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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 27th Jul 2012, 17:39
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Danny42C
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Vultee Vengeance in Offence (Part III).

I shall take this opportunity to tell the full disconcerting tale about our front guns. Whether they were really as unreliable as generally believed, I do not know, for no one tried to fire them for long (and most people didn't try at all). There was a reason for this. The gun fixings in the wings were apt to work loose with the vibration of firing. The first indication that this was taking place was the unwelcome appearance of the alloy "blast tubes", slowly sliding forward out of the leading edge of the wing, as the rounds deviated sufficently to "clip" the sides of the tube on their way out.

If you carried on firing, things grew worse, with the rounds popping out all over the leading edge. Nobody wanted a sort of runaway buzz-saw chewing away inside the wing. So after several episodes of this (on test and on attempts to harmonise the things), and efforts at curing it proving unsuccessful, it was generally agreed that the guns were more trouble than they were worth, and best left alone. The armourers heartily approved of this, for it was a devil of a job to clean them, buried as they were well back in the wing structure. Accordingly, the first belts we had painfully put together at Chaara stayed untouched, AFAIK, for the life of the aircraft !

I must emphasise that this may only have affected the .300 guns I would hope that the .50s in the Mk.IVs were better anchored down. For now the 4-degree incidence the MkIVs had would have made strafing easier, as they could see where they were going and what they were aiming at, and that always helps. (It helped even more that the Mk. IVs never fired at anything, to my knowledge - possibly in Aus?).

Conclusion.

Looking back, with a lifetime's hindsight, it has always seemed to me that the heart of the Air Ministry (and by extension, that of ACSEA and AHQ Delhi) was never in this Vultee Vengeance business. I think they had been panicked into the original order by a sort of "Stuka effect", and now regretted it when they saw the thing in the metal and realised how useless it would be to them in Europe. "Sweep it under the carpet" - and we were the carpet.

Having said that, '42 and early '43 were desperate days out there and we had no excuse for not wringing every ounce of use out of what little we had to work with. Two months' really intensive bombing and formation practice, and I'm sure that all four RAF squadrons could have moved up to Assam or the Arakan in March '43, and done ten week's useful work before the onset of that monsoon, instead of just the 2-3 they actually did.

The next year was better, as we'd all got into our stride, but why discard the Vengeance at the end of the season? (particularly as it was now demonstrating its full potential). Even our early comers had not come out until mid - '42, they were not due for repat until mid - '45. The aircraft were there, we knew how to use them, we had the people. So why not keep going for one more ('44 - '45) season ? (It would be the last as well, but we didn't know that then).

Yes, the Mossies were coming out (not without problems) in mid - '44. So? Form four new Squadrons with them and leave us alone! I'm sure there was plenty of work (and room) for everyone, The Arakan was honeycombed with two years' worth of 'kutcha' strips which would now have dried out and be ready for use again.

It was not to be - the axe came down in summer '44 - all water under the bridge now, of course.

Next time we'll start on Defence,

Cheers,

Danny42C.


All good things come to an end !

Last edited by Danny42C; 27th Jul 2012 at 17:41. Reason: Add Text.
 
Old 27th Jul 2012, 19:50
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Yea Gods, Danny! When you say that:
The gun fixings in the wings were apt to work loose with the vibration of firing.
You mean that the guns themselves were working loose in their stowages? How on earth were these aircraft ever offered for service in such a state. Didn't Vultee have some responsibility here, or were the guns fitted outside of their control? If so by who?
The aircraft seems to have had very little RAF input, even the Mk1 Pilots Notes being Roneo'd off if I remember correctly. Having said that, I also recall that the UK Purchasing Commission did just that, ie bought them rather than obtaining them via Lease Lend, correct? Surprising then that we didn't have some recourse to the manufacturer or the US Govt, depending on who we paid for them.
I suppose though that the real world meant that you were in Burma, a long way from AHQ Delhi, let alone the UK. Everything was your problem and thus any solution was yours as well. That you chose to not arm them and thus not use them seems eminently sensible. Not too much difference I guess from putting concrete ballast in place of cannon in modern FJs!
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Old 27th Jul 2012, 21:24
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Front Guns in Vengeances.

