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View Full Version : If you had to be in WWII, which bit would you choose?


Sue Vêtements
24th Jun 2016, 01:54
Spitfire pilot in the Battle of Britain is already taken :=


North Atlantic convoys - definitely out. I have no idea how people did that. I think the punishment for desertion would be preferable than actually being on a convoy

Eastern front - definitely out, for so many obvious reasons

Eight Army in the desert would just be too hot

Normandy Invasion - maybe just to be a part of something of such historical importance and to think that while we now know the story, on that morning, nobody else did. Anything could have happened.

I think I'd chose a PRU Mosquito - but of course really I'd chose to be born in 1960


Susannah York's body guard is likewise already taken :*

Flying Binghi
24th Jun 2016, 02:00
AWOL for the duration is for me...:cool:

Ascend Charlie
24th Jun 2016, 02:26
The street celebrations after it was all over.

meadowrun
24th Jun 2016, 02:32
Since BoB is taken:
Remember Cary Grant in "Father Goose"?

obgraham
24th Jun 2016, 02:33
Quartermaster.

Stanwell
24th Jun 2016, 02:40
The bit where I get to stay alive AND in one piece - both physically and mentally.
Somewhere in the Caribbean sounds good.

SASless
24th Jun 2016, 02:50
P-51's...England!

Metro man
24th Jun 2016, 03:10
Lancaster bomber pilot, surviving of course and then getting in on the post war boom in airline travel. B707 Captain in the 1960s and retiring on the B747 in the 1980s, before pay and conditions went downhill.

lomapaseo
24th Jun 2016, 04:02
Nazi U-boat cook

West Coast
24th Jun 2016, 04:07
Headed over the rails, climbing down to a landing craft headed for the beaches of Iwo Jima.

Easy to say now, I hope I'd have had the courage then.

B Fraser
24th Jun 2016, 04:09
A sniper in WW1. It would have saved so much unpleasantness.

Krystal n chips
24th Jun 2016, 04:30
Assuming I had failed in my attempts to emulate Blackadder's many and varied excuses for not participating, along with avoiding any potential detriment to ones safety and sanity....such as the Italians, French, Russians, Germans, Japanese, British Army, Royal Navy....and Americans....then tea making at one of those SOE training places in Scotland would have been nice.....I've always liked Scotland.

Should, however, some participation have been required..... F/E on a Sunderland ( preferably based in say, Bermuda ) .....because Sunderland's had a galley, that's why!....ones creature comforts are paramount in such circumstances after all.

jolihokistix
24th Jun 2016, 04:35
Toeing that briefcase a bit closer to Hitler.

tdracer
24th Jun 2016, 04:45
I always wanted to be fighter pilot - P-51 if it was going to be WW II (I was lined up for ROTC pilots training as I was preparing for college 45 years ago, but flunked the physical for an accelerated heart rate). I always figured the same skills that made me an above average race driver would have made me an above average fighter pilot :ok:

ChrisJ800
24th Jun 2016, 05:00
I didnt like the new Dads Army movie but fancy myself in the Home Guard at a nice seaside town. Or the Observer Corp like my Gramps.

oldpax
24th Jun 2016, 05:25
The bit where you got your demob suit and trilby!

G-CPTN
24th Jun 2016, 05:45
My participation in WWII commenced in July 1944 - not that I remember much about it - in fact zilch.
My awareness started in 1947 AFAICR.

tony draper
24th Jun 2016, 06:03
A Swiss Banker.:)

Ovation
24th Jun 2016, 06:41
The Armistice

Fark'n'ell
24th Jun 2016, 07:35
then tea making at one of those SOE training places in Scotland would have been nice.

Flying Corsairs in the pacific.Not as cold as Scotland.

Effluent Man
24th Jun 2016, 08:12
SOE agent somewhere in France where there is a supply of decent wine and cheeses.

Peter-RB
24th Jun 2016, 08:43
Advisor to Churchill..

Carry0nLuggage
24th Jun 2016, 09:14
Churchill's wine merchant.

Failing that, posted to the West Country for the duration. Bloke I worked with once was on a radar site "Somewhere in the West" and claimed rationing didn't really exist when surrounded by farms.

Sallyann1234
24th Jun 2016, 09:33
I'll take Bletchley Park then. Vitally important, fascinating work but safe.

vapilot2004
24th Jun 2016, 09:38
A good friend of our family was a B-24 pilot and spent some time in Corsica including ferrying aircraft to the front lines of the air war. In listening over the years, some of the stories this good man shared were pretty tough, but many of his fellow airmen made it out and back time and again and were treated very well on that island.

Mr Oleo Strut
24th Jun 2016, 09:43
The stores, deep underground!

Mr Oleo Strut
24th Jun 2016, 09:47
Two of my neighbours (both now dead) volunteered. One was sent by the Army to Burma and endured hell against the Japanese. The other joined the RAF and spent his war on a beach in the sun in North Africa having a whale of a time. He never saw a German but still got his medals. War is a very fickle beast.

pax britanica
24th Jun 2016, 09:58
For me-radio engineer in RAF or RN in Bermuda.

i had a friend whose father was there working for a private company when war broke out, got co opted/volunteered for that role in UK services, cannot remember if it was RAF or RN , and stayed there for the duration . Too difficult to send him home and too difficult to send a replacement as all personnel transport was very limited and on a priority basis

funfly
24th Jun 2016, 10:17
Spitfire pilot - I know it's taken but at the last count there were well over twice as many ex 'spitfire pilots' as were ever trained as spitfire pilots in the war!

Allan Lupton
24th Jun 2016, 10:54
I'll settle for what I actually was, which was being a small boy on my parents' farm in Devon whilst others endured the war at closer quarters. As said in post 23 rationing had little impact if the farm grew most of its food, and we often had visitors to stay!
It only got dangerous when the US Army set up camp in one of our woods, prior to taking part in D Day.

