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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 22nd May 2012, 19:24
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Danny42C
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Smoke Bombs.

Try the Army, they have mortar smoke bombs, probably the same stuff inside.

Danny42C
 
Old 24th May 2012, 01:28
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Danny puts up a Black.

There was nothing in the RAF's accumulated stock of wisdom about dive bombing, and we'd had to work it all out for ourselves. There was a story (for which I cannot vouch), that late in '42 one of the other squadrons had been visited by a couple of types who had done a dive-bombing course with the US Navy in Pensacola. They intended to go round all the Squadrons to lighten our darkness with their "gen"; they preached the nose-over method and brought along some form of tubular (telescopic ?) bombsight which they had been given in the US.

A sceptical audience of 82 Sqdn ? - (I believe they got their VVs first, in late '42) - heard them out. "Show us", they said. They gave one of the "experts" a VV and he rigged up his patent sight in it.

Unfamiliar with a VV and concentrating on his bombsight, he forgot to open the dive brakes. His attentive class gloomily surveyed the smoking hole and decided that it might be better to do it their way. Wing-overs are much more comfortable than push-overs and the yellow line was all the bombsight we needed (the other "expert" being rather discredited, retired hurt).

Having said that, I believe that the "Stuka" was nosed-over (not so bad if you're only diving 60-70 degrees), and Wiki tells me that they had some kind of window in the cockpit floor through which they sighted their target.

I cannot see the point of this, the area you can see on the ground through a window on the floor has to be relatively small compared with that (say 25 square miles or more) at 10,000 ft, which is blanked off by the mass of aircraft you're sitting on. And what about the 500 kg bomb which was carried right in your line of sight ? The only way to do it would have been to fly nearly up to the target, turn sharply on to it, hope it pops up in the window and nose dive on it. And were you trying to fly formation and gawping through this window at the same time ?

As I have said, we had decided that on operations we would always fly in box-of-six formation, and we did trips to Calcutta (Dum-Dum) for fighter affiliation exercises with the Hurricanes from Alipore.

Our gunners aimed at the Hurricanes as they came in on their mock attacks, they both had no end of fun. We pilots sweated like pigs, hauling our lumbering monsters round in steep turns. The first exercise finished right on top of Alipore; the last Hurricane gave us a bravura display, putting his aircraft into a spin and holding it in all the way down to his circuit.

We were to land at Dum-Dum to refuel before going back to Madhaiganj. Unfamiliar with the airfield, I committed an embarrassing faux-pas, being the last man to land. The layout was the usual runway with a parallel taxi track to the side. But there was a lot of work in progress and there was more than one parallel track. Not expecting this, I'd not taken any particular note of where the man in front of me had turned.

To cut a long story short, I turned off, missed the first (proper) track, which looked small and insignificant, and took the next. When that looped round, heading off the airfield, the penny dropped. I was on a contractor's access road. I stopped, stuck.

There was no room to turn round and the VV had no reverse gear. I shut down and sent (mutinously muttering) "Stew" back on foot to confess. He didn't have far to walk: my absence had been noted. "Where's Danny?" - "He landed behind me", said Number Five, "so he must be on the field somewhere". The Flight truck raced back up the taxiway and found us

They had to fetch a tractor and towing dolly to haul me out, ignominiously, tail-first back down the track to the flight line. The Boss was not well pleased, time had been lost, the word "idiot" may have been used. Others chuckled that, as a rule, aircraft got lost in the air - not on the ground !

As a change from bombing practice, formation and these fighter affiliation exercises, we had occasional training cross-countries, usually to Calcutta where we could combine them with shopping trips (and a night at the "Grand"). One fine morning we had a change in the shape of a special navigation exercise.

Our Engineer Officer wanted one aircraft flown intensively, so as to build up flying hours to intermediate inspection time (which I think was 110 hours). This would give him a foretaste of the troubles he might expect when the rest came along in turn.

Accordingly, each dawn one crew was sent off to fly this aircraft some 200 miles North to the foothills of the Himalayas on the borders of Nepal. At the appointed spot (Lake Supauli) we would be about 80 miles South of Everest, and at a cruising height of 10,000 ft , would see the range of Himalayan giants from 20,000 ft upwards over the horizon, given clear weather.

We were ordered not to fly any closer over the border into Nepal, as the Gurkhas believed that their Gods would be offended thereby, and upsetting a Gurkha is not a good idea.

