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Does F Sgt Rank on Medal mean he was Aircrew


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#1 ccsk

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 07:53 AM

I have a victory medal that is impressed with the rank 'F SGT' and unit 'RAF'. Does the F SGT stand for Flight Sergeant and does this mean he was aircrew? I suspect it does not as the man in question transferred in from the RNAS in 1918 where he had been ranked as a mechanic (POM/CPOM) but I have to admit to being ignorant of the subtleties of the RAF rank structure - especially in its foundations years.

Thanks.

#2 Ron Clifton

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:15 AM

Hello ccsk

Yes, it does mean flight sergeant, but it does not necessarily mean he was aircrew. It was the rank equivalent to colour- or staff-sergeant in the Army, or something between PO and CPO in the RN. I am not an expert on the air war but I believe that there were relatively few non-commissioned aircrew (or at any rate pilots) in WW1.

He could have been aircrew, but given his RNAS experience a supervising mechanic role seems more likely.

Ron

#3 nils d

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:48 AM

Fewer still flying Flight Sergeants.

#4 centurion

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:18 AM

Fewer still flying Flight Sergeants.


More than you might think.

#5 ccsk

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:23 AM

Hi Ron and Nils and thanks for your replys!

It is good to get confirmation for what I believed to be the case. The man served initially with the RNAS Armoured Car Division but did not transfer to the MGC when the RNACD was dispanded in 1915 but I am trying to find out what he did for the rest of the war. His RNAS records form the NA just give the accounting base although there is the word 'Yarmouth' as well so I am thinking he went on to serve at the RNAS station at Gt Yarmouth before his transfer to the RAF.

Thanks again, Steve



#6 Trevor Henshaw

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 12:25 PM

Steve,

On the Western Front there were at least 85 RFC/RAF sergeant pilots killed, died, wounded, taken prisoner or injured through enemy action. There were another eight injured or killed in accidents with front line squadrons. Sgt or other rank observer/gunner crew so killed wounded or taken prisoner would run well into the hundreds. As Centurion notes, more than you might think.

Hope this helps

Regards,

Trevor

#7 nils d

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:38 PM

More than you might think.

lm not sure you have understood things properly Centurion.
l was refering to FLIGHT SERGEANTS not to Sergeant Pilots as such.
For example in the C&C FE2 book it says that Flt Sgt Eric Jones 58 Sqn was probably the only
Flt Sgt pilot in the entire British night bombing force.There were plenty of Sgt pilots as Trevor
points out but he doesnt give data on Flt Sgts.They didnt do much war flying.



More than you might think.

lm not sure you have understood things properly Centurion.
l was refering to FLIGHT SERGEANTS not to Sergeant Pilots as such.
For example in the C&C FE2 book it says that Flt Sgt Eric Jones 58 Sqn was probably the only
Flt Sgt pilot in the entire British night bombing force.There were plenty of Sgt pilots as Trevor
points out but he doesnt give data on Flt Sgts.They didnt do much war flying.



#8 nils d

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:40 PM

Posted ImageSorry folks,l keep repeating myself.

#9 Frank_East

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 11:19 AM

The Flight Sergeant rank would be assimilated into the non commissioned rank structure introduced by the RAF in August 1919.It was not a rank on April 1 1918 when the RNAS and RFC was amalgamated into the new established Royal Air Force.

As regards Sergeant Pilots,according to W/C Jefford,the White Paper of April 1912 introduced the template for squadron pilot manning.Envisaged were 7 squadrons of 12 aircraft with a establishment of 26 pilots,half of which would be commissioned officers.However such was the influx of commissioned pilots that by August 1914,the ratio of commissioned pilots to non commissioned,had increased to a ratio of 5 to 1.By 1917 there was an establishment of no more than 28 Sergeant Pilots serving on the Western Front.This represented a ratio across the 47 operational squadrons,of commissioned pilots to Sergeant Pilots, of 35 to 1.

#10 ccsk

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:05 PM

Thanks again for the extra info - this is the first time I have done any research on the RAF so everything is new knowledge to me!

#11 Kenners

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 12:30 PM

Hi

Having just read the tail-end of this topic and Frank's comments below regarding the number of Sergeant Pilots (28) permitted on the Western Front, it makes me immensely proud to think my Gt Grandfather was one of that extremely small band of airmen who made it through the ranks to Sergeant Pilot from having started out as an AM, and then Observer with 45 Squadron, and qualifying as a pilot with 84 Squadron in March 1918. Here's a photo I posted a few years back on here of Arthur captured as a POW having crashed his SE5 in Sep 1918 and imprisoned at Karsruhe.

Cheers

Kenners

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#12 nils d

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 01:55 PM

lnteresting.l thought only officers went to Karlsruhe.
Poor Arthur has lost his flying boots!