10/11/42 No.2 (O) Advanced Flight Unit (Course 87). Millom, Cumbria

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I currently have no explanation for the relatively large gap of time between the order for Bob’s re-mustering and his arrival at No. 2(o) A.F.U.  –  it might simply be related to the length of an A.F.U. course and therefore based on a set ‘start’ date. Having arrived at the A.F.U he began his training as an Air Bomber. This training included, owing to physical proximity, gunnery practice as the front guns of the Stirling (and also the Lancaster) were sat above the Air Bombers nacelle at the front of the aircraft. The training also included navigation and basic flying. After a question posed on the RAF Commands forum regarding A/B training I received the following from Alan F/ 149nut;

The decision to implement the new Bomb Aimer/ Air Bomber category was put forward by Arthur Harris at the 29th March ’42 meeting under Portal, to discuss composition and training of crews on medium/heavy bombers. (AIR 2/2662 refers) It was decided to make Bomb Aiming a discreet trade to be conducted by a dedicated crewmember. Bombardier was the initial title, but this was soon changed to Air Bomber (AIR 6/73 refers) the new Air Bomber also became the “Pilot’s Assistant” (June 42 – only for Stirling and Halifax). Primary task of the Air Bomber was aiming and dropping bombs. He was also to be trained in Navigation, Gunnery and basic Pilot skills. (Bombing, map reading plus gunnery in an emergency. Also to act as pilot’s assistant. i.e. able to fly straight and level and steer a course – Ref Jefford). This meant that their entry standard was similar to Pilots and Observers, with similar pay, and commissioning quotas. ( Ref – Jefford )

As I noted in my reply to this information, I wonder if the absence of any obvious flying training at Millom suggests that this had been completed (Despite Bob’s damming personal assessment of his skills) at 15 E.F.T.S

Date Hour Aircraft & No. Pilot Remarks Flying Time
26/11/1942 12.40 Defiant G5 Sgt. Mathieson Tracer Den (Duty 20mins
27/11/1942 10.20 Defiant G5 Sgt. Forest Beam Airfiring (Duty)
No.3 stoppage. No rounds fired
20mins
11.50 Anson 59 Sgt. Edwards WSD (with a triangle symbol) (Duty) Vector Error 9 1hr 25mins
02/12/1942 14.25 Defiant G4 Sgt. Scott Air Firing – Beam (duty) 4 hits 30mins
03/12/1942 11.20 Anson 26 Sgt. Tims WSD (with a triangle symbol) (Duty) Vector Error 4 1hr 20mins
08/12/1942 14.00 Anson 26 Sgt. Tims B2 (duty) – I think this denotes ‘second bomber’ in exercise.
Exercise abandoned Weather U.S
40mins
09/12/1942 10.55 Anson 9 Sgt. Greville Navigation (duty)
Map Reading
3hrs
20/12/1942 0.40 Anson 18 P/O. Waters B2 (duty)
Exercise abandoned Weather U.S
50mins
22/12/1942 12.05 Anson 12 Sgt. Greville B2 (duty)
Exercise abandoned Weather U.S
45mins
30/12/1942 10.55 Anson 53 Sgt. George B2 (duty)
Exercise abandoned – signals indicated target u.s. – returned to base
50mins
30/12/1942 15.30 Anson 9 Sgt. Greville B2(duty)
6 bombs dropped – 65 yards error – 10000”
2hrs 10mins
31/12/1942 11.40 Defiant G4 Sgt. Mathieson Cine Gun (duty) 1hr

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Date Hour Aircraft & No. Pilot Remarks Flying Time
04/01/43 14.35 Defiant G7 F/Lt. Ritchie Beam Firing- fired 200 rds 1 hit 35mins
09/01/43 16.20 Anson 51 Sgt. Scutts B2 – exercise abandoned 55mins
14/01/43 17.10 Defiant G7 Sgt. Youens Beam Firing 20mins
15/01/43 10.20 Anson 53 Sgt. Timms B2 1hr 25mins
18/01/43 11.20 Anson 47 Sgt. Monniea B2 – excercise abandoned – cloudy 25mins
21/01/43 13.15 Anson 15 Sgt. Edwards B2 – 6 bombs dropped 4G 76yds – 1000’ 2hr 50mins
28/01/43 9.15 Anson 48 Sgt. Corewyn B2 – excercise abandoned – cloudy 30mins
29/01/43 11.35 Anson 5 Sgt. Walker B2 – 5 bombs dropped – 160 yds
Close group 10008’
2hr 25mins