We were lucky on our day (5th Feb), the weather was perfect. Stew was issued with a RAF camera and threatened with painful death if he should drop it over the side. The trip was uneventful, couldn't find the lake (nor could anyone else - must have dried up), but I was sure of my position and we flew W-E while Stew took several good shots. I have a very small print in my logbook (printing paper was scarce) , as a memento of the only time I saw Everest in almost four years in India - and I never went to see the Taj Mahal. Missed opportunity !

Bit more soon,

Goodnight, all,

Danny 42C


Never mind. 

Last edited by Danny42C; 24th May 2012 at 01:43.
 
Old 24th May 2012, 10:56
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Danny, I know exactly what you mean about the "Nose Over" technique employed by Stukas, and very unpleasant it must have been been too. Starting an attack with a negative g bunt, only to end it with a large positive g pull out! But there again I speak merely as a truckie; straight and level only and tea on the hour, every hour!
However it would seem that they also employed the wing over technique, peeling off in formation to begin their dive. This excerpt from "Die Deutsche Wochenschau", a sort of teutonic Pathe News, shows them doing just that during the later Russian Campaign. Possibly they altered their own tactics in the light of operational experience? I must say I prefer the Bob Danvers-Walker delivery to the loud ranting in this clip:
Stuka attack in Eastern Front (Sep 1943) - YouTube
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Old 25th May 2012, 03:35
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Chug,

I've had a good look at this clip (and some of the others bundled up with it), and it's most revealing. Yes, the Stuka does seem to have used both methods of dive entry, but the illustrations of the actual dives appear to show an angle of around 70 degrees, which would not be too unpleasant for a nose-over.

But for 90, which we aimed to achieve, a wing-over is far better, as you can keep your target in view all the time, whereas in a nose-over you are unsighted until it appears over the nose, and then you have less time (and height) to adjust any "sighting error".

Most of the contributors to Google/Wiki seem to agree that the Vengeance was the only dive bomber designed to dive vertically, and to be superior to the Stuka in this respect. I said most: there is dissent from Captain Eric Brown, RN and his is a voice to command respect. (I have lifted the following from Wikipedia: "Junkers Ju87" - have I been naughty ?)
Eric "Winkle" Brown, a British test pilot from the Royal Navy, and General Officer Commanding "Captured Enemy Aircraft Flight" section, tested the Ju 87 at RAE Farnborough. He remarked:
"I had a high opinion of the Stuka because I had flown a lot of dive-bombers and itís the only one that you can dive truly vertically. Sometimes with the dive-bombers, pilots claim that they did a vertical dive. What a load of rubbish. The maximum dive is usually in the order of 60 degrees. In a dive when flying the Stuka, because itís all automatic, you are really flying vertically. You feel that you are over the top and feel you are going that a way! The Vengeance and Dauntless were both very good but could dive no more than 60 or 70 degrees. The Stuka was in a class of its own."

For what my humble opinion is worth, I beg to differ. When you press the button, still lined up on your target, a split second before pull-out, and it lands on or very near it, then your dive must have been vertical, or almost so.

For otherwise the bomb will not follow the trajectory of the aircraft, but revert in seconds to a ballistic curve which leads to an undershoot error, which in the case of a 60 degree dive and (say) 3000 ft of height on release, might well be of the order of 1000 ft or more.

(I agree with Capt. Brown about the "over the top" sensation: you never get used to it! - but I would not be entirely happy with an "automatic" dive bomber - whatever that meant in practice).

"Leading" your target - pulling your nose up a bit just before release - in the same sense as deflection shooting, - is of no avail; it is the "sub-aircraft point" (if I may coin a phrase) on release that counts, not where it is pointed.

I have read in Tee Emm that they had a similar problem with bob-aimers during the war. Some were gripped by a fallacy that, if you were just to the left (say) of the aiming point at the very last minute, you could in some way "throw" your bomb onto it by a sharp turn right. Can't work for the same reason.

(Note that the height on release is the crucial factor in the Vengeance case; when you're throwing it off at 50ft, it doesn't matter at all - your bomb will more or less keep you company to the bitter end).

This has got a bit out of hand, more on the Stuka clips later

My most sincere thanks, Chug, for giving me this lovely bone to gnaw!

Goodnight,

Danny. 
 
