolete by the time he qualified. So sorry for giving the impression that all straight A/Gs were some sort of failures - definitely not the cse, or my intention for that matter.
    David D

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    David,
    I promise never, never, NEVER, to refer to (inter-war) Wireless Operators as Radio Operators again!
    Ian

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    Ian,
    Thought it as well to point out that the word "radio" was also used by the RAF during and even a little prior to WW2 in connection with the operation of R/T equipment, thus the R/T Operator (or Radio Telephony Operator in full). These personnel were concerned with maintaining direct voice (speech) communication between ground stations and aircraft (or anybody else for that matter authorised to operate R/T equipment, whether in marine craft, MT vehicles or other fixed or mobile ground stations.) This trade gradually came to be dominated (at least in numbers) by WAAF personnel as the female voice was apparently better suited to this trade (by popular demand) due to the feminine voice proving to be clearer and easier to understand in this situation. My earlier stricture about the use of the "Radio" term was so emphatic that I feel compelled to point out this alternative use of the word, which I had overlooked.
    David D

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    I am still confused. His service record states that he was posted to '10 (S) R.C. 2 Sigs. Sch' in February 1942 after recruit and basic morse training at Blackpool/Padgate. It shows this as one course/posting rather than '10 (S) R.C.' followed by '2 Sigs. Sch'. Sturtivant shows that '10 (S) R.C.' was at Blackpool at that time and '2 Sigs. Sch' was at Yatesbury. My understanding is that WOP(air) training at Blackpool was followed by a more advanced course at Yatesbury. Can I take it that the service record was not correct?

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    Drailton,

    This may help you in working out the timeline for your father, and what he did, where and when.

    Digging out my own father's logbook and my notes, he enlisted on 4 September 1939, and was posted to Warrington for Basic Training on 13/9/39: square-bashing. At the end of October he was posted to No. 2 E & WS, Yatesbury. I have a few photos of the hutted camp, and a PR vertical he took after the war before the whole place was demolished. (By then he was a Mosquito pilot with 58 Squadron.) Yatesbury was his ground-based wireless training.

    His diary shows that he was given some air experience flights in May, possibly to weed out those who were unsuitable before sending them on an air-based course. These flights are not in his logbook. He was sent to Dumfries in late July 1940 for a month's course at No. 10 B & GS. (Bombing and Gunnery School). His logbook starts here. On the 10th September he was posted to No. 10 OTU at Lossiemouth, which was where he did his airborne wireless training. On the 10th October he and his new crew were flying a cross-country exercise in a Wellington (N2873) when, as his logbook states, they were "Attacked by Ju88 - which was shot down by rear gunner". It made the news: I have a clipping, but I can't tell which newspaper it comes from. The 'Duty' column has him as W/T Operator, so he didn't shoot it down.

    On the 24th October he and his crew joined 115 Squadron, flew their first operation on 5th November, and their last in April 1941.

    Deadrock.

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    Default WOP traing - WW2

    A book that give an insight into WOP training is ,'Observers & Navigators & Other non Pilot Aircrew' by G. Jefford. You will find some more details on our web site www.rafyatesbury.webs.com RAF Yatesbury Association
    Bill H
    Last edited by Yatesbury; 18th March 2011 at 09:16. Reason: Spelling error in title

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