How many times have you heard someone say, I wish I had asked my father before he died? Well, that's me. My darling dad has been dead for fourteen years and I wish I had asked him so much more. But I didn't and so I am on this forum trying to piece his war together. He was born in 1923, went to an ordinary village school which he left at 15 and joined up in 1941 when he was 18. He was a some kind of Sgt for a while and then became an officer.
I would like to know what happened when he joined up in 1941. I know he would have aspired to being a pilot, but with such a limited education could he really have expected that to happen? I am guessing he was originally a Leading Aircraftman and then, somehow, was selected for air crew and then as a pilot. What was the process? I'd love to know.
Welcome to the site and I hope we can help you in your search. Have you applied to the RAF about obtaining your fathers Service Records? This will tell you a lot more about his time in the RAF and should fill in most of the gaps you currently have, it will however open up many unanswered questions which should keep you busy for years.
To obtain Service Details
From Family Members and Other Authorised Individuals
Certificate of Kinship
form needs to be completed and sent to:
If your mother is still alive she could obtain the records for free. If she is not, I believe (but am not sure) that it is still free if you are the next of kin.
As for the RAF training, I too have researched my own fathers air crew training and have made some notes which I could send you. My dad was a Wireless Operator, do you know what trade your father was?
I obtained my information from several books and linked this information to my dads log book.
I will search out some info for you in the next couple of days.
I agree wirh Gary that your fathers Service Records are the best start as they will give you dates and locations. Dont expect too much from them there is not a huge amount of information in them.
Thanks Gary, that is very useful. I will print off all I need and take it with me when I next visit my mother. She would get the info for free!
Thanks to you, too, Brian. My father was a bomber pilot. He flew Liberators. In fact, I think that the plane he flew from Canada to India is in a Canadian air museum. I would very much like to read your research if you could bear to send it to me.
Have either of you seen the Australian film called 'For the Moment'? In it a young Russell Crowe plays an Australian who travels to Canada to train on bombers. This is exactly what my dad did from England, only he wasn't transfered to bomber command afterwards, he stayed on to train other pilots and then went out to India and flew in the Japanese war. At the end, the film is dedicated to those who went to Canada to train and it always brings tears to my eyes.
I had a quick look at some of the books I have about the RAF and in particular those which mention training and life in India at this time.
The only one which has a mention of pilot training in Canada is called "Flights into the Night" by L. Anthony Leicester and describes his time with 215 Squadron flying Wellington bombers.
Two others written by pilots which describe their time in India are "Survival of the Fortunate" by Johns McCredie who was an Australian with 99 Squadron and "A Trepid Aviator" by W.W. Frazer who was a Canadian who flew with 215 Squadron. Both the last two books I would highly recommend as they both tell it as it was, describing what it was actually like, flying and living in terrible conditions (there are plenty of humerous moments as well!). I am sure other contributers to the site will be able to suggest other books or articles for you.
You have not mentioned what your fathers name was, maybe someone has come across his name.
Once you find out which Squadron or units he served with you can concentrate your search more.