Old 25th May 2012, 19:50
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Danny, your latest post perfectly illustrates the value of this thread, for not only do we get the main story (of your WWII experiences) but get to learn the mechanics of operational flying (in this case dive bombing) from someone who did it for a living! As for "out of hand", you alone are the decider of its pertinence or not. As a captivated recipient I am forever grateful for the "By the way..." asides that put us in your aircraft, in your basha, or even your charpoy (figuratively speaking of course, you understand!)
As to Captain Brown, indeed a renowned and respected aviator. Is it possible that the Vengeance that he tested was the A-35 and not the A-31? The latter, with its zero incidence wing, was the superior dive-bomber you tell us because it could indeed deliver from a 90 degree dive.
Did the Stuka share this attribute, or did its "automatics" somehow override the tendency to "track" horizontally towards the target rather than diving vertically on it? If so how could it overcome its own intrinsic aerodynamics? I understood that the automatics only extended to bomb release and recovery, or were there other features? We are all ware of the vulnerability it suffered in a hostile air environment, but when the Luftwaffe had air superiority it was a truly devastating and highly accurate weapon system.
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Old 25th May 2012, 21:10
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highly accurate weapon system.
It was also fully aerobatic.
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Old 26th May 2012, 00:36
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Chugalug,

Not so much of the "truckie", if you please, Chug. I've spent many a happy hour curled up on the mailbags at the back of a "Dak". God bless Transport Command and all of you who flew in her, say I - and many a weary squaddie would say "amen" to that.

As nobody else seems to want to come in, let's continue with this absorbing (?) topic.

Capt. Brown had an A-35 to test and not an A-31? Very possibly, (why didn't that occur to me ?) This could explain it, Now I come to think of it, the only VVs which AFAIK got to the UK in any number were the Mk IVs which came on the scene very late and became target tugs. There must have been one or two of the early Mks which were brought over for test, but the testers only considered them as flying machines, concluded that they were useless as such (which they were), and didn't even try any dives.

But in those early days Capt. Brown was flying off escort carriers, in mortal combat with FW Condors and U-boats in the Bay of Biscay. His days as the premier test pilot of the age were in the future. He may never have flown, much less dived, a VV Mks I - III (the A-31).

Yes, I read that the "automatic" bit related only to the pull-out. Vielen Dank, Herr Junkers , but I'd rather decide for myself when to pull out ! (Old adage: A black box has no fear of Death. !)

A picture is worth a thousand words. I was fascinated by the air shots of the Stukas on the clips, pausing many of them for close study. Among the points which struck me: the 500kg fuselage bomb in position would certainly have made any floor "window" useless; the wing bombs are carried rather far out (why ?); their "crutch" (to throw the fuselage bomb clear of the prop) is hinged from the rear (our twin"forks" pivoted from the front - is there an advantage ?); their bomb smoke does look white - maybe the VV clip (YouTube) you sent me shows real bursts, in which case where's the target: it doesn't seem to be the (obvious) bridge ?

The questions go on and on. But it's clear that the Stuka was a very efficient weapon for the Germans.

The next instalment of my story is on the stocks,

Goodnight,

Danny.

I've been puzzling for a long time, what does "IIRC" mean ? (Somebody should produce a Glossary of these abbreviations)

Fareastdriver,

(Your Post just popped up)

So was the Vengeance (of a sort!). You could loop it and barrel-roll it, but it would be a brave man, with a good 10,000 ft of clear air underneath him, who tried to slow roll the thing ! (I never heard of anyone trying).

Danny (Paragraph spacing gone ape; I've no idea - sorry !)

Last edited by Danny42C; 26th May 2012 at 01:51. Reason: Reset Spacing and Add material.
 
Old 26th May 2012, 02:56
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Danny - IIRC is If I Recall Correctly.
Keep it coming Sir.
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Old 26th May 2012, 04:27
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phil9560,

Thanks a lot ! (I'm learning slowly),

Goodnight,

Danny.
 
Old 26th May 2012, 09:23
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Glossary

Danny,

I have found the attached website, Text Messaging, Chat Abbreviations and Smiley Faces - Webopedia very useful as I can never work out these abbreviations. Pretty useless at crosswords too!

Keep up the good work. Absolutely fascinating.

ACW
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Old 26th May 2012, 14:42
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ACW,

You're all too kind - I shall endeavour to Give Satisfaction, as they used to say ! Curiously, the analogy with crosswords and anagrams struck me too, when I was posting the question. Case of Great Minds ?......

Your Link is going to be very useful to me - thanks !

Danny
 
Old 26th May 2012, 18:19
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Danny has Greatness Thrust Upon Him.