Chugalug,

I fancy the whole initial production was rushed, with no proper Service trials. When the fault became apparent, it was obvious that the aircraft was far too sluggish to be any good as a gun platform, anyway, so the guns were regarded as little more than ornaments. We had a good dive bomber, and had to be content with that. For that matter, I don't think that the Stuka did all that much with its rifle-calibre front guns. (I think there was a Mark with "tank-buster" pods (40mm?) on each wing), but I can't see it hoisting those aloft and its 750k bomb.

You are right, the AN and AP series were purchased by the UK, only the EZ onwards and of course the FB and FD (Mk.IIIs) were Lend - Lease (info from Peter C. Smith "Vengeance"). I think our purchase contracts were with Vultee and Northrop direct. Frankly, I never felt the need of a front gun (but a .50 in the back would have been nice - and 2 x .50 even nicer !)

Really, the (originally) weak rear gun mounts were more of a problem, but we seem to have got those really fixed. The guns did not break away when I reduced my aircraft to scrap (story a bit further on).

Danny.
 
Old 29th Jul 2012, 00:59
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Oops!

Oops! Call that a brain fart, Danny - the years should have read 1944-45. The pilot concerned (one F/L Leo McAuliffe) was in action with 222 around D-Day (indeed he's mentioned in the Austalian Official History for flying four patrols back to back on June 10, totalling seven and a half hours' flight time, refuelling and rearming from a temporary airstrip within the bridgehead itself) and it was well after the invasion that he was getting around in his Auster - between September 1944-January 1945. Then he went back to 222 when they reequipped with the Tempests.

Sorry for the confusion!!

Adam
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Old 29th Jul 2012, 10:37
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Slight thread drift for Danny42C: a nice 1943 Kodachrome shot on the Veangence production line at Vultee. Culled shamelessly from JB.

Amazing WWII Homefront Kodachrome Photos....YES AMAZING - Ashtar Command - Spiritual Community Network

Photo 6

Ripline
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Old 29th Jul 2012, 14:40
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Kookabat,

Never mind, Adam - we all have our "senior moments" !

Danny.

============

Ripline,

Thanks for the link - we often forget the enormous amount of unsung handwork which has gone into the complicated mechanisms they gave us to fly.

Too often it was a case of "Youmakeum - Webreakum!"

Danny42C

============
 
Old 29th Jul 2012, 16:04
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Angel

Beginning of October 1945 and having been remustered fron Nav/W to straight W/op I am back at Bridgenorth for the refresher ITW course which was to last for around 6 weeks.
The course was much the same as the original one although there seemed to be mote emphasis on square bashing and PT which we probably needed as standards had slipped during the previous year.
At the end of the course we were posted to No4 Radio School at Madley for a W/ops course. Madley was near Hereford and was widely dispersed with the various living and working sites scattered round the aerodrome.
The accommodation consisted of wooden huts which were divided into rooms each containing two double bunks and accommodating four bods. The only facilities on the living sites were the lavatories and the ablutions were over a mile away near the mess hall so that when you left the hut in the morning you were fully equipped for the days work by which time you were too knackered to think about venturing out againOn the odd evening we might spend some time in the NAAFI before returning to the billets.The various lecture huts were also dispersed and a good part of the day was spent in marching between the various sites often retracing your steps.
Our first parade was a visit to the stores to be issued with with flying kit, the usual paraphenalia of helmet,oxygen mask,3 pairs of gloves, silk inner, woolen and leather gauntlets,flying boots and of course an extra kitbag.
It was a pretty miserable station but it was here that we were to be introduced to the mysteries of the TR1154/55 wireless set as well as the Theory of Radio,fault finding, operating procedure and such like subjects not forgetting Morse instruction which took up to 3 or 4 hours per day and at which we were expected to reach a speed of 22wpm. Some of the guys had difficulty with this and were taken off the course and the odd bod had what was known as "Doolally Tap" and went a bit strange. hence my user name of Taphappy.
We also spent time in the Harwell Box which contained standard aircraft radio equipment built to simulate live aircraft conditions including engine noises.There we would practice communicating with the ground station. When we finally got airborne the conditions were a lot more difficult than operating from a Harwell Box.
After about three months it was neccessart to pass examination on all subjects in particulat that your morse speed was up to the required standard before you could proceed to the next stage of training.
Luckily I managed to get through OK but a few of the course didn't make it and were posted elsewhere.
Enough for now.
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Old 29th Jul 2012, 17:00
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"Doolally Tap"

