Wellington Crew Rotation

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Red W, Nov 23, 2021.

  1. Red W

    Red W Member

    Hi, I wonder if anyone can help with an RAF question?

    I'm currently researching the Rear Gunner of a Wellington who was killed over Germany in 1942 and am building a picture of the crew he served with (thanks to the pilot, they all returned from the raid).

    What's surprised me looking back over Operational records, is that the crews and the Wellingtons in which they flew seem to change about quite a lot - I wondered if this interchange of men and planes was common?

    There was a single pool of men, but it seems only the Pilot, the Rear Gunner in question and one other Sergeant (role to be determined) were consistently together. Perhaps they liked working together?

    Any help appreciated (I've very much focused research on "brown jobs" in the past, so am less certain about the war in the air).

  2. P-Squared

    P-Squared Well-Known Member

    Crews were ‘crewed up’ during training and, in general terms, they flew together. Odd changes occurred (for example, if a crewman was sick or couldn’t fly for some other reason), but otherwise, they flew, fought and (too often) if it turned out that way, they died together.
    Blutto likes this.
  3. Blutto

    Blutto Banned

    My research on the RAF in North Africa suggests very much the same. Sadly crew members could die in more ways than the obvious; one interest of mine was killed by a landmine on a recently captured airfield.
  4. Red W

    Red W Member

    Thanks - that was my initial (basic) understanding.

    I was just a little surprised that, in the three months leading up to the Rear Gunner's death he took part in 15 raids, flying in 3 different aircraft. On 4 instances there was 1 change to his final crew, on another 4, 2 changes and on 1 occasion 3.

    It seems as though some of the final crew members flew in other planes on these raids, so perhaps they were filling in elsewhere?
  5. Blutto

    Blutto Banned

    Often the case, for example a simple thing like a head cold could exclude one or most of a crew.

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