Vitesse
24th Jun 2016, 11:08
My wife's grandad spent his war driving lorries in the RAF, first around the New Forest then later in France. Cheese, Wine etc.

Apparently they had a great stash of funny money that could buy pretty much anything but was worthless back home. They spent what they could and left it for the next guy.

I'm not sure he wanted to come home. Given that it took around 12 men to keep 1 in combat there must have been plenty who never heard a shot fired.

rsuggitt
24th Jun 2016, 11:15
ATA pilot. You get to fly just about everything.

Tu.114
24th Jun 2016, 11:27
... or test pilot at one of the major aircraft works at either side of the front lines. Of course, this might have involved testing vile rides like the BI-1, the Reichenberg device, the Natter or the like, but nevertheless...

dat581
24th Jun 2016, 11:46
Eric Brown RN. Except the getting sunk bit.

pineridge
24th Jun 2016, 12:01
A DH Mosquito instructor in Canada .

Danny42C
24th Jun 2016, 12:32
Mr Oleo Strut,
...War is a very fickle beast...
As we said: "We each had to fight the war we'd been given". No two individual war stories were alike - for you didn't choose your war - It chose You !

funfly,
...but at the last count there were well over twice as many ex 'spitfire pilots' as were ever trained as spitfire pilots in the war!...
And there were plenty of genuine ones too ! Did a Spitfire OTU at Hawarden (75 hrs Mks.I and II) in summer 1942.

Then posted to India (where at the time there were no Spitfires - triumph of RAF organisation over logic, how did we ever win the war ?). Gave me a Vultee Vengeance instead. Never flew a Spitfire again for seven years until I crept back in in 1949. Flew a few hundred hours on them at 20 Sqn at Valley. Now the Mark XVIs, a bit heavier and more powerful, but nice as ever.

What would I choose to fly if I could roll the clock back 70+ years ?...What I got ! The nearest thing to "safe" ops in WWII. We lost a fair number of people in India/Burma, dive-bombing, but the Jap was responsible for only a few (we mostly killed ourselves, accidentally, of course). If you were careful and kept your wits about you, you could die of old age at our job.

Happy Days !

Danny42C.

hiflymk3
24th Jun 2016, 13:18
Danny42c, I take my hat off to you. Thank you so very much.

CyclicRick
24th Jun 2016, 13:27
Hello Danny,
Did you happen to know a chap named Tullett? Not sure of the first name but I came across his logbook a while back (ex-girlfriends ex-husbands father..!!) and he flew the VV and went onto Mosquito's and was killed in an accident.
Richard

Fantome
24th Jun 2016, 13:30
. . . .. and me too HIFLYMK3 as we know how much this fella is THE GOODS

a Dutch mercenary would be amongst last choices. The late Hans Moes-Bollen (whom I had the good fortune to spend the night with in Airlie Beachh Queensland while getting outside a bottle of his Bundaberg OP rum together . . Hans (aka Tex) ) at age sixteen in Amsderdam learned the fine art of coming up behind a German , usually gestapo and a known target of the resistance . . pulling out his length of piano wire from the lining of the lapels of his jacket for a swift garrotting . . . highly trained job it was. Hans went on to fly Tigerschmitts in Western Australia after the war. He crashed one day . . awfully common for ag DH82s in Australia when hundreds were pressed into service. (Han's crash cost him a leg . . .at least not an arm and a leg. )_

so that is an example of a non-choice. As to a preference . . . jeeese .. who cares ?
people rave on (well some do) while all I can hear is that hard faced shiela in the movie THE CASTLE saying 'getcha hand off it Darrell. .'

alright then if I must .. post me please as a weather observer or coast watch agent to a remote desert island with ample provisions ample booze and reading matter plus (essential) a dusky maiden or two strumming softly on her guitar…to the palm trees sway . .

vctenderness
24th Jun 2016, 14:43
Being my dad. He was in the RAF and had some kind of skill which he had to teach to others. He was posted to Canada in 1942 and the only dangerous part of the war for him was the transatlantic crossing.

He spent much time visiting his family in California including quite a bit of time in Hollywood hob nobbing with famous movie star Ray Milland at his home.

I have his photo album from this period and it looks like a pretty good time was had!

On the other hand my mum was back in Blighty with three children spending nights in the Anderson shelter as Mr Hitlers lads rained explosives down on them.....

hiflymk3
24th Jun 2016, 14:55
I think I'd be typecast as a spiv.

RatherBeFlying
24th Jun 2016, 15:04
The Swiss forces. Their readiness persuaded Herr Hitler to direct his attentions elsewhere.

Danny42C
24th Jun 2016, 15:06
Richard,

Sorry, no. So many names, so long ago !
...he flew the VV and went onto Mosquito's and was killed in an accident...
The four RAF Vengeance squadrons in Burma (45,82,84 and 110) were intended to convert onto Mosquitoes, after they'd been pulled off 'ops" (prematurely IMHO) in the summer of 1944. But the Mossies starting falling to bits in the humid tropical environment, sometimes in midair and killing the crew (the new C.O. of one of the squadrons, who'd come out with the new aircraft, was one of their first victims). And (I'm told, I never flew them), the Mossie was quite a handful, and did not suffer fools gladly. There were a lot of "normal" accidents, and when they finally were fixed and went into service (in early 1945), the Japs bagged one or two. And then came August and it was All Over.

The logbook would show how he was killed. If it's not wanted by his N.O.K., the IWM would be glad to have it.

Danny.

PAXfips
24th Jun 2016, 15:13
The guy inventing the ENIGMA :-)

(<- IT nerd)

Mudman
24th Jun 2016, 15:30
Mechanic for RAF. get to see all the cool planes up close and personal.

