The R.A.F Form 700.
There has been many well documented books on Operations of Squadrons with experiences of aircrews .
All operations were made possible by the work of the ground crews.
The following is written to give a view ofthe activities of ground Crews before an operation.
Often the order of the day was ‘ Maximun Effort ‘
Such was the order for the night of June 4th / 5°h 1944 before D Day .
102 put up its aircraft 18 for the target of Boulone all retumed.
The night of June 5th / 6m for the target of Caen 28 aircraft all retumed safely.
The night of June 6th / 7th 26 aircraft , the target St Lo all retumed safely.
The night of 8th / 9th 24 aircraft target French Coast regrettably DY- M (LW140) and DY-T (MZ659) aircraft failed to return.
102 squadron was made up of three flights, A,B and C, each flight
had 8 aircraft lettered by alphabet A through to Z
(but no I ).
There were reserve aircraft , with Manufactures numbers like
MZ 652 and MZ 654 and could be bought into use as required .
To maintain these aircraft each flight had its own set of trades airmen, which were:
Each had a Corporal in charge ; with the overall responsibility for ground crew with a Flight Seargent or Seargent .
Each aircraft had a Form 700 , it was a document which recorded all the work carried out by each trade , signed by the one who carried out the work.
Work of the daily inspection, repairs and replacements to maintain the serviceability.
Before any flight this form 700 was presented to the pilot for his inspection and signature of acceptance. ( Incidentally this Form 700 is still used today)
With aircraft serviceable all that remained to be ready for Ops was to be fuelled ; the oxygen and nitrogen bottles charged then bombed up.
Bomb armourers back at the bomb dump would prepare the required bombs with the necessary fuses. Load them on trolleys and deliver them to the dispersals for winching up into the aircraft bomb bays.
On return from Ops de briefing took place. A representative usually
the Corporal from each trade would ask the crew for any problem they
experienced on the trip. Record it for dealing with the next day.
After a predetermined number of flying hours, aircraft were taken to the Hanger for the minor inspection to be carried out.
These were completed by the Section ground crew based in the hanger, we were known as the Servicing echelon.
For us of the Instrument Section, the removal from the aircraft for calibration of the master unit of the Distant Reading Compass together with its Air Mileage and Air position units ; the Mk 14 Bombsight ; the blind flying panel.
Instrument;. If any unit of the Auto
Pilot ( George ) had been changed ; like a servo motor , or Gyro unit
the auto pilot was checked and adjusted by air test.
Finally on leaving the hanger the aircraft was taken to a dispersal for compass swinging. The aircrait was turned through 360 degrees and the compass heading checked for the magnetic north setting on various bearings.
So much for the Instrument Section ; On the minor inspection all other trades would have dealt their responsibilities An engine may be changed ; the radio and radar systems calibrated.
Before handing an aircraft back to the care of it flight crews an air test would be carried out .
Graham J Kembery. Ex L A C.
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