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Old 26th January 2011, 15:33
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FlKp21_Tabo FlKp21_Tabo is offline
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RAF Pilot promotion + Navigator "G.D." ?

I went throught the case of a RAF bomber pilot who, after 3 missions (of his first tour) and 3 weeks spent with his new squadron, was promoted from Flight Sgt to Pilot Officer. Was it common to get a promotion after such a short time ? What were the criteria ?

And in the same crew, when the navigator was posted "in", the clerc noted besides his name in the squadron's files, "G.D. (N)". I understand the (N) for navigator but what was the meaning of "G.D." ?

Thank's for your help.
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Old 26th January 2011, 17:21
Stein Meum Stein Meum is offline
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Re: RAF Pilot promotion + Navigator "G.D." ?

G.D. means General Duties.

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Old 26th January 2011, 17:28
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Re: RAF Pilot promotion + Navigator "G.D." ?

Thanks for this info and... what does it represent ?
Is it a special formation or something similar ?
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Old 26th January 2011, 18:14
dp_burke dp_burke is offline
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Re: RAF Pilot promotion + Navigator "G.D." ?

This website explains the various branchs of the RAF
http://www.rafweb.org/Branches.htm

General Duties was jsut that, general flying activities etc.

What is your airmans name and serial number? You can trace his career as an officer in the London Gazette
http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/search

certain numbers of airmen from a graduating class would be commishioned, it was not based upon duty done before that, some men would be commishioned directly from the rank of Leading aircraftman. I'm no expert now I must stress.

Read around the rafweb.org website it may answer many of your questions.
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Old 26th January 2011, 19:13
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Re: RAF Pilot promotion + Navigator "G.D." ?

Thanks all for these info !

I went through the rafweb but I must admit that... I am not sure catching the sens of GD :
General Duties means that this officer was able to fulfill different roles in a aircraft/on an airfield or am I wrong ? A kind of potential high ranking officer ?
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Old 26th January 2011, 21:54
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Re: RAF Pilot promotion + Navigator "G.D." ?

In general, there were two main career branches in the RAF at the time (and maybe some lesser ones). "Administrative" were just that, and didn't usually touch airplanes. "General Duties" did touch airplanes: flying them, fixing them, etc. I believe the GD branch out numbered the others. Most senior officers came from GD (except for some specialized trades like meteorology), but most GD people did not become high ranking.

The question of war time commissions in the RAF is very complicated, and discussions on this topic can become heated. I'll just say that several non-British sources (including Canadians) claim that the selection process was at least in part based on the old English concept of "class". Officers were selected from good families and went to the right schools. It was assumed that these people would therefore possess or develop the needed leadership skills, and others would not. The RCAF, some claim, used a more abilities-based decision process, and was sometimes at odds with the RAF over the proportion of officers on strength. Just about all RCAF aircrew became officers after a year or two, unless they really screwed up somewhere. Some in the RCAF wanted all graduate aircrew to be officers.

I'm just repeating what I've read, and I would love to hear from any experts on the RAF practices.
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Old 27th January 2011, 00:49
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Re: RAF Pilot promotion + Navigator "G.D." ?

As the son of an RAF pilot I can confirm that GD stands for General Duties - and that is the branch of the service from which aircrew came. Its a bit of a joke for those who flew in WW2, as it suggests that they were mere mortals and not very important.
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Old 27th January 2011, 11:36
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Re: RAF Pilot promotion + Navigator "G.D." ?

Thanks a lot Bill and Larry, that is much clearer now !

So a navigator comming from the General Duties branch of the RAF is a "professionnal" and not a volunteer coming from the "Volunteer Reserve" - is that correct ?
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