Bletchley Park because I like solving puzzles

Shaggy Sheep Driver
24th Jun 2016, 16:54
ATA pilot!

Krystal n chips
24th Jun 2016, 17:18
" ATA pilot!"

Now there's a surprise, eh, Shaggy !..but, it would give some veracity I suppose.

radeng
24th Jun 2016, 21:14
UK based Chain Home radar mechanic. Service rations, and after the BoB, safer than a civilian city. Plus more chances of fun where there were WAAF radar plotters......

jethro15
24th Jun 2016, 21:53
I want to be in Kelly's gang

RodH
24th Jun 2016, 22:19
The best part by far to be in in WW2 would have been the leader of the VE Parade!!

abgd
24th Jun 2016, 23:08
I must have met half a dozen WWII pilots through my work (doctor). A small but unselected sample. The only person who really seemed to enjoy her part in the war without qualification was the ATA pilot. Only one of the pilots who saw active service really wanted to talk about it. I don't think that even the 'glamorous' bits of the war were as much fun as they might sometimes appear.

tartare
24th Jun 2016, 23:31
Mosquito pilot - Amiens Raid.
Or batman in the wren's quarters...

Norman Deplume
25th Jun 2016, 00:13
Estate Agent, Hiroshima, August 6th, 1945. Office opens after 0817hrs.

Hydromet
25th Jun 2016, 07:59
Flying Corsairs in the pacific.Not as cold as Scotland.
Fark'n'ell, many years ago I worked briefly for one of your countrymen in Auckland, who had that job. Wonderful man but didn't talk about it much. Had a bike shop in K. Road - HNR Jackson. Took me flying a couple of times.

D'pirate
25th Jun 2016, 08:07
Night Intruder :E

Old 'Un
25th Jun 2016, 08:48
I would settle for the first part of my Old Man's RNZAF service - seconded to the NZ Army to teach newbies how to maintain and fire rifles. He was an expert shot, but was of far more use in the training arena than as a sniper in the field.

He did get posted overseas later in the fracas, but in more of a passive than active role.

Le Vieux

Loki
25th Jun 2016, 09:01
Reserved occupation, like my dad...he tried to join up but was told to go away somewhat abruptly. Mind you having to endure the blitz and V1s and V2s can't have been much fun.

CyclicRick
25th Jun 2016, 10:02
Danny:
Thank you for the reply...privileged to chat to you by the way :-)
It was an off chance admittedly that you might have heard of him. I think it was due to a wing spar failure (rotting wood) caused by the humid conditions (I did a little research).
I'd love to donate the logbook to the IWM but it's really not mine to give, I no longer any contact as it was a pretty acrimonious split up unfortunately!
On the subject....Tempest pilot, ground attack. Dangerous but must have been quite exciting.

Martin the Martian
25th Jun 2016, 11:34
I once saw a lovely photo of three RAF Mitchells from an OTU based 'somewhere in the Caribbean' swooping low over a tropical beach.

I'd have some of that please.

Effluent Man
25th Jun 2016, 11:38
Danny:
Thank you for the reply...privileged to chat to you by the way :-)
It was an off chance admittedly that you might have heard of him. I think it was due to a wing spar failure (rotting wood) caused by the humid conditions (I did a little research).
I'd love to donate the logbook to the IWM but it's really not mine to give, I no longer any contact as it was a pretty acrimonious split up unfortunately!
On the subject....Tempest pilot, ground attack. Dangerous but must have been quite exciting.

Le Grande Cirque by Pierre Clostermann was one of the best books I have ever read.

Mr Optimistic
25th Jun 2016, 12:13
Photo reconnaissance interpretation, or a reserved occupation.

Stanwell
25th Jun 2016, 12:39
Well, y'see, I'd found that getting shot at isn't much fun.

With that in mind, if I had to go into WWII, I reckon something like General MacArthur's press secretary might be the go.
He seemed to have had the knack of organising things pretty comfortably for Himself and his immediates.
All you'd have to be able to do would be to be to bullshit nearly as well as him.
Oh, and wear dark glasses in case he bent over. :cool:

Fareastdriver
25th Jun 2016, 12:45
Le Grande Cirque by Pierre Clostermann was one of the best books I have ever read.

'The Big Show' in English.

megan
25th Jun 2016, 13:56
General MacArthur's press secretary might be the goDefinitely safe there Stan, Wasn't called "Dugout Doug" for nothing. MacArthur had failed to prepare for the Japanese attack on Clark Field, "spent so much time underground in the fortress on Corregidor that he became known as 'Dug-out Doug'.

A song, sung to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," turned up at Bataan:

Dugout Doug MacArthur lies ashaking on the Rock
Safe from all the bombers and from any sudden shock
Dugout Doug is eating of the best food on Bataan
And his troops go starving on.
Dugout Doug's not timid, he's just cautious, not afraid
He's protecting carefully the stars that Franklin made
Four-star generals are rare as good food on Bataan
And his troops go starving on.
Dugout Doug is ready in his Kris Craft for the flee
Over bounding billows and the wildly raging sea
For the Japs are pounding on the gates of Old Bataan
And his troops go starving on...

Me? I'd imagine flying an LB-30 on the North Atlantic Return Ferry Service.

Ali Qadoo
25th Jun 2016, 13:59
Instructor on the Catalina OTU based in Bermuda.

thing
25th Jun 2016, 14:14
My friend's Dad flew Sunderlands out of Koggala in Ceylon (Sri Lanka as is). I think he had a fairly quiet if monotonous war, I would have some of that I think.

MadsDad
25th Jun 2016, 14:35
For the job, I would have wanted that one filled by my Uncle Harold. He was an RAF Mechanic based in the Azores for the duration, changing wheels on B17s on ferry flights. Nice weather and no risk.
One thing he told me was quite a lot of his mates went back to the UK on leave and just didn't bother going back to war - they got jobs in the local town and just stayed out of it.

