Moderator Control Panel ]

looking for uncle's RCAF/RAF records

Having trouble tracking down a wartime ancestor? Share your queries – and help fellow researchers – here

looking for uncle's RCAF/RAF records

Postby campbrd1 » Fri Jun 13, 2014 4:06 pm

I’m trying to find out which RAF squadron my grand-uncle Joseph James Dollard THERIAULT served with when he served as a Flight sergeant with the RCAF in England. If we can identify the squadron I would be interested to find out where the squadron served before, during and after D-Day. Are there any British records where I might look to find the above information?
My grand uncle was born the 27 February 1903 and baptized the 28 of February 1903 born to James Dollard Theriault and Louisa Bertin in Grande Anse, New Brunswick, Canada He died on the 30th November 1961 at Sudbury, Ontario, Canada at a place called Minnow Lake. His obituary only mentioned that he was a in the RCAF but did not mention a unit. I also have a photo from WWII taken of him in uniform standing in front of a bombed out church which I assume is in Britain. I can just make out a partial of a shoulder patch.
He married had Mary Mae KUNATH in 1925 in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, USA.
He had a daughter Shirley Mae THERIAULT birth date unknown and a son Raymond James THERIAULT born 21 April 1932.
He would have been 39 years old in 1942. After the war in Sudbury he was into radio repair and this could have been his specialty as part of the RCAF maintenance crew.
My understanding that the RCAF went to Britain and although independent of the RAF later joined or supplemented RAF squadrons. Any help would be appreciated.
Regards….Robert Campbell
campbrd1
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:11 pm

Re: looking for uncle's RCAF/RAF records

Postby ColinB » Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:32 pm

This is rather difficult as records about people in WW2 are not readily available ,service records for example are still with the Ministry of Defence. I searched for the surname on the National Archives website and got one hit in Air Ministry Combat reports for Theriault; Flying Officer ; Squadron 414. No first name is given so it may not be relevant. This record is available for download on payment of a small fee :
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.u ... i=D7447726

If it is the right man you can search here for details of 414 squadron ( which was an RCAF squadron)
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/reco ... -books.htm
Again it looks like there are records wich can be downloaded and you can search with dates which may help.

This may be a wild goose chase , but good luck anyway !

In case the second link doesn't work you can go to http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk , select Find Guidance >Looking for a Subject > Royal Air Force Operations and go down the page to find the Second World War Section 6.
ColinB
 
Posts: 1432
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:54 am
Location: Essex

Re: looking for uncle's RCAF/RAF records

Postby phsvm » Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:00 am

I have a book called The RCAF Overseas which is the 5th volume in a set of 6 which chronicles the involvement of the RCAF in WW2.

The F/O Theriault Colin B has mentioned appears in the Roll of Honour in the book. His initials are H P so is not sadly your man.

He was a bomb aimer in Bomber Command and died on 21 Feb 1944. (lostaircraft.com). CWGC site confirms his name as Henri Paul from Quebec.

I haven't been able to find any reference to your Joseph Theriault in the book unfortunately but if you do manage to find out more about him I'd recommend this series of books as they give an indepth and fascinating insight into the RCAF during WW2.
phsvm
 
Posts: 677
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:14 pm

Re: looking for uncle's RCAF/RAF records

Postby ColinB » Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:43 pm

What a pity ! I'm glad you've been able to rule out the man I found - at least there'll be no need to waste any money !

Colin
ColinB
 
Posts: 1432
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:54 am
Location: Essex

