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LAC aircrew WW2

Old 6th Oct 2022, 13:10
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[QUOTE=Ironically I recall being told of the withdrawal of Squadron colours from 28 Sqn aircrew for cowardice having abandoned their ground crew, so 28 Sqn was actually the ground crew.
[/QUOTE]

Actually, 28 Sqn was just the aircrew, as the punishment was they were not to have their own groundcrew. As Sek Kong started to drawdown prior to the Handover to China, I, as a member of Wessex Servicing Flight was canvassed by OC Aircraft Engineering Squadron as to whether I would support the transfer of the groundcrew to 28 Sqn.

My response - What! so when the Sqn withdraws at handover we can be left behind?
I think he got similar responses from most whom he asked. The groundcrew all remained part of RAF Station Sek Kong.

History doesn't just exist in books. I'd like to think that when 28 Sqn reformed at Benson, they still didn't get their own groundcrew as by then I think they were all civilian contractors.
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Old 6th Oct 2022, 14:50
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Originally Posted by Tengah Type View Post
For anybody wishing to read the background to the employment (misemployment?) of Air Gunners I can recommend Wg Cdr Jeff Jefford's excellent book
Observers and Navigators and other non-pilot aircrew in the RFC, RNAS, and RAF. It covers the whole history of that period.
This is one heck if a book, well written, logically presented, lots of relevant illustrations. I have the early blue and the augmented white editions.
not a bed-time read, the book is big, heavy and on quality paper.

Well worth a punt.
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Old 6th Oct 2022, 15:49
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Originally Posted by langleybaston View Post
This is one heck if a book, well written, logically presented, lots of relevant illustrations. I have the early blue and the augmented white editions.
not a bed-time read, the book is big, heavy and on quality paper.

Well worth a punt.
...and explains quite clearly why it is a "Flying Badge" and NOT a "Brevet"!
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Old 6th Oct 2022, 15:54
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During a Vulcan detachment to RAF Luqa, our hard-working Crew Chiefs and SNCO engineers were treated with open hostility by the Sgts' Mess 'City Father' SNCO penguins.

However, our boss didn't suffer fools gladly and 'invited' the CMC to his office over in the detachment accommodation. End of problem!
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Old 6th Oct 2022, 16:44
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My Father told me of his good decision not to go air gunner.
Strangely he did fly on leaflet missions, I think from Leuchars.
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Old 6th Oct 2022, 16:46
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It was ever thus, and applies to civvy street as well. There's an inbred aversion to us grease-monkeys whether we work on motorbikes, cars or aircraft, best summed up by my late friend Noel who acquired a Honda agency some 55 years ago. "You and I were always tinkering with our machines, Mike, we were happiest when plastered in oil or lying under the chassis. But today's youngsters are not interested, they won't get their hands dirty, they prefer to drop their machinery in to me. Of course it's great for my business, but what's going to happen when nobody wants to be an engineer?"

I think many engineers feel a step down in the pecking order as they don their overalls. Long ago I earned my A and C engineers' licences the hard way and I'm still proud to have attained them -- in fact I still value them more than my UK instrument rating. Some knights of the sky should remember who cares for their steeds ...
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Old 6th Oct 2022, 16:48
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NEO and 132 Bod. I served 2 tours on 28 at Sek Kong and Kai Tak. The story goes that we deserted our Ground Crew as the Japanese advanced. The truth of the matter yes, but as at the time they were flying single seat aircraft it was a little difficult to take them with them. So yes in Sek Kong the Ground Crew belonged to Wessex Servicing Flight. However at the end we all joined together to become 28 Sqn as has been alluded to. The Sqn moved back to Kai Tak from November 96 to June 97 until the aircraft went to Uruguay. I flew in the final fly past around the colony and finally flew the very last flight with the Sqn Boss to Stonecutters Docks on 13th June. I was then privileged to be invited to the reformation parade at Benson when they reformed at Benson.. The Ground Crew were well and truly part of the Squadron by then.
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Old 9th Oct 2022, 04:28
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My Dad was in the RAF from 1924 to 1930 - he qualified for the 'bullet badge' and flew on Vickers Virginias, Supermarine Southamptons, Fairey IIIs and the Blackburn Iris. He was also a qualified W/Op. In 1939 he was posted to France, and flew sorties in the Battle (recce) & Whitley (leaflet dropping). He was evacuated from Brest in Jun1940 after a month long convoy journey from the Reims area - he only just made it, and spent 6 hours in the water.
He also occasionally flew on Catalinas from Greenock before being commissioned and taking over as Adj on 120 Sqn in Iceland and Northern Ireland - he was awarded his AG badge and completed a number of Liberator sorties as well.
After the war he flew as a W/Op on a number of trooping flights to India & the Far East using Liberators and Yorks.
He stayed in the RAF until 1960 in administrative roles, but didn't always wear his AG badge, nor his Croix de Guerre medal ribbon for that matter - though I believe he was entitled.
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Old 13th Oct 2022, 07:39
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The Air Gunner Flying Badge was authorised under King’s Order 392 dated 9 Dec 1939. So the Air Gunner started in late 1939
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Old 13th Oct 2022, 07:50
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PS. I recommend Jeff Jefford’s excellent book on “non-Pilot” Aircrew that reveals the full story on Air Gunners prior to World War 2. There is a great story in there about the Air Gunner’s Flying Badge, where the original remains in the National Archives as pictures below:


This badge was presented to CAS prior to going to the Palace for His Majesty’s authorisation. However, the sharp eyed CAS noted that there were 13 trailing feathers on the wing and deemed it ‘unlucky’. So a PSO or SASO was tasked to find a pair of nail scissors to trim the 13th feather off, which if you look above can be seen by the gap by the khaki wreath. All RAF single-winged flying badges have had 12 feathers ever since (apart from the odd erroneous one in stores). This was again corrected in 2019 with a batch of WSO/WSOp Flying Badges in stock.
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