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Thread: No. 4 BFTS - O'Brien

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    Default No. 4 BFTS - O'Brien

    I have now received the service records for William TJ O’Brien (1750325 & 150326) born in 1923 and killed in 1944.


    His short RAF records are as follows:


    3.11.41 - Enlisted RAFVR (1750325)
    4.11.41 - Manchester CRC
    24.6.42 - Canada ACDC
    18.4.42 - 1 ACRC
    2.5.42 - ACDW
    2.7.42 - 31 RAF PD Moncton - ATTS 4596
    11.7.42 - Moncton/USA
    4.8.42 - 4 BFTS (Mesa, Arizona)
    1.1.43 - RAF DPU (or DPH/DP4) Washington
    1.1.43 - 4 BFTS
    8.4.43 - Discharged


    9.4.43 - No 4 BFTS USA (Special remarks col. = p) Flying on Appt (150326)
    27.5.43 - 7 PRC (Special remarks col. = p) Supy p.p.)
    No date - 5 (P) AFU
    8.2.44 - No 286 Squadron
    30.9.44 - 3 TEU
    7.11.44. - No 83 GSU
    15.11.44 - No 184 Squadron
    3.12.44 - Killed in action


    a) I am uncertain just how long William was in the US; if he didn’t return home until after 9 April, 1943 then he would have been at 4 BFTS for around 39 weeks. I understood that courses were of 28 weeks duration? If he earned his wings on 8th April, 1943 what could be the reason for remaining in the US?


    b) The entry for 1 January, 1943 - does anyone have an explanation for this statement - the last character is unclear and could be ‘U’ - ‘H’ or ‘4’ ?


    c) I believe that ATTS was an abbreviation for All Through Training School; could the following number be a code for the route/ship which took him to Canada?

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    Default Re: No. 4 BFTS - O'Brien

    Hi

    RAF DPU/4 Washington will be RAF Delegation Washington - Personnel Unit or Personnel 4, this would be a department of the RAF Delegation which handled matters appertaining to personnel serving in the USA.

    He could have been allowed leave after getting his 'Wings' due to the need to wait for a suitable passage back to the UK

    Malcolm

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    Default Re: No. 4 BFTS - O'Brien

    William,
    "The RAF in Arizona, Falcon Field 1941-1945" (J. Dawson) includes fairly complete 4 BFTS Course lists.

    Course 11 commenced August 10, 1942 and Graduated February 19, 1943.
    O'Brien, William Thomas James, LAC 1730325. Held over to Course 12.

    Course 12 commenced September 20, 1942 and Graduated April 8, 1943.
    O'Brien, William Thomas James, LAC 1730325. Grad Sgt., killed Dec 44, age 21. 184 Sdqn. F/O. 15023, buried Hendon Cemetery, Middlesex, UK.

    Probably the most common reason for being held over was a spell in hospital. I will check the ORB in the hope of finding an explanation.
    Tony Broadhurst

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    Default Re: No. 4 BFTS - O'Brien

    William,
    The surviving pages of daily entries to No.4 BFTS Operation Record Book appear to commence in January 1943.
    I have therefore not been able to find an explanation of why LAC O'Brien was held over.
    There is a report from January 20 of two other Course 11 students transferred to Course 12 for medical reasons.
    They had both been treated in the Base Hospital at Williams Field, Arizona.
    Tony Broadhurst

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    Default Re: No. 4 BFTS - O'Brien

    I received an 11 page list of Common Abbreviations with William’s service records and D.P.U. was another one not included in the list - so my grateful thanks to Malcolm for the explanation.


    My thanks also to Tony Broadhurst - I’ve seen a copy of the book ‘The RAF in Arizona’ on the internet at about £260, hopefully I’ll manage to come across a less expensive copy as it appears to be a very informative publication!


    So putting both pieces of information together it seems to me quite possible that young William was involved in an air accident which probably involved a hospital stay and prevented him from completing Course No. 11; he was then called in to the RAF Delegation in Washington to discuss the completion of his training and subsequently graduated with Course No. 12. His training taking about 33 weeks instead of the usual 28 - so about 5 weeks out of action.

    Is there any possibility of locating photographs taken of air crew at Falcon Fields during this period?

    William

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    Default Re: No. 4 BFTS - O'Brien

    Hi William

    He probably didn't actually go to Washington but was probably only transferred to their 'books' whilst recovering.

    Malcolm

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    Default Re: No. 4 BFTS - O'Brien

    William,
    A hospital stay could just as easily be the result of an illness, rather than an accident. At least one of the two I mentioned noted in the ORB was for an appendectomy. I seem to recall there were a number of students with various infections, that were isolated for a period.
    ABE Books are advertising two copies of Dawson's book at £75. The publisher advertises it at $38.50, plus shipping. Send me a PM if you would like the Internet address.
    Tony Broadhurst
    Last edited by Freshman; 7th June 2021 at 19:50. Reason: further text

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    Default Re: No. 4 BFTS - O'Brien

    Many thanks to both Malcolm and Tony for the update - I will think more about the book!

    William

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