A little later in February, the C.O. (it would still be S/Ldr. Lambert) opened his post one morning to find a letter from the Canadian High Commission in Delhi. This informed him that Sergeant-Pilot "A", RCAF, had been gazetted Pilot Officer "A" w.e.f.......

"A" was hauled in, mystified. He hadn't applied and knew nothing about it. The C.O. hadn't been asked for an opinion, never mind a recommendation. Feeling miffed, he referred to AHQ Bengal (Calcutta), only to be told curtly to mind his own business and get on with it.

Still fuming a week later, he got another letter, this time from the Australian High Commission. Sergeant-Pilot "B", RAAF, etc. More followed. It seemed to us that the Dominion Governments had decided on a policy to commission all their Sergeant-Pilots in India. As a Briton, I was the odd man out.

Up to then, I'd been quite content to remain an NCO. I'd been a bit disappointed when I got my wings without even having been considered for a commission. But I'd settled down and, had I stayed in the UK, would have hoped, had I lived (more than doubtful), to rise to Flight Sergeant (one year) and Warrant Officer (two years) on time promotion. But this latest business seemed most unfair.

I went to see the C.O. "Why not ?" he said wearily, "Everybody else is getting it - I'll put you up" (my misdemeanour at Dum-Dum seemed to have been forgiven). It was a formality from then on. I was called for interview with the AOC of 221 Group in Calcutta, a kindly old AVM (Williams, I think), He satisfied himself that I didn't drop my aitches, and could probably use a knife and fork, and signed me in. Thus are careers made........OCTU ?........ What's that ?

Nothing happens overnight. This took place in mid-February, but my commission did not come through till early October (backdated to May). I was still with 110, but now back from Chittagong (where we'd flown our first few ops in May) to Digri, in West Bengal for the monsoon months (June - mid October), when we couldn't operate (and they had paved strips, so we could at least fly).

I took the stripes off my shirts, inherited a pair of P/Os shoulder cuffs from someone who'd just gone up to F/O, and invested Rs28 (£2 - £100 today) in a posh new cap from Bright & McIvor's in the "Grand" Hotel arcade. Aside from moving my kit into my first own room (basha!) in the RAF, that was it. Really, it didn't make all that much difference.

Of course, I took my new cap round to a photographer in Calcutta right away, for the "commissioning portrait" which everyone sends home to Mum (and which usually only appears in public on your obituary - supposing you to have been important enough to rate one). Years after her death, I came across it again and it now graces my mantelpiece. I look at the solemn young face across the void of seventy years. Truly: "Age shall wither them, and the years condemn".

Now I was really in the money. To start with, I was credited with six month's back pay as a Pilot Officer. At Rs500 a month it was almost double my pay as a Sergeant, and more than double what a new P/O would get at home. You'd think they'd deduct my Sergeant's pay before handing over the balance. But Indian bureaucracy doesn't work like that. They paid me the whole Rs3000; it was then up to the UK to get its money back (some Rs1700) if it could (it took them two years!).

Then I got a full UK uniform allowance, about £90 - say another Rs1300. My outgoings so far were one cap (Rs28). Nemesis would come years later, when I went back to the UK and had to kit myself out in blues. Meanwhile the windfall had to stay in my paybook, for there was nothing to spend it on.

We had no Bank accounts out there in those days. Our accumulated pay was entered in a Pay Book (similar to the ones we'd had as Sergeants). It would be entered up by any RAF Accountant Officer (from whom we drew cash as required).

Even if we'd had Bank accounts, I don't think anyone would have touched our cheques with a barge pole - certainly not the Grand Hotel ! Only the major cities would have UK bank branches (Lloyds had a presence in India, and there may have been other home banks). You needed to devote a whole morning or afternoon to the simplest transaction, for Indian bureaucracy in full flow is a sight to behold.

You started with clerk "A", who gave you a "chit" to take to Clerk "B", who gave you a brass tag to take to Clerk "C", who made an entry in a ledger and gave it back to you to take to Clerk "D", who gave you another chit to take to the Cashier. (This might not be in the right order, but you get the general idea).

That worthy regarded you and your chit with the utmost suspicion and reluctantly the cash changed hands (and that was just a deposit !) All this would be supervised by a couple of burly guards armed to the teeth. I suppose that the idea was that only the most determined fraudster would persist in such a rigmarole; the rest would give up, retire to the street outside and recline in the shade of the nearest tree.

Enough is as good as a feast,

Evenin' all,

Danny42C


Excused Boots

Last edited by Danny42C; 26th May 2012 at 18:21.
 
