1941 US/Raf eagle units Orkney

Discussion in 'US Units' started by Tracing Grandad, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. hello, I am hoping someone can help or point me in the right direction please. I am researching my family and we have a mystery to solve. I believe my grandfather was in raf 129, his name was flynn and was something to do with the mustang aircraft. He was american of irish descent and was in Orkney in 1941, but I can only find records of 129 there in 1942. Where can I find more information, such as the members of the squadrons names?
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hello and welcome

    Need some facts here to sort out whats what

    Was he in the RAF or was he an American who joined up. If he was in the RAF [rather than the American Air Force] you can apply for his service records which will tell where he was, with which units and when he was there, and this is the basis of your further research
    The ONLY place to obtain his RAF service records are from the MOD and the link to their forms is - Request records of deceased service personnel

    No. 129 Squadron RAF - Wikipedia
    After spending August 1942 providing bomber escort and undertaking offensive sweeps over France the squadron moved to Orkney in Northern Scotland to provide local air defence.

    Seems 129 Sqdn wasnt in Orkney until the second half of 1942


    I also note : - converting to the P-51 Mustang in April 1944 - so you seem to be a little unclear of the timescales.
    Can you tell us as much details as you can about your grandfather, date of birth, where he was born, full name, date of death, places where he died
    alieneyes and Tony56 like this.
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  4. Thanks for the information. The problem is, other than his surname flynn, I am not sure of much else. The information I have is from DNA & relevant matches, but there is more than 1 candidate from either Massachussetts or Pennsylvania I know he was drafted in 1942 in the US but prior to that was in Orkney in 1941. I do not know for sure if this was as part if the Canadian air force or as part of squadron 129.
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hmm - so there is no one left alive that knows him, he could be American, he could be Canadian, he could be a pilot, he could be a member of the ground crew, he was in 129 squadron in Orkney in 1941 but they didnt arrive there until late 1942 ............................ you arent giving us very much to work with here

    Was your mother or father the only child of this man and your grandmother?


    No. 129 (Mysore) Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    The link below is something perhaps you should read, however there is no mention of any Eagle Squadron nor 129 Squadron nor Orkney


    Without more details I dont see how we can move this forward


    The Eagle Squadrons of WWII: American Volunteers Fly with the Royal Air Force | American Battle Monuments Commission

    Maybe you can contact something like this link as see if they have lists of of personnel
    Royal Air Force Eagle Squadrons «
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  7. Yes only child, wartime romance, life was short and the secrets went to the grave. I would like to be able to give my mother (his daughter), some answers. She is 77 so time is of the essence. I know its a big ask and I am asking for the moon. But it means so much anything you can do to help would be appreciated. I have hit one brick wall after another.
  8. And thank you for the links, i will follow these up
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Thats because you are very short on facts. Do you have your mothers birth certificate - what does it say?

    We have had a few similar requests over the years and not sure if any have resulted in finding the person they are after and that basically because as with yourself the facts are exceptionally sketchy.

    If you do come up with any facts, post or upload them here and we will try and help

  10. Birth certificate father unknown, from DNA am 90% sure his surname was Flynn, if there was a Flynn american from Massachussets or Pennsylvania in Orkney in 1941 either with the RAF/Canadian air force then thats who I am looking for. From research I did previously, bomber command were there doing some sort of development with the mustangs/spitfires Aug41-June42, but I can’t find the names of personnel to check if he was among them as I am not next of kin. Apparently the RAF were working with an american air company to quickly replace aircraft lost during battle of Britain. This was being developed at this time and as you rightly say they started flying in 1942, but I think he was involved in the development of them prior to that. I do have his first names but don’t want to publish them on a public forum for obvious reasons, he had other family.
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    If he was working on development etc then I would assume the best route would be via USA archives - either military or even perhaps commercial, BUT with the details you have given it is a really big task you have in front of you.
    It sounds as though he may not have been in an Eagle Squadron at all. If he was drafted in 1942 he could have gone either East or West to fight if in fact he did either [he may have been an instructor and stayed in US] and saying he was drafted in 1942 could mean he was non military prior to that therefore a commercial or test pilot [this all assumes he was a pilot and not some part of the ground crew or a civilian engineer].

    Maybe a trip to Orkney might open up something about where he was and who was there at that time

    Not sure what Bomber Command would be doing developping Mustangs/Spitfires. more likely Fighter Command


    Forgot to add : we do have a sister site that is based in the USA might be worth a try there, the link is WWII Forums
  12. Sorry meant fighter command. Will try the US site thanks for all your help and advice
  13. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    "Tracing Grandad"......I think that the Eagle squadrons link can be discounted.

    It might be that your grandfather joined the RCAF as many US nationals did and was posted to Britain before the US entered to war in December 1941.(Some, then after the US entered the conflict transferred to the USAAF).Your grandfather may have been serving with a RAF unit before in the Orkneys and was taken on the strength of No 129 Squadron when they were posted to the Orkney.