Danny42C
25th Jun 2016, 14:37
25th Jun 2016, 12:38 #60 (permalink)
Effluent Man
Quote:
Originally Posted by CyclicRick View Post
Danny:
Thank you for the reply...privileged to chat to you by the way :-)

Effluent Man,

Not so ! I was just an ordinary young man who happened to be there in Interesting times !

Danny.

Rwy in Sight
25th Jun 2016, 20:28
Since ATA posts seem to be taken, I would either apply for a fighter pilot in the Pacific or Nothern Europe, or liaison intelligence officer.

ZeBedie
25th Jun 2016, 20:44
I'll have Alex Henshaw's job.

ExRAFRadar
25th Jun 2016, 20:46
I/C Postings.

innuendo
25th Jun 2016, 20:50
My friend's Dad flew Sunderlands out of Koggala in Ceylon (Sri Lanka as is). I think he had a fairly quiet if monotonous war, I would have some of that I think.

Perhaps he was luckier than some others, timing may have had a lot to do with it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Birchall

I only mention it as G/C Leonard Birchall, ("Sir" to me :) ), was Station Commander when I joined my first Squadron.

thing
25th Jun 2016, 20:57
I'm only going on the fact that he said he had a fairly quiet and monotonous war of course! G/C Birchall sounded like quite a hero.

FullOppositeRudder
25th Jun 2016, 22:30
In an earlier lifetime I would have requested the role of front line fighter pilot without hesitation - yes a Hurricane will do nicely thank you, if the Spitfires are all gone.

Having heard and read quite a lot about the reality of the situation, in several instances from those who were in the front line role, I've revised my ambition.

I think a coast watch observer based in Alice Springs is probably more my style these days ...

Pinky the pilot
26th Jun 2016, 00:27
Been off-line for quite a while so only now able to post.

Spitfire pilot in the Battle of Britain is already taken

Why?:confused:

OK then, what about a Hurricane Pilot in the Battle?:hmm::hmm:

Sorry FOR; Didn`t see your post above until after I made mine. May I join you in a Hurri?:D

pattern_is_full
26th Jun 2016, 01:21
I'd pick Looey-Commander in a PBY5B, South Pacific. Spare engine, millions of miles of "runway" available, a chance to save lives as well as fight.

Hours and hours of flying, R&R days sleeping on the sand under the palms, all punctuated no doubt by some moments of pure terror (War is H*ll).

FullOppositeRudder
26th Jun 2016, 02:43
Sorry FOR; Didn`t see your post above until after I made mine. May I join you in a Hurri?:DI would be honoured Sir, indeed you may be the section leader if you wish .... :ok: I would be sitting in station behind you as I may well have done in real life a while back .....

RedBullGaveMeWings
26th Jun 2016, 07:43
Somewhere in the Luftwaffe flying 190's or the Jug over Europe... what a beauty she was.

Fantome
26th Jun 2016, 08:01
May I join you in a Hurri? . . . think if you came at your own pace that's fine.

Not two in one of course. Roald Dahl (mind you all 6-4 of him) found the Hurricane an extremely tight fit when he slid the lid closed.

The 'Jug' had another couth name - THE REPULSIVE THUNDER-BOX

Sallyann1234
26th Jun 2016, 11:44
radeng
UK based Chain Home radar mechanic
You might find this site interesting...
Ventnor Radar: Home Page & Index. RAF Domestic & technical sites. (http://www.ventnorradar.co.uk/)

Pinky the pilot
26th Jun 2016, 12:31
Roger that FullOppositeRudder, provided that our Squadron Leader is
R R Stanford-Tuck!:ok:

Do wish that we would have better armament than the 8 303 Colt/Brownings though.:hmm:

I`d settle for 6 .50cals, though 4 20mm Hispano would be my preference.:ok:

ChickenHouse
26th Jun 2016, 13:28
Staying home as enchanter of widows and virgins ...

Fantome
26th Jun 2016, 14:37
Staying home as enchanter of widows and virgins ...

. .. . .as Ned of Wales (aka Sir Cumference) could just as easily proclaimed .

(all in jest for him as one valedictory mentioned the life- long devotion to each other of this
loving couple.)

One of the best reads is Robert Stanford-Tuck's account of his war years . .. . how deservedly
well known did 'Tuck's Luck' become. (Pinky I'd have never taken you for one so into armament.)

Cazalet33
26th Jun 2016, 16:01
A sergeant in the Home Guard on the South Coast, sorting out Private Pike's mum.

If that's taken, then:

Liaison officer with the Shetland Gang at Lunna, also working with the Antrum people and other members of Kompani Linge.
I met a dozen of those guys at a garden party in Ålesund in 1971. Tremendous people, every one of 'em.

radeng
26th Jun 2016, 16:17
Sallyann,

Ventnor radar station was severely damaged at the start of the Battle of Britain, but was the only one that was off the air very long.

An interesting site.....

Fareastdriver
27th Jun 2016, 09:14
Give me Operations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFdxwZR3T1A

larssnowpharter
27th Jun 2016, 10:39
Same as my Dad: flying Hurricanes for the Irish Army Air Corps!

tdracer
28th Jun 2016, 15:19
Wonderful man but didn't talk about it much.
That seemed to be a very common trait for those who were on the sharp end of the stick - land, sea, or air. My dad was infantry in the south Pacific arena - saw action on Guadalcanal, New Guinea, and the Philippines. He never talked about it much (aside from a general dislike of MacArthur - seemed to think highly of Patton though).

tow1709
28th Jun 2016, 15:34
Any three-star rank or above. War is like the theatre, the best seats are high up and at the back.

Pontius Navigator
28th Jun 2016, 21:17
NAAFI Manager Cyprus. ATCO ASI. British Naval Attaché Uruguay.

er340790
28th Jun 2016, 21:57
"THERE'S NOTHING CUSHY ABOUT THE WOMEN'S AUXILIARY BALLOON CORPS!!!"

