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Can anyone date and place this photo, please?

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Can anyone date and place this photo, please?

Old 8th Jan 2023, 12:48
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Originally Posted by DuncanDoenitz
He's in Blues; any time I was in Malta I was in KD, but I can't remember if that was seasonal.
Depended on the OC at the time; KD could be authorised for Apr or May. When I went to Cyprus in Apr, we were issued KD straight away.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 11:45
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Originally Posted by roger4
Based on my Father's National Service in the RAF in 1953-1955, it may have been for 2 years, rather than 18 months. Either way, the OP states that the chap's only time in the RAF was during National Service - if so, would he really have undertaken flying training if he was only in for 18 or 24 months? Maybe he did his flying training with an airline immediately post National Service?
Probably one of the better known examples is Frederick Forsyth, who served 1956-58 and flew Vampires.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 11:52
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Originally Posted by 212man
Probably one of the better known examples is Frederick Forsyth, who served 1956-58 and flew Vampires.
Thank you 212man, and to others who made the same point - I have learnt something new. I am amazed that the UK taxpayer paid for flying training for NS recruits.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 12:10
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I'd suggest it's F/O braid, and lower flat button (exposed below belt) and St Edward's (Queens) crown clearly indicate post-1952.
Blues and brown gloves may indicate northern hemisphere.
Lack of wings indicate pre-flying training.
Background doesn't look like Valletta or anywhere en-route to southern Africa but does look reminiscent of a colonial Naval yard. Doesn't remind me of Liverpool either so possibly not a departure.

From the details provided I'd therefore suggest a completely un-educated plump of an age 21 (post-uni graduation) deferred National Service pilot trainee candidate for the NATO Flying Training Course arriving at Halifax, Nova Scotia c.1954-55; perhaps aboard the Empress of Scotland or similar and moored either in the river or at Dartmouth/Alderney landing?

Just a suggestion to stimulate the debate - happy to stand corrected by those closer to the truth!


And to add to 212man's example- William Woollard (of original Top Gear fame) was also a NS pilot; who undertook the NFTC in Canada. (In his case, pre-University, so as an Acting P/O and at age 18.)
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 21:59
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Thanks again, everyone. There are three entries in the London Gazette which are confirmed as relating to his National Service:
Cadet Pilot 30/4/57;
Acting Pilot Officer regraded to Flying Officer, 30/4/58;
(RAF Reserve Officers) Pilot Officer to Flying Officer, 8/2/59 (seniority 8/11/58).

A photo of him with a RCAF Chipmunk (with bubble canopy) has confirmed that he did some or all of his flight training in Canada.
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 07:07
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Which all lines up nicely, albeit slightly later than my estimate above. The NATO Air Training Plan (NATP - ignore my reference to the NFTC, which is the more recent initialism) ran from 1950 and ended in 1958, so your colleague would have been on one of the latter courses. Chipmunks were used on the Primary Training School at RCAFS Centralia from 1954; progression from there would have been to No1. FTS on Harvards, then Advanced Flying Training; probably on the CT-133 Silver Star (Canadair licence-built, RR Nene-engined, version of the T-33 Shooting Star) and possibly at No.3 AFS, RCAFS Gimli. Perhaps the photo is following promotion to F/O, leaving or arriving back from a spot of UK leave between courses; before the presentation of wings.

And the transfer to the reserve on return was a well trodden path. Of the more well-known NS pilots, Norman Tebbit (who trained in the UK) and William Woollard both went on to fly Meteors in the reserve with 604 Sqn. William Woollard is still with us at 83 - having survived (and actually apparently enjoyed!) the Meatbox....

Good luck with your continuing investigations and condolences to family and friends.

Last edited by Squipdit Fashions; 10th Jan 2023 at 08:30. Reason: To add Harvards
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 10:43
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Thanks, SF! That's very interesting. The good news is that his daughter seems to have access to some or all of his logbooks, so we should be able to learn if he followed the type progression in Canada that you've outlined.
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 17:56
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I'm now most grateful to someone who saw this thread and offered to look at the immigration records of sailings, given the subject's name. He has come up with the following:

Departed Southampton on 4 Jun 1957 onboard 'Liberte' of cie Gle Transatlantique, bound for New York.
Returned from Montreal, arriving Liverpool on 3 Aug 1958 onboard 'Empress of France' of Canadian Pacific Steamship Line.


