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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Old 21st Aug 2010, 22:31
  #1981 (permalink)  
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Age: 99
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Clifnemo. That must have been terrible, being banged down from aircrew.

This was very common with W/O and SNCO Aircrew, especially ex-prisoners of war. Men with an almost completed tour, or second tour; some with DFMs or DFCs, were given some lowly jobs as LACs or Acs, but allowed to use the Sergeants' Mess for a while. Only those who managed to get back on to flying, as I did, managed to retain their rank.
Canadian ex-PoWs were offered immediate Commissions before being returned to Canada. One Sgt Air Gunner, with a crime sheet as long as my arm, was astonished and said so. He was told he had a clean sheet, as he had not got into trouble over the past two years! fredjhh
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 07:36
  #1982 (permalink)  
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100 pages!

100 pages - a marvellous achievement.

Cliffnemo did the take -off - 'Well here goes transferring from F.O Wales blog to this page. So full power, wheels up, flap in by five, and 2850 plus 9. We are away. (maybe)' - and a successful take off it was.

I would like to thank all who have kept this thread flying.
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Old 25th Aug 2010, 07:26
  #1983 (permalink)  
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Reg Levy & Cliff Nemo

Fellow Pruners-Ive just returned from a very long trip around the world spending too much time out of email contact and have missed the very sad news of Reg Levy departing the circuit forever. The Teleg did Reg proud though,a fantastic obit to honour a wonderful man and career.

I had the distinct honour to meet Reg earlier this year in Dover at his flat via this thread and he was such a total delight,I spent some time just listening to his exploits and viewing his logbooks which were so understated.
Reg was truly a gentleman and a total aviation person-he was lucid,amusing but also very,very astute and very aware of the future and his failing health but he still wore his jacket to depart the building for a stroll. It was very obvious that he missed his beloved wife and he spoke in glowing terms with truly warm affection his loss was palpable. But he was a man of science and realised that he had led a great life after surviving WW2 and the hijacking in his airline life.He truly was a breed apart with flying experiences way beyond my very dull airline career in comparison-yet he took a genuine interest in learning about the Airbus FBW aircraft and airline flying today and I left him a book and CDs which he read with his aviation interest still active.

He waxed lyrical over flying the Mosquito,Halifax,B707 but he loved the B747 with Sabena-what an amazing career and he knew it too.

Peter-like so many here,your father gave us much pleasure and it was a real honour to have met him albeit briefly he made a big impact,he was also immensly proud of his family.

Cliff please keep the memories coming for us from WW2 and Robsack a warm welcome to this thread,you will find a willing audience.

Reg we will miss you.

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Old 26th Aug 2010, 10:07
  #1984 (permalink)  

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Special BBMF Flypast at The Naze 27 August

Brakedwell has suggested I post this in this thread as well as in the main Mil forum. Not sure I fully understand the thinking behind that, but delighted to oblige. It can always be removed if necessary, I guess. Happy, Mods?

The BBMF has been kind enough to agree to a special flypast (or two-ish) tomorrow 27 August, at about 1430, at The Naze, on the coast a few miles North of Clacton. They will just have completed their display at the Clacton Air Show

They're doing it to commemorate my uncle, Plt Off Gerard Maffett, who died close by after bailing out from his Hurricane on 31 August 1940. You may have seen the wreckage of his aircraft, which lies in the RAF Museum at Hendon as part of the Museum's memorial to the Battle of Britain.

It was a Mk 1 Hurricane P3175, DT S, and Uncle Gerard was flying as Green 2, B Flt, 257 Sqn, detached to Martlesham Heath. He was on something like his 14th operational flight, and he had had one confirmed hit. He was 24.

He was, perhaps, the epitome of Sir Christopher Foxley-Norris'
"common unconsidered man, who, for a moment of eternity, held the whole future of mankind in his two sweating palms, and did not let it go."

This is the first time he has been honoured at the place where he died, and there will be several members of my family present, including, I hope, his surviving younger brother. His elder brother, my father, died in a Beaufighter 18 months after Uncle Gerard.