All-time classic, Mr. B. :D :} :D

Pinky the pilot
30th Jun 2016, 12:21
Pinky I'd have never taken you for one so into armament.)

A lifelong interest in firearms; Currently a Full bore Rifle shooter and Pistol shooter.

And I have a substantial cartridge collection.

Had a 50cal BMG salvaged from the Jungle, under my bed when I was a PNG Bush Pilot about 25 years ago but that`s another story!:E

Metro man
30th Jun 2016, 17:59
German headquarters staff in Berlin mid 1945. Once they realised the war was lost, the drunken orgies that went on were unbelievable.

"Enjoy the rest of the war, the peace is going to be hell."

Stanwell
30th Jun 2016, 18:16
In early 1943, Hitler confided to one of his Luftwaffe aces during a private audience...
"Militarily, the war is lost..."
The following words (and thoughts) aren't very clear.

lomapaseo
30th Jun 2016, 20:18
German headquarters staff in Berlin mid 1945. Once they realised the war was lost, the drunken orgies that went on were unbelievable.


Source ? ........................

Metro man
30th Jun 2016, 22:24
Saw a film about the last days of Adolph, can't remember the title but those blonde German admin girls were stunning.

Cazalet33
30th Jun 2016, 23:21
Traudle Junge was a fine looking woman in her sixties. She must have been a tasty bit of tottie in her twenties.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/40/da/2e/40da2eb19aef6aa7f8f67a18551b435a.jpg

Cazalet33
30th Jun 2016, 23:27
realised the war was lost, the drunken orgies that went on were unbelievable

The drunken orgies when the Russians overran Berlin, and elsewhere in Eastern Germany, were not at all nice. A massive war crime, actually.

Stanwell
30th Jun 2016, 23:45
Yep.
Well documented - and to which they still refuse to admit.

Now, we won't talk about the Japanese and their ongoing editing of history, will we?
Having noted that, I now think I'd like to be Hirohito - untold millions dead and you still get to sit on the throne.
"Things have turned, not necessarily, to our advantage".
Oh, well, that's OK then. - bit of a shame .. but it was worth a go, eh?
.

hiflymk3
1st Jul 2016, 07:56
Downfall was the film of Hitlers' final days and a good film it is too.

According to Hugh Trevor-Roper in his book The Last Days of Hitler* there were no orgies in the bunker but a sense release after his suicide, smoking, drinking and dancing followed by escape plans.

* Trevor-Roper was a British intelligence officer send to Berlin in 1945 to investigate Hitlers' demise. A damn good read.

ian16th
1st Jul 2016, 12:23
Can I just add that I was happy in my ignorance about the part that I did play in WWII?

2½ at the start and just over 8 at the end.

Not understanding why we had nights in the shelter, but I did enjoy the street parties at the end of it all.

PingDit
2nd Jul 2016, 14:20
Watson Watt - Interesting times.

Pinky the pilot
3rd Jul 2016, 12:38
Downfall was the film of Hitlers' final days and a good film it is too.


As per its German title; Der Untergang.

Agree; it is a very good film.:ok:

radeng
3rd Jul 2016, 20:38
Watson-Watt didn't invent radar - Christian Holsmeyer did that in 1904. He didn't do the calculations that were done at DSIR that suggested it would work and in the cold light of day, he got a lot of credit for other people's inventive work. The German Navy had the 375Mc/s 'Seetakt' radar in 1938 - it was on the Graf Spee - while the RN didn't start getting radar until 1941. People like R. V. Jones did a lot more.....Even the 'inventors' of the cavity magnetron at Birmingham University were 10 years behind the Russian 1930 patent.....

While Sutton (who few have ever heard of) made much more valuable contributions in the work on the external cavity klystrons used as the local oscillator in 10cm H2S and the similar cavities needed for T/R cells - so much so that the Americans called them 'Sutton tubes'.

Sutton's brother-in-law was better known as he was the Peter Wright of the book 'Spycatcher' fame....

reynoldsno1
4th Jul 2016, 00:58
Having read my Dad's diary, written in France in the early part of 1940, I wouldn't choose any bit. He managed to get away at Brest, after 6 hours in the water. His younger brother was killed in a Mosquito in 1944, having survived through campaigns in Egypt & Malta. I never met him.

Stanwell
4th Jul 2016, 07:26
Reynolds,
Your "I wouldn't choose any bit" response would, of course, be the thinking person's attitude.
However .. The question asked in the thread-title is .. "If you had to be ..."

With that in mind, a thoughtful yet simple one-word response in an earlier post on here won my prize.
The word? .."Quartermaster". :ok:

Metro man
5th Jul 2016, 04:18
The phrase "In the rear with the gear." from the film "Full Metal Jacket" covers that job nicely.

AtomKraft
5th Jul 2016, 05:41
Slight thread drift, but anyone who hasn't seen 'Downfall' should set aside a couple of hours and watch it on youtube.

Search for 'Downfall full movie.' It's always available.

Once watched. Never forgotten.:(

Cazalet33
5th Jul 2016, 07:01
Having watched AtmK's movie, I think I'd prefer to having spent the war looking after a prat of of a bank manager in a South coast town, while humping Pte Pike's mum.

AtomKraft
5th Jul 2016, 07:05
Me too Caz
But a heck of a film, no?

I hope someone was humping Fraulein Humps!

abgd
6th Jul 2016, 05:33
Reynolds,
Your "I wouldn't choose any bit" response would, of course, be
the thinking person's attitude.
However .. The question asked in the
thread-title is .. "If you had to be ..."


I noticed that too, but the question remains: why ask the question in the first place?

