Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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Operational Training Units


No 24 Operational Training Unit

Originally planned to form on 15 October 1941, formation was delayed and it eventually formed at Honeybourne on 15 March 1942 as a 2/3 status unit within No 7 Group (No 7 Group was redesignated), equipped with Whitleys and Ansons tasked with training night bomber crews, being raised to full status in September 1942.   It was allocated Long Marston as a satellite but initially only the defence squadron was located there.  The first aircraft, 10 Whitleys and two Ansons and on 15 May 1942 it  was transferred to No 93 Group.  Aircraft from the unit took part in the third of the 'Thousand Bomber' raids against Bremen with three failing to return.  Control was transferred to No 91 Group on 15 November 1942 and it disbanded on 24 July 1945

Officers Commanding:

15 Mar 1941                    Gp Capt E D Barnes

20 Apr 1943                    Gp Capt A C P Carver

28 Mar 1944                    Gp Capt G V Lane

Codes used: -

FB Mar 1942 - Jul 1945
TY Mar 1942 - Jul 1945

UF

xxx 1944 - Jul 1945

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 25 Operational Training Unit

This was formed at Finningley on 1 March 1941 within No 7 Group, tasked with training night bomber crews equipped with Hampdens and also from May Manchesters, with the first course commencing on 17 March.  A satellite was established at Plum Tree Farm, Bawtry, which was later renamed Bircotes and in in June 'B' Flight began using Balderton, a satellite of Syerston.  In November work at Bircotes enabled it to be prepared for occupation with the main party arriving on 14th of the month and 'E' Flight's Manchesters following three days later.  By April 1942 the Manchesters had been retired and on 11 May it was transferred to No 92 Group (No 7 Group was redesignated) and along with other OTUs it provided aircraft for the three 'Thousand Bomber' raids, 30/31 May against Cologne, 1/2 June against Essen and 25/26 June against Bremen.  On 1 September, to No 93 Group, and at the same time was reduced to 2/3 status, resulting in some trainees and aircraft being transferred to Nos 26 and 81 OTUs.  At the same time the unit converted to Wellington IIIs.  Flying ended on 7 January 1943 to enable runways to be constructed at Finningley and personnel began to be posted to other units, many going to other OTUs and the unit disbanded on 31 January 1943.

Officers Commanding:

 1 Mar 1941                    Gp Capt J C Foden

18-30 Dec 1941              Wg Cdr P Slocombe (Temp)

30 Dec 1941                    Gp Capt J N Boothman

10 Jun 1941                     Gp Capt R G Harman

19 Jan 1943                     Sqn Ldr R C van der Ben

Codes used: -

PP Mar 1941 - Feb 1943
ZP xxx 1942 - Feb 1943

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 26 Operational Training Unit

This was planned as a Blenheim training unit at Cranfield and was due to form in April 1941, but formation was cancelled.  Personnel for the unit began arriving at Wing in November and it eventually formed on 15 January 1942 as a 2/3 status unit within No 7 Group, equipped with Wellingtons to train night bomber crews.  A satellite at Cheddington was taken over in March with key personnel and equipment continuing to arrive throughout the month with the first aircraft arriving on 22 March in the form of four Ansons and the following day the first Wellington arrived. The first 15 members of course No 1 arrived on 21 April, with two more the following day and another 12 on the 23th, training officially beginning on 25 April.

 On 11 May it was transferred to No 92 Group (No 7 Group was redesignated), having expanded to full strength.  Along with other OTUs it provided aircraft for the three 'Thousand Bomber' raids, 30/31 May against Cologne, 1/2 June against Essen and 25/26 June against Bremen, losing one aircraft on each of the first and last raid.  In September Cheddington was handed over to the USAAF and in its place took over Little Horwood, being expanded to full strength the same month.  In June 1944 it appears to have been selected to undertake, on an experimental basis, to one of the earliest units to take part in what would later be known as 'Time and Motion' studies.  It was reduced to strength in August 1944 losing Little Horwood as a satellite but reverted to full strength in October, regaining Little Horwood as a satellite at the same time.  From 9 April 1945, the station began to be an arrival point for aircraft transporting POWs from the continent and during the following month 32,822 personnel were returned from the continent through RAF Wing.  As a result of the disbandment of No 92 Group, it was transferred to  No 91 Group on 15 June 1945, and supposedly disbanded on 4 March 1946 but the ORB continued to report activity on the unit into April with no mention of a disbandment.