Taphappy,

Of course! It was that kind of "tap". I should have guessed that instead of going on about taps and barrels. No excuse with the time I spent in India, where everyone knew of the Deolali (Doolally) Tap (I think "Tap" referred to a slight case of sunstroke, which was supposed to make you "lightheaded" - or plain bonkers!)

Never mind, we'll soon have you in the air, and then the fun starts. Keep it up!

Danny.
 
Old 29th Jul 2012, 20:38
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Taphappy, if your experience is anything to go by then staying in the UK for aircrew training was a rather worse bet than going overseas for it. I suppose that the response to any outspoken dissatisfaction would be, "There is a war on you know!".
Now at least you are learning your trade, and with the help of the "Harwell Box" too. Could you describe that a little? We have already been told of simulators for the Air Engineers and Air Gunners, as well as of course the Pilots' Link Trainer. Presumably it simulated not only inflight noises but poor R/T and W/T conditions as well.
In the modern era of VHF/UHF/SAT Comms, it is perhaps not fully appreciated what a key man the W/Op was on a crew. Having flown the Hastings, which admittedly had upgraded its fit from the 1154/55 to the STR18B, his skill with the key was often the only way to send and receive ATC and Wx info when out of V/UHF range. If that didn't work you were indeed both deaf and dumb, with no idea at a Crit Point what the Wx was doing ahead of, or behind you. In Bomber Command of course he had additional duties, but I'll leave that to the better qualified than I...
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Old 30th Jul 2012, 21:45
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Gaining an RAF pilots brevet in WW2

At least at the start this will be a similar story to that of Taphappy.
I volunteered in Nov 43 and went through the medical etc in Cardiff---this involved an overnight stay and I still recall my surprise at so many failing the medical since I had qualms because I had a major operation when I was 5 I emerged with deferred service and a 3 million service number which I think were reserved for ex ATC members.

My school must have later provided a recommendation as I applied for a University Short Course. I dont recall being interviewed but early in 44 I received notification that I was to go to Edinburgh University in April for a 6 month RAF Short Course.

We were not paid ,nor did we wear uniform during this period. The 23 guys on the course were mixed in with the regular students both for lectures and living quarters. We also took ITW subjects and spent some time each week at the EUAS HQ located in an old house close to our living quarters in Cowan House on George Square.

At this time I think we were all 18 = or - 6 months. Three were from NI and the rest of us from all over the UK.
The only flying I did during this period was once as a passenger in a Dominie from Turnhouse.
Both the CO of the UAS and our civilian monitor provided assessments of our capabiliies at the end of the course .

So in October we finished the course and went home on leave and then made our ways to ACRC by this time located in Torquay.
I suppose the total number of UAS people who arrived with me were several hundred --including Richard Burton --ex OUAS. We were put into various hotels in the area. I was in Alta Vista in Babbacombe. As we had in effect completed ITW in Edinburgh I dont think we did anything but square bashing,PT,route marches ,a swimming test and aptitude tests.

Also in Torquay at that time there were a lot of ex PACT guys--and perhaps some Direct Entry U/t,s. The ex UAS men were now mixed up--at Alta Vista we had both Edinburgh and Southampton people but I dont recall much contact with the others.

The UAS guys all got PNB category as a result of the aptitude tests. Recollection is that very very few of the PACT men got other than AG. I have since often wondered why they didnt riot!

December came and we were all sent on leave with instructions to return to Bridgenorth very soon after New Years Day.
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Old 30th Jul 2012, 23:18
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The Vultee Vengeance in Defence.

As for the Jap defences, it was an article of faith among us that no AA gunner ever hit anything except by the purest chance, and you can't provide against that. What we couldn't understand was why the Jap never tried to intercept us - for as far as I know, he never did. But we had to live with the thought "there's always a first time" - it was at the back of our minds on every sortie. Every raw recruit must think of that first day:

"When the hugly bullets come a' peckin' up the dust,
And no beggar wants to face 'em, but every beggar must"............ (Kipling).

