Less We Forget Poppy

The Life and Times of Hubert Brooks M.C. C.D.
A Canadian Hero

Less We Forget Poppy

Chapter 1: RCAF: Enlist – Training (Canada/UK) / 419 Moose Squadron First Missions

Section 1.3 : #3 P.R.C. (Personnel Reception Center) at Bournemouth UK

As mentioned at the end of the last section, we arrived in the U.K. on 29-Sept-1941.

I was sent to (AIR 29/479) 3 P.R.C. (Personnel Reception Center) at Bournemouth UK (which had just become operational July 1941).
(All Canadians and Australians were first sent here.) (Bournemouth is right on the English Channel just next door to Southampton).
As I recall I was put up at a place called the Metropole Hotel in the center of town. The Metropole was one of the older hotels in town and had been taken over by the government for the duration and assigned exclusively to the RCAF. billeted in hotels They had no staff or service - just damp, chilly, barren rooms with beds, communal toilets, and crumbling plaster. The breakfast was powdered eggs marooned on a slice of parched toast with a small piece of grease drenched spam. Later on brussell sprouts - which seemed to be a British national institution - were introduced.

The beaches at Bournemouth were heavily mined; all access to them barred by coils of rust encrusted barbed wire.

The function of 3 P.R.C. was to orientate airmen as they arrived, have the airmen medically checked out (again) along with a bettery of night vision tests, organize refresher courses, take in lectures given by experienced aircrew, and to act as an agent for the air ministry in arranging postings. There was a training exercise in an outdoor pool where, wearing our bulky flying clothes, we learnt how to inflate a dinghy and then to restore it to an upright position if it became overturned. There were several sessions on aircraft recognition in the hope that we could tell friend from foe. We had a couple of afternoons of skeet shooting to sharpen our reflexes and learn how to lead a moving target. We practiced below the bluffs along the English channel where there was a great assortment of concrete and steel obstacles in place to ward off any invasion by the Germans.

Frankly the main role was really to keep aircrew on hold until space was made available in one of the advanced OTUs (Operational Training Units).

We had our photographs taken and were issued identification cards.

We heard our first air raid sirens. We experienced many alerts as well as false alarms. After a while you got used to the eerie wail of the siren.

Once the O.T.U. was established you were briefed on your responsibilities and forthcoming duties, issued your battle dress and flying gear (new flying equipment suits, silk and fleece lined boots, chamois leather gloves, helmets and goggles), and, finally, sent on to your O.T.U. posting.
My flying gear signout sheet was as follows:

Hubert Brooks Flying Gear Signout Sheet issued at 3 PRC Bournemouth

Hubert Brooks Night Vision Test at 3 PRC Bournemouth

I stayed at 3 P.R.C. until 13-October-1941 at which time I joined 19 O.T.U. as part of Bomber Command at Royal Air Force Kinloss in the North East of Scotland.


The Life and Times of Hubert Brooks M.C. C.D.

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