RAF call up papers

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by lizzie3750, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. lizzie3750

    lizzie3750 Junior Member

    Can anyone tell me whether the RAF call up papers in WW2 were posted out to the individual, or delivered in person by someone from the RAF.
  2. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    Call-up papers for all three armed forces were sent through the ordinary post (with OHMS stamp) by the Ministry of Labour & National Service, the department responsible for allocation. By this stage a conscript would have already undergone a medical examination, including at least one preliminary interview, and would have some knowledge of what to expect and approximately when.

    Interface with the relevant armed force, e.g, the RAF, did not begin until the conscript reported to the designated training establishment (or sometimes designated transport at the local railway station).
  3. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Unless my memory fails me completely, as somoene who was called up on 1/10/42 I cannot remember having to attend a single medical examination PRIOR to joining the Army.

    Once I was in, then loads of examinations and inocculations/ vaccinations , but before ?

    Sorry but "No Sir !"

  4. lizzie3750

    lizzie3750 Junior Member

    Thank you both for your responses … much appreciated. Regards, Liz
  5. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    Sorry, No.

    The National Service (Armed Forces) 1939 expressly provided that no-one could be called up until he had been certified as fit for call-up (with an appropriate medical category) by a properly constituted medical board provided under the Act. The medical boards (meaning a group of doctors covering various aspects - the old PULHEEMS (Pulse, Urine, Lungs, Heart, Ears, Eyes, Mouth, Stature) were organised by the MLNS at designated centres, with fares paid for attendance if the nearest was beyond ordinary walking distance from home.

    This was carefully written into the Act to avoid the farces of WW1, whereby men could be called up only to discover that one leg was shorter than the other - I could cite an actual case - or that they had some permanent debilitating illness.

    Your memory has obviously failed.
  6. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member

    I think the difference is with the RAF in that they certainly had to go through an Air Crew Selection Board and then were sent home to await call up or were immediately signed on for ground duties initially, with the intention of switching them across when the need arose or the next course began.
    Like all good intentions, some guys stayed on these ground duties.
  7. lizzie3750

    lizzie3750 Junior Member

    So … have I got this right ...

    My uncle would have 'signed on' at some drill hall to go into one of the services, namely the RAF. He would then have been summonsed by the Air crew selection board to have a medical to see if he was fit enough to be in the RAF, and when he passed muster, he would then have been sent his 'calling up papers' to report to the RAF for training. That being the case … how long would this process have taken?

    regards, Liz
  8. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Some ephemera which may be relevant here - Certificate of registration, request to come for medical, medical grade card, request to come for selection board, call up - I use the word "request" loosely - these are from a few different people but as I say may be relevant - I've fairly often seen the registration, grade cards and Army call up sheet amongst soldiers paperwork and was always under the impression you registered then got called for a medical then got enlisted - but I'm just going on what I've seen rather than knowing that's how it works.


    Attached Files:

    Ulsinus likes this.
  9. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member


    You have it about right but you will see the paperwork from Alistair's thread. Great documentation.

    I have tried to cover this on my web site so have a looksee and see if it matches your thoughts. At the ACSB, the recruit was given the option, start immediately in some ground role and get moved through to Aircrew when wanted (some never did) or return home and await call up, with the possibility that they could be called up in the meantime to another service.

    The next question to ask is how old was he at this time? Was he called up or did he volunteer early, maybe to avoid call up into the Army? Remember they had many people telling them about there first hand experiences in the trenches.

    My Father was 13th June 1940 ACSB to 5th July Initial Receiving Wing. I do not know the period before this but it would depend on the shortages needed to be filled.

    My Father was also trained in the UK rather than sent overseas as part of the Empire Training programme.


  10. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

  11. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    Yes, this is essentially right. Leaving aside anyone who volunteered in advance of call-up, when different considerations applied, for those who allowed events to take their normal course:

    The first step was registration at the local Employment Exchange. The date of registration was governed by date of birth, cohorts of men born between certain well-advertised dates registering on a designated Saturday, the Exchange keeping open all day, instead of the usual Saturday morning only. At registration full personal particulars would be taken, including a preference for any particular branch or unit, but it was made clear that there was no guarantee that a preference would be met, as factors such as where the need was greatest, and personal suitability, fitness and qualifications had to be taken into account. Sometimes there might be a preliminary selection interview at the Exchange.

    The second step was a notice from MLNS to attend a medical "board", which might also include a selection interview.

    In some cases there might be a summons to a special interview, but otherwise, and assuming that one had been assessed medically fit, was a notice to a report to a particular training establishment. At this stage the relevant armed force, navy, army or air force, had been determined, but further selection between different branches or units might happen later in the course of basic training.

