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103 Squadron RAF

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Brief Glossary and Abbreviations List

As an aid to the reader I have produced a short glossary and list of abbreviations which I have used  throughout these three 13 Base websites. I usually try to keep abbreviations, acronyms and jargon to a minimum on my websites however a list of those I have used may now be useful for some readers and I think it will be helpful to include one. I will keep this list updated as and when I use any more or spot any I have missed.

This list is not intended as a complete list or anything like but includes the main abbreviations, acronyms and terms that I have used on my websites. There are far more comprehensive lists on line and a simple Google search will come up with a number of suitable sites.


Glossary and Abbreviations


AASF – Advanced Air Strike Force

AB – Air Bomber or Bomb Aimer

AC1 – Aircraftsman First class

AC2 – Aircraftsman Second Class

A/Cdre – Air Commodore

ACM - Air Chief Marshal

AFU – Advanced Flying Unit

AFC - Air Force Cross

AFM – Air Force Medal

AG – Air Gunner

Air to Air Firing – Gunnery practise firing at towed targets

Air to Sea Firing - Gunnery practise firing at targets on the sea.

AOC - Air Officer Commanding

ATA – Air Transport Auxiliary

ATC – Air Training Corps

AVM – Air Vice Marshal


11 Base - Swinderby, Station HQ - RAF Swinderby, RAF Lindholme, RAF Blyton, RAF Sandtoft

12 Base – Binbrook, Station HQ, RAF Binbrook, RAF Grimsby/Waltham, RAF Kelstern and RAF Wickenby to 16th December 1943

13 Base – Elsham Wolds, Station HQ, RAF Elsham Wolds, RAF Kirmington and RAF North Killingholme

14 Base – Ludford Magna, Station HQ, RAF Ludford Magna, RAF Faldingworth and RAF Wickenby from 16th December 1943.

BEF – British Expeditionary Force

BEM – British Empire Medal

BGS – Bombing and Gunnery School

Blockbuster - 4,000lb High Capacity Bomb

Bombing and Gunnery Flight or School - Training Unit for Air Bombers or Air Gunners. Also BGF or BGS.

Bullseye – Cross country navigational and bombing training exercise.


CO - Commanding Officer (can also be OC)

CGM – Conspicuous Gallantry Medal

Cpl – Corporal

CU – Conversion Unit


DCM – Distinguished Conduct Medal

DFC – Distinguished Flying Cross

DFM – Distinguished Flying Medal.

Dodge/Dodging – Stood down

DSC – Distinguished Service Cross

DSM – Distinguished Service Medal

DSO – Distinguished Service Order

DSM – Distinguished Service Medal


EBTS –Elementary and Basic Training School

EFTS – Elementary Flying Training School

Esc – Escaper.

Ev - Evader


F/E – Flight Engineer

Fighter Affiliation - Practise flight evasion techniques against friendly fighters.

F/L - Flight Lieutenant or F/Lt

F/O - Flying Officer or Fg Off

Flt/O – Flight Officer

FTS – Flying Training School

F/S - Flight Sergeant


G/C – Group Captain or Gp Capt

Gee – Radio Navigation System

GC - George Cross.

GM - George Medal


H2S - Airborne radio navigational and target location aid

HCU – Heavy Conversion Unit

HGCU - Heavy Glider Conversion Unit

HSL – High Speed Launch


I/O - Intelligence Officer

ITS – Initial Training School

ITW - Initial Training Wing

Int - Interned




LAC – Leading Aircraftman

LFS – Lancaster Finishing School


MBE – Member (of the Order of the) British Empire

MC – Military Cross

MiD – Mentioned in Despatches

Monica – Active tail warning radar fitted to bombers to alert against the approach of night fighters.

MRAF – Marshal of the Royal Air Force

MM – Military Medal

MT – Motor Transport

MU – Maintenance Unit

Musical Paramatta - Method of ground marking a target by coloured target indicators dropped blindly on Oboe

Musical Wanganui - Method of sky marking a target by parachute borne coloured markers dropped blindly on Oboe


Newhaven - Illumination flares dropped above the target area to light it up sufficiently for a visual marking by the Pathfinder aircraft.

NCO - Non Commissioned Officer


(O)AFU – (Observers) Advanced Flying Unit

Oboe - Aerial blind bombing system based on radio transponder technology used by Pathfinder aircraft. Very effective but range limited due to curvature of the earth.

