Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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Operational Training Units


No 70 Operational Training Unit

Formed at Ismailia in Egypt from the Training Unit and Reserve Pool on 10 December 1940.  Its task was to train pilots to operate in Middle Eastern conditions and as such was equipped to train twin-engined crews, single seat fighter pilots and crews for communications duties.  From 25 April 1941 it lost the fighter training commitment to concentrate on light and medium bomber training, but it also undertook the training of AI operators. 

In July 1941 the unit moved to Nakuru in Kenya, where in June the following year it began to receive Baltimores.  Also in June 1942  it absorbed two smaller units, the Beam Approach Training Unit from Nanyuki and the Transport Training Flight.  In May 1943 it began moving to Shandur, but this was not completed until  August, when it came under the control of No 203 Group.  At the same time Marauders replaced the Blenheims and it continued in its assigned duties until disbanding on 16 July 1945.

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 71 Operational Training Unit

Formed at Ismailia in Egypt under the control of No 202 Group on 1 June 1941 from the fighter element of No 70 OTU.  Its task was to acclimatise fighter and army co-operation pilots to desert conditions.  From June to September it was tasked with providing night defence of the Canal Zone but in th latter month it moved to Gordon's Tree in the Sudan.  In October 'C' was detached to form No 74 OTU and with it the commitment to train army co-operation pilots.  Further moves occurred on 1 May 1942 to Carthargo and 5 May 1943 to Ismailia with control passing to No 203 Group on 10 July 1943.  Training ceased on 20 May 1945 and the unit disbanded on 11 June.

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 72 Operational Training Unit

Formed at Carthargo from a nucleus provided by No 211 Squadron on 10 November 1941 as a light bomber training unit in desert and tropical conditions.  On the 18th it moved to Wadi Gazouza and operated a mixture of Blenheim, Ansons and Bostons.  From 20 March to early April 1942 it transferred to Nanyuki within No 207 Group, where it remained until  disbanding on 14 May 1943, having been transferred to the control of AHQ East Africa on 16 November 1943.

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 73 Operational Training Unit

Formed at Sheikh Othman in Aden under the control of No 207 Group on 20 November 1941, although it was January 1942 before sufficient personnel were available to begin training.  The unit operated Mohawks and Hurricanes and was tasked with training fighter pilots in desert conditions.  From April 1942 the unit also operated a defence flight, equipped with Mohawks, however, on 24 November 1942 it was reduced to cadre and ended training.  It then moved to Abu Sueir via Rougal in Knenya and El Ballah, where it began operating in February 1943 as a fighter-bomber training unit.  It came under No 203 Group on 10 May 1943 and moved to Fayid in June 1944, disbanding there on 25 September 1945.

Aircraft & Markings

| Photo of 73 OTU pilots |

 

No 74 Operational Training Unit

Formed at Aqir in Palestine from 'C' Flight of No 71 OTU on 18 October 1941 to train army co-operation pilots in tactical reconnaissance duties under desert conditions.  It made various moves to Rayak in July 1942, Muqeibila in November 1942 and back to Aqir in February 1943 before ending at Petah Tiqva in September 1943, with control being transferred to No 203 Group on 10 May 1943.  The unit disbanded on 16 July 1945.

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 75 Operational Training Unit

Formed at Gianaclis on 8 December 1942 as a General Reconnaissance training unit to convert crews in local flying conditions.  It was equipped with Hudsons and having joined No 203 Group on 10 May 1943, it continued to operate in this role until disbanding at Shallufa, to where it had re-located in February 1945 on 26 June 1945, although training had ceased on the 9th. 

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 76 Operational Training Unit

Formed at Aqir in Palestine on 1 October 1943, equipped wioth Wellingtons to train night bomber crews for squadrons in the Middle East, disbanding on 30 July 1945. 

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 77 Operational Training Unit

Formed at Qastina under the control of No 203 Group on 1 January 1944 to train night bomber crews using Wellingtons, which it did until June 1945 when flying ceased before finally disbanding on 9 July 1945. 

