RAF? Uniform identification

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by DPritchard, Aug 12, 2021.

  1. DPritchard

    DPritchard Member


    I know very little about these two people to the left and right of their parents. All I know is that they were a Harold Edwin Santer (b1924) and Richard J Santer (b1920) - J may be John. I was told that at least one of them was in the airforce and did very well. But that I'm afraid is all I know. Can anyone confirm this is RAF please? Other than applying for MOD records, are there any searches you know of where their names may appear so I can get a little bit of background info on what they might have possibly done in WW2? Many thanks in advance.

    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
  2. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Yes - one in RAF OR uniform.

    AIR 78/139 at The National Archives lists Harold Edwin Santer as RAF with service number of 1606447. There also is a card for R J Santer (initials only) 177943 but this equates to Robert James who had WWI/just post WWI service.

    Looking at the service number it is part of a batch issued between Sept 1941 and Nov 1942 at Oxford Combined Recruit Centre and is in line with an enrolement of HE when he was 18 in 1942.

    Ancestry has him on a family tree 6 dec 1945 as F/Sgt gaining pilot wings 24 EFTS at RAF Sealand from his Royal Aero Club Aviators Certificate 20789

    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
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  3. DPritchard

    DPritchard Member

    Excellent! Thank you Ross for finding this - very helpful.
  4. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member

    I have found a record for a Richard John Santer in the Burma Star Association database on FindMyPast. He served with the 1st Devons.

    This record shows he was resident at 8 The Crescent, Temple Street, Sidmouth, Devon.
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  5. DPritchard

    DPritchard Member

    Well, the family came from Sidmouth, so this is highly likely to be him. I did not know he had anything to do with Burma. Thank you for this.
  6. DPritchard

    DPritchard Member

    Am I right to assume that if Harold gained his pilot wings in ~ Dec '45, he did not complete any active service as a pilot in WW2? Yet he is a flight sergeant? Can you give me any more insight here possibly? Thank you
  7. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    All RAF ranks apply to both flying and ground duties.

    Flight Sergeant is a rank not a indicator of role in a similar manner Pilot Officer and Flying Officer are not exclusively for aircrew.

    He does not have the white cap flash denoting Aviation Candidate in the photo - pointing to not Pilot/Navigator/Bomb Aimer mustering at that time.

    That does not preclude re-muster as P/N/B or WOp/AG after a period in a trade.

    I cannot see a London Gazette entry linked to his Other Rank service number so it is unlikely that he was Commissioned pre or post war. Nor does he have a Birthday Honour or Mention in Dispatches that would typically be conferred on a long service trade supervisor or aircrew.

    So it looks like what used to be described as "X years undetected crime" - steady progress up through the ranks of his ground trade.

    Being put forward for pilot training in 1945 at the time when the RAF was contracting to peacetime levels points towards some excellence at that period in trade. With all the excess of driver, aeroplane in the RAF at that time suggests that the skill was important to his trade function.

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  8. DPritchard

    DPritchard Member

    Thank you for this background information Ross, very useful to know.

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