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Old 10th Jan 2017, 18:20   #10021 (permalink)
 
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Gawd! Mess bills!
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Old 10th Jan 2017, 18:21   #10022 (permalink)
 
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Danny, mon vieux, I might have made Multi (at least in my head!) but (a) I would still have to be competent on singles, and (b) the RN was a bit poorly equipped with multis

Taking your third paragraph, I found it very interesting when the OH was a flt cdr at IOT. I used to attend all the sicial functions (and other events*) as The Boss's Wife. After the first week's Meet and Greet, I used to seal in an envelope the list of names of those who would probably graduate from her Flight. I was never far wrong. And, for the record, we NEVER discussed that aspect of her work.

Question 1: "Would you wish to sit opposite this person at breakfast?"


* Long 'cross-country walks', DS 'Sniper' on Exercises, etc. Otherwise I would just have sat at home, alone!
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Old 10th Jan 2017, 19:31   #10023 (permalink)
 
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MPN11 - I once suggested to the officer Robson (he gp capt me low mileage re-tread flt) that as an economy measure, and given the correlation between what other halves wrote on the slips in the envelope we could gave


Day1 Arrival
Day 2 Meet and Creep
Day 3 Studes talk amongst themselves
Day4 Open envelopes and print Graduation List
Day 5 Grad Parade


his reply was unprintable, but he saw the joke
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 08:58   #10024 (permalink)
 
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haha ... Robson was an interesting character, to say the last, but seemed on my casual acquaintance to be a nice chap.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 10:08   #10025 (permalink)
 
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Danny #10020 hits the nail on the head as usual:
Quote:
Years later a Wise Old Owl advanced a theory: From almost the first two weeks ... it is possible to pick the ones likely to take a chance too far one day. Keep them on single seaters - then they will only kill themselves !
Rupert Parkhouse wrote:
Quote:
the list of postings went up with much laughter and guffaws when we found who was posted onto Fairey Battles, and who had got onto fighters or heavy bombers. People thought the indifferent pilots were going onto Battles where if they had a crash they wouldn't kill too many as well as themselves.
And some years back the great Reg Levy told us that he transferred from Mosquitos to Halifaxes because he foresaw a big demand for civil aviation after the war, and the airlines would be seeking four-engine, not fighter pilots.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 10:42   #10026 (permalink)
 
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Geriaviator, thank you for telling us Rupert Parkhouse's story. The abiding impression is of a decent man who carried the angst of his aviation experiences throughout his life, until mercifully released by mental oblivion. One might say that this was war and its aftermath and that at least he survived, but I feel he was let down by those who let themselves be persuaded to overcome their professional judgement and allowed him onto raids or types that his inexperience and inability should have been denied him.

This seems particularly true of those SOs that he got to know in POW camps. No doubt they shared his feelings of lost time to be made up, that he deserved a chance to prove himself, and no doubt he was a convincing advocate for his own case. But aviation is unforgiving of such empathy and usually rewards it with fatal consequences. It is a wonder that he survived, but he was clearly not unscathed.

The emergence of the RAF Flight Safety system in the 60s is usually ascribed to such factors as the Meteor accident rate, but having read Rupert's story I wonder how many others were like him but died as a result? Square pegs in professionally round holes. Just as important as the Flight Safety system was that of CFS and the QFIs it turned out. The flying training chop rate in the 60s was something feared and loathed by those threatened by it, but how many Ruperts were spared his troubled life, how many lives saved by being so chopped? Unsafe pilots are unsafe in any cockpit, single or multi. The system failed him in my view.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 11th Jan 2017 at 10:53.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 11:27   #10027 (permalink)
 
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Farmer George (#10018) we shall all look forward to your father's story, I know that seeking it out is an emotional experience and I too have often asked myself why didn't you talk to him more when he was alive?

