RN Pilots (Ratings)

Discussion in 'The Fleet Air Arm' started by Joint_Force_Harrier, Jun 23, 2014.

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  1. Did the FAA ever have NCO Pilots, I was chatting to an old chap at the weekend as he said he was a FAA pilot in the early 40's. He has a class photo and all the students were in square rig?

    I know the Army and the Womens Auxiliary Balloon Corps have/did?
  2. Yes. They became Petty Officer Pilots on successful qualification.

  3. Ahh thanks NG, that explains it. He finished flying training as the war ended, they told him they no longer needed as many pilots so he became one of gods chosen ones and was promoted to aircraft mechanic.
  4. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    I think direct entry pilots in WW2 started as ratings as that meant something could be done with them if they were chopped during training, so that photo may have been your man in his training class.

    There were perceived to be problems squadron cohesion, with PO pilots not being in the loop with their commissioned equivalents who would be discussing this and that in the wardroom. My understanding is that after the war the rating pilots were either commissioned if suitable, or offered a branch change, or release. I have a dim memory of one who chose the last after being offered retraining as a cook.
  5. Ah it's making sense now, he did say he was offered retraining.

    Nice old fella, spent his life researching naval history, I believe he is well regarded in the Nelson society.
  6. An old mate widely known in the MCD Branch as 'Uncle Bill' actually qualified as a rating pilot but then had the rug pulled out from under his feet by a change in policy. This is mentioned in his obituaries:

    Lt Cdr W B Filer MBE GM RN med.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  7. What is the badge above his medals? Is is a set of dolphins?
  8. It's a Canadian Navy Clearance Diving Officer's branch badge. Although it was presented to him by the Canadians, he wore it unofficially. I suspect few people would have quibbled given his war record and the fact that he was long retired from active service.

    Canadian Navy Clearance Diving Officer branch badge med.jpg

    An equivalent branch badge has never been approved for the Royal Navy although MCDOs and WO(D)s have since become entitled to wear an EOD 'skill brevet', incorporating a diving helmet, on the left cuff of their jackets in a similar manner to the wings worn by officer aircrew.
    RN EOD skill brevet.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Every days a school day, thanks NG
  10. WW2 SR pilots either left the RN or were commissioned at the end of the war and became FAA officer pilots. My old crafty, LtCdr Wines, (Charlie), (FAA Non Technical Desk), was a WW2 PO Pilot. Quiet a character, he was the clumsiest man I have ever met, how he managed to control a swordfish amazed me!
  11. Charlie Wines was responsible for dishing out he draft chits.
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  12. A visit to the National Archives at Kew will explain all.
    See ADM1/17906 Training of ratings as pilots and observers in the Fleet Air Arm and RN ratings recommendation of rating pilots and observers for promotion irrespective of upper age limit and revised marking and assessment. See ADM 1/11876 RN Officers Institution of Warrant Officer rank to petty officer pilots, observers etc..
    A most interesting ADM336/24/53. Service records of Lever, Emily Kate, Tower, Dorothy Frances and Cooper, Evelyn Hester Mary enrolled in March and April 1918 as WRNS Rating Observers. Educated, able-bodied males were, clearly, thin on the ground this late in the war.
  13. I seem to recall a couple of former rating pilots at CINCNAVOME in Portsmouth in the mid-1970s. One had completed his flying training in WW2 and was then commissioned and worked his way up to eventually become C-in-C. The other was still training in Canada when the war ended and was offered the options of joining the RAF or changing branch. He chose the latter and by the 70s was a Chief Writer on the C-in-C's staff.

  14. Before any comments, I know I forgot the "H" in CINCNAVHOME. Or did I mean CINCNAGHOME?
  15. WW2 trainee rating pilots and observers wore square rig with no non-sub badge on their right arm. On the formation of the Naval Airman branch c. 1948 the last tranches of trainee rating pilots shifted into fore and aft rig wearing a red ( number 3's) naval airman aeroplane badge on their right arm. So far as I am aware gold braid non-sub badges were never issued to them.

    Men" dressed as seamen" rating pilots and observers were not required to wait the 12 months before they shifted into P.O.'s fore and aft rig. They changed rigs on gaining their wings.
    I imagine they were delighted to" gash bin" the impractical sailor suits they had to endure.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2014

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