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 78 Operational Training Unit

Formed at Ein Shemer in Egypt from a nucleus provided by No 3 (C) OTU in the UK on 1 February 1944 to train General Reconnaissance crews in the use of ASV and the Leigh Light, continuing until 28 June 1945, when flying ceased.  The unit finally disbanding on 23 July 1945. 

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 79 Operational Training Unit

Formed at Nicosia in Cyprus on 1 February 1944 to train General Reconnaissance and strike crews.  However, it was April before it equipment in the form of Blenheims and Beaufighters arrived.  ASV training began in August with the arrival of a flight of suitably equipped Ansons and the unit disbanded on 30 July 1945. 

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 80 (French) Operational Training Unit

Formed at Morpeth on 23 April 1945 to train French pilots for the four Spitfire squadrons of 2nd TAF, it moved to Ouston in July 1945 and disbanded on 8 March 1946, any partially trained personnel being transferred to French schools in France and Morocco.

Codes used: -

3H Apr 1945 - Mar 1946

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 81 Operational Training Unit

Formed on 10 July 1942 at Ashbourne, within No 92 Group as a half strength bomber OTU, equipped with Whitleys.  In September it moved to Tilstock and then on 1 January 1944 it was transferred to the control of No 38 Group in order to train glider tug crews.  At the end of January 1944 it moved to Sleap, alongside No 1665 HCU, with which it worked in conjunction and from where both units flew, whilst admin and maintenance remained at Tilstock.  In November 1944 it received Wellingtons and began to concentrate on training transport crews, disbanding by being redesignated No 1380 (Transport) Conversion Unit on 10 August 1945.

Codes used: -

EZ Jul 1942 - Aug 1945
KG Jul 1942 - Aug 1945
JB Jul 1942 - Aug 1945

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 82 Operational Training Unit

Formed at Ossington on1 June 1943 within No 93 Group from an element provided by No 28 OTU to train night bomber crews on Wellingtons.  It continued in this role until disbanding on 9 January 1945, although it was reduced to three-quarters strength on 15 June 1944.

Codes used: -

BZ Jun 1943 - Jan 1945
TD Jun 1943 - Jan 1945
KA Jun 1943 - Jan 1945
9C Jun 1943 - Jan 1945

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 83 Operational Training Unit

Formed at Childs Ercall on1 August 1943 within No 93 Group from an element provided by No 30 OTU to train night bomber crews on Wellingtons at three quarters strength.  The station changed its name to Peplow on on 20 August 1943 and it continued to operate until disbanding on 28 October 1944, with its personnel being used to form No 23 Heavy Glider Conversion Unit.

Codes used: -

GS Aug 1943 - Oct 1944
FI Aug 1943 - Oct 1944
MZ Aug 1943 - Oct 1944

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 84 Operational Training Unit

Formed on 1 September 1943 at Desborough, within No 92 Group, equipped with Wellingtons to train night bomber crews.  It was reduced to three-quarter strength on 9 May 1944 and finally disbanded on 14 June 1945.

Codes used: -

IF Sep 1943 - Jun 1945
CZ Sep 1943 - Jun 1945
CO Sep 1943 - Jun 1945

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 85 Operational Training Unit

Formed on 15 June 1944 at Husbands Bosworth, within No 92 Group,  from an element provided by No 14  OTU to train night bomber crews on Wellingtons at three quarters strength, disbanding on 14 June 1945.

Codes used: -

9P Jun 1944 - Jun 1945
2X Jun 1944 - Jun 1945

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 86 Operational Training Unit

Formed on 15 June 1944 at Gamston, within No 92 Group,  from an element provided by No 82  OTU to train night bomber crews on Wellingtons at three quarters strength, disbanding on 14 October 1944 and it personnel being used to establish extra Heavy Glider Conversion Units.

Aircraft & Markings

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