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Thread: Timeline from enlistment to joining an operational Squadron

  1. #1
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    Default Timeline from enlistment to joining an operational Squadron

    Good morning all

    I am researching an Air Gunner and wondered what peoples opinions are on the following:

    1186200 John Pomfret Robinson enlisted sometime around April 1940

    Sgt J P Robinson served as a Air Gunner with 78 Squadron from 17th September 1940 to 7th December 1940 completing 17 operations (His service number is not shown in the Squadron ORB)

    1186200 FSgt John Pomfret Robinson (later WO and later still PO) served with 78 Squadron in 1944, completing 29 operations between 29th July 1944 and 1st February 1945

    1186200 WO John Pomfret Robinson is commissioned as Pilot Officer (188217) on 26th November 1944

    So could this be the same man? Would a man enlisting in 1940 have completed his training and be on an operational Squadron some 5 month after enlisting in 1940?

    thanks

    Daz

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    Default Re: Timeline from enlistment to joining an operational Squadron

    Well, others may have more detailed info, but if he was sent for initial training immediately after enlisting on say 1 April, then I would think that he could have been sent for AG training in perhaps June, since initial training was probably only 6-8 weeks. If he was an AG and not a WAG, then he'd only have to take the gunners' course, which may have been as short as four weeks, taking him to maybe mid- or late July. (If you could find out the date of his promotion to sgt or the date he received his AG flying badge that would tell you when he completed his AG training.) Hopefully he then attended an operational training course at what was later called an OTU but which in 1940 may have been called a reserve squadron. If this was just another four weeks or so, then I think it may have indeed been possible to join up in April and join 78 Sqn in 5-6 months, if everything clicked, e.g., if each course started just after the previous one ended and ran smoothly, if he lost no training time due to injury or illness, etc.

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    Default Re: Timeline from enlistment to joining an operational Squadron

    Agree, Rob.
    Enlisted Cardington some date after April 1940 from service no.
    And as Daz will well know, 78 Sqn in 1940 were equipped with AW Whitley Mk V aircraft - a type they'd become familiar with in successive Marks since summer 1937, and flew with into early 1942.
    The 5 man Whitley crew of this period included a WOp/AG and an AG, so a short training period then operational Squadron posting quite possible, esp for the plain AG in the rear turret.

    I can't immediately recall who it was, on posting to an operational Squadron c summer 1940, greeted by his new CO with "You've done an OTU course?" (more in hope than expectation).
    He hadn't: not at all uncommon in early 1940.

    Just for fun, well-known image for 58 Sqn Whitley here in summer 1940:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...IWM_CH_246.jpg

    Bloody cold in a Whitley: colder still in the rear turret.
    Last edited by Don Clark; 5th November 2023 at 20:53.
    Toujours à propos

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    Default Re: Timeline from enlistment to joining an operational Squadron

    Thank you both, I think the only way to do this will be to try and confirm John Pomfret’s death and then apply for his service record, which may take up to 12 months, and see if he is posted to the Squadron twice.

    Thanks again
    Daz

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