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Date Hour Aircraft & No. Pilot Remarks Flying Time
01/02/1943 9.30 Defiant G9 Sgt. West Cine Gun  (duty)
18 feet fired
5mins
01/02/1943 13.50 Defiant G9 Sgt. Johnson Relative Speed (duty) 25mins
02/02/1943 15.20 Anson 51 P/O Graham Combined Exercise (duty) 2hrs 50mins
06/02/1943 13.45 Anson 7 F/S. Sanson B2 (duty)
Weater u.s. Exercise Abandonned
40mins
07/02/1943 16.40 Anson 39 Sgt. Stein B2 (duty)
5 bombs 120” Group (Close) – 10000”
1hr 50mins
12/02/1943 14.15 Defiant G9 Sgt. Matieson Beam Firing (duty)
80Rds Fired. 2 Hits
35mins
16/02/1943 14.10 Anson 44 P/O Watson Combined Exercise (duty) 2hrs 45mins
17/02/1943 17.30 Anson 31 Sgt. Corewyn B7 (duty)
8 bombs dropped Average error 46” & 35” 500”
1hr 5mins
18/02/1943 22.15 Anson 8 Sgt. Tims B5 (Night)
11 Bombs dropped – 2 close groups. – 10000”
1hr 50mins
19/02/1943 1.55 Anson 44 P/S. Miller Navigation (Night)
Map Reading. Base – Catterick – Hexham – Ayre – Base
2hrs 50mins
21/02/1943 16.45 Anson 37 Sgt. Carter B8
4 Bombs Dropped – Average error 13×1,500’
1hr 20mins
23/02/1943 17.30 Anson 17 F/S. Jennings Combined Exercise
Base – Whitehaven – Skares Rock – M. Galloway – Chicken Rock – Base Bombing Skares Rock.
3 Sticks Bombs with 2 bombs per stick
1hr 40mins
24/02/1943 16.35 Anson 16 P/O Graham B8
4 Bombs Dropped Average Error 13×1500’
45mins
26/02/1943 10.45 Anson 27 F/S. Tobias B3
Exercise Abandoned – Weather u.s.
1hr 5mins
26/02/1943 14.35 Anson 37 Sgt. Haynes B3
6 Bombs Dropped. Close Group 93×10000’
50mins
27/02/1943 8.25 Anson 18 Sgt. Tims B3
Exercise Abandoned – Weather u.s
2hrs
27/02/1943 13.40 Anson 8 Sgt. Corewyn B3
Exercise Abandoned – Weather u.s
45mins

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05/03/1943 13.30 Anson 30 Sgt. Malone B3
6 Bombs Dropped. Close Group90′-10000′
1HR 51mins
06/03/1943 16.15 Anson 4 Sgt. Simpkins Combined Ex.
Base-Kirkby Stephen-Carlisle-Dumfries-Corsenall PG-Whitehaven-Base
Bombing Askam 2 sticks 2 Bombs Each
2HR 50mins
09/03/1943 12.10 Anson 47 F/S. Tobias B8
4 Bombs Dropped
1HR 15mins
09/03/1943 16.10 Defiant G5 Sgt. Youens Airfiring Q.C.U.
200 RDS Fired
20mins
09/03/1943 16.55 Defiant G3 Sgt. Johnson Airfiring Q.C.U.
30 RDS Fired. Stoppage Belt Jammed
25mins
09/03/1943 18.00 Defiant G16 Sgt. West Airfiring Q.C.U.
200 RDS Fired
30mins
11/03/1943 8.05 Anson 7 F/S. Stern Map Reading
Base-St. Bees-Ballymoney-Chicken Rk-Base
2HR 55mins
11/03/1943 16.05 Anson 7 F/S. Greville Combined Ex.
Base-Kirkby Lonsdale-Wellington-Welshpool-Wrexham-Crannage-Kirkby-Base Bombing Duddon. 8 Sticks. 2 Bombs Per Stick
3HR 20mins
12/03/1943 10 Defiant G10 Sgt. Scott Air firing R Speed
200 RDS Fired
25mins
12/03/1943 11.5 Defiant G8 Sgt. Youens Air firing R Speed
10 RDS Fired. Links Jammed in Feedway
30mins
14/03/1943 8.05 Anson 34 P/O Morgan B3
6 Bombs Dropped. Close Group 122 x 10000′
1HR 30mins
14/03/1943 15.45 Anson 51 Sgt. Carter B4
4 Sticks of 2 Bombs Each. Group 98 x -10000′
1HR 45mins
18/03/1943 15 Defiant G8 Sgt. Youens Air Firing RS
200 RDS. 14 Hits
30mins
21/03/1943 9.15 Anson 24 Sgt. Eslick Combined Ops
Starboard Engine Cut – Returned Base
1HR 35mins
21/03/1943 15.15 Anson 53 Sgt. Mousdell Combined Ops
B.B.A Prestwick – Returned Base
2HR 50mins

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Above, the first 2 pages of Dad’s logbook showing his completion of initial gunnery and bombing courses – interestingly, he seemed to be better at gunnery (exam mark 78.5) than he was at bombing (68.5)

6 thoughts on “10/11/42 No.2 (O) Advanced Flight Unit (Course 87). Millom, Cumbria

  1. Jack Youens

    I was pleased to see all these Aircrew including myself. I am 92 now and finally posted to 21 Squadron 140 Wing Thorny Island. on Mosquitoes.

