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  #1  
Old 8th December 2015, 21:07
BlenheimBuff BlenheimBuff is offline
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Seeking info on P/O Roi Leonard Saunders KIA May 22nd 1940

Hello Everyone,

I'm currently doing some research on the crew of 57 Sqn Blenheim L9184, shot down at Haucourt, France on 22nd May 1940. The Pilot was P/O Roi Leonard Saunders; his service number is given as 70602 on the CWGC website, and yet his AIR78 entry (AIR78/140 pge 468) specifies 800420.

References to an 'R L Saunders' can be found in 'Flight' on July 20th 1939 and November 9th 1939, under the RAFVR Admin & Special Duties Branch heading, being promoted first to P/O, the F/O with honorary F/Lt rank.

Can anyone help to clarify when this Officer was commissioned? whether he was RAFVR or not? whether I'm dealing with another officer with the same initials in the 'Flight' entries quoted above? and where the AIR78 number comes from?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Ian
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  #2  
Old 8th December 2015, 21:19
rafcommands rafcommands is offline
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Re: Seeking info on P/O Roi Leonard Saunders KIA May 22nd 1940

Different men or possibly the same man but different periods of service.

AIR 78 is an index to service records of Other Ranks/NCO not Warrant/Commissioned Officers.

Other Ranks/NCO had service numbers allocated in a different manner and numeric sequence to those of Warrant/Commissioned Officers.

When an OR/NCO was Commissioned they would be issued with a new personal number in the Commissioned numeric series.

For Gradation dates and Branch/Service for any Commissioned Officer you need the entry from The London Gazette or the repeat in periodic Air Force List or Flight.

Ross
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  #3  
Old 8th December 2015, 21:55
alieneyes1 alieneyes1 is offline
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Re: Seeking info on P/O Roi Leonard Saunders KIA May 22nd 1940

Pilot Officer on probation Roi Leonard Saunders (70602) is confirmed in his appointment 28 November 1939. Gazetted 9 January 1940.

Other number provided (800420) comes from a block of numbers issued to Auxiliary Air Force members after December 1925.

Dave
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  #4  
Old 9th December 2015, 00:01
BlenheimBuff BlenheimBuff is offline
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Re: Seeking info on P/O Roi Leonard Saunders KIA May 22nd 1940

Thanks Ross/Dave,

The name Roi Leonard Saunders is too unusual for there to have been 2 in the service, so I think that the AIR78 entry must be the same person, in which case Roi Saunders must have been in the RAuxAF prior to 1939. As I understand it members of the RAuxAF were civilians who learnt to fly at their own expense, so presumably all such pilots with service numbers in the 800000 to 874806 range would have been recorded on AIR78 cards, as they weren't actually commissioned officers. When the RAuxAF squadrons were incorporated into the RAF at the outbreak of war then each man would have had a new service number allocated (70602 in Roi Saunders' case).

The R.L. Saunders mentioned in Flight in the RAFVR section must have been another individual entirely.

604 squadron RAuxAF flew the Mk1(F) version of the Blenheim, so I guess this might possibly explain how Roi Saunders ended up flying Blenheims with 57 Sqn.

Looks like I need to do some more digging. Thanks for the help guys.

Ian
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Old 9th December 2015, 00:21
rafcommands rafcommands is offline
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Re: Seeking info on P/O Roi Leonard Saunders KIA May 22nd 1940

First the AAF did not become the RAuxAF until after the war and AAF was not incorporated as it was always a seperate reserve service with special rules. AAF service numbers were retained post Sept 39.

Next the service number 800420 suggests that the AAF OR Saunders was the 420th airman to be enlisted in that service (it records all AAF airmen not just pilots).

Since enlistment in the block commenced in 1925 his entry would have been in the late 1920s

If you look at the age of P/O R L Saunders killed with No.57 Sqn you will see that it is very unlikely that they are the same person.

Instead of guessing the best way to get full details of his service career is to apply to the MoD for a copy of his service record.

This will reveal all without shadow of doubt.

Ross
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  #6  
Old 9th December 2015, 00:40
BlenheimBuff BlenheimBuff is offline
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Re: Seeking info on P/O Roi Leonard Saunders KIA May 22nd 1940

Hello Ross,

Yes, I think that you're right.....the only way to be sure is to apply for the MOD records. It just seems so unlikely though to have 2 people in the service with such an unusual name.

Thanks for your insights.

Ian
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  #7  
Old 9th December 2015, 01:02
rafcommands rafcommands is offline
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Re: Seeking info on P/O Roi Leonard Saunders KIA May 22nd 1940

Checking Air Force Lists shows that P/O R L Saunders was serving with No.57 Sqn from Nov 1938,

Checking furher back in 1938 he is listed as RAFO (Reserve of Air Force Officers)

So service prior to 1938 as either Commisioned RAF/AAF/RAFVR regular or direct Commisioned entry to RAFO,

Transfer from P/O RAFO to P/O RAFVR and new personal number issued.

Searching futher in The Gazette

He was Commissioned into RAFO 21st Dec 1936
https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...e/171/data.pdf

Confirmed
19th Oct 1937
https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/.../8139/data.pdf

Ross
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  #8  
Old 9th December 2015, 01:54
rafcommands rafcommands is offline
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Re: Seeking info on P/O Roi Leonard Saunders KIA May 22nd 1940

This was a prewar accident wuth No.57 Dqn

The second page shows wings date and flying hours

http://www.rafaircraftaccidents.com/...9/00801345.JPG
http://www.rafaircraftaccidents.com/...9/00801346.JPG
F1180 Copyright RAF Museum

Ross
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  #9  
Old 9th December 2015, 04:30
BlenheimBuff BlenheimBuff is offline
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Re: Seeking info on P/O Roi Leonard Saunders KIA May 22nd 1940

Hello again Ross,

Many thanks for this information, I appreciate you taking the effort.

Regards,

Ian
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Old 9th December 2015, 10:08
paulmcmillan paulmcmillan is offline
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Re: Seeking info on P/O Roi Leonard Saunders KIA May 22nd 1940

Quote:
Originally Posted by rafcommands View Post
Next the service number 800420 suggests that the AAF OR Saunders was the 420th airman to be enlisted in that service (it records all AAF airmen not just pilots
Ross I am not sure this is correct. He would be the 420 person enlisted in 600 Squadron

601 Sqn started at 801000

So it could be the same person based on age

800000 800999 RAuxAF UK 600 Squadron
801000 801999 RAuxAF UK 601 Squadron
802000 802999 RAuxAF UK 602 Squadron
803000 803999 RAuxAF UK 603 Squadron
804000 804999 RAuxAF UK 605 Squadron
805000 805999 RAuxAF UK 606 Squadron
806000 806999 RAuxAF UK 606 Squadron
807000 807999 RAuxAF UK 607 Squadron
808000 808999 RAuxAF UK 608 Squadron
809000 809999 RAuxAF UK 609 Squadron
810000 810999 RAuxAF UK 610 Squadron
811000 811999 RAuxAF UK 611 Squadron
812000 812999 RAuxAF UK 500 Squadron
813000 813999 RAuxAF UK 501 Squadron
814000 814999 RAuxAF UK 502 Squadron
815000 815999 RAuxAF UK 504 Squadron
816000 816999 RAuxAF UK 612 Squadron
817000 817999 RAuxAF UK 613 Squadron
818000 818999 RAuxAF UK 614 Squadron
819000 819999 RAuxAF UK 615 Squadron
820000 820999 RAuxAF UK 616 Squadron
821000 879999 RAuxAF UK Balloon squadrons of the AuxAF

I think I got this list from Aces High...
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