Stationed in Silloth in 1945.
“During my training the aircraft I flew were the Wellington XIV. These, I believe, were all ex operational aircraft from various Coastal Command Squadrons.”
Most of the aircrew attached to No 1 OTU spent a very short period of training at Silloth before being posted to operational squadrons. The way in which crews were formed seemed rather ad hoc as described in his letter:
“This was where Coastal Command crews of various aircrew trades got together and formed a complete crew. This was done in this case at the Officers’ Mess where it gave one a chance to meet the officer aircrew as well as the NCO. It always seemed a good idea to either form an all officer or all NCO crew since one had a better chance of getting to know members of the crew you belonged to.
Most people formed a crew soon after they arrived, hence by the time the Officers’ Mess crewing thing went on most people were crewed up anyway leaving the odds and sods to sort themselves out.
In comparison with Bomber Command the aircrew complement in my case was different. The crew consisted of pilot, co-pilot, navigator and three Wireless Operator/Air Gunners who were also the Airborne Radar Operators. Hence you spent 45 minutes on the radar, 45 minutes on the rear gun turret and 90 minutes on the radio. Depending on the length of the flight it was like musical chairs.
I was a Wireless Operator ASV Gunner. The ASV bit meant Air to Service Vessel. That was the radar bit.”
Other Wireless Operators/Air Gunners who wrote to us were: S D Durden; Bill Booth; Hugh Fisher.
Extracted from RAF Silloth – Wartime memories of the men and women who knew the airfield at Silloth when it was operational. Ed. Maggie Clowes. Retyped by Chris Graham.