British aircraftman served as armourer with RAF in GB, 1941-1942; served as armourer with 3210 Servicing Commando RAF in GB and France, 1942-1944, including Normandy landings, 6/1944 and in India, Malaya and Indonesia, 1945-1946
REEL 1: Background in Leicester, 1923-1939: family; education; employment; description of activities with Air Training Corps, 1938-1939; volunteered for RAF, 1941 and problem of eyesight. Aspects of training with RAF in GB, 1941-1942: posted to RAF Padgate, 13/6/1941; accommodation; attitude to discipline; induction; medical; issued with uniform and kit; drill; posted to RAF Melksham, 7/1941; description of specialist training as armourer including exercises loading dummy bombs; posted to RAF Wool Fox, 9/1941; description of camp and accommodation; opinion of NCOs; posted to No 24 Operational Training Unit, RAF Honeybourne; nature of operations from base; story of volunteering for RAF Servicing Commandos; posted to 3210 Servicing Commando, RAF Zeals, 5/1942. Aspects of training with 3210 Servicing Commando RAF in GB, 1942-1944: description of training including driving lorries.
REEL 2 Continues: route marches and PT; armaments training; further training at Combined Operations centre, Inverary; description of commando training on landing craft; awarded Combined Operations badges; posted to RAF Hawkinge, 9/1943; period servicing Belgian crewed Spitfires at Friston, Eastbourne; description of preparations for D-Day landings in camps at Bognor Regis and Salisbury. 4-5/1944; lorries waterproofed; posted to transit camp at Fareham. 6/1944; issued with French francs. Aspects of operations with 3210 Servicing Commando RAF in Normandy, France, 6/1944: embarked on LCT from Gosport, 6/6/1944; memory of invasion fleet; disembarked at Graye-sur-Mer, 7/6/1944; description of vehicles and crew; command structure; billeted in field; problem of finding unit; transferred to advanced landing ground sector B3, 9/6/1944; rations; description of duties refuelling and rearming Spitfires, Typhoons and other aircraft; role in collecting supplies of fuel and ammunition from beach; daily routine and living conditions; amusing story of beer being carried in Spitfire fuel tanks; description of conditions in US advanced landing ground sector A1; description of rearming Typhoons; opinion of pilots; casualties.
REEL 3 Continues: memory of Typhoons firing rockets at German defences in Caen; opinion of organisation of D-Day; comparison of facilities in US and British sectors; role in collecting crashed Spitfires; opinion of Americans; duties with gliders at Ranville; posted back to GB, 7/1944. Aspects of period with 3210 Servicing Commando RAF in India, Malaya and Indonesia, 1945-1946: story of journey from GB to India via Egypt, 12/1944-1/1945; posted to Repair and Salvage Unit in Calcutta and nature of duties, 5/1945; posted to Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, 8/1945; posted to Batavia (Jakata), Java, 10/1945; duties on airfield rearming Thunderbolts for sorties against Indonesian rebels; amusing story of seaplane; 3210 Servicing Commando disbanded, 1946; posted to 155 Sqdn RAF in Surabaya, Sumatra. 1/1946; duties refuelling Dakotas and other non-operational aircraft; returned to GB and demobilised, 9/1946. Post-war life and employment as farmer. Reflections on period of service.
Over two million American servicemen passed through Britain during the Second World War. In 1944, at the height of activity, up to half a million were based there with the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). Their job was to man and maintain the vast fleets of aircraft needed to attack German cities and industry.