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R.I.P. 26 Nov 1969 - 50 years ago

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R.I.P. 26 Nov 1969 - 50 years ago

Old 25th Nov 2019, 20:04
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R.I.P. 26 Nov 1969 - 50 years ago

Coastal Command ( nee Area) Sept 1919 - 26 Nov 1969
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 22:15
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Didn't Coastal last until 2015 when the Sea Kings stood down?

There's an old chap in my office who was in the Marine Branch. He can spin a dit...
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 00:26
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No - Coastal Command was absorbed into Strike Command in November 1969.

Strike Command had been formed in April 1968 by the merger of Fighter Command and Bomber Command which became 1 Gp and 11 Gp respectively.

Signals Command followed in January 1969 - then Coastal Command in November 1969 - then by Air Support Command in September 1972.
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 12:00
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Without in any way denigrating the experiences and sacrifices of the men of Bomber Command I have often felt that the aircrews of Coastal Command have been somewhat overlooked in our view of air operations in WW2. I was once in the the RAF club when in the dining room was a gentleman celebrating his 90th birthday with his family. They were taking photos of the occasion and I offered to take one so they could all be in the picture. Seeing my nav tie the old chap told me he had been a nav on Wellingtons in Coastal Command during the war. His experience was one of seemingly endless uneventful flights over the Atlantic, with the ever present danger of losing one of their engines and the probability of ditching with a minimal chance of rescue. Not many medals and little glory or recognition - nobody has ever campaigned for a Coastal Command medal.
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 12:32
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In the notes to "The Right of the Line" by John Terraine there is a table of the chance of survival rates for different aircraft roles which was produced by the Air Member for Training on 16 Nov 1942.
Role Percentage chance of Survival
One Tour Two Tours
Heavy and Medium Bombers 44 19.5
Light Bomber 25.5 6.5
Day Fighter 43 18.5
Night Fighter 39 15
Long Range Fighter 59.5 35.5
Torpedo Bomber 17.5 3
Sunderland Flying Boat 66 43.5
Catalina Flying Boat 77.5 60
Fighter Reconnaissance 31 9.5
Bomber Reconnaissance 42 17.5

The most hazardous role, Torpedo Bomber, was a Coastal Command role, although Flying Boat anti submarine patrol was comparatively safer than most other roles. Of course, the table may have looked much different if compiled in late 1944, although the Coastal Command Strike Wings - low level attacks against heavily defended targets in daylight over the sea - continued to suffer high loss rates.

Coastal Command Crews were awarded the Atlantic Star. In some cases, personnel also qualified for the Arctic Star.
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 12:41
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The most hazardous role, Torpedo Bomber,
In early '42, some Hampdens were switched to torpedo bombing. The Hampden had a very narrow fuselage, just the width of the single seat cockpit. If the pilot was hit, another crew member would have to drop the back of the pilot's seat, pull him out backwards, then climb over him to get to the controls. This would not have been easy at altitude - at torpodo dropping heights it would have been impossible. This may well have been a factor in the high torpedo bomber loss rates
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 15:35
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Izod - I wonder how those figures were arrived at. The chance of surviving two tours (as quoted) is a simple square of the chance of surviving one. That would indicate no learning, same op tempo, no better equipment etc etc

Horrible stats though...

Last edited by orca; 26th Nov 2019 at 22:24.
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 16:56
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Originally Posted by orca View Post
Izod - I wonder how those figures were arrived at. The chance of surviving two tours is a simple square of the chance of surviving one. That would indicate no learning, same op tempo, no better equipment etc etc

