Halifax crew designations

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by PRcrab, May 3, 2020.

  1. PRcrab

    PRcrab Member

    Hello all,
    I'm deciphering a sortie report for a Halifax on a Special Duties mission, dropping stores and agents in S France in 1943. In unpacking the crew roles, I have no problem with Pilot, Nav, W/Op, F/Eng, RG and Desp, of course, but I'm not sure what role 'B.A.' is an abbreviation for. I'm probably being stupid.
    Any ideas?
  2. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Bomb Aimer is usually entered as B/A
  3. PRcrab

    PRcrab Member

    Why didn't I think of that? Probably because they didn't have bombs, but they would have needed him for the canisters they were dropping.
    Thanks for the rapid response!
  4. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    During the continual ever changing aspect of flying training during the war,later in the war, Bomb Aimers passed out with the designation of Air Bomber.

    This can be illustrated with some aircrew casualties in the CWGC records where the designation of Bomb Aimer and Air Bomber are both recorded....the role remained the same.
  5. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    ... with the USAAF using "bombardier" usually found on the ground in the UK :)
  6. My grandfather flew Halifax as navigator/observer with 161 special duties squadron Squadron in 1943. By his flight log and other records, I can confirm B.A is the abbreviation for bomb aimer, but the role on such missions would have been a dispatcher
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Contrary to that, many supply drops involving "through the door" drops were managed by a dispatcher who would be additional crew, probably from a ground trade. As far as I am aware there was no crew designation of "Dispatcher", it being an ad hoc role. A Dispatcher would be found as a member of the crew of a transport such as the Dakota with "through the door" drops

    (I believe the Dispatcher is now a designated aircrew role in the modern Royal Air Force.)

    For normal supply drops to clandestine units involving the various types of containers, these were fitted to universal bomb carriers and dropped by the bomb aimer at the appropriate coordinates, backed up by visual signals from the reception party.
  8. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    MkII and MkV Halifaxes (in 148 Sqdn in 1944-45, anyway) lost the mid-upper turret, with the AG acting as dispatcher. Depending on the load, an additional dispatcher might also be carried ; a mixed delivery seems to have been common, requiring both Air Bomber and dispatcher.
    Stephen Hathaway likes this.
  10. I stand corrected. That would explain why there were eight crew on board the night their Halifax crashed.
    Further, I have just obtained this document:

    Attached Files:

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