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north atlantic pilots

Discussion in 'Atlantic Naval Conflict' started by denny, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. denny

    denny Member

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    Nothing Earth shaking, just curious.......I have been watching the "Victory At Sea" series.
    Were there pilots that spent the entire war (their term of service anyway) flying in the NA. I guess it would have been in patrol of submarines mostly.?
    Thank You
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Subs? I am thinking about the women pilots ( I believe I saw a document incl inside the US and over the Atlantic to the UK ) who flew the bomber planes to the UK alone. Think about them...Massive.Incredible and a worth of a movie. Not just the young men doing it.
     
  3. denny

    denny Member

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    I believe they were called a WASP.?
    But no, I did not know any women ferried planes to England.
    I did hear stories about (maybe it was Lemay or Doolittle) somebody famous that used the WASP as a way of "humiliating" combat pilots into the seats of the B-29 bomber. The guys were afraid to fly them.....no doubt for good reason in the first days of the big planes.
    The WASP's did a great job with the B-29, and even averted an in flight disaster while male combat pilots were in the plane :)
     
  4. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    The simple answer is, yes, there were, especially in the patrol plane end of the business, but certainly not to say that there were no patrol plane types going from Atlantic operations to the Pacific, of course there were and from the Pacific to the Atlantic, too. Largely a roll of the dice where an individual or a squadron was sent at any give time.

    Later - and those even more likely to spend their entire war service time in the Atlantic operating areas were the NATS pilots, mostly from squadrons such as VR-1.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Not all the bombers that flew across the Atlantic were flown by women pilots. There were also two routes. The North Atlantic one used during the summer and the South Atlantic one used during the Northern Hemisphere winter.
    Here are some links on the WASPs
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_Airforce_Service_Pilots
    http://www.wingsacrossamerica.us/wasp/
    http://womenshistory.about.com/od/waspwwiiaviation/a/wasp.htm
    And here are some on the Atlantic ferry routes:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Atlantic_air_ferry_route_in_World_War_II
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Atlantic_air_ferry_route_in_World_War_II
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimson_Route
    http://www.daileyint.com/flying/flywar4.htm
    And anther that may be of interest
    http://www.academia.edu/1869664/The_North_Atlantic_Squadron_A_Survey_of_World_War_II_Aviation_Archaeology_Sites_in_Gander_Newfoundland
    In addition there were a lot of RAF coast command planes that flew over the North Atlantic as well as US planes out of Iceland as well as the continental US. I'm not sure about RAF planes out of Canada and there were some that flew out of Iceland as well.
     
  6. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    The primary job of the WASPs was ferry flights within the Continental US. Most bombers were flown overseas by replacement crews.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    My uncles unit flew their planes (B-24s) across but they took the southern route. Not sure what the ration of units to replacements was though. Early on it was likely more in the way of units and later more in the way of replacements but that's just a guess on my part.
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Many pilots used all the money celebrating back in the US. Not surprised. I guess there was big danger if the plane started losing engines etc. that you will not be found ever.
     
  9. denny

    denny Member

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    Great info guys.

    Ace...Thanks for the links.!

    Cornelia Fort is a Fascinating story.! A movie should be made about her AND the WASP's. Sadly, she was killed mid-air when another pilot (male) clipped her plane. She was just a young woman...what a shame. She survived Pearl Harbor, only to be rammed by her own military,
    God has a cruel sense of humor.......
     
  10. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Spending one’s wartime service flying in, around, and over the Atlantic. These are biographic squibs from a history of VR-1, the first USN transport squadron, written in the fall of 1945. VR-1, also known as Air Transport Squadron ONE, was originally headquartered out of NAS Norfolk with detachments at NAS Quonset Point and NAS Miami and NAAS Dinner Key. The squadron moved to NAS Patuxent in July 1943. VF-1 operated all over the eastern Atlantic, north Atlantic, and south Atlantic. Routine flight routes were established to installations in South America, Iceland, Great Britain and, as facilities became available, north Africa, the Mediterranean, and France.

    “Irving E. Sommermeyer
    “Comdr., U.S.N.R.
    “Commander Sommermeyer enlisted in the Naval Service as a seaman second class, V-2, in April, 1928. He served in this status until 7 September 1931 when he was discharged to accept a commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Upon commissioning, he was assigned duty with Patrol Squadron NINE, Base Force, San Diego, California. He served with this unit for a period of one year when he was returned to inactive duty.

    “Previous to his military training, Commander Sommermeyer attended the University of Minnesota School of mines from the Fall of 1927 until his entry into the service.