Old 26th May 2012, 22:05
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Danny, I too have a framed photo of an absurdly young self. Not commissioned yet though, still a callow Flight Cadet and on the books as an AC2 IIRC (no problem now, eh? ;-). In a failed attempt to look worldly I am lounging in a chair easy dark oak; 1, with a cigarette between my fingers. As I'm wearing No1's and obviously had nothing much else to do, I'd guess it was Sunday and I've just returned from Church Parade. My Grandfather, to whom I gave it, framed it, and I in turn inherited it when my Grandmother died.

Your comment about Dum-Dum and the dead end "taxi-way", reminds me of an incident at Gatwick when the runway was closed for re-surfacing. A parallel taxyway had already been beefed up to runway status with appropriate lighting and that in turned was served by a subsidiary parallel taxyway. The relevant Notam said that landings that night were to be made on the parallel taxyway which would be appropriately lit, and the main runway would remain closed until ATC announced its reopening. I suspect you can see where this is going....
There was of course no ILS available, and radar positioning required you to call visual some 3 miles out. Landings continued without incident until one crew, having called visual, had second thoughts. They could indeed see a lit runway (even with some abbreviated approach lighting), with a lit taxyway to the left of it. They knew that they were not to land on the runway, so obviously they must land on the taxyway! They did so, only to see another aircraft taxying towards them in the beam of their landing lights! Both aircraft braked hard, and the taxying one I think took to the grass. Fortunately they stopped in time and no harm done other than to very bruised egos! Rather puts your little contretemps into perspective Danny.
God bless the Dominions! Without them you might have stayed poor. Now you are rich beyond the Dreams of Avarice!

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Old 27th May 2012, 00:49
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Things that go Bump on Taxiways.

Chugalug,

The eyeball to eyeball incident at Gatwick sounds to have been a bit hairy ! I have read that there have been two other incidents of aircraft mistakenly landing on the N taxiway there; in both cases there was, mercifully, nothing in the way. I believe one was an Air Malta, but it was long ago. Maybe one of our merry band could fill in details.

Ah, the days of our youth. "Si jeunesse savait - si altesse pouvait" !

Goodnight,

Danny.
 
Old 27th May 2012, 07:22
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Does anyone know what the chemical was that produced the smoke?
Cheap stuff which is probably what these were is some variation of gunpowder with a dye added. The dye:

- absorbs heat so it burns slowly and does not go bang
- forms a cloud of fine particals of the desired colour
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Old 27th May 2012, 10:30
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Danny, great reading about your experiences, but I would like to correct a minor error when you assert the JU87 bomb crutch was hinged at the rear. If you look at this link you will see photos of the machine preserved at RAFM Hendon with the crutch clearly front hinged.

Please keep up the tales of your time flying, they are truly fascinating.
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Old 27th May 2012, 10:37
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Landing at Gatwick.That was a BIA 1-11
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Old 27th May 2012, 22:11
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Three welcome helpers for the price of one !

Deaf,
Almost certainly right. The Army mortar smoke bombs could do colours as well as white; no reason why the RAF wouldn't use the same filler (did think of white phosphorus myself, but that would be nasty stuff to handle).
 
Kitbag,
Thanks for the link - it's clear as a bell now ! - you're absolutely right. Sadly I'm now too immobile to go down to have a look for myself. But:
Stuka attack on Eastern Front (Sep 1943) - YouTube

(found by Chugalug in his #2591), and its sub-links gives a wealth of videos of Stukas in action and on the ground. Quality is rather poor, and this may have deceived me into thinking I saw a rear fixing.
 
thegypsy,
Story now complete; (IIRC - get me ! - the other unfortunate was an AirMalta 737; it must have been around twenty years ago).

 
Thank you, all three - this is what this thread is for - (and the compliments are nice, too !)

Danny42C

Last edited by Danny42C; 27th May 2012 at 22:53.
 
Old 28th May 2012, 18:37
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Recherche a temps perdu (hope I've spelt it right - and I can't do accents !)

I trust you'll bear with me for a while, for I have to put a number of jumbled memories into some sort of order before going on to the more interesting bits which follow.

After I finished flying in '54, I closed my logbook and don't suppose I opened it again for fifty years. Then when I composed my "Jottings" over the last ten years or so, I relied solely on my memory for a "broad brush" recall of events, both for my own satisfaction and that of the family (I did not get on line until last summer, and only started to post on this thread in January).

