looking for help and advice please

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by carter56, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. carter56

    carter56 Junior Member

    Hello I am trying to find any information on John Winstanley . He is a relative of my in laws. He was born in 1921 in Wigan Lancashire. He joined the RAF reserves in 1939 and all we know is he served in Africa , Sicily and was involved in Monte Casino and Salerno.
    He returned home around 1945.
    He spoke very little about his time in the war and these are the only details we have,
    Really don't know where to start.
    Could anyone point me in the right direction
    Any help or advice would be very much appreciated
    Thanks
    Linda
     
  2. dp_burke

    dp_burke Junior Member

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  3. dp_burke

    dp_burke Junior Member

    On the link to AIR78 the John names start on page 177 but there are lots of them so it doesn't help really. RAF is your best starting point per second link above.
     
  4. carter56

    carter56 Junior Member

    Thank you so much for your reply.
    I will ask again if they can give me any more details but this is all I have to go on.
    I don think they know much more as John never talked about his time in the war.

    Thank you
    Linda
     
  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    "He joined the RAF reserves in 1939" points to a high probability that he was conscripted from 3 September 1939 when all direct entries to the RAF were designated as RAFVR .......RAF Volunteer Reserve.

    As said, his service record is the key.If his number was available his direct entry location into the RAF would be easily found but there is no reason why RAF Records cannot produce his service record with the scant information tabled.
     
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  6. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    If you have access to Ancestry then you could try and locate him in the 1939 Register.
    It would hopefully give you street address and perhaps family and civil occupation.
    From what little you have, it would seem likely he was serving with the Desert Air Force, but as ground crew or aircrew can't be deduced from those scraps.
    Check with the in laws for any information, letters, memorabilia, reminiscences etc to build up as much as possible.
    But the best place to start would be to obtain his Service records, so a Death Certificate would assist with that.
     
  7. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    In 1939 John would only have been 17 or 18 years old, so I would have said it was unlikely he was conscripted, because I thought they started with older guys first. But I'm happy to be put right on this.
     
  8. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    3 birth results for 1921 in Wigan with mothers maiden names as either; Patten, Pendleberry or Ollerton. Also a result in Leigh Lancs, mothers name of Higginson. If any of those are familiar we might trace the family. 1939 register has several possibilities, what was his trade after the war? as professions are often listed, have a couple listed as, Apprentice motor mechanic and apprentice Plumber etc.
     
  9. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Just to show how difficult it may be to assist you on such little information, consider this
    "born 1921 in Wigan"
    John Winstanley birth registration:1921 Wigan, Lancashire, England mother:Patten
    John Winstanley birth registration:1921 Wigan, Lancashire, England mother:Ollerton
    John Winstanley birth registration:1921 Wigan, Lancashire, England mother:Pendlebury

    so can the in laws at least tell you his mothers maiden name?

    EDIT: Ah! 51highland won the Fastest Finger First competition!
     
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  10. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Unusual for me to win anything.!!!! Thanks.
     
  11. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Actually before then - the local paper here had a adverts from the RAF looking to recruit trainees to be sergeant pilots into the RAFVR as early as 1938
     
  12. carter56

    carter56 Junior Member

    His mothers maiden name was Ollerton and on the 1939 census he was living with his parents Thomas and Ellen and he was a painter and decorator
    Thank you
     
  13. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    As regards John Winstanley being in the RAF reserves,the other alternative would be that he was a member of the Auxiliary Ar Force which was a prewar group akin to a territorial force that manned the RAF Auxiliary Squadrons.These squadrons, in the No 600 series were incorporated into the RAFVR on 3 September 1939.These squadrons excelled in the Battle of Britain

    However,I cannot see that he would have been a member of the Auxiliary Air Force and would be as others,as a direct entry conscript, from 3 September 1939,designated as RAFVR. Had he volunteered for the RAF before the cut out date of 3 September 1939,he would have been designated as RAF.

    A view of Air Force war graves gives a good example of this principle....why are some CWGC grave tombstones showing RAF service and others RAFVR?

     
  14. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    So how come the RAF were advertising for direct entry into the RAFVR as trainee pilots in 1938?
     
  15. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    You are confusing the issue.The creation of the RAFVR being distinctly different to those personnel conscripted from 3 September 1939 and designated as RAFVR. No matter commissioned or not.

    Prewar the RAF had a dilemma in that their principle was that pilots should be commissioned.With the likelihood of a future war with Germany they formed the RAFVR in August 1936 to achieve a large pool of part trained personnel who could be mobilised in the event of an emergency.Recruiting began in January 1937 and was initially confined to airmen pilots commissioning although provision was made for reserve commissions to be awarded to suitable candidates above 21 years.This also applied to those with medical and equipment backgrounds.

    Some would refer to the RAFVR as having the structure of the territorial army and having a regional basis with ground training centre in a town which possessed a flying field.There had already been a provision for flying training from 1935 by the creation of 13 civil training schools which had been contracted for flying training by the AM.

    RAFVR flying training started in April 1937.Financial support was effected to add a further 10 civil flying schools.By December 1937,these training units then had their administration absorbed into the RAF Training Command and were numbered as Elementary and Reserve Flying Training Schools.(ERFTS)

    Your reference to Sergeant Pilots would be for entry into the Auxiliary Air Force squadrons...some groundcrew so recruited on the same part time basis but the squadrons were largely supported by the regular air force personnel.

    It would be appropriate to post the newspaper image referencing the requirements for Sergeant Pilots for service with the RAFVR as you claim .... perhaps then we can discuss it further
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
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  16. carter56

    carter56 Junior Member

    I know he wasnt a pilot
     
  17. carter56

    carter56 Junior Member

    He was some kind of ground support
     

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