21 Operational Training Unit

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Donnie, May 21, 2013.

  1. Donnie

    Donnie Remembering HHWH

    Hi all,

    Before my uncle was posted to 38 Squadron he served with 21 Operational Training Unit. First of all, does anyone have a copy of the ORB for them? Second, am I correct in thinking that OTU's often contributed to sorties? If so did 21 OTU?

  2. urqh

    urqh Senior Member

    24 OTU at Honeybourne...my local bomber field...certainly contributed to live ops...And leaflet dropping..Didn't the first so called 1000 bomber raid use the OTU aircraft that were available to them...?
  3. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    Hi Donnie,

    Yes OTU's did contribute to Operations, but only as part of the main force in 1942, after that you may find the odd one or two Nickel raids but nothing dropped in anger.

    All 1942
    30-31 May Cologne
    1-2 June Essen
    25-26 June Bremen
    28-29 July Hamburg
    31 July-1st Aug Dusseldorf
    10-11 Sept Dusseldorf
    13-14 Sept Bremen
    16-17 Sept Essen

    You don't say what timeframe you are looking at but if your uncle wasn't at 21 OTU around those dates it's highly unlikely that he flew on any Ops whilst there.


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  4. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    Hi urqh
    Are any buildings still standing? My grandad did his OTU training there and at it's sister airfield at Long Marston.
  5. Donnie

    Donnie Remembering HHWH


    Uncle was posted to 21 OTU before he was at 5 Middle East Training School this being his last posting before going to 38 Squadron in July 1942. I sadly don't have dates as they are not included in his records. So he was posted to his unit in July '42 so I guess he was at 21 OTU late '41 early '42?

    I did find a source that before passing out of 21 OTU you had to do one flight over enemy territory, don't know how true that is?

  6. Pieter F

    Pieter F Very Senior Member

    That's correct. I have some OTU ORB's mentioning the crews made a flight over enemy territory, while a screened pilot, WO and AG were added to the crew. Later in 1942 OTU crews did take part in the major raids snailer mentioned above. And there were off course the Nickel raids.
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  7. Donnie

    Donnie Remembering HHWH

    Doesn't look like the OTU ORBs have been digitized yet which is a shame. Out of interest, if an airman took part in a raid as part of an OTU would he then qualify for say the Air Crew Europe Star?

  8. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    His graduation Op was 25/26 June to Bremen in Wellington DV838 coded W.

    Image from AIR29/665 - Copyright TNA


    Attached Files:

  9. Pieter F

    Pieter F Very Senior Member

    They haven't. But great to see Ross was able to provide you a copy of the 25/26 June page.

    The MoD-website mentions about the Air Crew Europe Star: "Aircrew Europe Star was awarded for 60 additional days’ service in an RAF Unit engaged in operational flying over Europe from bases in the UK with at least one operational sortie."
  10. Donnie

    Donnie Remembering HHWH


    That's incredible, I had never considered that he took part in a raid before reaching his squadron let alone the 1000 bomber raid over Bremen! Many thanks for the information. Another part to his story.

    All the best, Don.
  11. urqh

    urqh Senior Member

    Yes mate....Honeybourne has quite a few left...hangers and the shelters at Weston Subedge....Entrance by gate farmer does not mind as long as you don't bother sheep. Some Makrete huts or whatever...Lots of little conrete and brick objects near old runway...Its stll got the feel of a bomber base...Long Marston the subsiduary airfield is undergoing extensive knocking down and builiding...Its about to dissapear...Interestingly, around the Honeybourne site...at Bretforton, and near Offenham and Badsey there are spigot mortar bases or concrete slabs with plaques commemorating the home guard who were at the time included in the airfield defence plan. Offenham has a lovely old pillbox and under river avon at the ford...a lovely tank trap...Don't know about Lincoln being bomber country...Worcs Glos and Warwks, had enough in the air..even if training or conversion...The wellingtons at Moreton...Defford...secret squirels...Pershore/Throckmorton...Wick,Conberton GCI..and then there is was...Malvern...Early years of the war are fascinating times in this area...
  12. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    Cheers, sounds a fascinating part of the world.

    And no, I don't bother sheep .
  13. Donnie

    Donnie Remembering HHWH

    Out of interest, when taking part in these raids what higher formation did 21 OTU belong too? And i take it they came under Bomber Command?

  14. Donnie

    Donnie Remembering HHWH

    Having had a look 21 OTU came under 91 Group of Bomber Command. 91 Group appear to have suffered the worst losses on the Bremen raid. I think I will apply for the bomber command clasp for my uncle. He seems to fit the requirements.

  15. aussie_59

    aussie_59 Senior Member

    Hi Pete,

    Do you know if No. 1 OTU contributed to Millenium II and if so, how many a/c? I've looked into this raid in terms of 59 Sqn and the Coastal Command contingent...


  16. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    Hi Lorenzo,

    I've no idea I'm afraid, No 1 OTU was a Coastal OTU as far as I know and it's not really my area of research. Hopefully someone who knows the ins and outs of Coastal Command will be able to help.

    Purely guessing, I'd say no.


  17. Phil B

    Phil B Junior Member

    This is an extract from Thomas Archibald West's log book who was the 'Air Gunner' on these flights. Does anyone have more information about them please? cheers Phil
  18. gary coe

    gary coe New Member

    Just like to thank you guys, Ross in particular for allowing me to view my fathers op on the Bremen raid ORB 25/26 June 1942, Wellington DV 811, Wop Sgt Eddie Coe, being trying to get this for years.
    Regarding the Air Crew Star, no chance, the medal people quote 60 days, starting from the graduating sortie, and this is the bone of contention, considered not fully trained up to this point, in Eddie's case, along with the rest of the rooky crew, who had already flown out to join 70 Sqn, 205 Group, MEF, and were bombing shipping in Tubruk harbour on the 31st July 1942, just over 30 days. This fully trained ruling was not in the original criteria and I believe was brought in to prevent other commands qualifying for the Star, after all it was Harris who needed the rooky crews to make his numbers up (1000 raids).The 2nd Pilot Sgt Cozens was the instructor on this Bremen raid, allowing Sgt Alan Wilch the skippers job.

    The Bomber Command Clasp can only be claimed for sorties after D-Day, 6th June 1944.

    Best wishes to all Gaz Coe.
  19. gary coe

    gary coe New Member

    Correction to above the Bomber Command Clasp is in place of a medal and awarded for any time during the war. Please accept my apologies, Gaz Coe.

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