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    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      Hello Jack
      What a wonderful surprise to hear from you! – I must confess when I first read your comment I simply assumed that you were at Millom – but of course, having read back through Bob’s logbook, I realise of course that you Piloted him a few times – wow – what were the chances of us ever talking I wonder!

      I would of course, be fascinated to hear of any memories of your time at Millom – obviously I don’t expect you to have any memories of a young Scotsman who had just failed his Pilot training, but it would be fascinating to hear what you remember to just add a little more to my Fathers story.

      I really look forward to hearing from you

      best

      Simon

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      1. Jack Youens

        I appear to have lost your previous E mail and as a result have no Idea of your full name or  who Bob is. My own Log book has a record of every trainee I flew with both on Ansons  and Defiants. so I should be able to trace those you are interesting in. I was at Millom for 2 years before going on Mosquitos. I was trained at No 3 course Ponca City Oklahoma U. S. A. Where I flew the Stearman,Vultee and the Harvard I have been trying to find a photo taken of myself and 2 Spitfire pilots while at Millom with no effect. I am desperate to find this as I have no other picture of myself in officers uniform. You can see more by looking me up on face book. Or  just search F/O jack Youens, where you see many wonderful paintings etc signed by many top Pilots.  look forward to hear from you. Jack. jack_youens@yahoo.co.uk     From: 75(nz)squadron To: jack_youens@yahoo.co.uk Sent: Friday, 3 July 2015, 14:10 Subject: [New comment] 10/11/42 No.2 (O) Advanced Flight Unit (Course 87). Millom, Cumbria #yiv5905014177 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv5905014177 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv5905014177 a.yiv5905014177primaryactionlink:link, #yiv5905014177 a.yiv5905014177primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv5905014177 a.yiv5905014177primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv5905014177 a.yiv5905014177primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv5905014177 WordPress.com 75nzsquadron commented: “Hello JackWhat a wonderful surprise to hear from you! – I must confess when I first read your comment I simply assumed that you were at Millom – but of course, having read back through Bob’s logbook, I realise of course that you Piloted him a few times -” | |

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      2. Jack Youens

        I have checked my logbook and found  L,A.C.     Bartholemus  on my Defiant 9/3/43. This appears to be the only time he flew with me.   From: 75(nz)squadron To: jack_youens@yahoo.co.uk Sent: Friday, 3 July 2015, 14:10 Subject: [New comment] 10/11/42 No.2 (O) Advanced Flight Unit (Course 87). Millom, Cumbria #yiv5387960351 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv5387960351 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv5387960351 a.yiv5387960351primaryactionlink:link, #yiv5387960351 a.yiv5387960351primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv5387960351 a.yiv5387960351primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv5387960351 a.yiv5387960351primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv5387960351 WordPress.com 75nzsquadron commented: “Hello JackWhat a wonderful surprise to hear from you! – I must confess when I first read your comment I simply assumed that you were at Millom – but of course, having read back through Bob’s logbook, I realise of course that you Piloted him a few times -” | |

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      3. 75nzsquadron Post author

        Hell again Jack
        Apologies I saw your previous return comment yesterday, but have only just got back to my keyboard. I’m Simon Sommerville – the blog keeper as it were and also President of the Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association. The name you will be looking for in your logbook regarding my Father is R.D. Sommerville – not sure what his rank will be – I assume LAC.

        look forward to hearing back

        all the best

        Simon

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      4. Jack Youens

        my mistake. I must be feeling my age how on earth I did this. I have checked again and find he flew as L.A.C.   Sommervill on three occasions 14/1/43, 9/3/43, 18/3/43. Sorry From: 75(nz)squadron To: jack_youens@yahoo.co.uk Sent: Sunday, 5 July 2015, 18:11 Subject: [New comment] 10/11/42 No.2 (O) Advanced Flight Unit (Course 87). Millom, Cumbria #yiv4980912735 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4980912735 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4980912735 a.yiv4980912735primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4980912735 a.yiv4980912735primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4980912735 a.yiv4980912735primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4980912735 a.yiv4980912735primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4980912735 WordPress.com 75nzsquadron commented: “Hell again JackApologies I saw you r previous return comment yesterday, but have only just got back to my keyboard. I’m Simon Sommerville – the blog keeper as it were and also President of the Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association. The name you will be ” | |

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