The Khormaksar Kids eagerly spotted everything that flew around Aden 1951/52, down to the scavenging kite-hawks, but I never saw a Catalina and I don't know if there was a beaching ramp. There was an extensive RAF Marine Unit near Maala village about halfway between Khormaksar and Steamer Point but flying-boat ops were not mentioned. I wonder how the Sunderlands staged to the Far East, where they served until the late 1950s?

Chug, I agree with all you say, and I wonder how many others were scarred as deeply as though they had been hit by shrapnel, just as too many Service personnel are today. And that's before the ambulance-chasing lawyers get after them but I'd better stop at this point before I raise the crewroom's collective blood pressure.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 16:00   #10028 (permalink)
 
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Farmer George (#10002),
[quote]...A few pages ago #9438 you reminded us that you
Quote:
Never flew the Spitfire Mk. IX - reckoned to be the best of the Merlin Spits...
A Strange Thing: After joining 20 Sqn, following a shaming First Solo on a TM, I soloed a Vampire (piece of cake in comparison) on 31st March, but in my log for April '50 I have:

(17th) "Spitfire IX.... TD254.....C & B.
(18th) "Spitfire IX.....TB379.... Sector Recce.
(27th) "Spitfire IX.....TD254.....Circuits & aerobatics.

and May:
(1st).."Spitfire IX......TB379......aerobatics.
interspersed with a single Spitfire XVI RW351. I would certainly have known the difference - or had it sharply pointed out to me if I didn't !

Even though I had summarised the totals for each Mark separately, these were countersigned by my Flight and Squadron Commanders without comment at the month end.

All the rest of my Spitfires (at Valley) in the next 18 months were logged as XVIs - But TD 254 reappears as a XVI !

So, did Danny fly a XI or did he not ?

Danny.

PS: Does it matter ?
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 16:17   #10029 (permalink)
 
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According to Morgan and Shacklady, it was a MkXV1 Danny. Delivered from 19MU on 12-3-45 and sold off 13-6-56
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 16:22   #10030 (permalink)
 
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Geriaviator (#10027),
Quote:
... I too have often asked myself why didn't you talk to him more when he was alive? ...
This has often been said !
But it wasn't as easy as that. I opened a Thread on "Mil.Avn":

... 20th Jan 2016, 01:58...Dad never said much about the war when he came back.

Ran to a few pages. Read, learn and inwardly digest ! as we used to say.

Danny.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 16:48   #10031 (permalink)
 
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Geriaviator (pp Rupert Parkhouse, #10015),
Quote:
...I don't remember doing it, but at the moment of impact I must have pulled the throttles back...
In a moment of panic, you do strange things. It is likely that the Middleton Ghost's last living thought, having landed a Meteor on one and realised he was far too fast to stop on the MSG runway, was: "I'll have to 'go around' - and tried !

We all know what happened to him. Cpl Jones was right: "Don't Panic !"

Do not try this at home (or ever !)

Danny.
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Old 14th Jan 2017, 14:59   #10032 (permalink)
 
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Pilot PPRuNe, meet Pilot PProne!

As speeds rose during the mid-40s aviation began to look for ways of overcoming G-forces which caused pilots to black out while manoeuvring. This was an American test rig of 1949 and does not look very comfortable to me. Our several ex-Meteor drivers will remember the prone-pilot Meteor with a lengthened nose to accommodate the pilot on his tummy. It wasn't a success because the pilot could neither look behind him nor eject, both disadvantages to any fighter. I believe this unique Meteor is preserved at IWM Cosford Museum.
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Old 14th Jan 2017, 15:52   #10033 (permalink)
 
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Flt. Lt John Dunbar DFC (RIP) Five into four won't go

Taken from three tapes. This account from the third 'missing' tape

Continued after a break from P479 – with apologies!

