Alan Bloom - Tyro Hurricane Pilot to Flying Instructor

Alan Bloom started his flying training with No 22 EFTS at Cambridge during August 1940, leaving there on 22 September with 55 hours’ flying time and a grading of ‘Above Average’ as a pupil pilot.  After flying the Airspeed Oxford with No 11 FTS at RAF Shawbury, Bloom attended 56 Course at No 5 FTS at RAF Sealand and RAF Tern Hill, flying the Miles Master, graduating during April 1941

Miles Master IWM CropD

Miles Master (IWM)

May 1941 saw Bloom at 59 Operational Training Unit (OTU), flying the Miles Master and the Hawker Hurricane fighter, graduating on 17 June with the comment ‘inclined to be over confident’.  By 30 June, he was in the Mediterranean, on board HMS Furious, a World War One battlecruiser converted into an aircraft carrier, whose task was to deliver Hurricanes to reinforce Malta as Operation RAILWAY.

Hurricane HMS Furious 1941 CropD

Hurricane on HMS Furious, Mediterranean 1941

 The Hurricanes were due to depart the carrier on 30 June.  The 10th Hurricane to take off crashed into HMS Furious’ bridge and caught fire; 14 servicemen were killed.  Bloom was injured, presumably from being in one of the 5 Hurricanes awaiting take off; Furious returned to Gibraltar.

HMS Furious mediterranean 1041 02 IWM Crop

HMS Furious, Mediterranean 1941 (IWM)

Alan Bloom’s logbook shows him being repatriated to the UK from Gibraltar by Sunderland flying boat during August 1941 and being flown from RAF St Athan to Halton in an Avro Anson; his logbook for the period following OTU states simply ‘Overseas’ then hospital.

Bloom trained as a flying instructor at No 6 FIS, Staverton from January 1942.  On 10 Feb, his Tiger Moth crashed, hitting trees near Kinnersley in Herefordshire due to ‘carelessness in handing over and taking over control of aircraft when carrying out flying instruction’.  Pilot Officer Bloom passed his instructor test with Sqn Ldr Harcombe on 20 March with 292 hrs total flying time and a requirement to be re-tested in 3 months’ time.

After a period instructing at No 6 EFTS, Sywell, Bloom flew at No 2 EFTS, RAF Worcester (Perdiswell Hall) between August and October 1942, being posted to No 26 EFTS at Theale on 23 October.  On 26 October, he flew BB697 6 times, followed by 2 trips in other aeroplanes.  Bloom’s students in BB697 were Wilson, Summer and Patey (Daley?).

bb697 CropDR2

Tiger Moth BB697 at Sywell 1941, prior to its move to Theale (Fullelove)

During 1943, Bloom instructed at No 29 EFTS, Clyffe Pypard during which he upgraded to A2 status before being posted to No 15 EFTS at Carlisle in November.

Between March and June 1944, Bloom attended No 5 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit flying the Miles Master, following which he was posted to No 57 OTU at RAF Eshott.  He flew two dual flights in the Master and 9 solo trips in the Spitfire, his first Spitfire flight being on 8 July.  Bloom’s logbook shows his July summary being signed during November 1944 at 1495 hours total flying time.

If anyone reading this can shed any light on Bloom’s flying subsequent to July 1944 or can identify the students with whom he flew in BB697 on 26 October 1942, do please get in touch!


Copyright © 2024 Finest Hour Warbirds Ltd. All rights reserved.
Website by MCCS Ltd.