Any PPRuNers who can make it to The Naze at such short notice will be very welcome. 1400 for 1430?

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Old 27th Aug 2010, 16:47
  #1985 (permalink)  
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Back to Bruntinthorpe soon, but .

Clifnemo. That must have been terrible, being banged down from aircrew.

Yes fredjhh My ‘oppo’ at Kirkham on the equipment course at Kirkham was one ‘Tubby Baker’ one of the pilots who chose to go on gliders his sole contribution was a trip to Arnhem in a Horsa glider.. I first came across him in the ‘ablutions’ .All I could see was his bare back, with a scar from his left shoulder reaching his right shoulder, and then down to his waste, which was obviously made by a surgeons scalpel. and a very large jagged scar in the middle of his back. Evidently the injury happened on landing caused by shrapnel , but he didn’t remember it. At least he didn’t have to walk back , they kindly brought him back on a stretcher, and gave him a little red wound stripe to wear on his right sleeve. I will endeavor to print a photo below showing Tubby (bottom right) sitting on Wunsdorf equipment section steps. A thing that surprises me is that we were still wearing ‘battle dress’ ,we must have preferred battle dress to ‘best blues’ or were we ‘shooting a line.’ Whilst on the subject of battle dress and Wunsdorf. . We were rather envious of the American’s battledress which was very smart complete with lapels , as distinct from our ‘choker necks’. When I found t hat one of my German female stores assistants was a seamstress , I asked her if she could remodel my battledress as per the American type. She took the battledress home that evening and returned the following morning with it beautifully pressed and sponged , with lapels button holes etc. .When I asked her how much she wanted she replied could I pay her one cigarette. I gave her a packet of twenty Players, We set up a nice little earner. With me taking the orders at forty cigarettes per job. The amazing thing was that no one was put on a fizzer. Possibly the C.O followed suit .

Me on left wearing hats field service. Tubby on right ,front row ditto.
Apparently there was a station mutiny
In our case Spartacan I think we were too happy to mutiny, but there was an occasion at Kirkham, when the whole flight disobeyed an order (more later) and the C.O tried to charge us with mutiny , but wisely dropped the matter.
[]Inspector clueless PAGE 1984

RE Special BBMF Flypast at The Naze 27 August
Inspector clueless . I bombarded B.B.M.F with emails and newspaper cuttings about Reg, in my own inimitable fashion, but it fell on stony ground , and a request to divert the other fly past over Dover didn’t even result in a reply. Think I am in their 'black book, now.

Madbob and Robsack we are eagerly awaiting some help.

P.S I spent the whole of Friday P.M typing and losing my work despite working in M.S Word.. It save O.K in M.S Word but when working in PPRuNe and leaving it to obtain a quote lost my work in PPRuNe. Does any one know how to save PPRuNe work, where to save it and where to find it again.. As an example when I leave pp to load a pic from Photobucket the work in pp has disappeared .

And Icare (Kevin) where are you I have emailed an P.Md you re helping with your two photos , but have had no reply.

Last edited by cliffnemo; 27th Aug 2010 at 19:34.
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Old 27th Aug 2010, 17:22
  #1986 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2009
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I'm sure there are people more knowledgeable than myself on this subject, but have you tried opening a new browser window or tab when you need to go somewhere like photobucket? This would mean you could keep the PPRuNe window and if you don't 'leave' the site, you shouldn't lose your work. If that doesn't make sense, let me know and I can try to explain myself a little better...

By the way, thanks so much for your contributions, it's fascinating and humbling to read. Keep it coming!


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Old 27th Aug 2010, 19:21
  #1987 (permalink)  
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Excellent idea White bait. I understand so many thanks. I will do that next time. I have also just found out I can type the PPRuNe items I want to highlight in ms word first (saving frequently) then enclose them in quotes later ,when in PPRuNe. This obviates the too-ing and fro-ing Would still like to know where the ****** the saved PPRuNe file is.
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Old 27th Aug 2010, 23:07
  #1988 (permalink)  
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I have been re-reading your fascinating story from the beginning, high-lighting each page and copying it to a separate folder so that I can read it as a continuous story. Then I will copy out Reg's story in the same way.
I am always astonished at the ITW photos, - they all look alike, and I swear I can see myself and some of my pals when I first look. I have not got around to sending any of my photos so far, but I will think about it.
Your Engineer training is as detailed as your Pilot training and a revelation.
I always considered the F/E was my right hand man, but I never knew how learned he must have been!
It is amazing how much I have missed in the 100 pages and I could reply to several queries over the years, before I joined this thread.
Weheka on Page 40 mentions and old friend, Charlie Chambers, shot down from 51 Squadron, Snaith, in June '43. Charlie was the only survivor and I did hear a story from a PoW that his Halifax crashed with all on board, and Charlie was thrown out of the windscreen. In later years he said he would recount the story but died before he got around to writing it.
Keep up the good work. fredjhh.
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Old 28th Aug 2010, 09:30
  #1989 (permalink)  
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Failed Reply To P.m

Hi Ollie.
I received you P.M re 150 SQDN. Tried to reply but Mr Prune said
<Sorry! That user has specified that they do not wish to receive emails. If you still wish to send an email to this user, please contact the administrator and they may be able to help>

I can reprint you query here, if you wish

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Old 31st Aug 2010, 15:49
  #1990 (permalink)  
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D Day smoke laying

I would like to know if there are any pruners who were involved in the smokelaying over the Normandy Beaches on D Day.
My Father, F/O Leslie Valentine was the pilot of the lead Boston 111A as is depicted in the fine painting by Michael Turner.
His Aircraft was 'E' Easy and he was in 88 sqdn.
He is still alive and well and living in Oxfordshire with my Mother and they are both 93 years old! Dad was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French for his exploits in the campaign.
It would be nice to hear of anyone who either knew him, or has/had a relative who may have known him.
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Old 1st Sep 2010, 20:23
  #1991 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
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H A Johnston

Have just come across this amazing thread!

6 EFTS Sywell has been mentioned a couple of times and I was wondering if anyone can help me with research into 'H A Johnstone' who was an instructor there in the early 40's.

thanks very much.
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Old 2nd Sep 2010, 19:34
  #1992 (permalink)  
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hope to whiz along with this one Whitebait1, PPRuNe window opened and minimized , ditto M.S Word. As you suggested. ‘Dunno’ what will happen when I do the same with Photobucket, fingers crossed.
, but I never knew how learned he must have been!
but isn’t it also a tribute to the R.A.F education system.. The instructors not only new their subjects , but more importantly knew how to teach. They all taught from the same book, and in the event of one being ill some one else could take over at the point where the previous one finished..

This next paragraph , which is aimed at Fredjhh, should possibly be the subject of a P.M, but I hope our nice Mr Moderator will agree it should be of interest to quite a few readers.. You mention saving pages from this thread. Well I initially did the same thing, and saved pages. However as I have given all my R.A.F memorabilia to my Grandson (14) I decided to save it to a two gig memory stick, and throw it in a big cardboard box , which is half full already with exercise books photos, log book etc. I will eventually tell him to keep it altogether , wrap it in polythene and put it in the loft. I have found out that R.A.F memorabilia fetches a much higher price on Ebay when sold with other items ,information, details of the owner, etc, (provenance ?. ) Should he be lucky enough and go to university, and be pushed for cash, he should obtain a good price for it.
One of the items in the box is a picture frame, the picture showing the insignia I wore over the period. Note the wings show the King’s crown as distinct from the Queen’s crown on today’s wings., At the bottom is shown the A.T.C (Air training corps) shoulder flash.


