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Old 29th September 2017, 09:47
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Jim Oxley Jim Oxley is offline
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Blackadder Flew In France In 1940

Blackadder is a name that many of you will be familiar with if you have ever seen Rowan Atkinson's classic comedic Blackadder series. It's not all that common a name, but does have slight prominence in various periods of British history. Perhaps that's why Atkinson chose it.

Surprisingly (or not) though there are real 'Blackadders' in this world.

One such fellow was William Francis Blackadder (Francis to his friends), born 1913. He attended a private school in Edinburgh, then attended Edinburgh University from 1930 to 1931, with further study at Cambridge University - graduating in 1935. He joined No.607 Squadron (County Of Durham) Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force (AAF), at the end of 1935.

This was by way of invitation from it's Commanding Officer Leslie Runciman, who was educated at Eton, then King's Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge; eldest son to the Viscount Runciman of Doxford and heir to the Runciman Shipping Line (at which Francis worked). Both Runciman's parents were Liberal MP's, the Viscount serving in the Asquith Government.

This was very much the way things were done in the Auxiliary Air Force. Most Squadron OC's picked their pilots, ensuring they had the 'right moral fibre', came from the right background and had a University education. A condition of joining the AAF was that the would-be pilot had already learnt to fly (at his own expense) and had obtained his pilot's Licence.

The regular RAF nicknamed the AAF boys 'weekend warriors', as AAF men had full time jobs, and mostly flew only on weekends. At least up to early 1939 when things started to get serious on the international front.

No.607 was equipped with the Hawker Demon in 1935, initially performing the role of a bomber attack squadron. In October 1936 it's role was changed to that of a fighter squadron, although still equipped with the Hawker Demon. So for the next few years Blackadder gained experience in gunnery, cross-country navigation, aerial combat and formation flying.

In December 1938 No. 607 commenced converting to the Gloster Gladiator, final equipping completed in March of 1939.

This is a far as I have read. I've just picked up a book titled "The Diary Of A Hurricane Pilot In The Battle Of France." By Robert Dixon. Fascinating insight into the 'class' structure and operation of the RAF that pre-dated WWII.

Highly recommended.
"Somewhere out there is page 6!"
"But Emillo you promised ....... it's postpone"

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Old 29th September 2017, 10:48
Col Bruggy Col Bruggy is online now
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Re: Blackadder Flew In France In 1940


Following thread on RAFCommands might be of interest: Diary-of-a-Hurricane-Pilot-in-the-Battle-of-France-Francis-Blackadder

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