So, he was only at each of the four ports once. Does anyone recognise those buildings in the background, bearing in mind that both sailings were in summer?
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 18:46
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Originally Posted by Squipdit Fashions
Which all lines up nicely, albeit slightly later than my estimate above. The NATO Air Training Plan (NATP - ignore my reference to the NFTC, which is the more recent initialism) ran from 1950 and ended in 1958, so your colleague would have been on one of the latter courses. Chipmunks were used on the Primary Training School at RCAFS Centralia from 1954; progression from there would have been to No1. FTS on Harvards, then Advanced Flying Training; probably on the CT-133 Silver Star (Canadair licence-built, RR Nene-engined, version of the T-33 Shooting Star) and possibly at No.3 AFS, RCAFS Gimli. Perhaps the photo is following promotion to F/O, leaving or arriving back from a spot of UK leave between courses; before the presentation of wings.

And the transfer to the reserve on return was a well trodden path. Of the more well-known NS pilots, Norman Tebbit (who trained in the UK) and William Woollard both went on to fly Meteors in the reserve with 604 Sqn. William Woollard is still with us at 83 - having survived (and actually apparently enjoyed!) the Meatbox....

Good luck with your continuing investigations and condolences to family and friends.

I worked for 10 years for a guy that was a National Service pilot and finished up on Meteors. Not for the first time, I think that is why I got a job.





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Old 11th Jan 2023, 21:42
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Originally Posted by Chris Scott
I'm now most grateful to someone who saw this thread and offered to look at the immigration records of sailings, given the subject's name. He has come up with the following:

Departed Southampton on 4 Jun 1957 onboard 'Liberte' of cie Gle Transatlantique, bound for New York.
Returned from Montreal, arriving Liverpool on 3 Aug 1958 onboard 'Empress of France' of Canadian Pacific Steamship Line.


So, he was only at each of the four ports once. Does anyone recognise those buildings in the background, bearing in mind that both sailings were in summer?
In case it helps, here's the full width of the background in the original image:


So is it Southampton or New York in 1957?
Or Montreal or Liverpool in 1958?

Last edited by Chris Scott; 11th Jan 2023 at 22:12.
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 23:07
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The St Edward’s Crown (incorrectly called “Queen’s Crown” by some) was not authorised until 11 Nov 1954 under Air Ministry Order A274. Even then, old stocks of badges were to be used first before the new badges/buttons with St Edward’s Crowns were issued. So this photo is likely post Nov 1954
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 23:17
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It's not the 'St Edward's Crown' - It's the Edwardian Crown.

As opposed to the 'Tudor Crown'.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 08:35
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LJ - agreed; we'd already narrowed the image to 1957 or 1958, My feeling (mainly due to the apparent F/O rank, but also because the 5-bar rail is hugely reminiscent of the Empress of France's upper promenade/lifeboat deck - admittedly a long shot!) is the return journey in 1958; but I don't think it's Liverpool - the Empress of France would have probably discharged passengers at Princess landing stage, then berthed at the Canadian Pacific quay in Gladstone Dock; it doesn't look like contemporary images of either. Similarly, the skyline doesn't remind me of Montreal. So rather at a loss for the location. She also may possibly have stopped off at Quebec, or bunkered at Halifax, before the Atlantic crossing? C'mon, Ppruners with transatlantic crossing experience!

ExA2 - disagreed; whilst the Tudor crown was named after the Tudor dynasty, the St Edward's Crown was named after Edward the Confessor, canonised in 1161.