Re: looking for uncle's RCAF/RAF records

Postby campbrd1 » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:15 pm

Hello to you all,
Here is an update, I managed to get my grand uncle James service records from our national archives.
To put it in context I’ll describe it this way. In the fall of 1940 the battle in France was finished and the daylight phase of the Battle of Brittain was ending and the night-blitz was about to start. Britain’s RDF had proved itself and plans were advanced for using it in other venues. Ground interception and airborne.
In that era British staffing resources were strained and there was an enormous demand for recruits from across services and limitation in technically trained and educated personnel required to build, maintain and operate expanding uses of RDF.
A formal request was made by the UK’s High Commissioner in Ottawa for assistance in providing people skilled in radio technology for service in the defence of Britain. The Canadian Government called on experience people mostly hobbyist “Ham Operators”, professionals in radio and wireless operations and radio repairmen.
My grand uncle James Theriault was one of these volunteers and he enlisted at North Bay, Ontario, Canada. Since he had 14 years’ experience in radio repair, he was given a physical, was fingerprinted and had to pass a tough test to prove himself suitable for the work. He was recruited the 17 September 1941 and since he passed his test he was immediately sent to Toronto for military training for a few weeks and subsequently sent to #31 Radio School, Royal Air Force at Clinton, Ontario, Canada December 11, 1941. Staffed by the best recruits who had received their training on radar in Britain in 1940 these instructors passed on the requisite knowledge on radar to complete my grand uncle’s exposure to radar and training in maintenance and support. On completion of his training and by way of Moncton New Brunswick he was deployed overseas to the UK. He arrived at the #3 Personnel Reception Center the 10th of March 1942. From Harwell, Berkshire, England #3 PRC he was sent to #15 Operational Training Unit (OTU) where he is taken on strength (TOS). I believe #15 OTU was formed in August 1940 as part of No. 6 Group RAF Bomber Command at RAF Harwell it trained night bomber crews on the Vickers Wellington and in 1942 it carried out seven operational missions if I’m not mistaken and thus began my grand uncle’s contribution to the war effort supporting radar. He became T/CPL under authority 233/43 here putting into practice what he had learned in Canada.

On the 30th of November 1942 he was transferred from #15 OTU and was attached to the #29 Squadron. The #29 I believe became fully involved with night fighting using Beaufighters, night fighters were either purpose-built or day fighters modified to be effective night fighting combat aircraft, often employing radar or other systems for providing some sort of detection capability in low visibility. This may also have included Instrument landing systems for landing at night as turning on the runway lights made runways into an easy target for opposing intruders. From training records and deployment records he was involved in supporting and maintaining Radio and Radar equipment. On the 1st of April 1942 he became a T/SGT.

On the 6 July 1943 he returned to Canada and went back to Clinton now an RCAF base for a bit and on the 23 of August 1943 began travelling about Canada installing radar at various locations until the 23 October 1945 when he was honorably discharged and transferred to Reserve, General Section Class "E" and received the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp
The above notes give you the highlights of his career and I have the following questions with respect to his orders.

Since Clinton was under RAF control for training individuals about radar at the time my Grand Uncle volunteered I believe each group that went through training took a group photo. Would you know how I might go about getting such a photo if one of him still exist on completion of his course?
Also would photos exist of personnel from #15 OTU or #29 Squadron? Circa 30th November 1942 to 22 March 1943? Circa 12 December 1941 to 8 February 1942?
Thanks for your help, Robert
campbrd1
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:11 pm

Re: looking for uncle's RCAF/RAF records

Postby phsvm » Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:59 pm

As I sit typing this I am less than a mile from the end of the runway at Harwell which is marked by a memorial.

Every year there is a commemorative service at the site, held on the Saturday closest to 6 June. Harwell played an important role in the D Day landings. This year it was a particularly special event marking the 70th anniversary of the landings.

If you would like photos of the memorial please let me know and I'm happy to take some pics and send them to you.
phsvm
 
Posts: 677
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:14 pm

Re: looking for uncle's RCAF/RAF records

Postby campbrd1 » Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:49 pm

Thanks for the offer but I am trying to stay in context with the time period my grand uncle was there. With respects to D Day he was already back in Canada working on Ground Intercept Radar installations in preparation for the Japanese on our west coast.

Since you are so close to Harwell can you tell me if you are aware of a museum nearby that may have photos of RAF/RCAF personnel between November 30, 1942 and June 7, 1943 taken as group photos or individually?

Thanks for your offer and your help...regards....Robert
campbrd1
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:11 pm


Return to Military help


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest