Bob Jubb - Crewing up
I was posted to what's called an OTU, operational training unit, at Wharton in the Marsh. I'm flying Wellingtons, so we had to learn to fly a big lumbering Wellington, which I really enjoyed. It was a lovely old aircraft.
That's when we crewed up. There were six of us. We got a couple of gunners, and a aimer, and a navigator, and so on. We were put in a big hall and just milled around. You sort of looked at each other. There were various categories of gunners and navigators, and you'd like the look of a fella and say oh are you crewed up? And he'd say no, and you'd say do you want to try your luck with us? Anyway that seemed to work out. That's how the whole RAF got its crews together. They let them choose each other.
Anyway, I think it was a success because I had no problems with my crew. They were quite good. From there we then were led to a conversion unit to learn to fly multi-engines. We went to this place called Riccall, and there we acquired another crew member called a flight engineer, because on four engines, they decided the pilot had his hands a bit full to do it all himself, so they provided a flight engineer. He could do all the tank changes. For example, in the Halifax there were 16 fuel tanks, and they had to be changed in order to avoid an airlock, which would stop the engines. They had to be switched over in a certain sequence. That was the job of the flight engineer to learn the proper sequence for changing the fuel. They always used the outermost tanks and worked their way into the fuselage to get rid of the fuel.