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How US pilots joined the RAF

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by Falcon Jun, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. STURMTRUPPEN

    STURMTRUPPEN Member

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    THE EAGLE SQUADRONS WERE FORMED IN 1942 AS MANY AMERICAN PILOTS WENT TO ENGLAND AND JOINED THE RAF WHILE THERE
     
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Huh?

    Why would US citizens travel to the UK in 1942, when the US was in the war by then? Eagle Squadrons were being disbanded by then with last shutting down in Sept, 1942.
     
  3. ISPY

    ISPY recruit

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    This has been a great thread of information! I am a budding medal collector and am interested in finding medals for Americans who served with RAF, RCAF. If anyone can suggest some POCs for this I would greatly appreciate it. (and I just ordered Chorley's Bomber Command Loss volume IX (Roll of Honnor, thanks for the suggestion Skipper!

    Linda
     
  4. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    No. The first Squadron (No 71) was formed in September 1940, but didn't become operational until Feb 41. Two other Eagle Squadrons were also formed in 1941, (121, and 133).
    In September 1942 these 3 Squadrons were transferred over to the USAAF, as the 334th , 335th, and 336th squadrons, of 4th Fighter Group USAAF.

    It is believed that 7 Americans fought in the Battle Of Britain, but these served in normal RAF and RCAF squadrons.
     
  5. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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    Actually I believe the number is eight, but one was listed as a canadian. An assumed name possibly? It is believed that William "Billy" Fiske was the first American to volounteer for the RAF and flew with 601 sqn "the Millionares". I believe he was also the first American KIA in the Battle of Britain. His plane was hit in the fuel tank, possibly when he was flying to low to bail out. He flew his aircraft back to base and landed. Burned badly he died of his injurys the next morning. he was also an Olympic gold medalist
     
  6. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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    Adding to my previous post, One of the eight men who flew in the BoB flew just one sortie I believe, and had a collision with another Spitfire.

    Of the eight men who flew, will half to look up there names later as I don't have the book with me right this moment, only one survived the war.

    My Favorite Pilot of these eight is Vernon Charles "Shorty" Keough who at 4'10" had to sit on pillows to see out the cockpit.:D
     
  7. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Do you mean he was even shorter than me??? At least he would have been less affected by then G forces :D
     
  8. feliz

    feliz recruit

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    What about transfering back to the USAAF? Say an American had sworn allegiance to the King could he then still transfer to the US forces? Also, many American pilots elected to stay with the RAF for some time transferring over later, how dd that work?
     
  9. FtrPlt

    FtrPlt Member

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    Gents,
    There is a huge difference between the Clayton Knight Committee recruitment effort for the Eagle Squadron(s) and the much larger number of Americans serving in the RCAF and RAF. The 6,700 figure is towards the low end of estimates of American citizens serving in the RCAF, RAF and, to a lessor degree, the Canadian Army. The more usual numbers quoted are closer to 9,000.

    One must also look at timeframes. During the semi-clandestine recruiting for the RAF ( Clayton Knight Committee / Eagle Squadron pipeline), neutrality laws were pretty strict and swearing allegiance to the King was grounds for loss of citizenship -- a very real issue not resolved for many until the 1980s. As it became more obvious the US would be getting into the war, the oath was changed to simply reflect following lawful orders of superiors -- eliminating the prospect of loss of citizenship.

    Clayton Knight Committee recruiting really only filled the first of the Eagle Squadrons -- No. 71 Squadron. In effect, those selected this early were accomplished pilots who were given commissions in the RAF and sent to OTUs and directly to the squadron.

    Pilots for the other two Eagle Squadrons (Nos 121 and 133) were bonafide members of the RCAF who completed recruit training and went through the whole training pipeline -- typically emerging as Sergeant pilots -- and then seconded/loaned to RAF. The overwhelming majority of Americans serving in RCAF and RAF entered via this pathway. Pilot washouts often remustered as navigators, bomb aimers, and gunners. Many also entered directly into these non-pilot aircrew trades -- i.e. the 6700 Americans were not all pilots nor were they all pilot applicants.

    Reasons for entering were many -- insufficient education to meet US entrance requirements; too old; too young; no slots in the USAAF available.

    Upon US entry into the war, the offer was extended for Americans to tranfer to the US military. Many, but not all, accepted the offer. Officers were usually transferred in at a rank 1-grade lower than their RAF ranks. NCO aircrew were initially transferred in Flight Officers and ultimately commissioned as this rank was eliminated. I will emphasize that many opted to remain in RAF and RCAF. A fair number opted to delay transferring to USAAF until completing their tours (mostly Bomber Command). Others found ways to stay with their RAF/RCAF units as USAAF members.

    Reading most squadron histories shows Americans in most RAF and RCAF squadrons right up til the end of the war.
     
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  10. stevewicks

    stevewicks recruit

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    Hi

    I just made the following post in view of your comment from 2008 I wondered if you could cast any light on the issue?

    I have an envelope of a man who address himself as follows-
    T/ Sgt Richard W Stuart (note spelling) 10601019. USAAF, American Eagle Club 28 Charring Cross Rd.

    I already know the follwing facts-
    • Service number 10601019. The 6 in the third place means he was inducted into the service outside of the USA.
    • He was inducted as a Technical Sergeant (very unusual 99% are privates when they start even if they go onto to be commissioned)
    • He became a POW in Stalag Luft XVIIB. On their records he is listed as “RCAF”.
    • His service record says he was inducted on 26 May 1943. His POW record shows he was POW by 29 Sept 43. That gives a maximum of 4 months and you couldn’t complete any aircrew training in that short a time.
    • He is not listed on as a crew member with any US Army Air Force plane that went down.
    Question was in one of the Eagle Squadrons or some other RAF unit that resulted in him becoming a POW? I do know that many Eagle Squadron Pilots enlisted as Canadians to avoid problems with their US citizenship during the American period of neutrality.

    Any help would be appreciated
     
  11. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    FYI Only: http://rcafaylmer.blogspot.ca/

    Silent film of RCAF Station Aylmer - No. 14 Service Flying Training School
    Film footage recorded by G. Norman Irwin, Station Commanding Officer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuM-BEG1NVo
     
  12. Owen

    Owen O

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  13. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    25 Australians took part in the BoB....
     

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