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Looking for any information of USAAF based in Yorkshire, England

Discussion in 'All Hands Club & Canteen Discussion Area' started by garbfink, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. garbfink

    garbfink New Member

    Does anyone know of any USAAF groups or units being assigned in, or nearby Yorkshire in 1942 / 1943?

    If so can you please give me a pointer?


  2. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Is there any connection between the two new threads you just posted? I get the impression that they might be related to some central question.
    tonystro likes this.
  3. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

  4. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    The AAF had facilities at these locations during the war. As far as "nearby" is concerned you'll have to be a bit more specific.

    Airwar likes this.
  5. garbfink

    garbfink New Member

    Hi Lucky,

    Yes, there is one central question, it's just that in my experience of forums a thread will generally pick up a specific point and run with that and although they relate (possibly) to the individual that I am researching I felt that they were distinct enough to warrant two separate threads.

    I'm trying to find an individual who was in the USAAF who was based near Yorkshire in 42/43. I was told that he was an American serviceman although a lot of what I thought I knew has proved to be wrong in the past so I am just exploring if it is a possibility that he was in fact English and joined the USAAF (I'm not even sure that was possible, hence my other thread)

    Thanks for the info Airwar. I'm going to order that book. I had already found RAF Scorton the only problem is I don't believe the 9th Air Force got there until 1944 which is too late for the time frame I am looking at. Although I'm willing to be corrected if you (or anybody else) has knowledge of American servicemen being there in late 42 or early 43.

    Thanks for the list. It's really helpful. I'm going to have a look through them all. "nearby" in this case would be defined as being close enough to to be able to meet a lady who lived in Hemsworth or near a place where both the lady and the individual in questions could have met at a social event etc. I'm sure you can guess what I am getting at. Map below shows Hemsworth on the map.

    Thanks for the replies.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  6. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    OK, thank you. Would you have any idea of what this person might have done in the AAF? So far as far as I can tell Scorton was the only operational combat flying base of those I listed, the rest were service depots of one sort or another. In any event a great number of local citizens who were not members of the AAF were employed at these AAF facilities so a British national could not be ruled out in your search.
  7. garbfink

    garbfink New Member

    All I know at the moment is that at some point after 1944 he was part of an aircrew with the 20th Air Force. So I am assuming (rightly or wrongly) that he was a member of an aircrew in 42/43 although that is an assumption and I have no evidence to base that on. He was a Staff Sergeant in the 20th.
  8. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Can you give us his name? Any specific unit of the 20th AF? This is the risk of running multiple threads on the same question, you may have already posted this information elsewhere.
  9. garbfink

    garbfink New Member

    Hi Lucky. I've deleted one thread and I thought that my other thread was posted in a sperate area of this forum, not under the All Hands Club (that, apparently is not the case). So, you're right, there is probably some duplication. I'll keep that thread open as it is more to do with the individual in question. But, in order to answer your question his name is John Henry Kay. I've searched high and low and have failed to find a serviceman that fits the bill in any online record available.
  10. mcoffee

    mcoffee Member

    Two John H Kay's

    Field Title
    Value Meaning
    ARMY SERIAL NUMBER 32445930 32445930
    NAME KAY#JOHN#H############## KAY#JOHN#H##############
    GRADE: CODE 8 Private
    BRANCH: ALPHA DESIGNATION BI# Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
    BRANCH: CODE 00 Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
    TERM OF ENLISTMENT 5 Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
    LONGEVITY ### ###
    YEAR OF BIRTH 16 16
    RACE AND CITIZENSHIP 1 White, citizen
    EDUCATION 8 4 years of college
    CIVILIAN OCCUPATION 007 Chemists, assayers, and metallurgists
    MARITAL STATUS 6 Single, without dependents
    COMPONENT OF THE ARMY 7 Selectees (Enlisted Men)
    BOX NUMBER 0515 0515
    FILM REEL NUMBER 2.179 2.179

    ARMY SERIAL NUMBER 37524094 37524094
    NAME KAY#JOHN#H############## KAY#JOHN#H##############
    RESIDENCE: STATE #5 Undefined Code
    RESIDENCE: COUNTY 021 Undefined Code
    GRADE: CODE 8 Private
    BRANCH: ALPHA DESIGNATION NO# No branch assignment
    BRANCH: CODE 02 No branch assignment
    TERM OF ENLISTMENT 5 Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
    LONGEVITY ### ###
    YEAR OF BIRTH 18 18
    RACE AND CITIZENSHIP 1 White, citizen
    EDUCATION 0 Grammar school
    CIVILIAN OCCUPATION 760 Attendants, filling stations and parking lots
    MARITAL STATUS 2 Married
    COMPONENT OF THE ARMY 7 Selectees (Enlisted Men)
    BOX NUMBER 1226 1226
    FILM REEL NUMBER 4.136 4.136
    Airwar likes this.
  11. pathfinder504

    pathfinder504 Active Member

    No offense but this sounds like a paternity search, so out of experience I would recommend a high degree of caution on the part of our very skilled researchers here.
  12. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
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  13. tonystro

    tonystro Member

    Should be no need for 2 or 3 posts to gain claimed missing information...ie., 20th AF in UK (of course not).

