Pilot Training

In August 1940 Archie attended 4 I.T.W. (Initial Training Wings) at RAF Paignton in Devon where he spent three months training to be a pilot. This is where basic training was undertaken, drill, PE, classroom work etc, in preparation for the next stage of training. It was ground school for want to be pilots, a course of 12-14 weeks in theory of flight, engines, meteorology, navigation and signals. It ended with passing-out exams plus various psychological and aptitude tests. From here they would go on a pilot selection course of about five weeks which was usually at a small airfield attached to one of the manufacturers. At the end of this course they would be recommended for pilot or navigator duties, and would go to a Pool to await a posting to a S.F.T.S. (Service Flying Training School).
1st War Course 'Regulars' Pilots. 4 I.T.W. Paignton, Aug - Oct 1940. Photo: L Druce

Top: Barker, Bird, Bowles, Breckell, Bray, Carter, Connell, Crawley, Davies, Donohoe, Grace, Kelson, Smith.

3rd Row: Kelly , Mann, Noval, Nelson, Oakes, Prickett, Ricketer, Ross, Spencer, Tinkler, Teare, Withers, Arthur

2nd Row: Scatchard, May, Armes, Archibald, Brown, Benn, Beaumont, Butcher, Deffe, Haydon, Hirst, Hedge.

Front: Lambert, Charlsworth, Chandler, Coon, Cunningham, Clarke, Davis, Lang, Robinson, Smith, Salt

Having successfully completed and passed I.T.W., Archie was sent to 50 Group Pool to await a posting to S.F.T.S. This came in November 1940, when he attended 12 S.F.T.S. It was here that he gained his pilot's "wings" before moving on to C.F.S. (Central Flying School) in April 1941.

After C.F.S. was completed, Archie was sent to 10 O.T.U. (Operational Training Unit) at RAF Abingdon. He arrived there on May 24th 1941. O.T.U. was where all the trades met to be 'crewed up' and trained for operational duties.

'40 Course' No 10 O.T.U. RAF Abingdon. Photo: L Druce

Back Row: Sgt Hobbs (Canada), Sgt Archibald, Sgt Woods (Canada)
Front Row: Sgt Clark (Canada), Sgt Pohe (New Zealand), P/O Reynolds (New Zealand), Sgt Peterson, Sgt Painter (Canada)

On completing O.T.U., Archie was posted to 102 Squadron, arriving at RAF Topcliffe, which was a conversion and operational training base, on August 12th 1941. Here he flew Whitley V aircraft, initially as 2nd Pilot before becoming Pilot with his own crew on September 15th 1941. On the 11th October 1941 Archie was posted to 35 Squadron, joining them at their base at Linton on Ouse. During his time with 35 Squadron he was a Pilot and flew Halifax aircraft.

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©Linzee Druce 2001-2004