Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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By PaulB
#1519343
Cutting a long story short, my 87 yr old Mum was telling me about a distant relative who she knew when she was a little girl and who became a pilot in the RAF. She can remember some personal details like who he married, but little about his career as a pilot other than he died in a plane crash.

Google reveals a little bit about him. It looks like he survived the war as he's mentioned in the 1951 honours list receiving the "King's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air". I don't know what that is, but see that he's listed as a Flt Lt and as having a DFC - his entry reads "Flight Lieutenant Jack Netherwood, DFC (182538)."

Can someone point me in the right direction to find out a little more about him - like what he did to receive a DFC? Google suggests he was at RAF Syerston during WWII and was born in West Yorkshire in 1923.

Thanks for any pointers.....
Last edited by PaulB on Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By Dave W
#1519353
Searching The London Gazette for "Netherwood" and "182538" returns 5 entries.
One of them shows the award of the DFC in the 12 December 1944 edition, and shows him as being with 106 Squadron at the time.

106 Sqn from November 1943 was based at RAF Metheringham (SE of Lincoln - there's a Visitor's Centre there still), operating Lancaster B.I and B.III using code letters 'ZN'. (From Sep '42 to Nov '43 the squadron was at Syerston, which fits).

Image

King's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air:
The badge was instituted during the Second World War to acknowledge 'meritorious service in the air' or 'gallantry not reaching the standard required for the Air Force Cross or the Air Force Medal'.


It looks like this:


His DFC citation (and his KCVSA citation) may be online somewhere - perhaps in The Gazette. I'll keep looking, but someone like Rob P can probably find it faster than I can.

Edit: Maybe not. :(

National Archives wrote:Depending on the time period and type of award, surviving gallantry awards can be accessed either online, as microfilm or viewed as original documents at The National Archives.
Often the only record that survives is a public announcement in the London Gazette (ZJ 1), available on The Gazette website.


This book (106 Squadron profile) might be worth £15 to you.
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By PaulB
#1519369
Thanks for that.... may need a trip to Kew. Coincidentally, I lived only a few miles from Metheringham for a couple of years as a teenager.
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By Rob P
#1519370
It is possible for a relative to obtain the full service record of their relation. Distance of the relationship only matters because the closest relative take precedence.

The record comes to you as a colour photocopy of what I assume was a file binder. Handwritten annotations all over it. I have my father's, a lowly MT Corporal, and that is fascinating.

This used to come from Innsworth near Gloucester. It has changed recently. I can probably track it down for you.

Rob P
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By Jonzarno
#1519376
One other thought, admittedly a bit of a long shot, it may be worth asking Grim Reaper if he has a 106 squadron veteran on his Project Propeller roster. You never know, you might find someone who knew him.
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By Rob P
#1519383
Tracking down done.

Basically it's all online now. What you are looking for is the person's Form 543, this is the big envelope that other information was stored in. Most of the other information is junked at some point but the 543 is retained and gives the person's movements, promotions, awards etc. RAF Records used to supply two full-size colour copies, now I understand cost cutting has reduced what is sent.

You need permission from, or the application must be made by the closest surviving family member. The cost is £30

Here's the linky: https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-se ... es-records

Rob P
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By PaulB
#1519387
Ahhh... thanks guys. Finding the closest relative might be an issue... it's a bit distant from me. I don't even know if he had any kids.

What sort of thing would warrant a DFC? Wikipedia suggests that quite a lot were given during WWII (>20000)
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By Rob P
#1519391
They certainly weren't handed out with the rations.

Firstly you had to be an officer or all you got was the DFM (until 1993 when the DFC became egalitarian)

Then you had to do something brave/stupid

And it had to be noticed.

All a bit random really, but you can assume whoever holds one had an interesting service.

Rob P
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By kanga
#1519445
In my experience, AHB folk are helpful when they can be, if only to tell you where else you might look:

http://www.raf.mod.uk/ahb/

Iolanthe (who no longer posts here after a spat :( , but may lurk) is/was on the Curatorial team at Cranwell. Not all wartime Commission Officers went through Cranwell, but any who stayed on as Regular post-War may well then have.
By PeteSpencer
#1519499
Rob P wrote:It is possible for a relative to obtain the full service record of their relation. Distance of the relationship only matters because the closest relative take precedence.

The record comes to you as a colour photocopy of what I assume was a file binder. Handwritten annotations all over it. I have my father's, a lowly MT Corporal, and that is fascinating.

This used to come from Innsworth near Gloucester. It has changed recently. I can probably track it down for you.

Rob P


I'd be interested in that : My dad ended as a Flt Lt and I have his service number, but I fell foul of one of those 'trace your ancestors ' websites who couldn't find him, then continued to take £9.50monthly from my bank account for over six months before I managed to stop them and get a (partial) refund. Put me off further searching.

His only claim to fame was getting a ruby eyed caterpillar pin for bailing out of a burning Hereford during bombing practice on April 27th 1941.....

Did try to find him on the long corridor of photos at Cranwell when we went for my sons graduation years ago but ran out of time....
By cockney steve
#1519602
I nearly fell foul of "that " site, as well ! They were expecting me to upload all that I knew, for free, then sell it to others for about£30 a pop......Yea! I should coco!. likewise, the "monthly subscription "racket.

My enquiry at the time was my father's WW1 involvement in the Merchant Navy, where ,apparently, he lost his sight. (no pension, AFAIK) and a WW11 Recce pilot who was very offhand about his DFC. a great and unassuming character. Wing Commander E.J. Milne DFC. RIP the bravest "coward" I 've ever known.

Eric claimed his cowardice kept him alive ! his schtic was, "I knew the war wasn't going to be over in 5 minutes. - the brave lads took their photo-pass, waking up Jerry in the process.....then they did a second pass and the Ack Ack got a lot......I did the run, scooted for home and waited to see what i'd got.....If I had to go back, usually several weeks later, Jerry was usually asleep again. repeat as needed."

I'm sure he was more than a little economical with the truth . Locals said he'd roar down the valley in his Mustang, and whizz up over the family's hillside house before disappearing back to base.
Eventually he was stopped....never got the full story.
By PeteSpencer
#1519660
Thanks Rob for link:

Forms filled, copy of death cert and £30 cheque enclosed and sent off to Cranwell.

Just gotta wait and see now.....

Peter :wink:
EDIT progress report:

Just had an email from the 'third party procurement unit at Cranwell to say it will take them four weeks to process my cheque and six weeks to dig out/copy my dad's records.

(Did get a phone call yesterday to say they've identified him from the details I gave them , so things are looking promising; though the level of promised detail looks to be minimal.)

Peter