    Garbfink -- Why start each thread with vagueness, only adding some specific you already know when a member presses you? What is your relation to this individual? And, why are you seeking information about this individual?

    Each member responding to your inquiries has unique abilities and/or sources. To dangle bits, on multiple postings and forums is inefficient at the least and, in my opinion, inconsiderate of a researcher's time and expertise. Please post all the information you currently have, and what specific information you are seeking. Without that I am done expending further time trying to help!
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  14. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member


    Found where you signed your name as Simon on rootschat so I'm assuming that is who you are.

    All of us who have been doing this research for any appreciable period of time totally agree with what Tony said above. We will work our butts off for a sincere request but this drip drip drip of information quickly causes us to lose interest. I tried to nudge you in the right direction with my first post to this thread but you didn't take the hint. In a nutshell don't waste our time. We get requests for help in finding missing fathers fairly regularly, this is not a unique situation. Usually the person seeking help gives us the entire story right off the bat. So ... who are you, where are you, and how did you get that picture? Is your mother living and is she able to add anything to this search? Exactly what information do you have that is verified and certain? Do you have ANY documents related to this man? Does your birth certificate list this man's name? Is there anything written on the back of the photo? Are you aware that there are organizations in the UK that specialize with this type of search?

    You posted this above:
    Thanks for the list. It's really helpful. I'm going to have a look through them all. "nearby" in this case would be defined as being close enough to to be able to meet a lady who lived in Hemsworth or near a place where both the lady and the individual in questions could have met at a social event etc. I'm sure you can guess what I am getting at. Map below shows Hemsworth on the map.

    You realize that "nearby" would be meaningless in such a situation. The number of military installations within any 5 mile radius in wartime England would be an impossible search. This man literally could have come from anywhere in the country. I know people here in the US who drive 50 miles to buy their groceries, there was a time when I drove an hour and a half to get to work each day. For an American airman to go 20 or 30 miles to go to a Saturday night dance would be no big deal. Point is, nearby doesn't help. Something that might be helpful is knowing how they met, did somebody introduce them?? If THAT person is still alive they might be able to provide some clues.

    The ball is in your court. If you want to continue this then give us everything you have, we're not here to judge anyone, we're here to help. Otherwise, like Tony, I'm outta here.

    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
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  15. garbfink

    garbfink New Member

    Hi All,

    Thanks for the replies. The last thing I want to do is annoy anybody so, if I have, then please do accept my apologies.

    The reason I have been a little cagey with the information is not because I want to be vague. Quite the opposite in fact. Please allow me to elaborate.

    The man in question is potentially my Grand-Father. I was told that he passed away during the war, I was also told that he was married, so my 'caginess' is out of respect to any of his family members that may be living and have no idea that I (or my father) exist. The purpose of this post was to establish if there were any specific USAAF units based in Yorkshire at around the time. This would then have potentially allowed me to narrow my search a little.

    So for clarity's sake here is all the detail that I know.

    My father was born in September of 1943, My Grandmother raised him and he was adopted by the man that she married in 1950. My father always knew he was adopted but was never interested in his natural father. My Grandmother told him (and this is his recollection which is not always 100% accurate) that his father was an American serviceman who served in the Air Force he was married, and died in the war. This is all that my Father can recall as he had absolutely no interest in his natural father at the time of this conversation. This conversation also took place over 30 years ago.

    I am in possession of his adoption certificate which gives the name John Henry Kay as the natural father. This is where I get the name from.

    The picture in question came from a box which held some of my Grandmothers possessions after she died. As was common, all of the pictures had names, places, and dates on the back of the photos. This picture simply has the word 'friend' written on the back in her handwriting, Make of that what you will. There is some likeness between the picture and my Father (although that may just be me seeing things) the picture is also of an American serviceman, who is in the Air Force and is wearing a wedding ring so those fact add up (although I may be adding 2+2 and getting 5 as an answer).

    Above and beyond that, I don't know anything more.

    I am fairly good at tracking down relatives through various records but my search before now has always been within the UK. So when it comes to the US I am a complete novice. I also have very little military knowledge so I have had a large gap to fill in that regard.

    From various conversations with my Dad he told me that my Grandmother had written to Mr Kay on two occasions. The first was to tell him that he had a son, to which she received a response saying that he wasn't interested (massive paraphrase) The second time she received a response saying that he had died in action.

    The above paragraph should not be relied upon as accurate in my opinion. If that picture is actually Mr. Kay (there is a good chance that it is, but it's not 100%) then they must have been in communication after April 1944 as he is wearing the 20th Air Force Insignia which wasn't in existence before April 1944. (I didn't know this when I managed to identify his insignia, hence my post about the 20th Air Force in the UK) From my Grandmothers description he was in the airforce when she met him (although I am not treating any facts as 100% at this time) She was living in Yorkshire, and hence that leads me on to why this topic was posted as to USAAF bases in or around Yorkshire.