    “After entering the Naval Service, he was ordered to Flight Elimination Training at Great Lakes, Illinois, then to Pensacola where he earned his commission and wings on 7 September 1931.

    “Shortly after returning to inactive duty, Commander Sommermeyer entered the employ of United Airlines Transportation Corporation as a co-pilot. He spent nine years with this organization, five of these years as an airline “Captain”.

    “In June of 1942, Commander Sommermeyer requested and was recalled to active duty and was assigned duty at the Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois. This duty was Superintendent of Aviation Training until the time of his detachment, 31 August 1943. He reported to Air Transport Squadron ONE as Operations Officer, which duty he performed until has assuming command of the squadron on 2 June 1944.”

    Ed.: Sommermeyer returned to service as Lieutenant USNR. His designation was AV(G). He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander on 25 August 1943 and to Commander on 1 January 1944. He was commander of VR-1 until October 1945.

    “Jack A. Durham
    “Lt. Comdr., U.S.N.R.
    “Lieutenant Commander J A Durham enlisted in the Navy as a seaman second class under the V-5 Flight Training Program in 1935, after receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. He was awarded his wings in March 1937.

    “Upon completion of his flight training and receipt of his Navy wings, he was assigned a tour of duty with Cruiser Scouting Squadron FOUR aboard U.S.S. NORTHAMPTON. His duties were both as a pilot and also as Aviation Engineering Officer. He remained with this unit until September 1939, when he reported to Pensacola as flight instructor.

    “In April, 1940, he returned to civilian live and flew as a co-pilot for American Airlines, Inc., until January 1941 when he was recalled to active duty as flight instructor at the Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois.
    “Lieutenant Commander Durham reported to VR-1 in April 1942, a month after the squadron was formed, and has been a leading aviator with the Squadron since that time. At present, he is serving in the capacity of Executive Officer, which duties he has performed since 1 January 1945.”

    Ed.: Durham returned to service as a Lieutenant (jg) USNR. His designation was AV(G). He was promoted to Lieutenant on 15 June 1942 and to Lieutenant Commander on 1 Jul 1943.

    “George V. Blackmore
    “Lt. Comdr. U.S.N.R.
    “Lieutenant Commander Blackmore enlisted in the Naval Service as a seaman second class in November, 1935. He was enlisted for flight training. He became an aviation cadet in December of the same year. He was awarded his wings in April of 1937 and was immediately assigned as an instructor at Pensacola for a period of six weeks. Upon completion of this period, he was sent to duty with VS-5, a scouting squadron aboard the U.S.S. YORKTOWN. He remained with this unit until released to inactive duty in January of 1940.

    “On his release to inactive duty, Mr. Blackmore immediately went into the employ of Transcontinental and Western Airlines, Inc., as a co-pilot. During the time he was employed with them he worked up to an airline “Captain” job. He left their services in January 1942 to reenter the Naval Service on active duty.

    “Returning to active duty, he was assigned with Air Transport Squadron One as a pilot. He has flown with this unit since that time, now holding the designation of Flight Officer”

    Ed.: Blackmore returned to service as a Lieutenant (jg) USNR. His designation was AV(G). He was promoted to Lieutenant on 15 June 1942 and to Lieutenant Commander on 1 March 1944.

    “Leigh W. Moorhead
    “Lieut. Comdr., U.S.N.R.
    “Lieutenant Commander Moorhead entered the Naval Service in May 1936 as a seaman second class to be assigned to flight training. He became an aviation cadet and in August 1937 he received his Navy Wings. He was immediately assigned duty with Scouting Squadron VCS-8 aboard the USS BROOKLYN. He remained with this unit until July of 1939 when he was commissioned an Ensign in the U. S. Naval Reserve. Upon commissioning, he was assigned duty with a unit aboard USS RANGER. This comprised flying duty and he stayed aboard this carrier until 1940 when he was released to inactive duty.

    “Immediately upon be released to inactive duty, he was employed by Transcontinental and Western Airlines, Inc., as a co-pilot.

    “In 1941 he was called back to active duty with the Navy and assigned as an instructor at Pensacola Florida. In October he was transferred to Corpus Christi as instructor and Personnel Officer of Flying Boat Squadron 18-A.

    “In March of 1942 he was ordered to go the flying boat school being held in Miami. He reported to his school in April 1942. Upon completion of the school he was assigned temporary duty orders with VR-7 at Miami. In June of 1942 he reported to VR-1. He has served as pilot, pilot-instructor in co-pilot ground school, and is now serving the Squadron as Assistant Flight Officer.”

