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Nelson, John Archibald (Leading Aircraftman)

Died 1943-August-26

Birth Date: 1921 (age 22)

Son of Thomas and Anna Bella Nelson, of Colfax.

Home: Colfax, Saskatchewan

34 OTU- Operational Training Unit (RAF)
Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick, Canada
Leading Aircraftman
Air Chief MarshalA/C/M
Air MarshalA/M
Air Vice MarshalA/V/M
Air CommodoreA/C
Group CaptainG/C
Wing CommanderW/C
Squadron LeaderS/L
Flight LieutenantF/L
Flying OfficerF/O
Pilot OfficerP/O
Warrant Officer 1st ClassWO1
Warrant Officer 2nd ClassWO2
Flight SergeantFS
Senior AircraftmanSAC
Leading AircraftmanLAC
Aircraftman 1st ClassAC1
Aircraftman 2nd ClassAC2
air frame mechanic
Service Numbers
4 Repair Depot, Scoudac, New Brunswick. Died of natural causes while salvaging an aircraft at RCAF Station, Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick. Was on Temporary Duty at the time of his death. Was standing in queue in the Airman's Mess when he collapsed after suffering a cerebral embolism due to a mitral stenosis. He was rushed to the station hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival by a Medical Officer.

Canada Source Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Canada Primary Source Library and Archives Canada Service Files (may not exist)

34 OTU- Operational Training Unit (RAF) (34 Operational Training Unit)

The Operational Training Unit (OTU) was the last stop for aircrew trainees. They spent 8 to 14 weeks learning to fly operational aircraft (Hawker Hurricane or Fairey Swordfish, e.g.). The instructors had experience in actual operations, and often were posted to OTUs after their operational tour.
Course No.5 (Pilots) (12 October 1942-22 January 1943)

No.34 Operational Training Unit (RAF), consisting of approximately 55 Officers and 700 airmen, was sent to Canada from Gourock, Scotland on 08 April 1942 aboard the RAF Transport M/S Batory. Arriving in Halifax Harbour 16 April 1942, then put aboard a troop train to Yarmouth, NS arriving the following morning around 0800 hours. Marching into camp, which was still incomplete, they discovered no plumbing, no water, no heat and muddy roads.

Over the next three or four weeks was to be a time of roll calls, fatigues and route marches, as they had no planes and nothing constructive to do. Soon they learned a decision had been made to move the Unit to Pennfield Ridge, NB on a "temporary" bases - the move completed in three stages between May 18 and May 27, 1942.

Here at Pennfiled Ridge aircraft and aircrews started to arrive and the Unit began to do the job it was organized for - bring the four members of the aircrew (Pilot, Navigator, Wireless Air Gunner and Air Gunner) together for the first time to train as a crew in an operational training setting. Upon graduation most crews were sent overseas to Battle Squadron. The first course commenced on 08 June 1942.

On 31 August 1942 it was decided to retain the Unit at Pennfield Ridge and detach the Armament Training Wing to Yarmouth. Therefore about 250 airmen were shipped back to Yarmouth taking over Hangars No.1 & No.2 – one for in-flight training and one for maintenance. The first nine courses at Pennfield Ridge recv’d their armament training at Yarmouth before returning back to Pennfield Ridge for graduation.

Pennfield Ridge became inactive effective 30 April 1944 and disbanded effective 19 May 1944; All training, upon graduation of trainees on 30 April, was ceased. All personnel, except maintaining sufficient personnel to hand over buildings and equipment of the Unit to the Commanding Officer of RCAF Station, Pennfield Ridge, was to take place between 30 April and 19 May, 1944. Summary provided by G. Christian Larsen

  • RAF Roundel - Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick

  • 1942-05-18 Primary Location Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick Canada

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