Officers Commanding:

15 Jan 1942                    Sqn Ldr A W G Martin

17 Jan 1942                    Gp Capt S M Park

 1 Jan 1943                     Gp Capt J Bradbury (until 12 Feb 1944)

 1 Mar 1944                   Gp Capt R M Coad

21 Mar 1945                  Gp Capt R A R Mangles

14 Jun 1945                    Gp Capt R M Coad

21 Jan 1946                    Gp Capt D D'A A Greig

Codes used: -

EU Jan 1942 - xxx 1944
PB Dec 1941 - Mar 1946

WG

Jan 1942 - Mar 1946

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 27 Operational Training Unit

This was formed in No 6 Group on 23 April 1941 at Lichfield, equipped with Wellington ICs to train night bomber crews, with the first course arriving at the end of May.   By the end of September it had taken over RAF Tatenhall as its satellite.  Transferring to  No 91 Group (No 7 Group was redesignated) on 11 May 1942, it trained large numbers of RAAF crews during its career.   Along with other OTUs it provided aircraft and crews to the three 'Thousand Bomber' raids beginning on 30/31 May when 21 crews were sent to Cologne without loss. However, an aircraft and crew was lost on each of the subsequent raids against Essen on  1/2 June and Bremen on 25/26 June.  Church Broughton was taken over as a satellite on 25 August 1942 with Maintenance Wing and 'B' Flight moved there from Tatenhill in late October, after which the latter was placed in Care & Maintenance but was still available for flying but was transferred on loan to Flying Training Command on 7 November.

In view of the number of RAAF personnel being training at the unit, in June 1943 command was placed under a RAAF officer.  Control passed to No 93 Group on 1 September 1943 and on 19 June 1944 the 93 Group Junior Officers' Course began under the control of the unit.  It reverted back to No 91 Group control on 14 February 1945 before disbanding on 22 June of the same year, although the closing down and disposal process continued into July.

Officers Commanding:

23 Apr 1941                            Flt Lt R S Blackman

13 May 1941                           Gp Capt O R Gayford

12 Sep 1941                            Gp Capt L M E Jarman

24 Jun 1942                             Gp Capt C E Horrex (until 16 Jun 1943)

17 Jun 1943                             Gp Capt P G Heffernan RAAF (injured in collision of X3924 and LN295 on 6 Nov 1943)

 9 Nov 1943                            Gp Capt E Burton (injured in a car accident 17 Dec 1944)

17 Dec 1944                            Wg Cdr A W Doubleday RAAF (Temp OC- CI)

 1 Jan 1945                               Gp Capt H I Dabinett 

xx xxx 1945                              Wg Cdr ?

Codes used: -

BB Apr 1941 - Jun 1945
EN Apr 1941 - Jun 1945

UJ

xxx xxxx - Jun 1945
YL xxx 1943 - Jun 1945

 

Personnel of No 27 OTU, Lichfield - July 1941

Personnel of No 27 OTU, Lichfield - July 1941

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 28 Operational Training Unit

The personnel for this unit began arriving at Wymeswold on 14 April 1942 with the arrival of the Station Defence Personnel followed two days later by Engineering, Equipment and Catering personnel under the command of the Senior Engineer Officer.  With the arrival of the Station Admin Officer the station officially opened under his command.  Officially formed in No 92 Group on 16 May 1942, it was to be equipped with Wellington ICs to train night bomber crews but the following month was transferred to No 93 Group remaining under its control until disbanding.  It almost immediately took over Castle Donington as its satellite and a steady build up began with the first aircraft for flying training arriving in July.  The first course arrived on 4 August with the second arriving two weeks later.  Although Castle Donington had been in use for flying for a few months it wasn't officially opened as a satellite until 1 January 1943 when a flight from RAF Finningley was moved to the new satellite.

In June 1943 it moved its base of operations temporarily to Ossington, whilst airfield lighting was installed and in June 1944 to Bircotes whilst runways were laid at Wymeswold by which time it was operating Wellington IIIs and Xs.  It also used a wide variety of other types for support activities including Ansons, Defiants, Martinets , Oxfords and Tiger Moths.  As the need for bomber crews diminished, the unit disbanded on 15 October 1944, with the stations being transferred to No 44 Group, Transport Command.

Officers Commanding:

30 Apr 1942                    Sqn Ldr J Blackmore

 1 Jun 1942                      Wg Cdr J R Bell

Codes used: -  

LB May 1942 - Oct 1944
QN May 1942 - Oct 1944
WY May 1942 - Oct 1944

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 29 Operational Training Unit

Formed at North Luffenham on 21 April 1941 within No 7 Group, it was intended to be equipped with Whitleys, but this was changed to Wellingtons, initially on a OTU basis.  Transferring to No 92 Group (No 7 Group was redesignated) on 11 May 1942, training began in June, using Woolfox Lodge as a satellite.  Unlike other OTUs it was only able to provide aircraft and crews for the last of the 'Thousand Bomber' on 25/26 June against Bremen when it supplied eight aircraft.  Between 24 May and 1 June 1943 the unit moved to Bruntingthorpe with Bitteswell as its new satellite with flying training recommencing on 5 June. 

In November 1944 Bitteswell was transferred to No 44 Group, Transport Command with 'A' flight being transferred to Little Horwood as part of No 26 OTU, thereby reducing it to OTU, which it remained until it disbanded on 27 May 1945.

Officers Commanding:

xx Apr 1941                        Gp Capt R T Taafe

20 Aug 1943                       Gp Capt R D Stubbs

Codes used: -

NT Apr 1942 - May 1945
TF Dec 1942 - May 1945

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 30 Operational Training Unit

Formed in No 92 Group on 28 June 1942 at Hixon, it was equipped with Wellingtons to train night bomber crews and by 1944 it was operating Wellington IIIs and Xs, taking over Seighford (also referred to as Whitchurch Heath) as a satellite on 1 July.   On 15 July it was transferred to the newly formed No 93 Group and the satellite was opened on 28 July.  The first course of trainees began ground training on 8 August and commenced flying training on 23 August, with the second intake of trainees arriving the same day.  With closing of No 25 OTU at Finningley, No 30 was brought up to full strength with Wellington ICs being replaced by Wellington IIIs and Xs.

As the need for bomber crews diminished, Seighford was transferred to Flying Training Command resulting in the unit being reduced to three-quarter strength in October 1944.  On 25 January 1945 it began relocating to Gamston, a process which was completed on 2 February and at the same time was transferred to No 91 Group, with training recommencing on 4 February until disbanding on 12 June.

Officers Commanding:

 28 Jun 1942                                Gp Capt H McC White (took over command of RAF Hixon on 8 Jun 1942)

15 May 1944                               Gp Capt R A C Barclay

 2 Feb 1945                                 Gp Capt F F Rainsford

Codes used: -

BT May 1942 - Feb1945
KD May 1942 - Feb 1945
TN May 1942 - Feb 1945

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 31 Operational Training Unit

Planned as No 80 OTU it was formed at Debert in Canada on 23 May 1941 as a Hudson equipped General Reconnaissance training unit.  It also undertook anti-submarine patrols from Dartmouth over the Western Atlantic.  In May 1944 it began to receive Mosquitoes and its role changed to that of training strike crews, but on 1 July 1944 it was disbanded by being redesignated No 7 OTU, RCAF.

Codes used: -

LR May 1942 - Oct 1942

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 32 Operational Training Unit

Formed as a General Reconnaissance training unit at West Kirkby on 20 July 1941, it embarked for Canada on 21 July and arrived at Patricia Bay in British Columbia on 9 August.  The following month it received Ansons with Beauforts being received in October and following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, it adopted an operational role, carrying out patrols along the West coast of Canada.  However, it was soon clear that the Japanese were  not planning to attack that far north and the unit reverted to a training role.  In May 1942 the Beauforts were replaced by Hampdens and from December 1943 it began to received Dakotas and Expeditors.  On 21 February 1944 the Hampdens were transferred to the RCAF and the unit began training transport crews, moving to Comox on 26 May, being redesignated No 6 OTU RCAF on 1 June.

Codes used: -

DK Sep 1941 - Oct 1942 (use not known)
OP May - Oct 1942
RD Sep 1941 - May 1942
HA (use not known)
HM (use not known)
LB (use not known)

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 34 Operational Training Unit

Formed at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on 17 April 1942 when its personnel arrived from Britain, it took up residence at Pennfield Ridge as an Anson equipped General Reconnaissance training unit. in May with Venturas beginning to supplement the Ansons in June.  Hudsons were also used from August 1943 but the unit disbanded on 19 May 1944.

Officers Commanding: -

27 May 1942                    Gp Capt A C Evans-Evans

Codes used: -

FY Jun 1942 - Oct 1942

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 35 Operational Training Unit

This was to be formed in Canada as a bomber OTU but formation was not proceeded with.

 

No 36 Operational Training Unit

Leaving England on 24 February 1942, it arrived at Greenwood, Nova Scotia, where it began training General Reconnaissance crews from 9 March using Ansons and Hudsons.  In April 1943 its role was changed when it received Mosquitoes and these continued in use until it was disbanded by being redesignated No 8 OTU, RCAF on 30 June 1944.

Codes used: -

EF May 1942 - Oct 1942

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 38 Operational Training Unit

This was to be formed in Canada as a bomber OTU but formation was not proceeded with.

This page was last updated on 15/02/19

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