We welcome any query on Who When Where. If you have previously posted it on another forum (including the old WDYTYA forum), please state this in your opening post - this will save people redoing the research which has been done before: they can look at it and possibly go further with it.

Norman Moss RAF 1921 - 1942

Post your queries about your military ancestors, or help fellow researchers find out about theirs.
Post Reply
Thepastisyourself
Posts: 47
Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 12:18

Norman Moss RAF 1921 - 1942

Post by Thepastisyourself »

I am writing up the history of my Uncle Norman Moss, Sergeant Pilot 1082046 who was killed in Canada on 11th July 1942. I have a lot of info including CRAF enquiry in the death and various letters and photos of the Grave in Canada. I know he was killed whilst flying a Fairey Battle Aircraft alongside two Canadian RAF trainees I know that he joined up 9/12/40 and transferred to Canada on 22/12/41. I also know that he trained in Newquay and later Hatfield. He was appointed AC2 on 9/12/40, LAC on 1/8/41 and Sergeant on 24/4/42 the day after his 21st birthday. I have his RAF record but it is of very limited use because of many abbreviations. I wonder if anybody could explain these abbreviations: -
ut.Pilot (2) 1/8/ 41,
3 RC to Reserve 10/12/41
Reserve to IRW 24/5/41
No 8 ITW 31/5/41 Reason H
50 epp Pool 6/9/41 Reason H
37 SFTS Canada 22/12/41 Reason H
39 SFTS 14/1/42

Any help would be gratefully received.

VALLMO9
Posts: 335
Joined: 13 Jun 2020, 21:28

Re: Norman Moss RAF 1921 - 1942

Post by VALLMO9 »

I'm sure other Forum members will correct the following, if necessary. ;)

Reason H (could mean “Holding” - as in "holding until posted elsewhere")
Service Flying Training School (SFTS)
Initial Training Wing (ITW)
Reserve Command (RC) – or – Recruit Centre (RC)
UT Pilot (Under Training Pilot)
50 epp Pool (probably No. 50 Group Pool)

Can you have another look at "Reserve to IRW". Are you sure it's not "Reserve to ITW" ?? After all, he's at No 8 ITW (Newquay) a week later.

Also, I think "50 epp Pool" is actually "50 Group Pool". That would make more sense. Operational Training Units (OTU) were called "Group Pools" in the early days of the war. They accepted pilots direct from Flying Training Schools or non-fighter units of the Royal Air Force.

After ITW basic training (12-14 weeks), there was a 5 week pilot selection course, when pilots in training would be recommended for pilot or navigator duties, and would go to a Group Pool to await a posting to a S.F.T.S. (Service Flying Training School).

I believe 50 Group Pool RAF (Flying Training Command) was located at RAF Yatesbury circa 1939, then at RAF Watchfield by 1940.

Thepastisyourself
Posts: 47
Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 12:18

Re: Norman Moss RAF 1921 - 1942

Post by Thepastisyourself »

Thanks for your quick response. Your explanations fit in well with the letters that he sent to his parents and sisters that my Grandma kept. It is strange reading these letters nearly 80 years after his death. There is a startling but understandable contrast between official telegrams, and records which are blunt and concise in the extreme and the kindness of commanding officers who for example sent a detailed order of service re the burial including photographs of the grave.
Kind regards,
Paul

VALLMO9
Posts: 335
Joined: 13 Jun 2020, 21:28

Re: Norman Moss RAF 1921 - 1942

Post by VALLMO9 »

In case the acronym "CFS" is also listed on his record, it stands for Central Flying School. Are there any other acronyms on his record that you can see?

Thepastisyourself
Posts: 47
Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 12:18

Re: Norman Moss RAF 1921 - 1942

Post by Thepastisyourself »

Thanks for your help. There are no more Acronyms. I have checked the ones on the record and wonder if IRW stands for Initial Recruitment Wing.

I did put one of the dates in incorrectly 3RC to Reserve should have been 10/12/40 which was the day after he signed up . This reserve time doesn't appear on his amount of time served. Is this likely to have been spent at home?

epp pool could be gpp pool - writing very poor.

Following your description of the training it seems that his Basic Training would have been June - beginning Sep 1941 followed by his move to the Group Pool in September 1941. From reading his letters this time from September was given over to flying as often as possible, whether permitting. He then moved to Canada from late December 1941. His Service Flying Training was then undertaken in Canada under the Commonwealth Programme. He seems to have been given a few weeks to acclimatise and he also spent a couple of days in Hospital. He became a Sergeant Pilot in April 1942 the day after his birthday. He was based at Number 3 Bombing and Gunnery School at MacDonald, Manitoba, where he appears too have been given the role of instructor. He complains shortly before his death that other Instructors (American and Canadian) have commissions and that he was hoping to get one soon.

