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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 4th Apr 2012, 09:22
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Well spoken Danny. This thread will always be a memorial to "cliffnemo" who started it almost 4 years ago. A memorial to him and all the other brave souls to whom we owe so much. The Nuremberg thread may have raised issues with Harris (who in due course I suspect will be reappraised by the historians just as the WW1 Generals have been) but all are as one in unstinting praise for the volunteer aircrew who went out night after night against fearful odds. Such courage is awesome and humbling.
Cliff, you lived life to the full, from what one learns of your more recent ventures and witness the trail blazing grappling with IT here. Don't stop now, but keep fighting on! Thank you Cliff, for every thing.
Chug
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Old 4th Apr 2012, 17:46
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...and the same tributes from this corner, too. This thread is an absolutely magnificent memorial to an incredible group of people. Of course, without Cliff it would never have started and all of us reading/contributing would never have been brought together.

Cliff, thank you for starting this thread - the best on this website by a nautical mile. It will continue as a splendid resource for a long time, and I wouldn't be surprised if there's another 400,000 views to come.

Chin up, chap. All the best,

Tommy.
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Old 5th Apr 2012, 22:50
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Cliffnemo

I have obtained Cliff's home address and I have written to him, or to his family.
If I get a reply I will post it on the thread.
Fredjhh
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Old 5th Apr 2012, 23:04
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A wonderful thread, I'm sure many people like me read it and feel too humble to comment but I would just like to pass on my thanks, for what it's worth to you guys who walked the walk and took the war to the enemy. I don't know Cliff but best wishes are sent.

Danny we have a two seat Spit at my flying club and the CG problem was solved by moving the front cockpit forward by around 19 inches if memory serves me correctly and making the fuel tank smaller.
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Old 6th Apr 2012, 00:48
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Two-seat Spitfire C of G.

thing,

Thanks! - that would certainly help, and I'd think they'd have shoved it further forward still if they could, but then there'd be no room at all for the tank!

The whole thing looks slimmer and longer than a "normal" Spit, but I suppose that must be an optical illusion.

Cheers,

Danny.
 
Old 6th Apr 2012, 18:37
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cliffnemo

To all Pprune's of this great thread. I received this e-mail a few moments ago.

Dear Fred,
I am the son of Clifford Leach.
Thanks for the kind letter which we received yesterday morning.
Unfortunately dad passed away in the early hours this morning.He had been diagnosed with cancer in December and deteriorated rapidly in the last week. I managed to read him your letter yesterday and, even though he was unable to speak, he listened attentively.

I do not have time at the moment to go into more detail, but I will visit the forum soon. The family would like to thank Pprune members for their enquiries in my father, his writings have been of great interest to all of us. Please pass on my regards to them all.

best wishes,

Bill Leach

God bless you, Cliff. I am sure you made a perfect 3 pointer landing. Certainly your approach was impeccable.
Fredjhh
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Old 6th Apr 2012, 20:50
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Cliff.

Fred,

Requiem aeternam dona eum Domine.

Sad news indeed. Thank you for bringing it to us so promptly. Please pass on to Bill and the family the sympathy and condolences of all us PPRuNers (for I am sure I speak for all) who have enjoyed, and are continuing to enjoy, this magnificent thread which he founded. Let's keep it up as long as we can.

God bless you,

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 6th Apr 2012 at 23:20.
 
Old 6th Apr 2012, 20:50
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Cliffnemo RIP

Bill, when you are able to visit this thread, please read Posts 2468 to 2475 to know a very little of how much Cliff has been appreciated for initiating one of the "must read" threads on any forum I know of.

I do wish the news had been better, but the ever lengthening silence would have been broken, had Cliff been able to do so.

It does fall to us now to try and provoke a response from Project Propellor and the fast dwindling band of those who were in the RAF during that most hazardous of times, WW2.

Please, YOUR memories are not just yours, they include all those who did not return. If for no one else, tell it for them.

Sunny skies, Cliff, it'll be several large ones in your Name tonight
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Old 6th Apr 2012, 21:36
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Cliffnemo

What a sad loss.

We will be forever indebted to you Cliff; your contribution of information and photographs for use in our research was priceless; God bless you.

