Help with understanding service record

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by JohnMH, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. JohnMH

    JohnMH Junior Member

    I am trying to unravel my late father’s career in the RAF during the war. He was LVH Horrigan 1577094, a wireless operator in the RAF from July 1941 to June 1946. I have a copy of his service record but I can’t understand some of the acronyms and the significance of them. Also, was a period of 2 ½ years between enlisting and joining an operational squadron usual? If anyone can offer any information or explanations I would be grateful.
    Below are chronological extracts from his service record.

    25.7.41 Birmingham (Why Birmingham when he lived in Scunthorpe?)
    26.7.41 from Birmingham to res
    13.11.41 From res to 3R.C.
    Then 10 (S) R.C. (undated)
    5.3.42 4 Sigs. School
    4.6.42 Uxbridge (SDL)
    R.C. of Sigs. (A) (Royal Corps of Signals?)
    18.1.43 SDL Uxbridge
    18.1.43 Regents Park
    (Undated) 2 R.S.
    2.6.43 From 2 R.S. to 7 A.G.S. (Air Gunnery School – have a photograph)
    24.6.43 From AGS to 3 (O) A.F.U.
    3.8.43 18 O.U.T. (Operational Training Unit?)
    27.10.43 From 18 O.T.U. to 1662 C.U. (Conversion Unit at Lindholme?)
    20.2.44 1 L.F.S. (Lancaster Finishing School?)
    1.4.44 1662 C.U.
    1.4.44 Joined 101 Squadron (I am aware of ABC etc.)
    22.6.44 Posted Missing W CAD (what does that mean?) then reclassified POW

    I have already found information about his aircraft, the raid it was on when it was shot down, the POW camp and the ‘Long March’.
  2. DoctorD

    DoctorD WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi John
    RC = Reception Centre
    RS = Radio School
    LFS= Lancaster Finishing School
    OTU= Operational Training Unit
    CAD= ???
    Course of training for W.Op/AG was 3months to get up to 20wpm in Morse code at Sigs School, many of whom failed from psychological exhaustion, but the successful one's went to Radio School to learn basics of radio. They then decided whether to complete training as an AC2 Wireless Operator (ground duties) or whether to go for the "glamour" of flying operations, preceded by training in air gunnery for specific aircraft, prospectively passing out as a Sergeant WOp/AG. In which case they completed technical training on airborne transmitter/receiver equipment before going for air gunnery training, finishing at Operational Training Unit.
    Sorry, can't help with any more.
  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    CAD = Central Ammunition Depot?

  4. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    W CAD on 22.6.44.Not sure about CAD but the raid was on the synthetic oil plant at Wesseling (perhaps the W).CAD might be an abbreviation and part of the Air Ministry code for the raid.

    No 1 LSF was the newly reopened RAF Hemswell after concrete runways had been completed in the autumn of 1943.

    No 1662 HCU was at RAF Blyton,a few miles north of Gainsborough, a mere cockstride from Hemswell.Your father must have reported back to Blyton for his posting to Ludford Magna (101 Squadron base) on the same day after the completion of his finishing course at Hemswell.

    Incidentally the Lancaster finishing courses were an additional stage of training to the HCU and was intended to fine tune the conversion to the Lancaster.HCUs tended to have an assortment of 4 engined heavies and the LFS training was intended to provide dedicated Lancaster training to enable crews to quickly assimilate to the aircraft in their new operational role on a squadron.As you can see, LFSs could add a further 2 months to the flying training programme,not a bad price to pay if it decreased the loss rate of crews.

    You father must have gone to Birmingham for an assessment, and a medical, returned to Scunthorpe (res) then been called up and then reported to No 3 RC which I believe to be No 3 Recruitment Centre.This was generally the norm that recruits who had volunteered from occuptions which were screened, would be sent for when they could be released from their civilian occupation or at a convenient time for RAF induction.

    No 18 OTU main base was at RAF Finningley with a number of out stations and satellites.(Lindholme was the home of No 1667 HCU and it might be that Lindholme was being used by the Finningley OTU in addition to its other locations.)

    You father's service record reflects the extensive selection techniques and training necessary to progress a recruit from induction to a position where he could occupy a specialised role in the crew of a bomber of an operational squadron.Looking at the time he spent on No 101 Squadron, I would think he was downed before he could complete more than a few air operations.His log book should be able to reveal his flying record and his air operations to enemy targets.
  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    On looking through this thread I realised that when I was doing my own research on my late brother Jack I had also failed to go into the meaning of CAD.

    Have a look at the image below.

    It is part of Jack's records and you will see that the entry 3 lines from the bottom says "W" or "I"/CAD followed by NE, this follows the report of his death on the 14/16th March

    Good luck with your research John.