As I said before , I can’t remember much about Bruntingthorpe only that we were preparing to fly out to the Far East, The Demontfort Hall, and sweetbreads. Sweatbreads ? Well my ‘oppo’ at Bruntingthorpe came from nearby Leicester and his father,worked in the local abattoir . We travelled to his house on the Norton and stayed the night whenever we were off duty. One night his father announced he had brought home some sweetbreads ,and we would have them ‘for tea’ (Northern expression) , they were delicious. It was some time after the war I decided to obtain some from the butcher, but when I found out what they were I couldn’t eat them.
Whilst we were at Bruntingthorp the atomic bomb was dropped and we were told we were to go to Catterick for psychological tests , the results would decide which trades we were to remuster to.
We were only at Catterick a few days, where we took various tests, including the previously mentioned round pegs in round holes. Etc. We had previously been asked which trades we preferred. I selected 1 Black smith and Welder. 2 Heavy goods driver, (trades I thought might be useful in civvy street) and 3 3 equipment assistant. ( The latter, because the ‘barrack room lawyers’ advised it was good ‘skive’. ) It was). My results showed I was most suited to a clerical job, despite my record as a flight engineer, and , , previous civilian occupation.. For some reason I was then posted to R.A.F Newmarket. , and remained there for approximately a month., and then posted to Kirkham to train as an equipment assistant. I will describe the epic journey on my Norton to Kirk ham next A very cold trip complete with snow.

Below is an excerpt from an email by Icare. I think his computer is probably down. as he hasn't replied to my ans wer. The email includes two photos of 51 Sqdn crews which he wishes to post. I could post them but would rather wait for his reply.

Hi, Cliff, I think I need a bit of guidance here, please.

I haven't posted any photos on PPRuNe but this group shot has been sent to me by RagouC whose stepbrother was Derek Olver.

She also thinks that John Fairr's father might be in the photo, so before I post on PPRuNe I want to ensure the photo's are as good as I can get them for clarity etc, plus ensuring they are the "acceptable" the forum.
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Old 2nd Sep 2010, 20:01
  #1993 (permalink)  
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Cliff and ICare

Sorry that I have been remiss in posting here. The pictures sent did not include any of my Old Man - they were all ossifers, and he wasn't commissioned until he'd been at Biggin for a while in June/July 1942.
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 16:22
  #1994 (permalink)  
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Newmarket To Kirkham

Welcome to PPRuNe Robsack. There are bound to be many threads (not only this military aircrew forum) to which your contibutions will be most welcome.

I am trying to get my father to recount some of his experiences and will post them here when I can piece them together in a sort of chronological order....Your own contributions would be most welcome!
We were eventually informed that those who had been selected for equipment assistant training would be posted to R.A.F Kirkham, which was situated between Blackpool and Preston. The night before we were due to travel, I discussed the problem of getting my kit to Kirkham as I would be traveling on my motor bike, but this was soon solved by my friends , who offered to take on the train any of my kit. I could not carry. As it was mid winter I would wear as much clothing as possible, which included my waterproof Sidcot suit. Flying helmet, goggles , silk gloves, electrically heated gloves (they were twenty four volt, but worked quite well off the motorbike twelve volt system. ) leather gauntlet gloves , polo necked jersey, sea boot stockings, big pack , side pack,

The great day arrived, and after struggling to don all the above mentioned, despite the cold weather I was sweating. I managed to straddle the Norton and set off on the two hundred mile journey. Although I was soon frozen stiff, initially the journey was uneventful , until I reached the Peak District, where the roads were covered with a snow a foot deep. Although I had both feet on the ground and in bottom gear I fell off about four times, but due to the amount of padding suffered no ill effect. It was dark by the time I hit St Helens , but as the black out regs had been lifted (now full head lamp, and street lights) it was not too bad. I eventually reached Kirkham, but on arriving at the billets could hardly move , and had to shout for assistance. My oppos who were already there, came out , lifted me off the Norton, and carried me in to thaw out in front of the usual coke stove.