It was such an obvious thing for him to do. To start with, he had the aircraft, the Nakajima "Oscar", a small but very good fighter mounting 2 x .50 guns (later ones 2 x 20mm cannon). He didn't have many, but two would do. Of course Burma is a big place; there were no radar or any other early warning systems. The chances of running into each other were remote.

But our attacks on their Army positions were so regular that you'd think it worth their while to put up a standing patrol for a couple of hours a day over the area. They'd draw blank for a few days and then get lucky. It was a very real possibility. So what form of defence should we try?

We could forget about the dive. No one could touch us there. At the bottom, we would be scattered, low down, and going very fast. Our camouflage was excellent against the jungle. At worst, the Oscars might get one down there. Nothing could be done about that. Far and away their best bet would be to catch a box on the way to the target, and this is what we expected.

The danger was recognised, of course, and we were sometimes given an escort of two pairs of Hurricanes: one pair for top cover and the other sweeping a mile behind. It was a kind thought, but the Hurricane was so inferior to the Oscar in almost all respects apart from its ability to absorb punishment, that our escort would have had its work cut out defending itself, never mind us. This escort appeared only randomly, and we could never see any particular reason for it - perhaps when they had nothing more important to do.

The accepted tactic was that a formation should stand and fight. There were exhortatory posters. I recall: "STRAGGLERS DIE"......... "BIRDS OF A FEATHER, STICK TOGETHER"........... and "SHOULDER TO SHOULDER TO SHOULDER MEANS CONCENTRATED FIRE - STAY IN FORMATION AND THE JAP WILL SOON TIRE"........ (that raised a few eyebrows, the Jap didn't "do" tired).

These were heroic sentiments, fully in accordance with the declared view of our contemporary Admiral Tom Philips out there that: "a properly handled capital ship can always beat off air attack". Japanese torpedo bombers proved him wrong off the coast of Malaya. He went down in "Prince of Wales" (one of our newest battleships), and with him the old "Repulse" and some 1500 men. It was one of our worst naval disasters of the war, and sealed the fate of Singapore, Malaya and Burma.

It was decided that we would stay in formation and use the 12 rear guns in defence. We had done some "fighter affiliation" exercises with the Hurricanes during training, and tried a DIY version with a VV as "fighter" - a task which fell to me on account of my fighter OCU experience. This was not a good substitute, but better than nothing, I suppose. The main impression on me was the excellence of our camouflage - if I took my eye off the "box", it had simply disappeared.

I thought then, and think now, that the whole idea was absurd. The only result would be to give the Oscars a six-times bigger target for their guns. "He who fights and runs away"............would have made much more sense. We could have devised a "bomb burst" (like the Red Arrows), where we fanned-out, rolled over, dived and scooted for home individually. At worst the Oscars might get one instead of the lot, which would be the likely outcome if we all stayed together.

I would think that many people were secretly of the same opinion, but no one dared voice it. Were we not heirs to the glorious "Few"? Were we not supposed to "press on regardless"? It seemed dishonourable even to think of such a thing. But a dead hero is no use to himself and very little use to anyone else. ("Who hath honour"? asked old Sir John Falstaff "him that died o' Wednesday") In the event, there was never an interception (nor, I think, with the Aussies in New Guinea), so we'll never know what might have happened.

At this point, I must put it on record that our Vengeance operations must rank among the safest ones in all the War. They did not even carry the risks of the so-called "nursery ops" back home (these were attacks on relatively unimportant and poorly defended targets on which new Bomber Command crews might (if lucky) be sent to "cut their teeth" before the more serious work to come).

Nearly all our people flew all their sorties over a two-year period without a scratch. The Jap fighters never tried to intercept us and their AA was largely ineffective. Very few of our losses could be put down to them with any certainty. Almost all were due to flying accidents, as ever the result of carelessness, stupidity, weather or sheer bad luck.

Next time we'll go back to Danny's story.

Goodnight, all,

Danny42C



Look to your front !

