Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
Location: The Burrow, N53:48:02 W1:48:57, The Tin Tent - EGBS, EGBO
AIDU, please have some respect. Without the efforts of Cliff and his colleagues none of us might be here today. I am thoroughly enjoying this. My father was also from Liverpool, joined the RAF as a Sergeant Pilot and would have been 86 last year so it is great to hear from someone of the same era. Cliff, did you attend Project Propeller at Old Warden this year?
Thanks for this Cliff. Was the banter the same in those days?...cos you were a jug-eared bugger on the phot etc!!!
Joking aside, please continue. What, at that time were you led to believe you were fighting for and in actuality what did you think? I ask that because that is one thing I never asked my grandfather so I could maybe correlate reason and put today's to-doings into perspective. He ain't around to ask now.
Have just received an email from Jack Youens who was trained at 6 B.F.T.S. Hope a copy of his email will attach here. Also, am using pic of his "mossy" to practice reducing size of pic.
Email from Jack >
"Have been a member of 6BFTS association for years. but have never managed to go on any of the annual dos'.Did you come across a Laurie Youens my younger brother ? he was anavigator in 692 Pathfinder Squadron, like me was in the Merchant navy first and also his ship the Athelaird was torpedoed and he was in a lifeboat for 10 days. We both said sod this and transfered to the RAF. What were you flying? I know there is 6 years between us. were you at Ponca City? best wishes Jack ">
------------------------------------------------- Here's hoping I get some help from Jack who was a pathfinder on mosquitos. At least his brother was floating around in a life boat and not in the "drink" in a Mae West, blowing his Acme whistle that was attached to the top clip on his battle dress blouse.
Hope to resume my trip down to Oklahoma soon CLIFF.
Last edited by cliffnemo; 3rd Apr 2009 at 16:17.
Reason: TO REPLACE PIC REMOVED BY PHOTO BUCKET
Cliff - no picture of a Mosquito deserves to be that small! Not sure what you use to re-size pictures, but I'd suggest that 700 x 500 (if landscape) is about right. The one you have posted is only 320 wide.
Hi x213 Keep joking thats what kept us going." He's gone for a Burton, Gone for a s**t etc meant no disrepect but helped to prevent any one getting emotional With regard to banter never about the ears, but all the time ,such as when I did a "ground loop" Or when I developed a method of flying straight and level under the hood. I decided an easier way was to use the rate of climb indicator instead of "needle:ball, airspeed". Didn't know there was a two second time lag before it registered a climb or descent. Never heard the end of it.particularly from my instructor.
Your question did we feel a purpose.(See pic above) Well , at the recruiting office the first question always asked was why do you want to be a pilot. I believe the text book answer was something like to propel a bomb or bullet to a predetermined position, but Geof Davies (K.I.A Beaufighters ) and I (young and daft )said to stop Germans flattening our houses. Seemed that was nearly as good , and a lot better than "it's the uniform init",
Also quite a lot of things happened before we went to the recruiting office, which I thought I would leave out. Especially a my old aunt Kate would have said " Thoos being ower dramatic lad", I have posted a picture of my home in 41, from a newspaper cutting. Not very good but the you may notice the trees with no leaves on.
Would be quite happy to get off the train to Ponca and enlarge on why Geoff and I were a bit annoyed.
THE TRAIN JOURNEY Or How to get your wings in over 40hrs
On the train to Ponca City, we had very little to do other than watch the country side go past; play cards, or revise from our school notebooks. We had no radios and only occasionally had access to news papers. The food was good, and we didn't need the coke stoves as it was warm. So we revised. using our notebooks , written in pencil, instructions on how to allow for compass deviation on acceleration, or deceleration of the aircraft; variation, `liquid swirl, angle of dip. The gyro compass and how it preset every ten minutes. Meteorology. height of clouds, and icing possibility in various clouds, orographic clouds, the geostrophic scale, warm fronts, cold fronts, isobars. Armaments, gravity drop. deflection, gun sights, aircraft recognition , their wing spans , and max speed. Pen and ink drawings (no biros then) of the internals of altimeters and air speed incicators. Engines and the Otto cycle. The list is endless , at this stage we were being taught, how to navigate, to operate machine guns, use the bomb sight, operate the radio,etc, and drill for fifteen minutes with only one word of command. At that time no one was able to decide what type of aircraft we would eventually fly . I only mention the above as maybe the odd reader may think that all we did , was to jump in a kite and learn how to pull and push a few levers and pedals. By this time about 1943 the R.A.F educational system was faultless, I for one think it was not only thorough and superb ,but the best education I ever had.
