Author Topic: War Record at Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment?  (Read 193 times)

Offline Alice702

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War Record at Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment?
« on: Tuesday 03 November 20 14:29 GMT (UK) »
I am trying to piece together the wartime experience of a family member and someone linked in with them.
Oliver Logie Lloyd Fitzwilliams was born in Nov 1914 and graduated from Cambridge, Trinity College, in 1936. We have found records which indicate that he worked for the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment at RAF Sherburn in Elmet in WW2. he had obtained his pilot's certificate whilst still 17.

However, I can find no trace of him in any Forces Records and indeed no trace of him apart from the above from 1936 until the 1960's. Could he have been a civilian? Is that not unlikely? Any clues or comments would be helpful. We have letters from him dated 1943 but other than the fact that he was at the AFEE at that time, there are no details that would help, nor explain why the correspondence suddenly stopped.

Thank you


Offline ShaunJ

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Re: War Record at Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment?
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 03 November 20 17:34 GMT (UK) »
Hi Alice, welcome to Rootschat.

There are very few WW2 British military records available online. Service records are still held by the Ministry of Defence. You can apply for a copy https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records/apply-for-someone-elses-records but you would need to know what branch of the services he was in.

And yes, it is possible that he was a civilian working for the Air Ministry.

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Offline ShaunJ

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Re: War Record at Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment?
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 03 November 20 19:48 GMT (UK) »
Quote
no trace of him apart from the above from 1936 until the 1960's

He's on various transatlantic passenger lists in the late 1940's and the 1950's. These reveal that he was an aero engineer so it is very possible that he was a civilian during the war.
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Offline ShaunJ

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Re: War Record at Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment?
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 03 November 20 19:58 GMT (UK) »
From Google Books - Society of Automotive Engineers journal , 1950

"Further tribute was given to Sikorsky's achievements by Oliver Fitzwilliams , chief helicopter engineer , Westland Aircraft , Somerset , England , who was the international guest of the evening ....."


Also see https://tinyurl.com/y3o7r7gk


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Offline ShaunJ

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Re: War Record at Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment?
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 03 November 20 20:36 GMT (UK) »
Here you go. He was in charge of the Rotary Wing Aircraft Section of AFEE

https://tinyurl.com/yy4zorl9
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Offline CraigM63

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Offline luciacw

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Re: War Record at Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment?
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 12 November 20 12:15 GMT (UK) »
Hi Alice,

If you use google to do a keyword search for "OLL Fitzwilliams", you'll find some links to his academic papers in the Aeronautical Journal:

"Pursuit of the Aerial Carriage": https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/aeronautical-journal/article/pursuit-of-the-aerial-carriage/F8BE724E3589C6A4FAF9A395B37BB0E1

"The Engineering Reliability of Shaft-Driven Helicopters": https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/aeronautical-journal/article/engineering-reliability-of-shaftdriven-helicopters/A83B119629952A6A862FF85C77678BEE

Also:

RE: the American Helicopter Society https://vtol.org/files/dmfile/commentaryMJ141.pdf:
"The organization was international
from the beginning, as British rotary
wing experts were asked to join the
fledgling organization despite a virtual
wartime moratorium on rotary wing
development in the United Kingdom.
Early inductees included Royal Air Force
Wing Commander Reggie Brie and Air
Ministry leaders James A.J. Bennett,
O.L.L. Fitzwilliams and Raoul Hafner.
During the War, Brie was instrumental in
establishing a British purchase of 100
Sikorsky R-4s for the Royal Navy, while
Fitzwilliams helped establish the
licensing of Sikorsky helicopter designs
by Westland.
Bennett was initially the
Chief Technical Officer for rotary-wing
aircraft at the Air Ministry, and then was
assigned to Sikorsky Aircraft"

There is a piece by O.L.L. Williams in David Gibbings' anthology, "A Quiet Country Town: a celebration of 100 years of Westland at Yeovil" (The History Press, 2015)

From Matthew R. Uttley's "Westland and the British Helicopter Industry, 1945-1960: Licensed Production versus Indigenous Innovation" (Routledge, 2014) - OLL Fitzwilliams was Designer on the W.6 at Weir in 1940, at CLE (Central Landing Establishment)/AFEE between 1942 and 1945; and did Rotachute work with Raoul Hafner.

1951 article in The Straits Times: https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article/straitstimes19510705-1.2.142

Regarding Westland Aircraft Ltd., here is where you can find company records:

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/c/F168040
Most of my family tree covers the Highlands of Scotland, London, Hertfordshire and the Midlands of England. I work as a researcher in a military archive.