    No 129 Squadron was one of those squadrons which had the task of "fire fighting" as you might say,resulting in continuous postings to the length and breadth of England and Scotland for the duration of the war.The squadron also had a posting of less than a week at Llanbedr in Wales at a time after they converted to the Mustang in March 1944,being a Spitfire squadron for almost 3 years.....probably a few days in west Wales, dedicated to conversion training at a quiet airfield.Converting to the Mustang was related to its role for the invasion of Europe when it was established in No 133 Wing,No 84 Group of the 2nd Tactical Air Force.Unlike other TAF squadrons, its European operations were mounted from southern England airfields and it never served from continental airfields until after the defeat of Germany.

    In the period being discussed, the squadron was posted to Grimsetter (Orkney) on 25 September 1942 with detachments based at Sumburgh (Shetland) and Skaebrae to the west of Grimsetter. On 19 January 1943,the squadron was posted wholly to Skaebrae (Orkney).

    Unfortunately there does not appear to be a No 129 Squadron Association in being which might shed further information on the squadron activities and the names of individuals..... although references to groundcrew are normally somewhat sparse.On the other hand access to the Squadron ORBs (Operational Record Book) for the period will provide accurate information and sometimes features references to groundcrew individuals.

    As TD states if your grandfather served in the RAF,there must be a footprint of his service....gather as much information on your grandfather.....a service number would be the key for accessing his service record...look at any correspondence you may have,there might a such a reference among family possessions.
  14. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Unless you feel it is too public, you could also try the local history website in Orkney
    Orkney Heritage Society | Home

    or the Orkney Family History Society
    Orkney Family History Society

    I may be completely ignorant here, but is it possible that the Mustang aircraft that arrived in UK in October 1941 arrived at/or via Orkney. Maybe they arrived in crates & were assembled there. This may have required US civilian personel to be in place in the Orkneys a few weeks/months before October. Expect to be shot down in flames by others on this as maybe single engined fighters would not have been flown across the Atlantic at all.

    Of course the October 1941 time line may not fit with the birth date.
  15. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    An Eagle with Wings of Gold on JSTOR
    An Eagle with Wings of Gold: The Remarkable Career of Bill ... - Jstor
    An Eagle with Wings of Gold on JSTOR
    of the Eagle Squadron—the first British fighter squadron in World War II composed entirely of. Americans.1 .... Hanston in the Orkney Islands.25 In April 1940,.

    Contact these people and see if they can provide any further details or links -- Fortress Orkney - Multi Day Wartime Tour - Orkney Uncovered
    RAF Grimsetter WWII
    RAF Skeabrae WWII
    Sopmeone there may have company names, squadron lists whatever - anything to give you a lead

  16. The Oct 1941 timeline fits perfectly as she was born June 1942. I also thought that groundcrew or civilians were possible. I now have a lead that actually he could have been attached to the royal air force volunteers 71 squadron.

  17. I think his Service could have been no 61956
  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    So are you saying he was a Pilot and therefore not ground crew or a civilian of some description - if so how do you know this for sure.
    If he was drafted in 1942, how was he in the military in 1941 - you would need to find out how he could have done that, and presumably if you now have a service number then USA records will show up with that number and a draft date in 1942 for a person of the name you have.
    It doesnt look like an RAF service number

    71 Squadron was never based in Orkney - No. 71 Squadron (RAF) during the Second World War
    September-November 1940: Church Fenton
    November 1940-April 1941: Kirton-in-Lindsey
    April-June 1941: Martlesham Heath
    June-December 1941: North Weald


    One would also assume you ned a copy of this UK National Archives file as he would undoubtably be mentioned in it if he was a Pilot
    No 71 Squadron: Operations Record Book | The National Archives
    Reference: AIR 27/623
    No 71 Squadron: Operations Record Book
    Date: 1940 Sept. 1942 Nov.
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Former reference in its original department: IIM/E71/1
    Legal status: Public Record(s)
    Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

    There should be other similar files for other squadrons

  19. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Now, you can get somewhere. That service number comes back to a John Flynn. He was commissioned a Pilot Officer (keep in mind this is a rank, equivalent to a 2nd Lt, not necessarily his trade) on 18 February 1941. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/35127/page/1962/data.pdf

    His previous NCO number was 908842 which indicates he enlisted in the RAF at Uxbridge shortly after September 1939.

    And one more entry in the London Gazette has him promoted to Flying Officer (same caveat applies re Pilot Officer) 18 February 1942. Page 1336 | Supplement 35498, 24 March 1942 | London Gazette | The Gazette

    I would follow TD's advice in post #2 of this thread and obtain his RAF service record. Request records of deceased service personnel


    ozzy16 and Harry Ree like this.
  20. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Well found sir - all we need now is to know when he died, if that was in service then not a problem if out of service could be a lot more difficult - as we know a death certificate of either sort will be required for MOD to issue service records


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