This one is for the Doctor Who / Torchwood fandom, which, as far as my very limited understanding goes, plays fast and loose with World War Two military details, but as I have literally no experience with military culture, I'd thought I better ask anyway.
So, here goes: January 1941, a young American volunteer (71st Eagle Squadron) has just joined up with the newly forming 133rd Eagle Squadron (*) and is scheduled to move out to his new post in a few days. However, he gets shot down during his last flight with his old squadron. Presumably, his body is never found. (He went down over the sea.)
Another man then changes this volunteer's records, steals his identity, and signs on with the 133rd Eagle Squadron in his stead. For about a month or so, he actually does what he's supposed to, defending London during the Blitz. Then he dissapears without a trace, while on leave.
I'm trying to figure out if that would mean this poor volunteer's record will forever state that he deserted, or if he'll be recorded as MIA, seeing as there are bombs dropping all around them and he could easily just have been buried under a collapsing house or something. And what would that mean for his family back home? He didn't have a wife or children, but were his aging parents entitled to some kind of pension if their only son was killed in action? Basically, I'm wondering just how pissed off the volunteer would be if he ever found out what the other man did under his name, and what the imposter might have done to make up for it later on. (It's canon that he didn't return to his post when he lived through that time period the second time around, but I figure he might have sent money to the family or something. By that time, he would know enough about military law to know exactly what consequences his actions would have, due to having served in the British Army during World War One.
(* I know in canon the volunteer actually states that he's currently a member of the 133rd Squadron and will join the 71st, but as the imposter later pretends to belong to the 133rd, I figure it makes a bit more sense if he's not pretending to be in the same squadron as the men who knew what the real man looked like. I know that none of this is historically accurate, since the 71st only became operational in February, the 133rd was formed in July, and neither was stationed in London, but I'd like to have at least some logical consistency.)
I tried googling stuff like "desertion" and "MIA" and "KIA" in relation to World War II and the US and UK military, but all I could find out was that there are still thousands of people registered as "MIA" and that desertion would lead to a dishonourable discharge today. I suppose the matter is made more complicated by the unclear status of the American volunteers in the RAF...
I'm also trying to get an idea of the social background of this volunteer, for characterisation purposes. Wikipedia tells me that the requirements for the volunteers were not as strict as for the US Air Force (no college education or prior military experience necessary as long as they had piloting experience; up to 31 years of age) and that most of them registered for this reason. However, this particular character fits the "officer and gentleman" trope pretty much to a T. So I'm figuring he's at least middle class and does have some higher education. What might have stopped him from going into the US military? In what other profession might he have earned the necessary 300 hours of certified flight time? I suppose it could just have been a adventurous, well-off bachelor's hobby... Or could he have been discharged from the USAF for being gay, and then volunteered with the RAF instead? How do you become an officer without a prior military carreer or after such a discharge? (Both he and the imposter introduce themselves as "Captain" by which I assume they mean "Group Captain", going by the rank insignia. But even if we're supposed to assume he previously had a similar rank in the USAF, isn't 31 quite a bit too young for a Colonel?)
As I said, I have little clue how the military works, so I don't really know how to start googling these social aspects, beyond finding out what the rank insignia mean.