    So... That's it. All I know.

    I've marked my other thread on here as 'Closed' so hopefully, no one will reply to that and keep it bumped up. If anyone can shed any further light then I would be most grateful. I've attached a copy of the picture for My Kay as well.

    All the best, apologies, and thanks.


    Attached Files:

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  16. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member


    Thank you very much for the clarification. I appreciate your desire to keep much of this private however maybe now someone can come up with some useful information for you.

    If Sgt Kay actually died in combat it should be a reasonable matter to find a record. That said, Kay is not exactly an unusual name so there are possibilities of more than one John Kay who was KIA. I find the matter of the two letters interesting in that to my cynical mind the second letter's sole purpose was to reinforce the first and hopefully insure that your grandmother would just 'go away'. In other words, Kay did not really die in the war but instead was alive and well somewhere in the US and did not want to deal with the situation. In that case this will be significantly harder, if not impossible. I expect it's beyond hope that the letters might have survived?

    Let's see who kicks in on this and if anyone has further ideas.

    Airwar likes this.
  17. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Any possibility this certificate shows his Army Serial Number (ASN)?
  18. garbfink

    garbfink New Member

    Sadly not, it just has his name on it, nothing more than that. My Father (after a lot of poking with a sharp stick) has now sent of for his original birth certificate which may contain some more information. I've also just sent of my DNA sample so that may provide some links to US relatives which I can work on.

    As far as searching for his records, I've searched high and low for individuals killed in service and that has come to a dead end. From memory I found two John Henry Kays who were both privates so that didn't match up. There is a Canadian John Henry Kay which matches almotst perfectly to all of the requirements (even based in Yorkshire) except that he is Canadian and he was in Vacouver getting medical treatment when he had to be with my Grandmother.

    The closest I've got was for a First Lieutenant John W Kay who was USAAF, MIA and has his memorial in the Phillipines. he was part of 531st Bomber Squadron, 380th Bomber Group, Heavy. I think that this may be a long shot though.

    I'm a bit of a cynic as well so this is something I was also bearing in mind. Although it seems odd that he would have sent a picture with the letter. "Sorry I think you'd better move on and forget about me.. oh.. but... here's a picture of me for you." The picture had to be taken in or after 1944 so I think they may have a had a bit more correspondance that I am aware of. Perhaps the whole 'not interested' thing was just something my Gran told my Dad so he didn't worry about it. Sadly I've been through all of the items in Gran's box and there are no letters there.

    One question... as the Airforce was under the Army back then I am assuming that he would have enlisted in the Army to start with and then moved to USAAF after enlistment. Therfore if he enlisted to join the war he would be on the US draft registration cards that are publicly available. Is my thinking correct or am I off track here?

    Also, when he originally joined up would he have joined as a private or would he have been designated to some kind of 'training centre' in order for him to become S.Sergeant. Like I said my military knowledge leaves a lot ot be desired. I am learning but am still not feeling confident in my knowledge as yet.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
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  19. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    No, not off track. Two listed here along with several McKays. Thing is these records are known to be incomplete so need to be taken with a grain of salt, it is known that 1,500,000 names are NOT included and a high number of the rest have errors, see the FAQs.

    These two names were posted above in post #10

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  20. tonystro

    tonystro Member

    As you presume, personnel in the USAAF entered the US Army and were assigned to Army Air Forces duties after that. Generally, one would enter as Enlisted Grade 1 (Private), however, education/skills or prior military service might engender a higher rank. Specialist training might assist one in gaining rank at completion, or soon after. For example, my father joined his combat crew as a Staff Sergeant after completing Aircraft Engine and Airframe training, along with Flexible Gunnery Training and Crew Chief Training.

    As Lucky P noted the Enlistment records in the archives are incomplete and sketchy. I attempted several searches varying the criteria and only gained the information Lucky provided. Nor was I able to link the name to MIA/POW records, are any casualty listing to which I have access.

    Note the first Kay, John H. (from New York) enlisted just early enough to have reached England by the end of 1942, but is identified as single. The second, although married, did not enter service until April 1943.

    I MUST highlight what I believe is a grave error in your considering the shoulder patch as representing Twentieth Air Force, and assuming contact between the individual and your grandmother after creation of the 20th AF. Assuming this suggests contact after April 1944, when I think she more likely received the photo during their involved in 1942-43.

    Also, my credibility is stretched by the information the man was "not interested" and seems to have isolated himself, and your grandmother received notification he was killed in the war. For example, my half-sister was told by her mother that our father died in the war, when in reality she had filed divorce proceedings weeks before he returned from 13 months overseas duty...as soon as she learned she was pregnant. The same scenario applies to my cousin whose father was in training near out home town in the States before he shipped out to 8th Air Force in England, however, she was able to find and contact him in 1968. Mothers do all they can to protect their children from societal mores.
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