We fetishise the second world war in the UK and USA, partly because we were on the winning side. Especially given what we now know about the Holocaust, it would be hard to argue that we weren't on the 'right' side as well. So we can admire all the military hardware, daring exploits and still feel good about ourselves.

Those of my generation and older will have known many of the men who spent their 20s and 30s as soldiers and heard many of their stories, and I'm sure it's true that for many of them it was the most exciting time of their lives. Many bore real responsibility at a young age - which is generally good for a person. I still have a patient who dresses in his military uniform every day. Clearly, nothing in the 70 years since the war has held quite the same importance to him as his role as a soldier. I looked after an ATA pilot who, delirious on her deathbed was engrossed in earnest discussions about aircraft movements with persons imaginary.

Still, I doubt that many who were at the sharp end survived entirely unscathed. WWII veterans are still out there commiting suicide at 4 x the rate of non-combattants. Most WWII pilots I've met, never piloted an aircraft again.

So the thinking person decides that there's no role they would have liked to play in the war? I don't think that's quite true - the ATA pilot clearly had a ball and I'm sure a few other people did too. But what sort of person asks the question?

Stanwell
6th Jul 2016, 07:11
abgd,
It could be like .. "Run it up the flag pole and see who salutes".
Respondents will have different reasons for their answers.. I'd imagine, based largely on their experience - or lack of.

Cazalet33
6th Jul 2016, 09:11
I'm sure it's true that for many of them it was the most exciting time of their lives.

No doubt about that.

I remember a much loved member of a flying club who was mentally locked in to his days in Bomber Command. He'd survived a full tour on Lancasters and a subsequent full tour on Mosquitos. His entire language and dress and mindset was totally locked into that part of the 1940s, even well into the 1980s. He was like a human time capsule. In a very odd way his brain just could not absorb anything which happened after 1945.

I took him on an Aztec charter document-running trip from Edinburgh to Hannover in the 1970s. He brought along an original blank Mercator chart, RAF issue, upon which he plotted our position every ten minutes. He constantly called out flak positions as if they were still there, actually pointing to them and becoming slightly troubled if I didn't deviate slightly to keep some distance from them.

He wasn't mad, just very odd. Being with him was like stepping into one of those WW2 RAF films. If he'd had a black Labrador I know what he would have named it.

FullOppositeRudder
6th Jul 2016, 12:36
I once had the privilege of associating over a few weeks with a lovely bloke who I unwittingly led into talking about his time as a WW2 pilot - mostly Lancasters and Halifaxes I discovered.

We'd had a few wines, but I was really shocked at what I had started here. He opened up ever so briefly on his experiences some thirty years earlier, and broke down, admitting that out of the ten pilots in his OTU, he alone survived the experience. He told me that he'd lost count of the times he expected to die - and his crew mates with him. He was still burdened with the guilt of being a survivor after all those years. As I said, a lovely bloke, softly spoken, gentle, kind, a school teacher who built wonderful things out of wood.

I never saw him again, but I never forgot him and what he had shared with me at that particular session. I discovered many years later that he had died only some ten years after our meeting - not all that old. I went searching for his war record on the internet - there's a lot of information there - more than he told me - I discovered that he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The episode removed any of the illusion I previously had about the so called 'glamour' of war. The more I've learned about it, the more I realised that I was deceived by some of the films I had seen and some of the books I have read. And every time I visit our Australian National War memorial in Canberra, I visit the Lancaster, I watch the AV presentation, and I wander past those thousands of names on the walls, those men and women who never came back, I come away heavy of heart, and with one overwhelming emotion: "What a bloody waste ....." :{

And yet it had to happen.

FOR

Cazalet33
6th Jul 2016, 13:45
Wonderful people.

Not at all recoverable by the internet, though some of us may remember some of them here.

For most of them, their brilliance never really shined or shone. They just died. That's all.

A waste. Of so many wonder full people who would have shone if they been allowed to do so.

Danny42C
6th Jul 2016, 14:32
I've only today looked in on this extremely thought-provoking Thread, as I spend the greater part of my laptop time on that other one, that evergreen nostalgia-fest: "Gaining a RAF Pilot's Brevet in WWII".

So, from a standpoint of one who's "Been There and Done That", and was fortunate enough to come back with a full tally of arms and legs, may I say a few (general) words.

First, your contributors who make the point that: "it was the most exciting time of their lives" are spot-on. In nearly all cases, it was. I have described it as "being on an another planet", for so it seemed. Our nearest and dearests at home could never really understand how it was with us, for it was difficult to put into words. Most people gave up and just went "shtumm".

Next, remember that you are viewing the war with hindsight. I've many times repeated a mantra (wish I'd been clever enough to think of it myself): "We each had to fight the war we were given". You are looking at "whole" wars, and deciding which one would take your fancy. But in November 1941, who could have it more "cushy" than the Singapore Garrison ? Five thousand miles away from the whiff of cordite, no shortages or rationing, no blackout, living the comfortable colonial life in a nice warm climate, plenty of servants to meet every need - what's not to like ?

Fast-forward six months, and you are a slave-labourer under the lash of a cruel and pitiless enemy, no hope of release other than a miserable death, working on a railway intended to further Japan's conquests. Who would have thought it ?

Be careful for what you wish for - you may get it. :=

Dannt42C.

Cazalet33
6th Jul 2016, 14:49
Brilliant post, Danny.

I still like Sushi, with dark soy sauce, dammit.

Cazalet33
6th Jul 2016, 15:25
Those old guys weren't much more than we are.

They weren't even old. They just had to be. And they were, that's all. Not old, just who they were.

That's all they were. That's all they were allowed to be. That's all.

That's sad.

tj916
6th Jul 2016, 16:45
All-time classic, Mr. B. :D :} :D


Damn it, beat me to it. :)

Stanwell
6th Jul 2016, 18:39
Thanks so much, abgd, FOR, Caz and Danny.
Your recent posts made this thread worthwhile. :D
Why are WE still here?

p.s. .. I should add .. when the good ones aren't?
(Pardon me, just getting a bit emotional).
.

