No. 71 Operational Training Unit RAF

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Brief History

Royal Air Force Operational Training Units (OTU) were training units that prepared aircrew for operations on a particular type or types of aircraft or roles. No. 71 Operational Training Unit was formed in June 1941 at RAF Ismailia, on the Suez Canal north east of Cairo. Its task was to acclimatise fighter and army co-operation pilots to desert conditions. From June to September it was tasked with providing night defence of the Canal Zone but in the latter month it moved to Gordon's Tree in the Sudan. It was at this time that No. 450 Squadron was undergoing conversion, and for No. 450 Squadron at least, it was also used to convert aircrew from Hawker Hurricane aircraft to Curtis P-40 Kittyhawk aircraft.

In October 1941 'C' flight was detached to form No 74 OTU and with it the commitment to train army co-operation pilots. Further moves occurred on 1 May 1942 to Carthargo and 5 May 1943 to Ismailia. Training ceased on 20 May 1945 and the unit disbanded on 11 June.



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