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864077 William James DAVIES DOB 18/11/1910
Described as 5 feet 9 inches in height with brown eyes, black hair and a fresh complexion. Chest size was 34 1/2 inches. No scars of note. His religion was Church of England. His home address on joining was “Ross”, 33 Payton Road, Fareham, Hants.
Married to Eileen Hilda May Sleeker 15/08/1931 at Havant. As a result she was named as next of kin as at 29/06/1942: by then Mrs Davies, lived at The Bungalow, Burton Rough, Petworth, Sussex. This was near to a US Army Air Force Base No. 593. He was listed as having two children at the time of joining: Anthony William Arthur D.O.B. 1/05/1934 and Terence Andrew Clifford D.O.B. 12/08/1937.
He was joined the RAF pre-war on 21st March 1939, via No12 Receiving Centre based in Bournemouth, with a posting to 933 Barrage Balloon Squadron based at Gosport/Portsmouth, mustering indicated he was given the rank of a Aircraft hand (A.C.H ) / Balloon Rigger, also known as A.C.2 indicating Aircraftman 2nd Class, the pay at the time was started at two shillings per day. This meant that he met Medical Grades I and II and his feet were at least Grade II. In the miscellaneous section it is apparent that he was content to join any RAF unit or Auxiliary Air Force section on joining.
Bill Davies is standing on the left presumably taken 29 Aug 1939.
His character was described as VG (Very Good) and his trade is listed as a B/RIG (Balloon Rigger), his proficiency is listed as “Satisfactory”. He does not appear to have become properly registered or embodied until 25th August 1939. Quite what happened during that previous five months is not certain- I have a feeling that he was fairly local at this point and likely to have been at RAF Hook at this stage as that was a Centre for Barrage Balloon Training. He becomes a Balloon Rigger on 1st November 1939. On the 31st December 1939 he has the rank of AC2, his character is VG ( Very Good), his trade is Balloon Rigger and is proficiency is noted as SAT (Satisfactory)
By the 15th February 1940 he is posted to 12 Balloon Centre, along with the rest of 933 Sqdn, the status of 12 Balloon Centre was as follows: (on the 31st August 1940)
No.12 Balloon Centre, Fareham, Hampshire.
924 24 balloons Eastleigh
930 50 balloons Southampton
932 32 balloons Portsmouth
933 24 balloons Gosport
William ( Bill ) Davies, is in the back row Fourth from left, the photo has a date Oct 1941.
By 24th May 1940 he is remustered to a Balloon Rigger / Balloon Operator.
On the 1st June 1940 he is now ranked as an L.A.C. indicating Leading Aircraftman, the pay at the time
was started at four shillings per day.
On the 14th June 1940 he is remustered as a Balloon Operator. On the 1st September 1940 he is made up to a Temporary Corporal. On the 31st December 1940 he is still a Cpl (Corporal), with a trade of Balloon Operator, his character was once again classed as Very Good and his proficiency over three assessments was “Satisfactory”.
He is remustered again as a B/Op on the 11th September 1941.
On 31st December 1941, he still a rank of T/Cpl (Temporary Corporal). His character was described as VG (Very Good) and his trade is listed as a B/Op (D) (Balloon Operator/Driver), this indicates he had been trained to drive the winch lorries and to use the winch itself t to fly and haul in the balloon, and his proficiency over three assessments was “Satisfactory”.
17th January 1942 he is posted to 5KSL9 ( Trevor I believe this was a training course). On the 31st January 1942 he is posted back to 933 Squadron at Gosport/Portsmouth. He is awarded his first Good Conduct badge on 25th August 1942 having completed 3 years service with good conduct.
On the 31st December 1942 there was no entry indicating his trade or Rank or proficiency. It was usual for each airman to be re-appraised on the last day of the year, for some reason this did not take place so we can assume his status was unchanged.
On the 15th September 1943 he is posted to the combined 932/933 Squadron based Southampton /Gosport..
On the 31st of December 1943 he is listed as a Temp Corporal with a trade of B/Op (D), (Balloon Operator/Driver), this indicates he had been trained to drive the winch lorries and to use the winch itself t to fly and haul in the balloon, and his proficiency over two assessments was “Superior”, indicating he had become very expert at his job.
He was then posted to 970 Squadron on the 21st July 1944, this was based at Barrow in Furness..
On the 31st of December 1944 he is listed as a Temp Corporal with a trade of B/Op (Balloon Operator), this indicates he had been given a supervising job as by now most of the crews were women., and his proficiency over two assessments was “Superior”, indicating he had become very expert at his job.
On the 12th July 1945 he was posted to 5011 Squadron and from there to 5351 Wing on the 24th August 1945. These were temporary units designed to familiarize the airmen with civilian life as they were about to be demobbed. Often they would get tradesmen to show them first-hand various skills and trades that they might want to undertake in civvy street.
On the 31st August 1945 he was sent to the 102 PDC (Personnel Dispersal Centre) at Cardington in Bedford.
This was the final step to leaving the RAF his final discharge came through on the 26th October 1945 with a Class “A” release.
He was now aged 35 and was officially discharged from the reserves once he became 45 years of age.
For his service he was awarded the British Defence medal and the British War medal under authority F/F59795 but no date is recorded for this award- presumably anywhere between 1946 and 1950.
Anyone who can add to this man's service career is welcome to contact me: