Thursday, 12 September 2013

3b. The war is over.

4th July 1945
'The Three Pickerels' pub in Mepal, 2012
Throughout July New Zealand officers and N.C.O.s were transferred to Mepal from other squadrons, no doubt to enjoy the hospitality of the local pubs in nearby Sutton and Mepal and await repatriation.

On the 4th July Bob was one of the 23 remaining RAF personnel to be declared redundant. There is nothing in his service record about this but he could have been given leave until his next posting.

21st July 1945
All of the remaining 75(NZ) Squadron personnel were moved by train from Mepal to RAF Spilsby and No. 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron moved in the opposite direction.

24th July 1945
Bob was posted to RAF Burn, near Selby in Yorkshire, the home of 578 Squadron which had been stood down in March 1945. This was probably a temporary 'holding' posting as the RAF had huge numbers of personnel that they didn't seem to know what to do with. It could also have been where Bob helped out on a local farm and where he encountered the boars, Hector and Hercules, that provided the material for one of the stories he told his family.

25th August 1945
Bob's next move signaled a change in direction from aircrew to ground crew. He was posted to No.12 S. of T.T. at RAF Melksham, in Wiltshire and re-mustered as 'Flight Engineer/FME under training' (F/E/utFME). In other words he was to be trained as a Flight Mechanic (Engines) - his flying days were over.

15th October 1945
75(NZ) squadron was disbanded on the 15th October 1945 and all of its personnel gradually shipped back to New Zealand. 75 Squadron RNZAF was created in New Zealand in 1946 and disbanded 55 years later in 2001.

13th November 1945
Bob was then promoted to Flight Sergeant, presumably because of length of service (it was exactly a year to the day after qualifying as a Flight Engineer and becoming a Sergeant) but he was not a Flt. Sgt. for long.

28th December 1945
Once again Bob passed his exams (62%), this time a Local Trade Test Board (LTTB) assessment, and on

1st January 1946
he was re-mustered as a Flight Mechanic (Engines) and reverted to the rank of AC1 (Aircraftsman 1st Class), presumably because he had reverted to a ground trade.

11th January 1946
His final posting was to 1384 Heavy Transport Conversion Unit (H.T.C.U.) at RAF Ossington, in Nottinghamshire, a unit under the control of RAF Transport Command. Here he would have worked on the Dakota, the Oxford and the York.

19th January 1946
Bob's first child was born (Bob junior) 3 months before he was demobbed.

Robert Jay Junior, born 19th January, 1946.

9th April 1946
Airmen boarding transport for 100 PDC, Uxbridge
Finally Bob was sent to No.100 Personnel Dispersal Centre (100 P.D.C.) in Uxbridge, West London, where he would receive his civilian ration book, his 'demob' suit and any outstanding pay. He was then 'released' (according to his service record his 'effective date of release' was 30th April, 1946) and placed on Class 'G' Reserve (RAF), so he would "remain liable to recall to Air Force Service in an emergency" for 12 years. He re-joined the Grimsby Fire Brigade where he stayed for just over two years before taking up employment as a fitter in the chemical industry.

Some time later Bob received his war medals

Left to right: France and Germany Star, 1939-45 Star, War Medal 1939-45
It would be another 68 years before Bob received a Bomber Command Clasp in recognition of his service.

The 1939-45 Star (with Bomber Command clasp received in 2013), France & Germany Star and War Medal 1939-45

1947 - 1950
There were two more addition's to Bob's family, Vic and Pam, born in 1947 and 1950 respectively - Bob and Vera had made their contribution to the post-war baby boom!

L to R - Vic, Pam and Bob Jr., 1951.
In 1951 and 1952 some former airmen were called up from the reserve for 15 days training, but not Bob. I don't think he would have been disappointed.

Although Bob's flying days were over, he would fly again in the early 1950s when he took off from Cleethorpes beach for a pleasure flight with his sons Bob and Vic in an Auster 5.

An Auster 5 on Cleethorpes beach, early 1950s

2nd March 1958
He was finally released from the reserve list.

Bob continued to work as a fitter in the chemical industry, receiving a long service award from British Titanium Products (BTP, or 'Titans') shortly before he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 1974. He died on the 3rd of September, 1974, 20 months after the birth of his granddaughter, Caroline. Five more grandchildren and eight great grandchildren have arrived since his death.

Bob's legacy

Bob's 6 grandchildren, L to R - David, Caroline, Helen, Suzie, Ruth and Paul, 2008.
Great grandchildren:

Martha (L) and Rosa

Erin and Betsy

Finn and Imogen


Rafe, the latest arrival, January 2016

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