Now my posts have to face scrutiny by knowlegeable and critical readers, I've had to open the book again to check that my "Jottings" are not in conflict with it.

First shock: March '43 has vanished ! (no, the sheet has not been ripped out to conceal some nefarious deed - all the times carry forward seamlessly, and it's all fully countersigned). I've just dropped off the radar from late February to the last week of of April. Right at the back of my memory some half-forgotten fragments begin to come together. Here goes:

It must have been a few days after I got back from Calcutta; a Hoogly mossie had done its worst; I went down with my first dose of malaria. That's not news out there. Then I developed jaundice - a not unusual sequel. (Just for interest, Google "Jaundice" - they show a nice pic of the greyish yellow colour I turned - it is also the exact shade of our UK issue tropical kit after a wash or two).

I was hospitalised - no surprise - but in Dehra Dun ! Dehra Dun is five hundred miles away as the crow flies. There were British Military Hospitals in Calcutta - only 150 miles away. I had no reason at all to be in Dehra Dun.

Why, and how did they get me up there ? I don't think jaundice is infective. Was I "walking wounded", fit for train travel ? Don't know. All I know is that I was in hospital there for two ot three weeks, and then they passed me on for a fortnight's recuperation to Chakrata, about 80 miles to the West.

Both these places are semi Hill Stations in the foothills of the Himalayas, perhaps 4000 ft up and therfore some 10-15 degrees (F) cooler than Bengal, which would be hotting up nicely by then. Does a cooler climate assist recovery from Jaundice ? Don't know.

Nothing much special about Dehra Dun, except that even today it seems to have more than its fair share of hospitals, and the Indian Army "Sandhurst" was there.

Chakrata had a small "cantonment" ( a military camp with married quarters); we were billetted in former OR's MQs - like Hullavington). They had a very skilled camp barber, he was reputed to be able to shave, with a cut-throat razor, a sleeping customer without rousing him from slumber (didn't try it - would you !)

I arrived back In the last week in April, and Stew and I flew a few more training exercises. In May, he vanishes. Where ? Could he have got malaria ? Quite possibly. I should remember, but I don't. From the 8th, my regular crewman was a P/O Robertson (nav), and it was with him that I went to war on the 12th. Stew does not appear again until 5th July, when we'd pulled back to Bengal from the Arakan for the Monsoon, and after that "we were not divided".

While I'd been away, 110 (maybe just one flight) went on a week's detachment to Dohazari - in Arakan a bit south of Chittagong - and flown one or two sorties (I only found this out from Wiki - I don't remember anyone telling me about it at the time - Odd ?) And again, what was the point of sending them across there just for a week ? (it might have enabled them to say that 110 was the first VV Squadron to go into action - which it was - but little else).

You've been very patient. Next time the fun starts.

Another day done,

Danny42C


Light Duty

Last edited by Danny42C; 11th Aug 2012 at 00:05. Reason: Add Title. Correct Error
 
Old 28th May 2012, 21:03
  #2620 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 82
Posts: 4,704
Received 100 Likes on 35 Posts
Love the proverb Danny! "if youth but knew, if age but could"...
Yes, memory is a tricky blighter is it not? One of my bosses suffered from jaundice, and I'm not sure if it wasn't a sequel to malaria as in your case. Very seriously ill he was too. Perhaps we prefer not to remember such debilitating times when our fate is completely outside our control? The other thing I find is that incidents are remembered, though not in the right sequence ("the right memories, Sunshine, though not necessarily in the right order", as Morecombe might have said). Like you I have had to turn to my Logbook to get a timeline for some points in my life. A pain in the proverbial in having to compile with all the higher maths involved, but a great reference book for later use, not the least being getting jobs!
I suspect that the military hospital was a great contrast to your forward base; immaculate wards, crisp well-starched Sisters, er...sorry, where was I? Certainly the hill stations must have been a great relief from the hot and humid conditions that you came from. Do you recall if it was served by one of the famous narrow gauge mountain railways that the Himalayan Foothills are famous for? They had a series about them on the Beeb a little while back, and much of the rolling stock would have been around then, I'm sure.
I've had another trawl through YouTube for Vengeance, A-31, A-35 etc, but all to no avail. Just putting in "Dive Bomber" into the search box did produce a lot of interesting items, though not for the VV. Inexplicably a lot of them were about exercising! As an aside there were some interesting clips here, though not what I was looking for:-
mind you its Part 1 of 10, so who knows...
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