    Ed.: Moorhead was promoted to Lieutenant (jg) on 1 August 1940 while still on his first active duty service. He returned to service as a Lieutenant, USNR. His designation was AV(G). He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander on 1 March 1944.

    “Charles A. Allen
    “Lt. Comdr., U.S.N.R.
    “Lieutenant Commander Allen, in June of 1930, entered the Naval Service as a seaman second class (Reserve Student Officer). H served in this status until April 1931 when he was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve and was assigned duty as a pilot in Utility Squadron TWO. He served with the fleet until July of 1932 when he returned to inactive duty.

    “Between July of 1932 and June of 1934, he did some flying at U.S.N.R Base at Squantum, Mass. Part of the summer of 1933 was spent taking some gold prospectors to Labrador. In June 1934, he entered the service of the American Airlines, Incorporated, as a co-pilot.

    “His service with American Airlines as a co-pilot was from June 1934 until May 1936 when he was promoted to an Airline “Captain”. He served with this same airline in this capacity until June of 1942 when he entered the military service as an Ensign.

    “Upon entering the service on active duty, he was immediately assigned to Air Transport Squadron ONE where he has served continuously since that time. Between July 1944 and January 1945, he as assigned as Divisional Flight Officer. In January he was changed to Flight Officer and in April of 1945, he was assigned as Operations Officer, which duty he is still performing.”

    Ed.: Allen’s date of rank as Ensign when he re-entered service was 17 April 1931. His designation was AV(G). He was promoted to Lieutenant (jg) on 15 Jun 1942. I have no record of date of rank as a Lieutenant, but judgjng from the patterns of others receiving promotions in the same ALNAV, it was probably in the December to January 1942 timeframe. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander on 1 March 1944.

    “James D. Gillian
    “Lieut. Comdr., U.S.N.R.
    “In the year 1927, Lieutenant Commander Gillian first started his initial duty with aircraft. He was employed for six or seven months as a mechanic with Travelaire Airplane Manufacturing Company. In June of 1928, he changed employers, being hired then by National Air Transport, the present United Airlines. He worked for this company for three years as a mechanic. During this time the company was taken over by United Airlines Transportation Corporation. He continued on with the new firm as a mechanic until 1931 when he became a co-pilot. He served as a co-pilot until 1934 when he was promoted to an airline “Captain”.

    “During the time of his duty with United, Lieutenant Commander Gillian accepted a commission as an Ensign in the U. S. Naval Reserve. This was in 1937. He was not called to active duty until April 12, 1942 when he entered flight training and navigational training at Pensacola, Florida. Upon completion of this training period, he was assigned to Air Transport Squadron One, them at Norfolk, VA. At present time e is assigned the duties of a Divisional Flight Officer, Atlantic.”

    Ed.: Gillian’s date of rank as Ensign when he entered active service was 24 July 1937. His designation was AV(T). I have no record of date of rank as a Lieutenant (jg); he was promoted to Lieutenant 15 Jun 1942 and to Lieutenant Commander on 15 August 1944.

    one last one for this post, though I've more than just a few more examples . . .

    “Charles A Macatee, III
    “Lt. Comdr., U.S.N.R.
    “Lieutenant Commander Macatee entered the Naval Service as a Ensign on 15 June 1936. He remained on inactive duty until 15 June 1942.

    “Previous to his Naval Service, Mr. Macatee served with two airlines and before that as a page boy in Congress. He learned to fly at the Washington Airport, Incorporated, formerly the old airport, but now the site of the Pentagon Building. This was in 1928. In 1934 he entered the airline service with Pennsylvania Central Airlines, flying with them for a period one year.

    “In 1936, Mr. Macatee entered the service of American Airlines, Inc., where he served as a pilot until 1942. The last two years of this service was performed as a “Captain”.

    “After being called to active duty 15 June 1942, he reported to Air Transport Squadron ONE as a pilot. Since April 1944 he has served as Engineering Officer of this squadron."

    Ed.: Macatee’s rank on entry in July 1942 was Ensign with a date of rank of 13 Jan 1936. He was promoted to Lieutenant (jg) on 27 October 1942, to Lieutenant on 1 May 1943 and to Lieutenant Commander on 1 July 1945.

    VR type squadrons were, in a word, huge, though their rosters can be a bit elusive. By the end of the war, the typical VF squadron aboard a carrier would have 60 pilots (VF-88 June 1945), a typical operating VR squadron, such as VR-11 (though a Pacific operating squadron and one for which I do have rosters) had 596 pilots and 171 officer navigators (March 1945).
     

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