At one stage we were based on an airfield along with an American squadron of Dakotas. There were bods coming in at nought feet from all directions so I went over to their admin tent to have a conversation. I said to this guy “Look, someone is going to get hurt. Can you at least get your guys to conform to a circuit pattern?” He didn't really understand what I was saying and said “You had better talk to Jackie Coogan” I said “Who?” “Well, he's one of the pilots, one of the boys you are complaining about. I would like you to meet him”. He went to the end of the tent and yelled “Jackie” and in comes Jackie Coogan.
At this time we were going through a very nasty spell when we were landing in a place that was under attack by the japs and there were a lot of casualties to get out. Although our prime job was not casualty evacuation, there were occasions when they couldn't cope when the casualties were too much and this was one such occasion. I can remember going to a briefing where there was very sketchy information on the jap situation and as we walked away there were two American pilots just ahead of me. One tells the other “ I'm going to go in there right on the deck, in fact I'm going to to stay right on the deck from take off until the time I get back” The other chap said it sounded like a good idea. I thought, I'm going to watch this. They were flying down the river, the Irrawady, they both bought it. The japs used to string wires across the river.
We had captured Meiktila two months before the monsoon started. and needed to get to Rangoon by May 5th otherwise we would be in real trouble. Everything was flown and dropped to us, even the petrol for our aircraft. Also water because the japs poisoned all water sources. For the last month of the war we were on one eighth rations, one pint of water per day per man, all except the Americans. We got to the stage where flying all day feeding was becoming a problem. A Group Captain somewhere had a word with the Army and they agreed to give us a cook. So this cook Arrives. “Hello corporal. Nice to have you with us. Now can you cook?” It turned out he had never cooked in his life!
The dash to Meiktila was the worst month of my life. Once we were there the japs were still around the edge of the field. It took 28 days to clear the surrounding jungle. As we took off or landed they were able to fire at us. I tried various techniques, but soon settled on approaching just inches above the the ground. After we had captured Meiktila everyone was on a high from the General down, and I was asked to fly him to Yamatain, a town some 30 or 40 miles south of Meiktila, for a conference with his divisional commanders. We landed on the strip and there were his commanders by a jeep with maps spread on the bonnet and I was once again very lucky to be privy to the discussions of how the army were going to take Rangoon. Amusingly, they were even arguing as to whose turn it was to lead.
Just as the decision was being made on the disposition of the British forces there was the crack of a rifle shot and a bullet whistled acrossthe little gathering. Ginger Dunbar, who was not trained in ground warfare and who considered it nothing to with him, dived face first into a slit trench, trying to appear dignified. A burst of machine gun fire was followed by a 'plop' as a sniper fell out of a tree. I crawled out of the trench, trying to be dignified. Suddenly I noticed that not one of the commnders had moved and they were carrying on with their discussions. General Messervy just looked at me, and I felt that I had gone down in his estimation and let the Air Force down.
An ADC to General Messervey was Major Bob Nottingham who had been severely wounded and suffered from shell shock. Really he should have been sent home. What Messervey did was to make his ADC to keep him safe. We had captured a jap HQ which had a lake nearby and of course there was a small boat. On the way back the General mentioned that on take off he had noticed Bob “ He's got MY boat on MY lake. I want you to dive on him and put the fear of god in him”
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Old 14th Jan 2017, 15:52   #10034 (permalink)
 
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As I approched the lake there was the boat in the middle. I did what I thought, bearing in mind the rank and importance of my passenger, was a fairly daring beat-up of the boat. This was in the middle of a war. As I pulled up Messervey was jumping around in his seat saying “You've got to go lower. He's still in it”. He goaded me into making one more pass, even lower. In the boat Bob was standing up shaking a fist at me when it dawned on him just how low we were. He flung himself overboard.. Messervey went bananas saying, jumping up and down in his seat “ I just can't wait! I just can't wait. That will teach him! Thank you Ginger”.
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Old 14th Jan 2017, 20:59   #10035 (permalink)
 
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Box Brownie,

The things you can do when you have a General sitting behind you (in all senses) ! But if he'd "put it in the drink" and the General had not survived, he'd be rather poorly placed !

