The Auxiliary Air Force

Discussion in 'Stories' started by Hobilar, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. Hobilar

    Hobilar Member

    Nov 3, 2007
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    Born in 1926 with four squadrons the Auxiliary Air Force was the RAF's equivalent of the Territorial Army, part time local formations trained to supplement the regulars in time of war.

    By 1939, twenty squadrons had been raised, however many regulars were unenthusiastic about the AAF squadrons. Basically the volunteers were drawn from well heeled middle class society. A parlance of the day was that Auxiliaries were 'Gentlemen trying to be officers' and that Regulars were' Officers trying to be Gentlemen'.

    A leading WWII ace Johnnie Johnson, always complained that he had been refused entry to an AAF squadron because of his lack of knowledge about fox-hunting. 'Ginger' Lacey posted to an AAF squadron found then " a rather snobbish preserve of the rich". Another squadron even insisted that prospective officers be given a Social Test to see if they were acceptable as Gentlemen.

    In one such squadron, the Officers, concerned about petrol shortages, contrived to purchase their own petrol station. When the pumps were found to be only half full one of their officers who happened to be a Director of Shell Oil arranged for an immediate delivery. That squadron from then on was known as the Millionaires' squadron.

    Given to wearing bright scarves and silk lined jackets, by 1940 the AAF formed a quarter of RAF fighter resources. These 'Gentlemen' pilots were soon to meet the battle hardened veterans of Goering's Luftwaffe.

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