I am trying to learn the duties of a Halifax Wireless Operator during air operations in 1944. Could someone please describe the role and function. Also, were there 2 brevet wings awarded - "WO" and "WO/AG" or did one replace the other? Thank you. Norman
The badge worn by the wireless operator (air) was the S (for signaller). The RAF did not have a W.Op badge. The RCAF did have a badge for Wireless Op/Air Gunners with WAG thereon. I believe that some of these were unofficially modified by RAF aircrew. Gunners had AG as their badge.
Thank you for your help again but I'm still a little puzzled over the brevet wings. What would a 1944 Bomber Command RAF Wireless Operator wear? I have a crew photo where I can see a "N", "E" "AG" and "B" but the wireless operators battle dress is covered. I'm also trying to understand the pattern of work wireless operators carried out on a 1944 air operations. Were there set routines? Thank you.
His primary function in the air would be to listen out for messages such as course changes and messages from the Master Bomber (Pathfinders). He would also operate the Gee system where fitted and could take radio fixes to establish the aircrafts position.
My Father in law, Bernard McCann joined the RAF in 1942. He trained as a wop/ag
After Training he was issued with a half wing WAG badge which he wore till the end of the war. During this time he served in Bommber Command [ 1943]
38 group [1944, soe work and glider towing] not sure of sqdns after that but think it was transport command.
He says that the RAF stopped the dual role training, he thinks in 1943 and that wireless ops then wore a clenched or closed hand badge with sparks coming from it on the upper arm which might explain why it can not be seen on the photograph.
I will try and get further information from him and post it
I flew a tour(30 trips) as a Wireless Air Gunner with Jack Egger's crew on 433 Squadron,RCAF
based at Skipton on Swale, Yorks. First trip in August 1944 and 30th in January 1945.
After graduating from Wireless School, then Bombing and Gunnery School I was awarded the
RCAF half wing reading WAG. I never heard of, nor ever saw, an S nor a WO wing.
When airborne the wireless op was the crew's connection with Group and all radio navigational aids.
Strict radio silence was the rule on ops. Only in extreme emergencies such as ditching, was the transmitter used to send the SOS. All communications were in Morse and had to be received and decoded before action taken. Also searched a given frequency band for German night fighter voice radio communication. If found, initiated jamming the frequency. Was also responsible for monitoring "Fishpond" a radar device to detect Jerry night fighters closing in from below.
"Gee" was not used by the WAG, but by the Navigator as was H2S. Master Bomber instruction were
voice and were received through the pilot's RT transceiver. The WAG also dispensed the "Window" through the chute according to a given schedule.
I just knew a veteran would come in and tidy this one up so many thanks.
The S Brevet was however the norm in the RAF which had ceased to train WAG's and seperated out the two trades. AMO A1242 1943 was the authority for the S Brevet whereas AMO A547 1939 covered the AG half wing. I believe the WAG badge was unique to the RCAF although I am aware as mentioned earlier that some RAF aircrew who had trained as WAG's did 'borrow' the Canadian version albeit unofficially. I do agree that no WO badge was sanctioned or used