    Best regards


    Attached Files:

  6. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    WCAD = War Casualty Accounts Department.

    Thanks to AlanW

  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    That is a good one Peter and fits the bill.I say bill because this was the date that income changed for the individual person.No organisation can function without an accounts department.

    I am remindered of a pilot, now living in Boston who gave an account of his experience of the managing of accounts.On a raid,he diverted to Sweden and he and his crew were interned but shortly released and flown back to England.However while his was in Sweden he was given 5 pounds from the British authorities to cover toileteries for himself and his crew.By the the time he had got back to England, his pay had been docked 5 pounds by the Accounts Department for his loan in Sweden.Now that is the ultimate in financial management at the time of war.

    (Letter to the DT a few years ago and I did not save it.I remember I traced him and his operation at the time.I may have added a note in the Chorley.)

    Ron,I wonder what AE is in your brother's RAF record entry as "WCAD AE".Or is it,NE.
  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    with ref to:
    Ron,I wonder what AE is in your brother's RAF record entry as "WCAD AE".Or is it,NE.

    I now make that definitely WCAD NE

    Does that tell us anything ?

  9. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Ron,you are correct and it does tell us something about the Royal Air Force records administration system.

    Given that WCAD is War Casualty Accounts Department.On a personal record file,does it indicate that airman/airwoman was a POW or such like?.

    I say this because your brother's file carries as as you know, the abbreviation NE which apparently stands for "Non Effective".Does that mean that WCAD NE on a personal file was used to indicate that the airman/airwoman was in the category status as missing, believed killed or reported as killed?.

    I cannot see what a "Non Effective" WCAD reference indicates as Pay Accounts would have a pay settlement process in both cases of the person becoming a POW or being a Casualty.

    "NE" might indicate that a Casualty's Pay Account was closed.
  10. JohnMH

    JohnMH Junior Member

    Thanks for everyone's help so far. It has certainly been of use in understanding a bit more. When my father returned to the UK his movements are posted as

    12.5.45 106 PRC
    23.8.45 109 PC
    16.10.45 RAF MtBATTEN
    29.11 45 Calshot
    27.6.46 100 PDC I think it says 'release' against this entry but the release date stamped on his record is 1.9.46
    Also, on 16.6.45 his rank was changed from T/F/Sgt to T/W/O (exactly 2 years after becoming 'T/F/Sgt'). What do these initials mean and what is the significance of the change in 1945?

    Once again, any help would be greatly appreciated.
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    PRC would be Personel Reception Centre and the date and your father's status as an ex POW gives a clue.This would be the RAF unit that your father returned to on returning to England usually by Lancaster air ferry.

    2 months at 100 PRC where he would be debriefed on a wide range of intelligence and his medical fittness would be ascertained and medical treatment given if necessary.

    Not sure about 109 PC but your father would be on the route to demobilisation according to his release priority.This was at a time when the Royal Air Force was shedding large amounts of personel through the demobilisation scheme.Some of the postings were strange and in practice with the Royal air Force comittments winding down,meant that servicemen did not have exacting responsibilities.They were in the long "demob" queue.

    Your father was posted to RAF Mountbatten,Plymouth a Coastal Command maritime base, then on the RAF Calshot on Southampton Water,a Air Sea Rescue marine station and Coastal Command weather diversion base.

    Some servicemen saw the rate of release as lacking the urgency it should have had, having the experience of still being in uniform with little to occupy their days.There was the case in India where RAF personnel of one unit, aired their greviance by mutiny, which was quickly hushed up and not revealed until 50 years later.

    On 27.6 1946,your father arrived at No 100 PDC,Personel Dispatch Centre,which must have been his demobiliastion centre where help and support would have been given to equip him for a future civilian role and on 1.9 1946 he was released,no doubt with his "demob" suite and attire.

    Regarding progress through the ranks,I think "T" would be Temporary,althought I have never seen it related as such.In practice, all RAF NCO aircrew POWs progressed through the ranks to Warrant Officer while in captivity and up to their RAF release.From June 1940,the minimum rank for aircrew was enacted as Sergeant and it applied retrospectively to those airmen (who would have been prewar regulars) and had been captured holding the rank of AC1 and LAC.(I cannot think of a case where an AC2 could be an example of this policy unless he was taken ad hoc as a gunner to make up a depleted crew as sometimes happened on the outbreak of war.) However the progress through the ranks meant that on his liberation from being a POW, such a person would have a "little nest egg" in back pay.No doubt there would be some "settlement" deductions.

