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TOPIC: 54 (Flying Training) Group

54 (Flying Training) Group 06 Oct 2014 16:45 #1

  • Carnaby
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No.54 (Flying Training) Group. July 1944

No.54 Group (Sunningdale) was part of Flying Training Command (Reading) in July 1944.

This structure is very different from that in 1942, see Post #20
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ACSB Aviation Candidates' Selection Boards.
ITW, Initial Training Wing
PRC, Personnel Reception Centre
PD&RC, Personnel Despatch and Reception Centre
RCW, Reception and Classification Wing
Location Unit(s)Notes
BirminghamNos.26, 27 & 28 ACSBs
BournemouthC&M Party
BridgnorthNo.80 ITW, (Air Gunners)
No.81 ITW, (Air Gunners)
No.50 ITW, (Navigators and Air Bombers)
BridlingtonNo.70 ITW, (W/O Air)
BrightonC&M Party
CardingtonNos.4 & 7 ACSBStation in Balloon Command
ChessingtonAir Crew Disposal UnitStation in Maintenance Command
CranageNo.90 ITW, (Flt Eng.)
DoncasterNos.1, 2, 8, 17 & 18 ACSBsStation in Transport Command
EastchurchCombined Re-Selection Centre
EdinburghNos.16, 24 & 25 ACSBs
Filey TownFrench Air Force Depot
No.23 (French) ITW
No.4 Air Crew Receiving Centre (French)
Goring-on-Thames?
HarrogateStation Headquarters
No.7 PRC
Heaton ParkAir Crew Despatch Centre
InnsworthNo.3 (RCAF) PRC, RCAF Band
LondonNo.3 Air Crew Reception Centre
No.30–34 RCW
Nos.11, 13, 14, 22 & 23 ACSBs
Personnel Selection, WAAF Training School
Preliminary Air Crew Training Wing.
ACSBs at Euston
MorecambeAir Crew Training Wing (Polish)Station in Tech Training Command
NewquayNo.40 ITW (Pilots)
OxfordNo.15 ACSB
PadgateNos.5, 6, 10 & 30 ACSBs
No.11 (RAAF) PD&RC
No.12 (RNZAF) PD&RC
PenarthNos.12 & 29 ACSBs
ScarboroughNo.6 Air Crew Reception Centre
Nos.35 & 36 RCWs
SheffieldAir Crew Refresher SchoolStation in Balloon Command
SnitterfieldRAF (Belgian) IT SchoolStation in 23 Group
Torquay,
Babbacombe,
Paignton
Holding Unit. C&M Party
UsworthC&M Party-

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Plan A is always more effective when the problem you are working on understands that Plan B will involve the use of dynamite :twisted:.

54 (Flying Training) Group 07 Oct 2014 10:22 #2

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The following is a precis of some information given in the excellent book:
Jefford, CG, (Wg Cdr, MBE, BA, RAF Retd). Observers and Navigators. Airlife Publications, Shrewsbury, 2001

The training system needed to be very flexible and changed many times during the conflict, hence there will be inconsistencies between this and the 1944 table above (in particular I note Uxbridge is missing from the table).
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Original Recruit Depots: Uxbridge, Cardington. Padgate added, then Bridgnorth. The four then were renamed Recruit Centres.

The first eight Aviation Candidates' Selection Boards were at Uxbridge (4), Cardington (2) and Padgate (2), and were operational in 1939. Thirty were in use by 1941.

Potential candidates were assessed by the ACSBs, after which they would return home and await instruction, which could take up to twelve months!

They would then be called up to a Receiving Wing, Babbacombe (Torquay), or Stratford-on-Avon. The function of these units was to hold then feed candidates into the Initial Training Wings. The RWs would, in 1941, become ITWs, and as there were now a large number of ITWs, the need to buffer candidates was reduced, but the function transferred to the Air Crew Reception Centre in St Johns Wood, London. Candidates would spend 3-12 weeks at the ACRC, the intake being 1,700 men per week.

At the peak the ITWs would cater for 17,500 pupils at any one time. Courses in 1944 were 8 weeks for Pilots, Navigators, Bomb Aimers, and 6 weeks for WOps, Air Gunners and Flight Engineers.

On completion of the ITW, candidates would pass to the Personnel Despatch Centre at Uxbridge (later West Kirby) before being sent to their respective flying training schools. In August 1941 the PDC became the ACDC at Heaton Park, which handled up to 2,000 pupils at any time.

Candidates awaiting pre and post ITW training became such a number that for a time a holding unit- the Air Crew Camp was established at Ludlow. It could handle up to 12,000 men. They would occupy their time typically doing work on the land, MT driving, assisting in building construction etc. It was felt that would-be navigators could have some skillful training, so a Navigator’s Bomber Pool was established at 3PRC, Bournemouth (later Harrogate).

Crew returning from their overseas training would be sent to 3 Personnel Reception Centre Bournemouth on arrival in the UK (500 officers and 1,500 NCOs per month). This function was later taken over by Harrogate.

The Air Crew Disposal Unit (initially at Brighton) would re-assess candidates who had failed their aircrew training. Later an Air Crew Training Wing was established at Brighton to provide extra tuition for failed candidates, before hopefully feeding them back into the system. This became the Air Crew Reselection and Training Centre, then the Combined Reselection Centre.

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Plan A is always more effective when the problem you are working on understands that Plan B will involve the use of dynamite :twisted:.

54 (Flying Training) Group 07 Oct 2014 15:15 #3

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Very interesting as I have just been going through my fathers service record

He started off on a path through 51 Group, do you have similar information to that in post #1 for 51 Group?

Eventually he went off to South Africa for Navigator Training.

Would the service record have gone with the men abroad?

Would the men have actually gone to all these different units ( the transit units) or were they admin locations only

Kevin

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kevin
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