To return to the subject in hand; one more London Gazette entry for you, Chris - transfer to the reserve noted on 8th Nov 1958 (recorded in the 28th Nov Supplement). This corroborates with the seniority of promotion to Flying Officer in the reserve, at your post #25; but also signifies the date that the National Service period ended.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 11:51
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Originally Posted by Squipdit Fashions
LJ - agreed; we'd already narrowed the image to 1957 or 1958, My feeling (mainly due to the apparent F/O rank, but also because the 5-bar rail is hugely reminiscent of the Empress of France's upper promenade/lifeboat deck - admittedly a long shot!) is the return journey in 1958; but I don't think it's Liverpool - the Empress of France would have probably discharged passengers at Princess landing stage, then berthed at the Canadian Pacific quay in Gladstone Dock; it doesn't look like contemporary images of either. Similarly, the skyline doesn't remind me of Montreal. So rather at a loss for the location. She also may possibly have stopped off at Quebec, or bunkered at Halifax, before the Atlantic crossing? C'mon, Ppruners with transatlantic crossing experience!
[...]
To return to the subject in hand; one more London Gazette entry for you, Chris - transfer to the reserve noted on 8th Nov 1958 (recorded in the 28th Nov Supplement). This corroborates with the seniority of promotion to Flying Officer in the reserve, at your post #25; but also signifies the date that the National Service period ended.
I did wonder if any ship afficionados might be able to distinguish between the deck rails of the Liberté and the Empress of France !

Thanks for the extra Gazette entry, from which I infer you worked out the name. If his National Service did not end (officially) till about 3 months after his return to Blighty, one wonders what he might have been doing in the interim. Am hoping his logbook will provide the answer, but any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 12:00
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Photo of the Liberté's railings. Looks very similar.



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Old 12th Jan 2023, 13:59
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RMS Empress of France (1928 - 1960)
Photo courtesy of
LIVERPOOL SHIPS The Canadian Pacific liner EMPRESS OF FRANCE (ex DUCHESS OF BEDFORD) of 1928
quoting an article in the Liverpool Echo, April 1958.


(Alongside the Canadian Pacific berth at Montreal, date unspecified)

Thanks, I42. This boat deck is also pictured as having 5 steel bars below the rail. Similar to the Liberté...

Last edited by Chris Scott; 12th Jan 2023 at 14:14.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 14:37
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Just an observation:

La Liberte does not appear to have a teak rail, whereas the Empress of France and the OP's original image show a teak rail.

IG
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 15:15
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Exactly the photo of the EoF that I was working from! Also; the Liberte appears to have a lower bottom rung; no toeboard and the top rail is fitted above the bracket. Top rail on the OP photo is fitted flush, with an integral (inset) bracket in the underside of the teak rail. Apologies for getting us into the weeds of ships' railings!

As for what the subject was doing in the 3 months between return and transfer to the reserve - I suspect (if the photo is indeed the return journey) that there was 14 days disembarkation leave, a(nother) wings parade (trainees would also have been entitled to the Canadian NATO wings on completion, but this could not be worn on UK uniform), tailor's parade, admin, de-kitting, fitting for a finest demob suit - not to mention some bulling, buffing, painting and general military waiting around; just to remind the recipients that a year or two of learning to fly in Canada actually constituted National Service!

On a more serious note; Chris, as you say, I did gather the name; and having read the additional information thus available, it was quite the life and career. When the time is right and if the family wish, it would be great to share some wider details (perhaps also on the civil threads); people such as your colleague deserve to be remembered - which is exactly why I like (hope) to help with some of the historical threads where I can. I'm straying into the realms of speculation with this thread now; so as before, best wishes and thoughts to family and friends.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 19:17
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Thanks, Squipdit Fashions and Imagegear. On the basis of what you've identified, it seems to be the Empress of France and, therefore, the return journey from Montreal to Liverpool in 1958.

Any necessary bunkering at Quebec or Halifax would have been an opportunity for a photo, light permitting, but I wonder if he would have still been wearing uniform at that point. (How times have changed!) I reckon Quebec might have taken around 10 hours' sailing from Montreal; Halifax a couple of days.
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Old 12th Jan 2023, 22:38
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Originally Posted by Chris Scott
In case it helps, here's the full width of the background in the original image:


So is it Southampton or New York in 1957?
Or Montreal or Liverpool in 1958?
Due to the lack of skyscrapers New York might be the least likely.
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