Observer – Combined Navigator and Air Bomber aircrew trade. Later replaced by separate Navigator and Air Bomber trades

ORB – Operational Record Book

OTU - Operational Training Unit


(P) AFU - Pilots Advanced Flying Unit

Paramatta - Paramatta used navigation aids such as H2S radar or Oboe radio signals to drop the markers.

PDC – Personnel Dispatch Centre. Holding depot pending reposting

PDRC – Personnel Dispatch and Reception Centre. Holding depot pending reposting

PFF – Pathfinder Force

Pickwick – Code name for instruction to Main Force from Pathfinders to bomb upwind edge of target smoke

P/O – Pilot Officer.

POW - Prisoner of War



RAAF – Royal Australian Air Force

RAFO – Reserve Air Force Officers

RAFVR – Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

RAuxAF – Royal Auxiliary Air Force

RCAF - Royal Canadian Air Force

RCAF “R” Depot – Royal Canadian Air Force Repatriation Depot

RCD – Aircrew Holding Unit pending reposting

RNZAF – Royal New Zealand Air Force

R/P Flares - Release point flares


SDF – Special Duty Flight

Sgt - Sergeant

S/L - Squadron Leader or S/Ldr.

Sky marking - See Wanganui

SN-2 - German night fighter radar

Sqn - Squadron


TI – Target indicator



VC – Victoria Cross

Vic - 3 or sometimes more aircraft flying in close formation with the leader at the apex and the rest of the flight en echelon to left and right, the whole resembling the letter "V"



WAAF – Woman’s Auxiliary Air Force

Wanganui - Used when the target was obscured by cloud, industrial haze, or a smoke screen. Oboe or H2S were used to identify the unseen target and TIs/ Markers were released at that point. The target indicators used were on parachutes to give an aiming point that could be seen by the main force. This was also known as "sky marking".

W/O - Warrant Officer or WO

WOP – Wireless Operator

WOP/AG – Wire Operator / Air Gunner

W/C - Wing Commander (also W/Cdr)



“Y” - Code for H2S ground mapping radar used in the Operational Record Books and also log books.




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Other Websites in the 13 Base - RAF Series

Click Links Below

576 Squadron - RAF

RAF Elsham Wolds

Featured Page of the Month

Vire  - 6/7th June 1944

Latest additions to this site

1st June 2024 - RAF Bombsights

1st June 2024 - Armstrong NH Profile

1st June 2024 - Marsden JTA Profile

1st June 2024 - Flak Scrapbook

1st May 2024 - Fairey Battle Photo Gallery

1st May 2024 - Barratt Profile

1st May 2024 - Remy and Crew Profile

1st May 2024 - Breen Profile

* 1st April 2024 - 80 Wing

1st April 2024 - Shields Profile

1st April 2024 - Anderson Profile

1st April 2024 - Cavanagh Profile

* 1st March 2024 - Advanced Air Striking Force

1st March 2024 - Riches Profile

* 1st February 2024 - Kilvington Profile

1st February 2024 - Garton Profile

1st February 2024 - Holland Profile

* 1st January 2024 - Pamplin Profile

1st January 2024 - Milan - 24/25 October 1942

* 1st December 2023 - Photos of F/L Jacob t'Hart DFC and bar

1st December 2023 - Bremen – 2/3rd July 1942

1st December 2023 - Skinner Profile

* 1st November 2023 - Memoirs of F/L Jacob t'Hart DFC and bar

1st November 2023 - Mine laying Biarritz / Biscay coast - 21 November 1942

1st November 2023 - Billie - Lancaster - W4364 - 103 Squadron

1st November 2023 - Curtin Twins Profile

*1st October 2023 - Dusseldorf - 1 August 1942

1st October 2023 - RAF Usworth Photo Album - 103 Squadron Era 1937/38

1st October 2023 - Mills Profile

*1st September 2023 - Tilley Profile

1st September 2023 - Ostend docks and barges - 22 December 1940

* 1st August 2023 - Defensive Armament - 103 Squadron and 576 Squadron

1st August 2023 - Chesterton Profile

1st August 2023 - Targets in Holland - 21/22 July 1940

1st August 2023 - Numerous additions and updates throughout the site

*1st July 2023 - Armed Reconnaissance/Leaflet Raid – Koblenz area – 20/21 March 1940

1st July 2023 - Air Dropped Weapons Article

1st July 2023 - Knott Profile

Also of local RAF Bomber Command interest are the

166 Squadron website

and the

550 Squadron and North Killingholme website.