Letter to Group Captain C.V.D. Willis from Air Vice Marshal E B Addison



Letter to Group Captain C.V.D. Willis from Air Vice Marshal E B Addison


Letter concerns information for temporary officers being selected for permanent commissions. Information on individual requests for commission cannot be given until the composition of the post war air force has been determined. A number of really first class officers have already been selected but numbers are based on only authorised establishment which is that of 1939. No one knows what the new post war establishment will be. It is impossible to select from recently commissioned young officers until they have more experience. Short service commission is under discussion and could be used to extend some applicants. Applicants awaiting commissioning decisions will be free to take up civilian jobs without prejudicing chances of stay in the air force.



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Frances Grundy


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Two page typewritten letter





Temporal Coverage


[underlined] COPY.[/underlined]
[underlined] CONFIDENTIAL.[/underlined]
From:- Air Vice-Marshal E.B. Addison, C.B., C.B.E.
Headquarters, No.100 Group,
R.A.F. Bylaugh,
Nr. Dereham,
EBA/DO/6. 4th June, 1945.
Dear Willis,
I have recently received a personal letter from Air Ministry regarding selection of temporary Officers for permanent Commissions. The Air Ministry appreciate that the end of the European War must have brought a spate of enquiries from Officers as to the fate of their applications for permanent commissions. They realise that, with the release scheme about to be put into operation, it is very natural that Officers, particularly the older ones with families, should be feeling anxious about their futures. In an attempt to allay the apprehensions of these Officers as far as possible, Air Ministry has acquainted me with certain facts which I am passing on to you in order to give you some idea of what you can say to those Officers who are making enquiries about their fate.
2. It would seem that Air Ministry have been discussing for some time past, the advisability of informing individuals how their applications have fared. They fully appreciate the desirability of sich [sic] a course, but they are faced with the main difficulty that with the great majority of applications it is not possible to give them any definite information until the composition of the Post-War Air Force has been finally decided.
3. As you know, a number of really first class Officers are now being selected, provisionally, for the permanent list, and their names are announced in periodical lists in A.M.O's. Air Ministry are doing all they can to make these monthly lists as big as possible, but for the present they can only give permanent commissions to fill an establishment and the only permanent establishment authorised so far is the old pre-war 1939 establishment. No-one yet knows what the permanence post-war establishment will be. This automatically results in a limitation of the number of selections that can be made at the present time. Obviously it will be quite wrong to fill even these limited numbers all at once until the majority of applications have been received and reviewed by the Board. The Board has a tremendous task ahead of it, and is making steady progress with the very large number of applications received.

4. A great many applications have been received from recently commissioned, young and experienced Officers. It is of course, impossible to select these candidates for permanent commissions until they gain more experience and more is known about them.

5. A scheme for a short extended commission service, carrying with it a gratuity similar to the pre-war Short Service gratuity, applicable to all Branches, is now under discussion and the details are expected to be announced shortly. When the conditions have been agreed certain Officers who have applied for permanent commissions and who have so far been unsuccessful, will be asked if they wish to extend their Service under this scheme. The scheme will also provide for officers who are ex-regular airmen to extend their commission service so as to qualify for a pension. It is probable that selections will be made by the existing Permanent Commissions Selection Board. The acceptance of an extended service commission will in no way prejudice an Officer's chances of obtaining a permanent commission but in most instances, particularly in the case of the younger Officers, it will probably enhance them. The best advice to give the young and really keen Officers, is that the longer they stay in the Service, the more opportunities they will have of proving their worth and the better their chances of getting permanent commissions.
6. There will, no doubt, be many Officers who, while wishing to remain in the Service, will feel they cannot afford to let slip a chance of a
[page break]
good job in civil life on the chance of their being selected. To meet their case it has been decided that when their turn for release comes, they will be free to go and take up a job in civil life without in any way spoiling their chance of being offered or obtaining a permanent commission in due course. Therefore, in their own interests, they should be told not to refuse a good offer in the civilian market, but should be given the assurance that if, when their turn comes, owing to the extension of the establishment, or for any other reason – they are selected for a permanent commission, they will be given the opportunity to come back into the Service without any prejudice to their future career. This would of course, apply to Officers wishing to complete their University careers.
7. I am assured that the Air Ministry is doing it all it can to make the permanent list as big as possible but that, until the size of the post-war Air Force is known, their hands are tied. The major issues forecast in the above paragraphs will be confirmed in A.M.O's in the near future.
8. Until this publication in A.M.O's is made, this information should be regarded as confidential, but may be made use of by you to individual Officers, who wish to discuss with you their chances for the future.
Yours sincerely,

(signed) E.B. Addison.

Group Captain C.V.D. Willis, D.S.O., D.F.C.
Officer Commanding,
R.A.F. Station,
[underlined] FOULSHAM. [/underlined]



E B Addison, “Letter to Group Captain C.V.D. Willis from Air Vice Marshal E B Addison,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 28, 2020, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/15041.

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