We were eventually told we were approaching Ponca and prepare to disembark. As we entered the suburbs it was early on a sunlit morning, (about 103 f in the shade) and we were absolutely amazed to see whole families asleep on camp beds in their gardens. On disembarking we found a few 4X4 3 ton Chevrolet trucks waiting to load us and our kit and take us to the airfield. On the way we noticed the wide clean main street with cars parked at right angles to the kerb, and we were surprised to see that the streets only ran North; South; East, or West.
We eventually arrived at the The Darr School of Aeronautics and shown into the billets, they were immaculate, light and airy, complete with gas central heating, and grids at each window, down witch water trickled, to trap the dust produced by the aircraft taking off.
But now our biggest shock, we were told Oklahoma was south of the Mason-Dixon line, and it was a dry state. No pubs, and it was illegal to walk through the town with a bottle of spirits when the seal was broken. and theoretically nowhere to buy it from. However Erks then were as , I am sure they still are ,very resourceful . Tell you about it next time, when I hope to tell you about the flying training, classrooms. and of course the birds. Will probably now refer to my oppos as kaydets rather than erks. Suppose I should really have called them leading aircraft men.
Please keep up the story, with as much detail as possible.
My grandfather was a slightly earlier generation, joining march 1938, and subsequently serving until 1968. After instructing, he survived two tours on Beaufighters, with 7 kills DFC etc. He is a quiet, modest man who will only talk about his wartime service in terms of brief amusing anecdotes etc.
My most prized posession is the Luftwaffe escape compass which the crew of a downed He111 gave to my grandad in north africa in 1943. My daughters are fairly young, and it is not easy for me to try and convey to them what you guys did. Accounts about the day to day issues make the history come to life.
I look fowards to reading more info, when you have the time.
Fantastic. We need to hear more about this and other stories similar to it. There is no doubt that reading of the derring-do of the dog fights, bombing missions, etc. is interesting and important, but so is finding out about the "ordinary" things that happened at the time. History is made up of many parts, not just the big events.
Can I safely assume I'm not the only one to get an aviation hard on (laced with absolute envy) when I look at the pic of those (very) young men in front of the Mosquito? That is a seriously horny aeroplane.
(Tin hats on, everyone. War-ie to follow.)
When I first joined the RAAF (yep, the double-A one), we had an old Flight Sergeant fireman - (he probably wasn’t even 40, but to us then, older than God) - who told us a story of when he first joined the Service in the early 50s. He and a dozen other teenage Airmen were issued axes and sent off to chop through the main spars of twenty or thirty Mosquitoes before they were to be sold for scrap. (Believe it or not, some farmers used the plywood fuselages as hay stores!)
He said an officer had to be present to witness and sign off that each aircraft had been rendered unairworthy (an axe through the wooden main spar tends to do that!) and the officer in question was a Flight Lieutenant pilot with four rows of WW2 medals, who, they discovered, had flown Mosquitoes on operations. He and all his teenage mates were agog to see this officer with tears streaming down his face as he watched them swing their axes. Reading Cliff and Harry’s stories, I think just about all of us today would have some inkling of how he felt.
(harrym, check your private messages - top right of the page, where you sign in.)
Many thanks for your contribution. Appreciated . However, a caveat, (in fun of course, should that be "joshing"?). The words real prune were not as complementary "in my day" .
Here is the reason. All aircrew U/T received copies of a magazine called T.M an acronym for Training Magazine. Quite amusing, but very instructive. The main character being one P.O (pilot officer) Prune (the main reason I discovered this forum) He made every mistake possible, and is the one who supposedly set his compass red on black and bombed Ireland. Stories about the bomb aimer with his ,left left, steady steady. whoa back a bit. So then being called P/O Prune was the same as being called a clot,
Nice to hear from the U.S of A. I have many complimentary things to say so Stay tooned (sic) in.