Conversion Unit (08/42)

August 1942

After completing his tour with 50 Squadron, Walter Layne would have taken some leave.

He was next assigned to 50 Conversion Flight at Swinderby.  Here OTU crews and second pilots from 5 Group were trained for conversion into Manchester and Lancaster heavy bombers.  At 50 Conversion Flight Wally made two flights in the Manchester bomber and three in the Lancaster, all in the capacity of Wireless Operator.

On August 7th, 1942 Wally was transferred to the newly formed 9 Conversion Flight at Waddington and during the next two months made a total of seven Manchester and two Lancaster training flights as the aircraft’s Wireless Operator.

Wally’s Flying Log Book for August / September 1942 reads as follows:

October / November 1942

On October 7th, 1942  No.’s 9, 44 and 49 Squadron Bomber Conversion Flights, were formed into 1661 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU) under the command of Squadron Leader John Nettleton VC at Waddington.

More about Nettleton here

During October and November at Waddington with 1661 HCU, Wally logged five Lancaster flights as “Staff Wireless Operator.”

Wally’s Flying Log Book for October / November 1942 reads as follows:

January 1943

On January 1st, 1943 the unit moved to Winthorpe with Wally remaining there in the capacity of an instructor until March 26th, 1943 before reporting to 97 Squadron at the end of the month.

When at 1661 HCU Wally met and befriended F/O R.A.Fletcher, who along with F/Sgt D.W.Bale and F/Sgt L.Robertson were instructors and were to form the core of the Fletcher crew with 97 Squadron.

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