He also says in a letter about trainees 'They expect me to know everything' which he didn't. He was surprised at the freedom he was given flying when ever he wanted. He flew the Fairey Battle Aircraft and one of his roles was towing targets (Not quite sure how that worked).

Norman was killed on 11th July 1942 when on a 'unauthorised' flight. Inside his plane beside himself were a Navigator and Gunner. They were being chased by a Canadian Pilot in a pretend dogfight. Normans plane crashed when it dived down and was unable to pull out of the dive.

VALLMO9
Posts: 335
Joined: 13 Jun 2020, 21:28

Re: Norman Moss RAF 1921 - 1942

Post by VALLMO9 »

Thepastisyourself wrote:
05 Jan 2021, 11:40
epp pool could be gpp pool - writing very poor.
Group Pool was also abbreviated as "Gp Pool" and "GP".

Thepastisyourself
Posts: 47
Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 12:18

Re: Norman Moss RAF 1921 - 1942

Post by Thepastisyourself »

I have finally come to some conclusion about the training Norman Received
3RC is 3 Recruit centre Padgate
N0 1 RCW is Receiving Wing Babbacombe
No 8 ITW is Initial Training Wing Newquay
50 Group Pool Reading
37 SFTS Service Flying Training Unit Calgary. Alberta
39 SFTS Service Flying Training School, Swift Current, Saskatchewan

Sometime after Saskatchewan he was moved to 3 Bombing and Gunnery School MacDonald Manitoba, where he had a role of helping training others.

Norman's death took place on 11 July 1942 10 miles north of MacDonald. However the Court of Inquiry gives confusing details.
He was flying a Fairy Battle Aircraft No 1755 together with two RCAF men Charles Off a Drogue Operator and passenger JP Buzik. The y were flying at 6.10 in the morning.
Two descriptions of the incident were given
1. The Fairey Battle Aircraft was towing a Target when it stalled during a turn and crashed.
2. Target Towing activity. A/C Battle 1771 took off immediately after Battle 1755 and took part in an unauthorised "dogfight" at a low attitude and whilst executing a steep turn A'C 1755 was seen to dive into the ground. "Stalling" is crossed out on the inquiries report and changed to "have been out of control". Recommendations - pilots have been warned again about dangers consequent upon low flying and unauthorized combat practice. Disciplinary action was initiated against Sergeant Sullivan the pilot of the second plane, but this was dropped.

The two different descriptions raise the issue as to whether the Fairey Battle was towing a drogue at all. Wouldn't that need to be set up before a flight and therefore be authorised? Was the second pilot the one who caused the crash through foolhardiness? We will ever know!
Last edited by Thepastisyourself on 08 Jan 2021, 13:34, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
AdrianBruce
Posts: 95
Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 18:57
Location: South Cheshire

Re: Norman Moss RAF 1921 - 1942

Post by AdrianBruce »

My understanding, backed up to some degree by a little book on the history of RAF Llanbedr and this YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Tk1hkxS120, is that drogues were flown from towing aircraft but were winched in and out. Obviously(?) you don't want the drogue, a target for guns, right behind you, so you have your winch-operator wind the thing out and then in again later on.

The video shows the drogue to be rather smaller than I previously thought so that the aircraft takes off with the drogue secured away - not unlike a parachute. It is then released, wound out and becomes the target. The video also shows the drogue being released (somehow) before landing.

One possibility, therefore, is that the Battles (both?) took off on target towing duties, with their drogues securely stowed - at which point one decided a bit of unauthorised practice was in order. And since the Battle, even though it carries a Merlin engine like a Spitfire, is under-powered for its size and weight, it's not the best aircraft to dog-fight and ...

I'm speculating about all the above but the video does suggest that the drogue is cleanly secured at take-off, rather than being dragged along the runway at take-off.
Adrian Bruce

User avatar
AdrianBruce
Posts: 95
Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 18:57
Location: South Cheshire

Re: Norman Moss RAF 1921 - 1942

Post by AdrianBruce »

This link http://www.internetmodeler.com/2000/aug ... attle2.jpg is to an image of someone's model of a Fairey Battle target tug - it looks like the deployment of the drogue is done from the rear seat and the (horizontal) propellor can be used to power the winch. I think!
Adrian Bruce

Thepastisyourself
Posts: 47
Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 12:18

Re: Norman Moss RAF 1921 - 1942

Post by Thepastisyourself »

Hi Adrian,
Thankyou for your excellent suggestion and the attached video. I am sure you are probably right in your explanation.
The video was brilliant - I had no idea as to what a drogue might have looked like previously and found the image illuminating.

Post Reply