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War Service Question - WW2

Discussion in 'Military records' started by AlanB, Apr 11, 2024.

  1. AlanB

    AlanB LostCousins Member

    My father was drafted towards the end of World War 2 after he turned 18. I have his service record which I found when clearing out my parents' house. He joined the RAF on 28th Dec 1942 and was posted to the Gold Coast in Africa. He was discharged from the RAF on 30th June 1945 as his services were no longer required. But instead of being sent home he was transferred to the Navy the following day and served until 28th Apr 1946. I initially though this RN period was National Service, since the war in Europe had ended, but then I found out that National Service didn't start until a few years later. So my question is, why would Dad have still been in the forces well after VE and VJ day? Was this a common thing?

    I would add that, like many of that generation, Dad didn't speak about his wartime experiences. I know nothing about his time in the Navy, and the only thing I know about the RAF years is that the ship taking him to Africa was sunk by a U Boat and he was rescued by an American ship and taken to Casablanca. I have a GI cap which they gave him with the date written on it. He worked as a storeman on the Gold Coast so I doubt he saw any fighting.
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Demobilisation was a long process. I suggest you read this Wikipedia article. - note that it suggests that age would have been a factor.
  3. AlanB

    AlanB LostCousins Member

    Thanks Peter, that makes sense.

    I wish I'd asked him more about his war service when he was alive. I only discovered that he'd served in two branches of the armed forces years later. He said nothing about his time in the navy and his service record only has the names of the ships and the dates. As for his time in the Gold Coast, he left a book of photographs of African villagers, the aforementioned GI cap, and some concert party programmes.
  4. Stuart

    Stuart LostCousins Member

    Those names may be quite informative - shore stations always had names like ships which were used in service records. I can find mentions of RAF stations at Accra and Takoradi (Komenda), both on the coast and about 200 km apart. RNAS Komenda, was also HMS Wara, and was the same airfield as RAF Takoradi, and the main centre for assembling aircraft from crated kits for the whole of North Africa. The Imperial War Museum has this to say:
    That looked very promising, except that the RNAS station closed in 1943 leaving the RAF one still in use. There may not have been an RAF station at Accra at the time, but there was a big American transport base, and I think there was an RAF presence there. Aircraft in those days proceeded by small hops, at best, and quite often had to make emergency landings,so a lot were needed. Both Accra and Takoradi had army bases and sea ports too, so a small RN unit there may have been part of one of those.

    My first thought was that he, or his job, or the whole station he worked in, was transferred from the RAF to the RN - which included the RNAS, of course. I agree with Peter that given his age, and no priority for being sent home, he was quite lucky to be demobbed as early as he was. My dad got out at about the same time, having served in the Burma campaign, been sent back to India due to ill health, and then working in the docks until he got flown back home.

    Those serving abroad used to complain a lot about "Python" - a system of priorities for travel back home. Originally meant for those in career service before the war, who earned the right to home leave with air transport both ways, it was broadened to cover conscripts (for whom home leave would be one-way). Moving all the people concerned home in a short time was a serious problem, and employed all the ships and planes they could get hold of,ans still took over a year.

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