Ops Record Books for OTUs and HCUs and some general queries.

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by KensSon, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. KensSon

    KensSon New Member

    I'm trying to piece together my father's war with the RAF in WW2, and in particular the sorties he took part in. His name was Kenneth Ross Pay DFC and he was a rear gunner with Bomber (and Coastal) Command.

    Some relevant dates from his service history:

    5 May 1942: 24 OTU
    9 Jul 1942: 1652 (presumably HCU)
    26 Aug 1942: RCAF 405 Squadron
    20/21 Sep 1942 Commission - Pilot Officer
    17 Dec 1942: 10 Squadron
    21 Mar 1943: Flying Officer
    15 Sep 1943: 1652
    6 Jul 1944: 41 Base No 4 Group
    21 Sep 1944: Flight Lieutenant

    I have, or am in the process of obtaining, ops records books for his time with 405 and 10 Squadrons. I've traced him on ops with 405 Squadron from Sep to Nov 1942. I can't trace what was happening between his posting to 10 Squadron in Dec 1942 and his first mission with them on 3 Apr 1943. He doesn't appear in the ops records during this period. What was the standard procedure? I have records of his ops with 10 Squadron from Apr to Aug 1943.

    In addition, I have a feeling he may have taken part in operational sorties with 24 OTU and/or 1652 HCU. Can anyone kindly help with some general information about the likelihood of this and, in particular, how to obtain the ops record books? The search facility on the National Archives website requires squadron number and will not accept OTU or HCU numbers.

    Many thanks

    Andy Pay
  2. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Only one mention in the No.1652 CU ORB (AIR 29/612)

    Night of 31st July/1 Aug while at No,1652 CU

    Halifax L9616 coded M up at 00::38 down 04:59 at Dalton

    Abandoned mission, jettisoned bombs into Filey Bay at 04:35 hrs 2,000 ft safe brought back 12 SBC.

    Rear Gunner

    Edit - Second one line entry when he was posted back in as instructor.

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  3. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson Member

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  4. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

  5. me474

    me474 Junior Member

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  6. KensSon

    KensSon New Member

    Looks like there's plenty there to be getting my teeth into. I'm very grateful to you all for your help.
  7. Oggie2620

    Oggie2620 Senior Member

    Has anyone got access to 267 Squadrons ORB for 1943 to 1945 please. Am particularly looking for a Warrant Officer Stanley White (WopAG) who did both North Africa and Burma.
    Many thanks
  8. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    Hi Andy,

    Your Dad’s postings mirror my grandfather’s in many respects, they were at 24 OTU at the same time - your dad on the gunnery course and my grandad on the observers, then on to 1652 CU for Halifax conversion. Their paths crossed again in July 44 when they were posted in to 41 Base HQ; your dad as Base Gunnery Leader and my grandad as Base Bombing Leader.
    He flew one op while training at 24 OTU, bombing Bremen in Whitley BD230 from 14000 ft. on 26 June 1942, then his aborted raid on Dusseldorf on the 31st July/1st Aug with 1652 CU. 1652’s CO, Leonard Cheshire, was his pilot. There were no ops flown by 1652 CU while he was there as an instructor in 1943 or ’44, nor while he was Base Gunnery Leader at 41 Base, he is mentioned sporadically in the 41 Base records, It notes him visiting 4 Group HQ for a Gunnery Leader’s conference and also visiting some of the stations under the command of Base HQ. His final mention was being posted out to RAF Finningley on 18.12.44.
    If you send me a PM with your email address I will send you the ORBs that are of interest.


    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016
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  9. Charles Ameresekere

    Charles Ameresekere New Member


    I am new to this forum. I am trying to find someone who has access to the 1652 HCU ORB from Dec 1943 to Aug 1944.

    My relative Ekanayake Edward Amerasekera DFC from Ceylon (RAF records sometimes spell his name as Ameraskera) served as a Navigator with 158 SQN (June to Dec 1943) and was posted to 1652 HCU after his tour. From there he went to serve a 2nd tour with 640 SQN in Aug 1944.

    He may have flown one Op with 1652 between those dates. Any help finding the ORB is greatly appreciated.

    Charles Ameresekere
  10. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    Hello Charles,

    The 1652 ORB shows him posted in from 158 Squadron w.e.f. 30/12/1943. The 1652 CU ORB ceases in February 1944 and any postings of airmen is then recorded in the 41 Base (Marston Moor) ORB.
    The 41 Base ORB shows he was posted to 1655 MTU w.e.f. 14/3/1944, it doesn't give his return date but he is then shown as posted to 43 Base (Driffield) w.e.f 31/5/1944.
    Then he is posted from 43 Base to 44 Base (Holme on Spalding Moor) on 14/6/1944 for Ferry Duties. He is finally posted to 640 Squadron on 16/8/1944.
    There is no record of him flying on any Ops while with these units, unless he was temporarily attached to one of the squadrons based there before his move to 640 Squadron.


