No. 11 Personnel Despatch & Receiving Centre RAAF
From Our Contribution
Metropole Hotel, Brighton pre ww1
No. 11 (RAAF) Personnel Despatch and Reception Centre was formed at Bournemouth in July 1941, but it moved to Brighton in May 1943. Brighton was on the coast in Sussex about 80 kilometres south of London. This Unit was the receiving station for Royal Australian Air Force non-commissioned air crew arriving in the United Kingdom. In Brighton the Unit occupied both the Grand Hotel and Metropole Hotel on the beach front. However, many of these hotels’ luxury fittings had been removed to make way for service style billets. RAAF air crews arriving in the United Kingdom would wait at Brighton for up to 3 or 4 months before being posted to training or other units. No 11 (RAAF) PDRC also occupied facilities at RAF Charmy Down in Somerset. No 11 PDRC closed in March 1946.
Although it was mostly the case that New Zealanders went to the Grand Hotel and Australians went to the Metropole, there was inevitably some overlap between the two. The Metropole also served as a reception centre for Australian aircrew. Either they were fresh from Australia, or they had completed training under the Empire Air Training Scheme, or they were between postings. An idea of the size of the establishment can be gauged from the figures recorded on 16 June 1943 - 20 officers, 25 NCOs and 33 other ranks on the permanent staff, with 947 aircrew and 206 officers passing through.
On 12 July 1945 the Hotel Metropole took on a new role as a Red Cross centre for repatriating newly released prisoners of war. The men were physically examined and de-briefed by intelligence officers. By the end of June 1945 some 937 Australian prisoners of war had passed through the Metropole. Eventually, the Metorpole was empty and the authorities handed it back for civilian use in 1946. No 11 PDRC closed in March 1946.
- † Ernest Ronald William Oliver 16 Oct 1943 - 20 Mar 1944
- † Vernon Harold Minchin 26 Jan - 27 Mar 1944
- George Henry Millett 12 Mar - 17 May 1944
- Gerard Henzell Straughan Hemy Apr - Jun 1944
- Roy Joseph Smith 15 - 31 May 1944
- Clifford Stanley Douglas 14 May - 19 Jul 1945
Primary source of information is "Hove in the Past" at http://hovehistory.blogspot.com/2016/10/hotel-metropole-brighton-1940-2016.html accessed 22 Jul 2020.