Horrible stats though...
empirical I guess
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 19:42
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Originally Posted by orca View Post
Izod - I wonder how those figures were arrived at. The chance of surviving two tours is a simple square of the chance of surviving one. That would indicate no learning, same op tempo, no better equipment etc etc
Horrible stats though...
Just read James Doolittle bio and he saw survival rate gets better the more missions and experience you have. He changed AAF missions from 25 to 35 and survival rate was better. Course he changed bomber escort fighter roles from escort to hunting. It meant Luftwaffe were getting jumped at their airfields and before they got near the bombers. Survival rates went up and fighter pilots loved it as they had free reign to shoot anything German including airfields.
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 20:38
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My father survived a tour as a torpedo bomber pilot, started out on Hampdens and converted to Beaufighter half way through his tour. He considered his chances of survival as an instructor subsequently on the Beaufighter OTU to be worse than ops. The instructor on the Beaufighter crouched behind the pilot's seat and had no chance of taking over control. After 3 of his friends were killed whilst instructing engine failure on take-off he decided to take the option of transferring to the technical branch as an armaments officer, since they were attempting to find people with the right technical background at the time.
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Old 27th Nov 2019, 00:26
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Coastal Command Crews were awarded the Atlantic Star. In some cases, personnel also qualified for the Arctic Star.
This is for those forum members who have an interest in medals. I once owned an interesting group of medals to a Blenheim Air Gunner who was killed late in 1940. He was a member of one of the ten Blenheim squadrons which were transferred from Coastal to Fighter Command at the time of the Battle of Britain. Initially his NOK was sent his medals which included the Atlantic Star with clasp "Air Crew Europe", but his father wrote to the Air Ministry querying the issue, and it was altered to Air Crew Europe Star with clasp "Atlantic", together with his 1939-45 Star with clasp "Battle of Britain" and War Medal. A most unusual B of B group of medals to a Blenheim air gunner. I haven't seen an Arctic Star group to the RAF as yet as I am a little out of touch now, but I can imagine there are quite a few around.
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Old 27th Nov 2019, 13:04
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Originally Posted by Tankertrashnav View Post
Without in any way denigrating the experiences and sacrifices of the men of Bomber Command I have often felt that the aircrews of Coastal Command have been somewhat overlooked in our view of air operations in WW2. I was once in the the RAF club when in the dining room was a gentleman celebrating his 90th birthday with his family. They were taking photos of the occasion and I offered to take one so they could all be in the picture. Seeing my nav tie the old chap told me he had been a nav on Wellingtons in Coastal Command during the war. His experience was one of seemingly endless uneventful flights over the Atlantic, with the ever present danger of losing one of their engines and the probability of ditching with a minimal chance of rescue. Not many medals and little glory or recognition - nobody has ever campaigned for a Coastal Command medal.
If I may add to TTN's thought-provoking post, no Sunderlands, but "lest we forget" the Coastal Command VCs, including the last living Word War II recipient, John Cruickshank....

Originally Posted by Tankertrashnav View Post
This is for those forum members who have an interest in medals. I once owned an interesting group of medals to a Blenheim Air Gunner who was killed late in 1940. He was a member of one of the ten Blenheim squadrons which were transferred from Coastal to Fighter Command at the time of the Battle of Britain. Initially his NOK was sent his medals which included the Atlantic Star with clasp "Air Crew Europe", but his father wrote to the Air Ministry querying the issue, and it was altered to Air Crew Europe Star with clasp "Atlantic", together with his 1939-45 Star with clasp "Battle of Britain" and War Medal. A most unusual B of B group of medals to a Blenheim air gunner. I haven't seen an Arctic Star group to the RAF as yet as I am a little out of touch now, but I can imagine there are quite a few around.
Including John Cruickshank VC, who has an Atlantic Star and an Arctic Star.

Jack
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Old 27th Nov 2019, 20:06
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Well I recall Signals Command becoming 90 (Signals) Group because I commanded the Guard of Honour at RAF Watton for CinC Strike's first visit, and the first grinning face out of the CinC's aircraft was that of the ADC, Ian Macfadyen
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Old 28th Nov 2019, 00:41
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Didn't Signals Command become 90 (Signals) Group, then Signals Command, then 90 (Signals) Group again, and finally Support Command?
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Old 28th Nov 2019, 15:15
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
Didn't Signals Command become 90 (Signals) Group, then Signals Command, then 90 (Signals) Group again, and finally Support Command?
Correct - on 31 Aug 73, RAF Support Command (RAFSC) was formed from the former Maintenance Command + 90 (Signals) Group transferred over from HQ STC. Training Command was then added in June 1977.



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Old 28th Nov 2019, 21:40
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I served on 115Sqn Argosies as part of 90 (Signals) Group and recall a visit to the HQ at Medmenham where a row of distinguished portraits were displayed without a single flying badge amongst them
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Old 29th Nov 2019, 09:40
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Dougie - 115 at Watton or Cottesmore?
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Old 29th Nov 2019, 10:18
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Union Jack - thanks for the info on John Cruikshank VC's Arctic Star.
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Old 29th Nov 2019, 14:32
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TTN - 🎖👍🏻😁
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Old 29th Nov 2019, 14:41
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Wander 00
Cottesmore from June 69. We had the Varsities from Watton there too which were fun to fly in as Pilot's Assistant. A welcome break from life at Benson.
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