We soon settled in , and found most of the staff were quite understanding, realising that those of us who had not chosen to make the R.A.F our career were not keen on becoming equipment assistants . However the sergeant in charge of our flight was not one of those. He had brand new stripes and had obviously just finished his training course. After morning classes he would shout ‘fall in three thick outside’ , and march us to the mess, as if we were raw recruits. This being rather annoying, we decided to beat him to it. Being very proficient at precision drill, and on his arrival , before he could open his mouth we dashed out , right dressed, left turned, and set off. He ran after us shouting stop, stop, stop. We carried on marching towards the mess, whereupon he shouted ‘ I will show what drill is, and as we were due to do a left turn towards the mess. He shouted right turn, which we ignored. We crossed the main road past the main guard room with him shouting call out the guard. We totally ignored every one and went in to the mess.

We were told we were all to go in front of the C/O that afternoon on a charge of mutiny. The barrack room lawyers advised that the C/O would have problems with this charge, that the Sergeant was ordering Flight Sergeants and Warrant officers, and that the only man he could charge was the ‘ marker’ ( number one on the left ). It was then decided that no one could remember who the marker was , but that we did follow him . I took my turn with the ‘hats off ‘procedure, and stuck to the prearranged story. Think he was a bit brassed off hearing the same tale, for he said to me on leaving. This would be a better place , but for the aircrew. Nothing further was heard, and we were left wondering whether the barrack room lawyers were correct. No further action was taken and we felt vindicated as an aircrew N.C.O was appointed, and we never saw our first sergeant again.

P.S I put a photo taken of me on Sunday in photos of everybody, so how about you doing the same . In case there is anyone who doesn't know put the following in the search box Sticky: Photos of Everybody
or search in Jet Blast

Last edited by cliffnemo; 7th Sep 2010 at 16:36.
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Old 8th Sep 2010, 00:03
  #1995 (permalink)  
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Many veterans I have spoken with report similar experiences to yours when the end of hostilities came. I suppose with hindsight you can see the sense in not suddenly releasing EVERYONE and thereby flooding the labour market, but not so much in the [i]way[/] it was done - keeping people back in menial jobs, being shouted at by just-qualified sergeants on a power trip.. I can 100% understand the bitterness that is still evident in many former aircrew at their treatment.

Meanwhile, I've taken your advice and added a photo to the thread - there used to be one of me there, from some years ago, but the old web space provider Geocities closed and took my pic with it so I just reposted a new one...

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Old 9th Sep 2010, 07:52
  #1996 (permalink)  
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Sticky: Photos of Everybody

Wizzo picture Kookabat you posted to Sticky: Photos of Everybody.
Nice view of Tiger Moth (D.H 82 A ? but the flying helmet ? is it a Czecho-Slovakian fighter pilot's helmet .?
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 23:37
  #1997 (permalink)  
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I have absolutely no idea Cliff, it's just the leather one that 'lives' with the aeroplane...

But yes, a DH-82A it is!
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Old 10th Sep 2010, 06:45
  #1998 (permalink)  
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BBC Two at 9.00pm - First Light:

Geoffrey Wellum: The terrible beauty of flying a Spitfire at the age of 18 - Telegraph
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Old 10th Sep 2010, 07:08
  #1999 (permalink)  
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BBC Two at 9.00pm
On Tuesday the 14th
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Old 11th Sep 2010, 19:51
  #2000 (permalink)  
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Strange Career Path

My dear old departed stepfather had a rather eventful time before reaching the left hand seat of a Lancaster. Operational from day one on Hampdens (49 Scampton) he sort of meandered up the ranks to squandron signals leader (156 Warboys) After he'd flown his 63rd op, Don Bennett stepped in and in an act of what can only be described as mercy sent the old man to Canada to remuster to pilot. The AOC's thinking being that at this late stage of the war Cookie can't possibly turn up on ops again. Wrong! Somehow father telescoped the supposedly lengthy route from Cornells to Lancasters by means both legal and devious and managed another 8 ops. Sadly after all that effort he was found to be suffering from a bowl cancer and invalided out. I often wondered if the strain of everything he's gone through contributed to the illness. I've a picture of his intial pilots course. He seems strangely out of place as a grizzled Flt Lt of 25yrs or age amongst so many young faces
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