Pete and Laura

Last edited by Petet; 7th Apr 2012 at 08:24.
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 11:23
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QDH and 'Safety Path'

You sound knowledgeable - what is QDH and what is a 'Safety Path'?
This is from a 1954 Kenya RAF crash investigation.

Much appreciated if you could enlighten me.

Regards, NICK
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 11:23
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Plea for information from Albany or elsewhere

I am only a very recent reader of this forum and my plea is made all the more urgent because of the very sad news of Cliff’s departure. His contribution in starting this forum and his continuing comments have been a delight being both informative and amusing and above all valuable. Please pass on my condolences and best wishes to his family. Through this forum his name will live on with the many of us who have so enjoyed his company and memories.



My father, apparently, also trained under the Arnold Scheme although, in common with many mentioned here, he rarely spoke about his experiences and I certainly then never asked him about them. Unfortunately, he was killed in a hit and run accident some 35 years ago. The only clues I currently have are in some old photographs with the stamp of McCollum’s Photo Shop, Albany GA on the back. One of these is of my father (in shorts only) his head down in his books, dated Jul 29 1941. I also met Mr and Mrs Carter who had befriended him (hospitality as frequently mentioned in the blog and in the book) and were on their Grand Tour of Europe on Mr Carter’s retirement. That was some time in the late 50’s as they stayed with my grandparents on their visit to the UK.



My father was LAC Cook E 1072966, information I can obtain from his (RCAF issue) Observer’s and Air Gunner’s Flying Log Book. I knew he had not completed pilot training. At that time he would have been aged 28 which does seem rather old and may have been part of the reason.



His first observer experience was on 27 November 1941 in an Anson piloted by P/O Sorby from No 33 ANS, Mount Hope, Hamilton, Ontario. He completed that course on 14 February 1942 (his birthday) and then went to No 31 B&GS (Bombing and Gunnery School) at Picton on No 38 Course until 27 April 1942.



Working from his log book:



On 12 May 42 he did 2 hrs 40 in a Ventura flying from Moosehead Lake, Maine doing Sunsights, followed on 17 May with 5hrs 10 at night in a Hudson from Windsor to Montreal doing astro navigation. Both are logged as first navigator. There is no evidence of any training in either the Ventura or the Hudson.

Then on 19 May with pilot P/O Sargent he flew Montreal/Dorval– Presque Isle – Gander before at 0900 on 22 May setting off from Gander to Millom, a 12hr 20 flight of which 5 hrs 10 was at night, and then finally to Prestwick on 24 May. (I never did get to ask him about the Flyers in 1942!)

He then appears to have been commissioned, as the first entry with a P/O signature is the August 1942 summary at 5 OTU, Turnberry where he was on No 20 Cse flying Ansons and Beauforts.

He left for North Africa in March 1943 and served at 5 METS (Beaufort) and then 39 Sqn (Beaufort –May/June 43) and 458 Sqn (Wellington – July to October 1943) and Communication (?) flying (Fairchild, Anson and Ventura) at HQ 203 Group before returning to the UK between February and May 1945.



I have applied to RAF Records for his Record of Service but there will be a wait of several months before they can reply and it will, no doubt, be more of the bones and little of the meat. However, my plea is simple– is there anybody out there who remembers him and can give me any other information about his wartime career either as a cadet pilot or cadet/qualified observer/navigator? Any information at all will be very gratefully received.
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 12:47
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Blue skies and tailwinds, Cliff. Blue skies and tailwinds.

Adam Purcell
Melbourne
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 17:23
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QDH ?

Nick,

I think this is a typo for QDM (there doesn't appear to be a QDH).

QDM is a "steer", or a request for one.

Your "Safety Path" sounds like the "Safety Lane" which is associated with a QGH ("Controlled Descent through Cloud", or a request for one - yes, I know the book answer is "May I Land ?", but I never heard it used in that sense).

In a QGH procedure, the ATC used manual (or later CR/DF and CADF) bearings to "home" the aircraft down a "Safety Lane" to the airfield. The only "Safe" thing about it was that there were no hills sticking up in it. It might be full of other aircraft, but unless they were under his control, or on radar, the ATC wouldn't know.

I would think that this procedure might well be in use in Kenya in those days.

Cheers,

Danny.
 
