George Bussey TARRAN c.1922 – 1943

1094117 Sergeant [W.Op./Air Gnr.] George Bussey Tarran R.A.F. [V.R.] died 27 January 1943 aged 21.  He is buried at Etherley [St. Cuthbert] Churchyard and commemorated on Etherley War Memorial[1]and the Roll of Honour in St. Cuthbert’s church.

Family Background

George Bussey Tarran was born c.1922[2], the son of Thomas and Ethel Tarran.  There were at least 2 children:

  • George Bussey born c.1922
  • Fred born 21 November 1924

In 1939, the family lived at Victoria Place, Low Etherley.  Thomas worked as a coal miner [stoneman].  George was not recorded.[3]

Military Details

The service details of Sergeant George B. Tarran have not been researched.  He enlisted into the R.A.F. Volunteer Reserve at Padgate between September 1939 and February 1940.[4]  He was given the service number 1094117 and trained at 21 O.T.U. as a “Wireless Operator/Air Gunner”.[5]

The RAFVR was formed in July 1936 to provide personnel to supplement the Auxiliary Air Force [AAF] which had been formed in 1925 by the local Territorial Associations.  The AAF was organised on a Squadron basis with local recruitment similar to the Territorial Army Regiments.  Initially, the RAFVR was composed of civilians recruited from the neighbourhoods of Reserve Flying Schools, which were run by civilian contractors who, largely, employed as instructors members of the Reserve of the Air Force Officers [RAFO], who had previously completed a 4-year short service commission as pilots in the RAF.  Recruits were confined to men between 18 and 25 years of age who had been accepted for part time training as Pilots, Observers and Wireless Operators.  By September 1939, the RAFVR comprised 6,646 Pilots, 1,625 Observers and 1.946 Wireless Operators.

By the end of 1941, more than half of Bomber Command aircrew were members of the RAFVR.  Most of the pre-war pilot and observer NCO aircrew had been commissioned and the surviving regular officers and members of the RAFO filled the posts of flight and squadron commanders.  Eventually of the RAF aircrew in the Command, probably more than 95% were serving members of the RAFVR.[6]


George Bussey Tarran is buried at grave reference 411, Etherley [St. Cuthbert] Churchyard, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham.  His headstone bears the epitaph:[7]

“He Answered the Call”


 George Bussey Tarran is commemorated on Etherley War Memorial and the Roll of Honour in St. Cuthbert’s church.




[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales Birth Index 1916-2007 Vol.10a p.524 Auckland 1922 Q1

[3] 1939 England & Wales Register

[4] AIR 78 154 2

[5] Graves Registration Report Form


[7] CWGC