Danny42C
6th Jul 2016, 18:58
Cazalet33 (#117),

Daughter runs a Mitsubishi Lancer. Good car. Before that she had an old 2/h one of same ilk. That was "good to the last drop", too. Ran a Rover 216 (Honda badged as Rover) myself. No complaints, rotted out in the end - but what didn't in those days.

(your #118)
...That's all they were. That's all they were allowed to be. That's all. That's sad...
Well, yes and no. (Remembered from a film long ago: "He was doing his job - the only excuse a man has for living or dying"). The job was there, it had to be done, we were the only ones to do it. For old men make wars, but young men have to fight them.

And then again: "They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old......" There is a plus side: "Only the good die young !", it ts said, and there is something in it. Don't know what age group you might be in, but, take it from me - extreme old age is no fun.

Danny.

Cazalet33
6th Jul 2016, 19:05
The nasty truth is that we are here because so many of Danny's mates aren't.

Sorry to be so bloody maudlin', but it's true.

They prolly would say something to the the effect of: fack orf and buy us a bloody round ya daft sod!

Here's to 'em. Every one of 'em. Alive and otherwise.

Danny42C
6th Jul 2016, 19:26
Stanwell (#120).
...Thanks so much, abgd, FOR, Caz and Danny.
Your recent posts made this thread worthwhile...
Why Thankee, kind sir ! Another half ? Don't mind if I do !

(Bit of a brass face, my fielding the compliments, when I've only just come in, but there you go)

Few good ones still here (modesty forbids), but not many of us left.

"Emotional" should not be coupled with "tired" in UK, as in: "Tired and Emotional"
(= Pi##ed) !

Danny.

Danny42C
6th Jul 2016, 19:31
Caz (#122),

Leapfrogged again ! Let's call it quits.

Danny.

Cazalet33
6th Jul 2016, 19:39
Here's tae ya, Danny. I hope you appreciate a good Malt!

'cuz yurr worth it!

Danny42C
6th Jul 2016, 21:14
The Glenlivet would dae fine ! (thought you'd never ask !) an' a wee drap from the burrrn to gae wi' it.

Best I can do with the accent as an Irishman !

Danny.

THIS CORRESPONDENCE MUST NOW CEASE - EDITOR.

Cazalet33
6th Jul 2016, 22:16
Now you tell us yurr fekkin Irish? Let's fight, ya bass!

Mine's a Macallan 30 yr auld. I dinnae care how auld yurr's is ya bass. I'll pit the heid oan ya.

At this point, all Germans should take three steps back. They've no fukkn idea what real fighting is like!

LowNSlow
7th Jul 2016, 01:58
Caz, I think the Russians, the Commonweath forces and the French might disagree with you.

My dad was a FE on Halifaxes, 36 take offs, 34 raids (1 recall, 1 burning engine). He wasn't a fan of the nascent EU after being on the receiving end of the Luftwaffe Urban Redevelopment Program

When the Scottish hero in the European Parliament cried "please don't forget us we didna let you down" how many Scots didn't bow down with their heads in their hands and mentally scream "WILL YOU SHUT THE [email protected] UP YOU EMBARRASSING ****"!

WW2 where would I have been:

18 years old : in the front line: aircrew
48 years old : rear gunner of a Halifax BIII - my dad's tail gunner, a real Hero. Young men think they are immortal so they can sign themselves up for stuff that they will, hopefully,survive.

When you are 48 you have a different appreciation of life. Curly Walker, tail gunner, ex-Eton, ex-Cambridge deserved a DFC.

I'm 58 and every year I live I appreciate the sacrifices our armed forces have made throughout the decades but my Dad's story about Curly makes me stand up and think "at 48 years of age would I want to serve my country in the most dangerous job there is". I can only say no, I couldn't and I challenge anybody of my age to honestly disagreee with me

PLovett
7th Jul 2016, 04:14
I once had the privilege of associating over a few weeks with a lovely bloke who I unwittingly led into talking about his time as a WW2 pilot - mostly Lancasters and Halifaxes I discovered.

We'd had a few wines, but I was really shocked at what I had started here. He opened up ever so briefly on his experiences some thirty years earlier, and broke down, admitting that out of the ten pilots in his OTU, he alone survived the experience. He told me that he'd lost count of the times he expected to die - and his crew mates with him. He was still burdened with the guilt of being a survivor after all those years. As I said, a lovely bloke, softly spoken, gentle, kind, a school teacher who built wonderful things out of wood.

I never saw him again, but I never forgot him and what he had shared with me at that particular session. I discovered many years later that he had died only some ten years after our meeting - not all that old. I went searching for his war record on the internet - there's a lot of information there - more than he told me - I discovered that he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The episode removed any of the illusion I previously had about the so called 'glamour' of war. The more I've learned about it, the more I realised that I was deceived by some of the films I had seen and some of the books I have read. And every time I visit our Australian National War memorial in Canberra, I visit the Lancaster, I watch the AV presentation, and I wander past those thousands of names on the walls, those men and women who never came back, I come away heavy of heart, and with one overwhelming emotion: "What a bloody waste ....."

And yet it had to happen.

FOR

I may have mentioned this before but the doctor who did my initial medical for a commercial licence was a Scot. In conversation I asked him how he had become a DAME and he told me that he had been in the RAF during the war, Hurricanes in the North African campaign and then Mosquito night fighters over the Balkans, that he had wanted to stay flying but there were so many coming out of the services that there wasn't the opportunity so he studied medicine.