Old 7th Apr 2012, 20:51
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RIP Cliff

So many have learned so much from what you started in the fabric of these wonderful poetic stories written by those who lived it. Quoting from post #1

Well here goes ... So full power, wheels up, flap in by five, and 2850 plus 9. We are away ... PHEW. wonder if any one is interested ...
God Bless

Rodger
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 21:24
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Xercules

5 OTU Turnberry caught my eye as my father trained there as a Hampden pilot Sept 1942 to Feb 1943. 5(c) OTU was part of Coastal Command equiped with Beauforts and Hampdens both of which had been "fitted" with a single large torpedo for anti ship operations - you might see reference to 1 TTU Turnberry (Torpedo Training Unit). Right around Feb/Mar 1943 5 OTU moved to Long Kesh and Maghaberry. Turnberry retaining 1 TTU. I know that around the time your father was stationed in North Africa some graduating classes were being sent from Turnberry to Malta to shore up air support for the latter stages of Operation Torch (ousting Rommel from North Africa). Don't know anything about 5 Middle East Training School. Operation Torch ended in May '43 when the Germans capitulated.

If you are interested I can PM you with the e mail of a researcher having many records and photos of 5 OTU Turnberry.

Last edited by rmventuri; 7th Apr 2012 at 21:57. Reason: corrections
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Old 8th Apr 2012, 10:49
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So sorry to hear of Cliff's death. My sincere condolences to you Bill, and to the rest of your family. I hope that the really great affection and respect for your father felt among the membership of PPRuNe is of some consolation to you. This thread stands here as his memorial, and to all of his compatriots including those now posting and those who are yet to do so. He fearlessly tackled the IT challenges of posting, including the all important visual evidence from photos and logbooks, as he did with every new challenge and opportunity. He indeed lived life to the full, and is an example to everyone, and not only aircrew, as to how to live a good life. I may not have had the privilege of meeting him, but feel grateful to have learned so much from him on the pages of this thread.
RIP Cliff, now up in the wide blue yonder...
Chug
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Old 8th Apr 2012, 22:02
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So very sorry to hear that Cliff - one of PPRuNe's finest contributers - has passed away. The history contained in this thread is priceless and it is in large part down to him.

Bill, if you've not already done so, a read of this thread from start to finish may give you an idea of the esteem in which your father was held. Long may it continue.

Kind regards to you and your family,

Tom
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Old 9th Apr 2012, 20:18
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My father Cliff

Thank you for all your kind messages of best wishes regarding my father Cliff.
He was extremely proud of this thread and has left a printed copy for his grandson. As a part of our families history it has been invaluable to us, and I am sure, along with other contributers, of great interest to others.

A week before he passed away he was given the opportunity to fly again when his friend, Jim Coleman, arranged for a free flight with Liverpool Flying School. He did not think he could make the trip to John Lennon Airport, but with help he made it there and was astounded that he was ordered straight into the pilots seat and took the controls for the whole flight. He was told that if it wasn't for a strong cross wind he would have been allowed to land the plane.

Once again, thanks to everyone here and long may this thread continue while it can.
Now get to your keyboards and tell your tales!

Bill Leach
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Old 9th Apr 2012, 22:49
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Bill

Thank you for your kind message in what must be sad and difficult times for you and your family.

I am glad to hear that Cliff managed a final flight .... I hope he wore his flying gauntlets that he so proudly displayed for us some months back!!.

I hope other veterans are inspired by your "call to keyboard" .. I would love to hear more about Basic Training, Initial Training Wings, EFTS / SFTS etc

An interactive forum, where you can question the information supplier, is worth 1000 books ..... please keep it going ... it is a priceless resource.

If anyone has any memories of RAF Regents Park we would love to hear about them.

Last edited by Petet; 10th Apr 2012 at 10:05.
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Old 10th Apr 2012, 11:32
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As someone who has followed this wonderful thread from Day 1, increasingly enthralled and with the greatest admiration for all the "original" contributors, from Cliff, through Regle, Fred et al, and now their successor, the equally talented and very articulate Danny, my very sincere respects.

And Bill, thank you so much for sharing what are such strong and personal family memories, especially the marvellous story of your great Father's last earthly flight - a wonderful last entry in the logbook of a very distinguished pilot with a brevet very well earned.

Jack
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