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  11. Charles Ameresekere

    Charles Ameresekere New Member

    Dear Pete,
    Thank you very much for this most valuable info. None of this appeared on his service record. The only lead I had was from the 158 SQN ORB showing his move to 1652 CU and then the commencement of his 2nd tour with 640 SQN in Aug 1944. Nothing in between. Unfortunately, since OTU and HCU ORBs are not available online, I had been stumped until now.

    In you research into RAF records, have you come across RAF enlistment lists? My uncle came with the first batch of Ceylonese for the Pilot, Navigator, Bomb Aimer program. They arrived in UK on the SS City of Exeter and enlisted together. So they ended up with similar service numbers starting with 13969. . . (Enlisted at Euston Sept 30, 1941). I know there were at least 2 more batches and I have service numbers for some (i.e. 1399697 Dugald Abayasekera 18 SQN. KIA), and am looking for a list so I can ID the names of all of them.

    Also, do you know of any source online where I can find ORBs or records for the following units? I have seen course photos etc online for some batches / courses.
    5 ITW (Dec 13, 1941 to May 1942)
    1 Empire Air Navigation School (May 2, 1942 to Sept 1942)
    1 Advanced Flying Unit (Sept 26, 1942 to Nov 1942)
    10 OTU - Abingdon (Nov 30, 1942 - April 27, 1943) crewed with Stanley W Emms, John McGuire etc...
    1652 HCU (April 27 1943 to June 13, 1943 converting from Whitleys to Halifaxes) I just noticed it is the same HCU you provided the info about.

    You can find an article I wrote about my relative back in 1998 at the link below.. It's got some errors (i.e. SS Exeter should be SS City of Exeter).

    Thanks again for all your help. I really appreciate it.
    Kind regards,
  12. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    That's a fascinating article about a fascinating man, Charles - thanks for sharing it.

    Cheers, Pat
  13. Charles Ameresekere

    Charles Ameresekere New Member

    Thanks Pat. I started this research about 20 years ago and was lucky to have located all of the surviving crew members from 4 different crews he flew with. Unfortunately, kids and other priorities took me away. I am trying to get back into things and hopefully complete the research now.
  14. Mark Sewell

    Mark Sewell New Member

    Hello, i am new to this group and wonder if anyone can help.

    I am tracing my grandfathers steps whilst he served in the RAF in WW2. I have obtained his service records but like some who have already posted have gaps and the National archives have not digitalised some records.

    I'm looking for ; Thomas Latham 56200, he joined 1652 CU on 27.3.1942 before being posted to 76 Squadron on the 10.6.42.
    after that 462 sq until 2.1.43 where he is shown 23 PTC, 22 PTC 38 EU (or EV) HE back in UK 6.2.43.

    next entry is 1658 CU with no date until he posted to 102 SQ 16.8.44.

    I have found him in ORB's for 76 SQ, 462 SQ and 102 SQ. I understand that the HCU and CU units also went on sorties for Bomber Command. Does anyone have access to the record of events for the ORB's for the CU units or how i can access them please?

    Any help would be appreciated.....

  15. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member


    Unfortunately, the No. 1652 HCU ORB has very little information on pupils....unless they were in an accident.

    I've attached a few pages from around March and April 1942. I looked ahead to the Cologne raid of 30/31 May 1942 which lists serials and crews of the 13 Halifaxes which participated from No. 1652 and no sign of a Latham.



    Attached Files:

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  16. Mark Sewell

    Mark Sewell New Member

    Dave ,
    thank you for the information any idea about 1658 CU?

  17. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Sorry, Mark, I have about five or six HCU ORBs (not 1658) and they are all like that. Very disappointing from a research point of view.

    If your grand dad was a Flight Engineer then he is most likely the man mentioned as posted to No. 76 Sqn on 10 June 1942.

    Attached Files:

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  18. Mark Sewell

    Mark Sewell New Member


    Yes that's him we was an engineer. As you can see he returns to UK february 43 then joins 102 Sq August 44 and the only entry in between is 1658 CU! Thanks very much for your time I will persevere


  19. Mark Sewell

    Mark Sewell New Member

    As you can see 3rd crew down sortie dated 2.11.44 so the entry dated 16.10.44 is confusing!!
  20. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    I was going to start on a whole diatribe about how many errors can be found in just about any squadron ORB.

    But I suspect that 16 October 1944 is when your grand dad was commissioned a Pilot Officer. Close. The London Gazette has his commissioning on 17 October:


    It may sound funny but you see it in a lot of service files. "Discharged to a Commission"

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