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No. 16 Operational Training Unit RAF (16 OTU)
Country Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Branch RAF roundel.svg Royal Air Force
Type Training
Role RAF operational training

RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire England 1940-46

RAF Cottesmore, Rutland, England 1946–1947
Nickname(s) 16 OTU
Motto(s) (Latin language: ')
Aircraft flown
Bomber Vickers Wellington
de Havilland Mosquito

No. 16 Operational Training Unit RAF (16 OTU) was formed at RAF Upper Heyford on 8 April 1940 from the No. 4 Group RAF (4 Gp) Pool, which comprised No's 7 and 76 Squadrons, within No. 6 Group RAF (6 Gp), to train night bomber crews, for which it was equipped with Handley Page Hampdens and Herefords. Transferred to No. 7 Group RAF (7 Gp) on 15 July 1940 until 11 May 1942 when No 7 Group was renumbered No. 92 Group RAF (92 Gp), 16 OTU converted to Vickers Wellington bombers in April 1942 and from March to December 1942 its Head-Quarters (HQ) moved to RAF Barford St John whilst runways were laid at Upper Heyford, disbanding on 1 January 1945.[1]

The unit re-formed within 92 Group the same day when the Mosquito Training Unit RAF (formerly No. 1655 (Mosquitio) conversion Unit) was re-designated as No. 16 Operational Training Unit RAF, remaining at Upper Heyford until 1 March 1946 when it moved to RAF Cottesmore, where it finally disbanded on 15 March 1947, its aircraft and personnel being used to create No. 231 Operational Conversion Unit RAF (231 OCU) and No. 204 Advanced Flying School (204 AFS).[1]

Notable mission failure[edit | edit source]

Data from:[2] Below are details of one unsuccessful mission assigned to 16 OTU during World War II. The aircraft is believed to have been shot down over the English Channel, with no clear evidence of the crew's fate.

Military Branch:

Royal Air Force (United Kingdom)





Serial Number:


Call sign:



Bomber Command RAF


No. 16 Operational Training Unit RAF (16 OTU)


  • Sgt J.F.Irvine RCAF (KIA)
  • Sgt William Donald Carrick (KIA)
  • Sgt J.F.Deaton (KIA)
  • Sgt H.Wright (KIA)
  • Sgt T.J.Harboard (KIA)

Note: Serial Range HX364 - HX403 was assigned to 40 Wellington Mk.1Cs, part of a batch of 300 Wellington Mk.1C/V111. (HX364-HX403; HX417-HX452; HX466-HX489; HX504-HX538; HX558-HX606; HX625-HX656; HX670-HX690; HX709-HX751; HX767-HX786) delivered by Vickers at Weybridge between April 1942 and September 1942. Some were fitted with Leigh Lights and others produced as torpedo bombers. HX365 was one of five 16 OTU Wellingtons lost on this operation, including: R1297, R1346, T2606 and DV775 from Upper Heyford. All were lost without trace and the crews are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

References[edit | edit source]

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