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Ground Crew

VIEWS: 2 PAGES: 10

  • pg 1
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“RAF Groundcrews, or ‘erks’ as they were known…were in the front line
           as the Battle of Britain gathered momentum”.
                                                 David Oliver, Fighter Command 1939-45




                               Defending the Nation
  What can you see happening in this scene from the Battle of Britain?




                                                         Part of the Battle of Britain London Monument by Paul Day
Who are these people?
                                                                                       The work of the
                                                                                      ground crews was
                                                                                      vital if the R.A.F.
Part of the Battle of Britain London Monument by Paul Day




                                                                                     was to defeat the
                                                                                      Luftwaffe during
                                                                                    the Battle of Britain.
                                                                                       The groundcrew
                                                                                      worked tirelessly
                                                                                      readying aircraft
                                                                                    between ‘scrambles’.

Very often four armourers (like those above), were all needed
to turn an aircraft around quickly – getting an aircraft ready
to scramble again as soon as possible.
                                                            Written Sources   Further Images
              How important a job do you consider that of a groundcrew
                               member to have been?
       “When the fighters landed they were expected to be refuelled,
       re-armed and gun ports taped, have their engines checked,
       including topping up the oil and glycol coolant tanks, oxygen
       cylinders replaced and Radio Transmission tested, all within 10
       minutes!”

       “When at a state of readiness, a member of the groundcrew, the
       engine fitter, would warm up the fighter’s engine at regular
       intervals, while the other member of the ‘team’, the airframe
       rigger, would be ready to help the pilot into his parachute and
       strap him into the seat in the event of a ‘scramble’.
                                                         David Oliver, Fighter Command 1939-45, (Harper Collins 2000)

Why do you think that David Oliver has chosen to put the word ‘team’ in
                       ‘single’ quotation marks?
Boulton-Paul Defiant Photocard provided by M. Williams
                                                                                  Back to Slide 10
How does the information below reinforce the conclusion that you came
       to when answering the questions on the previous slide?

       “A smooth-running engine, clean and well-oiled canopy and non-
       jamming guns would often not only increase a pilot’s chances of
       shooting down the enemy, but may save his life. Many long-term
       relationships between groundcrew and aircrew were forged
       during the hectic months of the Battle of Britain.”
                                                         David Oliver, Fighter Command 1939-45, (Harper Collins 2000)




         Jobs carried out by
           the Groundcrew




Boulton-Paul Defiant Photocard provided by M. Williams
        Using all of the sources – how difficult a life was it for groundcrew
                       personnel during the Battle of Britain?

    “The (engines) fitted to the first RAF Hurricanes, Defiants and
    Spitfires had to be started by using an external battery mounted on a
    trolley accumulator, which had to be manhandled into place by the
    groundcrew…The Gladiator and Blenheim 1F had to be cranked into life
    by an ‘erk’ with a starting handle. A backfire could result in a broken
    wrist.”

    “Groundcrews set up workshops in open cornfields…and slept where and
    when they could while battles raged…dust found its way into engines,
    hydraulics and gun mechanisms. (Often) the airfields turned into
    quagmires. The wire mesh on the airfield would bend upwards with
    constant use, becoming a bed of needles that punctured aircraft tyres,
    often with fatal results.”
                                                         David Oliver, Fighter Command 1939-45, (Harper Collins 2000)


Boulton-Paul Defiant Photocard provided by M. Williams
                                                                       Back to Slide 10
What has this member of the Groundcrew got draped around his neck?


       Part of the Battle of Britain London Monument by Paul Day
                                                              Armourers during the Battle of
                                                              Britain had to rearm eight .303
 Part of the Battle of Britain London Monument by Paul Day




                                                                  Browning machine guns.




The gun bays on the Hurricane only had two panels which were
opened by undoing 32 turnbuttons.

The Spitfire had 22 panels and 150 turnbuttons.

While the armourers were at work another ‘erk’, or member of the
groundcrew, would start refuelling the aeroplane.
Images provided by the Battle of Britain Historical Society
 Does this part of Paul Day’s sculpture give you some idea of how many
members of the Groundcrew were needed to get a fighter plane airborne
                         and ready for action?

         Part of the Battle of Britain London Monument by Paul Day
What do you think those men that have been boxed are doing?



    Part of the Battle of Britain London Monument by Paul Day

								
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