Danny.
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Old 15th Jan 2017, 16:50   #10036 (permalink)
 
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Box Brownie (pp John Dunbar DFC [RIP] #10033),
Quote:
...the crack of a rifle shot and a bullet whistled across the little gathering. Ginger Dunbar, who was not trained in ground warfare and who considered it nothing to with him, dived face first into a slit trench, trying to appear dignified. A burst of machine gun fire was followed by a 'plop' as a sniper fell out of a tree. I crawled out of the trench, trying to be dignified. Suddenly I noticed that not one of the commnders had moved and they were carrying on with their discussions. General Messervy just looked at me, and I felt that I had gone down in his estimation and let the Air Force down...
They teach 'em that at Sandhurst !. And I once read years ago somehere or other of a historian of WWI, who'd worked out that, for every man killed or wounded in that conflict by rifle calibre bullet, 700 rounds had been fired (MGs would be responsible for a lot of that, I suppose). So they were good odds.

But Ginger was safe - you never hear the shot that kills you (so I'm told), so if he heard it he was all right. Diving into Burmese ditches not recommended - you come out covered in leeches !

When all said and done, no sense in swanning about on quarterdeck like Nelson, when someone's taking potshots at you.

Danny.
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Old 15th Jan 2017, 16:58   #10037 (permalink)
 
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Indeed Danny. As we shall see soon, conditions in the jungle have a cumulative effect.
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Old 16th Jan 2017, 08:03   #10038 (permalink)
 
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JD (c/o BB):-
Quote:
They were flying down the river, the Irrawaddy, they both bought it. The japs used to string wires across the river.
I'm sure that came as a surprise! Given the woeful Japanese supply system, presumably these wires were obtained locally (cut down power lines?). They would have had to be reasonably substantial to achieve the required outcome, so rigging them up across that wide river would have been no mere feat. I wonder if it was corroborated or merely conjecture? Flying at ultra low height along a river lined with enemy troops would be very unwise anyway I would have thought, wires or no wires!

Jackie Coogan would of course have been quite a celebrity in those days, though less so today perhaps. He played the kid in Chaplin's film, The Kid. Interestingly, and a lot of people don't know this (well OK, me!), he was also Uncle Fester in The Adams Family.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Coogan

Quote:
For the last month of the war we were on one eighth rations, one pint of water per day per man, all except the Americans.
No change there then. I wonder if they shared out their excess rations. As the man standing in line for a job as a desperado in Blazing Saddles was asked (when seen to be chewing gum), "I hope that you've brought enough for everyone?". He was of course shot dead when it was found that was not the case.

Good to have you and John Dunbar back again, BB!
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Old 16th Jan 2017, 10:27   #10039 (permalink)
 
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Thank you for the welcome back Chug - appreciated. If only John were still here to answer the questions. He only ever wanted the rescue told and to see his face when the story appeared in Aeroplane was a real pleasure. On a visit to an aircraft restoration workshop in Watton I spotted a pair of wings high up and asked what they were from and was taken aback to be told they were from an L5
Having told the owner the story of John's time in Burma he kindly let me have a wing rib. The rib remained on the living room wall of John's bungalow until he passed away.
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Old 16th Jan 2017, 13:48   #10040 (permalink)
 
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Chugalug (#10038),

Scabrous story told at the time about Col "Jackie" Coogan (for which I cannot vouch, and for which I bear no responsibility): He was reputed to introduce himself with the words "Shake the hand that held the c**k that f*****d Betty Grable !" (pin-up forces sweetheart of the time to whom he was married, her legs said to have been insured by Paramount (?) for a million dollars).

Don't believe it for a moment (he was a Glider pilot, btw, "Merrill's Marauders" stuff).

Never heard the "wires across rivers" tale when I was out there. There are a lot of rivers in Burma, would need an awful lot of wire. Don't think so.

Only time we flew really low was on the getaway after a dive. The closer you are to the tree tops, the less time there is for any one Jap squaddie to see you and draw a bead on you. Even so, they often punched a neat hole or two in us. Good deflection shooting, as we would've been tramping along with most of the 300 mph picked up in the dive. Never did serious harm AFAIK.

BB, thank you for the John Dunbar saga. Keep it up !

Danny.
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