I know enough to not ask about actual war service but I happened to mention that I had the utmost respect for Bomber Command given the shocking loss rates they suffered. It was as though I had opened a door to a very dark place. He went silent for a time and then said alcohol for many was how they could do it. He then went very distant and told me of an experience in North Africa. Over the radio he heard one of his compatriots being shot down, he said "you are so alone and there is nothing you can do".

It was a very chastened me who left the surgery that day but his words have never left me. There is nothing grand about war. It is a very nasty business that has shocking and long-lasting consequences. If anyone thinks I am wrong may I recommend they read the bool "Scars Of War" by Hugh McManners. His description of what a high velocity round does to the human body should put most people off.

The Scars Of War (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/906437.The_Scars_Of_War)

Danny42C
7th Jul 2016, 10:37
Caz (#127),

Liverpool Irish, to be exact ! (but then everybody knows Liverpool is the capital of Ireland, or was when I first saw the light of day in 1921).

The Gorbals don't worry me - you should have seen Scotland Road when I were a lad, and the Orangemen (Proddy-dogs) were in open warfare with the "Catty-dogs" in the Marching Season !

But why should we two Celts fight ? - after all, the Scots are just the Irish who couldn't swim when the Romans came, and the Ulstermen are the ones that could (plus the fall-out from the Clearances, of course).

Take a trip with me down Memory Lane, and I'll let ye taste the Dark Waters of the Liffey (brought over "in the wood" on the Dublin boats). Like mother's milk, it was - nearest pub, fifty yards in any direction - and we'll let the craic flow !

Danny.

Danny42C
7th Jul 2016, 11:12
LowNSlow (#128),
...WW2 where would I have been:

18 years old : in the front line: aircrew
48 years old : rear gunner of a Halifax BIII - my dad's tail gunner, a real Hero. Young men think they are immortal so they can sign themselves up for stuff that they will, hopefully,survive.

When you are 48 you have a different appreciation of life. Curly Walker, tail gunner, ex-Eton, ex-Cambridge deserved a DFC...
But this is hard to beat:
...It is believed that William Wedgwood Benn DSO DFC father of Labour politician Tony Benn was the oldest man to fly operationally, he was born in 1877. He served as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps in World War I and rejoined as a pilot officer in 1940 rapidly rising to the rank of air commodore, he re-trained as an air gunner and flew operationally several times at the age of 67 until his age was recognized and he was officially "grounded".[86]...[Wiki]...
I believe he flew as rear-gunner - There's life in old dogs yet !

Danny.

Cazalet33
7th Jul 2016, 11:56
William Wedgwood Benn DSO DFC father of Labour politician Tony Benn
....
born in 1877
....
rejoined as a pilot officer in 1940 rapidly rising to the rank of Air Commodore
....
flew operationally several times at the age of 67


Amazing. Truly amazing people.

The word 'nobility' comes to mind.

G-CPTN
7th Jul 2016, 12:09
Though in his early 60s at start of the Second World War, Benn returned to military flying, joining the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve as a war-substantive pilot officer (on probation) on 27 May 1940, with the service number 79452.
He was promoted to flying officer (war substantive) on 7 December, and was confirmed in his rank on 27 May 1941.
Promoted in 1942 to the substantive rank of flight lieutenant, he was promoted to group captain (war substantive) on 29 December 1942, skipping two ranks.
Following his promotion to acting air commodore in 1944, he served as Director of Public Relations at the Air Ministry.
At age 67 he flew several flights operationally as an RAF Bomber Aircrew gunner and is possibly the oldest man to do so.
He resigned his commission on 3 August 1945, retaining the rank of air commodore.

From:-Air Commodore William Wedgwood Benn, 1st Viscount Stansgate, DSO, DFC, PC (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wedgwood_Benn,_1st_Viscount_Stansgate#Military_caree r).

Danny42C
7th Jul 2016, 12:11
PLovett (#129)

Quote

...I asked him how he had become a DAME...
An abbreviation ripe for misunderstanding !
...and then said alcohol for many was how they could do it...
Never having been in Bomber Command in UK (apart from six months postwar attachment as a supernumerary) - my WWII bombing was in 3rd TAF - I have hazarded a guess that I would have consoled myself with the reflection that the loss rate was 3% per night on average, so the odds in favour of survival next trip were 97:3.
...There is nothing grand about war. It is a very nasty business that has shocking and long-lasting business...
There are no 'good' wars. As Churchill said: "Jaw-Jaw is better than War-War". Sadly, sometimes comes a time when it is unavoidable:

"...to the beating of the drum
When talking time was finished
And fighting time was come"

Thought it was Kipling, but Google cannot trace it.

Danny.

WeeJeem
7th Jul 2016, 12:24
"...to the beating of the drum
When talking time was finished
And fighting time was come"

Thought it was Kipling, but Google cannot trace it.

It looks very much like it's a (mis)quote from "Hawke", by Sir Henry Newbolt :ok:

The ports of France were crowded, the quays of France a-hum
With thirty thousand soldiers marching to the drum
For bragging time was over and fighting time was come

PLovett
7th Jul 2016, 12:36
Quote

Quote:
...I asked him how he had become a DAME...
An abbreviation ripe for misunderstanding !


Designated Aviation Medical Examiner

As to Bomber Command I have just finished reading "Enemy Coast Ahead" by Guy Gibson. Alcohol and fear of death are a large part of the book.

Danny42C
7th Jul 2016, 13:26
WeeJeem,

Thanks ! Looks like the source, after it has passed through a few pairs of hands.

PLovett,

You learn something new every day ! Reminds me of the "Royal Crown" Cola in the US years ago, name not properly thought through - abbreviates to "R.C. Cola" (Geddit?)

And the chap who originally named the Rolls "Silver Shadow" (?) the "Silver Mist" - until someone showed him a German dictionary.

As for the mental analgesics the Bomber Command crews used, I suppose that it was a case of "every man to his own taste", although:

"Malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man".......("Shopshire Lad" ?)


Danny.