    I suppose the next step is to ascertain the locations of these PRC,PC and PDC units.
  12. JohnMH

    JohnMH Junior Member

    Thanks again for all the information. The missing bit is what 'SDL' stands for. It occurs twice in my father's record, at Uxbridge. One of the RAF Acronyms site suggests 'Special Duties List' but that sounds unlikely. Does anyone have any suggestions?
  13. Leslie

    Leslie Member

    Hello John
    My father joined up in Sept.1941 with the RCAF in Canada, and trained as a pilot. He was posted to his first operational squadron, 101 Ludford Magna in October 1943 after 10 1/2 months of additional training in Britain.
    Do you have any details of your father's time at 101 Squadron? Specifically, the name of his pilot? I have the Squadron Operational Record Books and could possibly supply you with information regarding his sorties.
  14. JohnMH

    JohnMH Junior Member

    Hi Leslie,
    My father joined 101 Squadron at Ludford on 3 April 1944 and was shot down on 21 June (he baled out, survived and was sent to Stalag Luft 7). His pilot when he was shot down was G Hingley. I have no information on his sorties so any help would be most welcome.
  15. Leslie

    Leslie Member

    Hi John
    I've taken a look at the ORBS and found the following:
    The majority of the crew were transferred in from 1662 CU (Conversion Unit) on April 4/44. They were as follows:
    F/S G. Hingley, Pilot 952892
    Sgt. S.D.Rogerson F/E 1567332
    F/O R.W. Ball Nav 141986
    Sgt. L. Horrigan WOP 1577094
    Sgt. T.H. Duff A/B 1562929
    Sgt. J. Keogh R/G 653560
    Their M/U Sgt. T.J. Lewis was posted in same date from 1667 CU.

    There appears to be occasions where the F/E was replaced or another crew member. According to my father, this would most likely be due to medical, such as colds, sore throats etc. where they were grounded from flying. Once a crew was together, in most cases they remained together until the end of their tour, notwithstanding injury or inability to perform their duties. An example of that was my father having to replace his navigator, who was well liked and very good at his job, however suffered from severe air sickness causing them to have to abort a couple of ops.
    The 8th man you will see, I believe his name is Shearer, would have been the SDO. (Special Duties Operator) He appeared to have joined them on their second sortie and flew with them regularly.

    It appears they were shot down on their 14th op. although I noted they had to abort a couple of those.

    Rather than take up a lot of room on the board, why don't you PM me with your email address and I will send you the ORB slides for their operational dates.

    Hope this helps.
    Kind regards
  16. Wimpwazir2

    Wimpwazir2 Junior Member

    T/F/Sgt to T/W/O would be a natural progression from Temporary Flight Sergeant to Temporary Warrant Officer.

  17. paulhendley

    paulhendley Junior Member

    How do you go about tracing my fathers service record & what lancaster he flew in as a rear gunner in ww2 ?.

    Can anyone help ?
  18. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Hello Paul,

    Welcome to the forum.

    As you are most probably next of kin then you will be in a position to apply for your fathers service record. The record will give you much info, such as units served with, dates of postings and much more.

    Have a look at this link.......

    Enquiries for obtaining RAF personnel service records......

    From family members and other authorized persons

    RAF Disclosures Section
    Room 221b
    Trenchard Hall
    RAF Cranwell
    NG34 8HB

    01400 261201
    Ext 6711
    Ext 8161/8159 (Officers)
    Ext 8163/8168/8170 (Other ranks)

    Obtaining service records for those who served in the Royal Air Force during world war 2 is more or less straightforward, but will only divulge service information to the person to whom it refers or, if he or she has died to his or her immediate next of kin. Anyone else must obtain permission from the person about whom they are enquiring or from his or her next of kin, before any information will be given to them. In some cases the PMA make a charge of £30.00 for any information they provide. Except to the person to which it refers, or the widow or widower of that person.

    Also, if you could post your fathers details on here then someone might be able to help.

  19. Oggie2620

    Oggie2620 Senior Member

    Could PRC mean Personnel Reception Centre.
    RAF Mountbatten was in Plymouth... It existed until quite recently.
    T/F/Sgt Temporary Flight Sergearnt and T/W/O Temporary Warrant Officer therefore a promotion but as he was then released in 1946 it meant he was on war only contract...
    101 were by the way based at Ludford Magna at the time he joined them.
    Good luck with your research
    Dee :mellow:
  20. roquefort

    roquefort Junior Member

    Help with understanding RAF service record
    I am trying to understand the very limited information I have on my father's RAF service record. He was sent to Singapore in Dec 1941 and taken prisoner in Java in March 1942. He spent the rest of the war in Jap POW camps and was released from the RAF on his return in Dec 1945.
    The only information I have from his Service and Release Book says that he was AC1 (RT Op) and his unit is shown as 106 PRC (which I think may be the Personnel Reception Centre at Cosford) and 24 Group TTC. The front cover of the book however says Service Group No. 22.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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