    There were inevitably special cases and unusual diversions, but that was the basic outline, and , as I have said, by law there had to be a medical exam before one could actually be called up. Further medical tests after call-up were a matter for the armed forces authorities at their discretion.
  12. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    Error, which the system will not permit me to delete.
  13. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    No, this cannot be right, but as to the correct version, this depends on whether your uncle volunteered in advance of call-up, or waited for events to take their course.

    If he volunteered, then that would have been at a RAF recruiting office, not "some drill hall" - drill halls were Territorial Army establishments, nothing to do with the RAF.

    If he waited for the normal course, then he would not have "signed on" at all - "signing on" means voluntarily enlisting in one of the armed forces. He would have been required to "register", not "sign on", at his local Employment Exchange (a local office of the Ministry of Labour & National Service), on his designated Saturday, according to his date of birth.Events would then have followed, as I have set out in my earlier post.
  14. lizzie3750

    lizzie3750 Junior Member

    … Just to give further information regarding my Uncle ….

    Firstly, he was married, so I don't think he would have actively enlisted, but i don't know. He was 20 years old at the time, and was told to report to 3 RC - Recruiting Centre – Padgate, Warrington, Cheshire on 5.2.41 as a reserve in the RAF. That was the beginning of his RAF career. Family stories say that he wanted to be a pilot but his vision wasn't A1, so he trained to be a wireless operator / air gunner.

    When you say 'Register' … Would that have been a general notice given out in a newspaper to all men to register, or would it have been a personal compulsory invite to register? I'm trying to get a clearer idea of the possible process he would have gone through?

    regards, Liz
  15. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    To answer the second question first, because it is simpler, the National Service (Armed Forces) Act 1939, which was passed the same weekend as war was declared, required all men then aged over18 but still under 41 (and younger men as they turned 18) to register, in staggered cohorts by date of birth, as announced in the press, on the BBC, and on public notices in town centres etc. Not registering could lead to prosecution, and some men were prosecuted. Even now, from a man's date of birth, I can say when he was due to register.

    With regard to the man in question, the reference to the Reserve makes me wonder whether he had previously joined the RAFVR, the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, which automatically carried a liability to be called for active service, just as hundreds of men and women have been called up from the TA in recent years for service in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    One clue as the man's status is whether the notice includes a RAF service number. If it does, then he was certainly already in the system, and therefore being called from the Reserve, as men called up as civilians were not given numbers until they reported for the first time.
  16. lizzie3750

    lizzie3750 Junior Member

    My uncle's DOB was 28.10.1920.

    On his service record it says his official number was 1090092
    Underneath that are large red letters ... N.E.
    Then AC2 5.2.41
    ACH / W.OP
    AC1 15.1.42 … But then this entry has a line through it.
    then LAC
    THEN Sgt

    In another section of his record it says...
    3RC Reserve
    Reserve RDU B'pool etc...
  17. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member

    3RC, Padgate Recruiting Centre No 3 RAF Padgate, Warrington

    Then put on reserve, i.e. not immediately called up for ground duties, before ACSB.

  18. PeteT

    PeteT Senior Member

    With that DOB he would have been required to register for National Service on 16th November 1940. The service number falls into the range 965000 to 1149977 allocated to Padgate which was utilised from September 1939 to April 1941.

    Also, on the front of his service record, there should be a "Miscellaneous" Section which normally has a stamp showing the number and date for his ACSB.

    Without the benefit of seeing the record, I am guessing that the date of his ACSB coincides with the date that he was released to reserve, so:

    RC date = Date he arrived for his ACSB (with ACSB being held the following day),
    RC / Reserve date = Date of his ACSB and the date he was placed on Reserve

    He would then have returned to civil life (on reserve) before being called upon for service some weeks (possibly months) later.

    If you would like me to look at / interpret the Service Record for you please let me know.


  19. lizzie3750

    lizzie3750 Junior Member

    That would make sense.
    Next to the 3RC is 5.2.41
    Then next line - 3RC Reserve 6.2.41
    Then next line - Reserve RDU B'pool 1.7.41
    Then next line - 10(S) RC 7.7.41 With code 605/41 confirming arrival

    It then goes on with more …

    SO … he would have registered on 16th November 1940 in York, at some RAF recruiting office.
    Then notice sent for him to report to Padgate on 5.2.41 - presumably for interviews and medicals and ? orientation. He would have then gone back home on the 6.2.41. His 'calling up papers' ?sent out on 1.7.41 telling him to report on the 7.7.41 at 10(S) … wherever that is (and the code 605/41 confirms his arrival).
    THEN … he is formally in the RAF?

    Does that all make sense?
  20. PeteT

    PeteT Senior Member


    Would you like to take up my offer of annotating the service record for you, as it is difficult to ensure accuracy without seeing it?



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