Last edited by Danny42C; 31st Jul 2012 at 22:57.
 
Old 30th Jul 2012, 23:33
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Welcome aboard !

DFCP,

Let me be the first to congratulate you on your entry to our noble company - there are three of us now, and that was quite enough for the Musketeers !

Now this Thread can really get into its stride again !

Cheers,

Danny.

Edit: What does PACT stand for ?......D.

Last edited by Danny42C; 31st Jul 2012 at 00:18. Reason: Add Question.
 
Old 31st Jul 2012, 09:33
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DFCP

It is great to hear, what will hopefully be, one of many instalments relating to your journey through ACRC, ITW and trade school(s) towards the coveted brevet.

I am particularly interested in Torquay, as the flight engineer that I am researching went through ITW there (September 43); so would love to hear more about life there before you move off to Bridgenorth.

I have obtained a copy of the ITW training schedule and wondered if yourself, Taphappy, Danny or anyone else could tell us a few tales about some of the subject matter:
  • aircraft recognition
  • air reconnaissance
  • anti-gas
  • armament
  • engines
  • hygiene
  • instruments
  • law
  • physical training
  • meteorology
  • navigation
  • principles of flight
  • signals
Regards

Pete
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Old 31st Jul 2012, 15:33
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Gaining an RAF pilots brevet in WW2

Good am Danny and Petet. I suspect the PACT Pre Air crew Training scheme was started when there was an aircrew shortage--unlike 1944.when there was a surfeit The idea was, I think,to give accelerated schooling to those who did not have a School Certificate.
Until a few years ago I had thought ALL the PACT guys with us got AG as a result of the "Aptitude" tests. However I met one of them---George Lovat-- who had been at Torquay with us and went on to pilot training and eventully a tour on Tempests in the ME.He then emigrated to Canada and owned a crop dusting operation in the Maritimes
I cant comment intelligently on the ITW course as practiced in EUAS.All I recall is that we had lessons in the HQ building which also served as a mess.All meals though were taken with the regular students in Cowan House
Anyway we arrived in Bridgenorth which seemed a deadful place in winter AND I suspect in summer.
Shortly after arrival we were advised that those interested in staying in the service could apply for an accelerated training course at Cranwell. I was interviewed but not accepted. My impression was that the ex Oxford and Cambridge UAS guys got preference--certainly none went from the EUAS contingent. A long time afterwards we heard that one of the lucky ones was on open arrest for stealing RAF petrol when his A/M father awarded him his "wings" at Cranwell . I believe the "accused" ended up a Group Captain but died after retirement from a fall improperly diagnosed by the NHS.
I dont recall anything but misery at Bnorth but we cant have been there long because my first flight at Grading School was on Jan 15/45 This seems strange as the next log book entry is Feb 5th
Grading School was for all of us who had not elected to skip this and become N,s. Several of us went to Abbots Bromley, a satellite of 16 EFTS Burnaston --still all ex UAS but not all the EUAS would be pilots were with me. Dual instruction on Tiger Moths for around 12 hours with the possibility of soloing, Towards the end of our time there we experienced our first accident. A Tiger with Sgt instructor and pupil on spinning training collided with a low flying Halifax. All were killed and I was among those who pulled out the dead Halifax rear gunner from T-OG which crashed almost on the airfield.
I soloed at AB after 10 hours and then we all went on to Heaton Park around mid March
Detachment to Woodhall Spa followed with 617 and 627 resident there.I got one flight in a Lanc and was located in the mid upper during a practice bomb run at Wellfleet. I got chastised by the S/Ldr/ Captain . He said I had swung the turret during his run in and this affected his aim[.
I dont recall doing anything constructive during my time there--no bomb loading or anything. At the time 617 was after what I think must have been the last of the German battle wagons. They were using 22,000 pounders and on one occasion at least landed back at Woodhall with the bombs on board because of weather conditions over the target.
From there we were given embarkment leave prior to returning to HP
Back at HP about 10 of the 23 EUAS guys were advised of their now U/T pilot category.As the story unfolded though I believe only 3 obtained their RAF Pilots brevets--though none in WW2! All I remember of HP was marking the --convoy number? on our kit bags and it was off to Liverpool.
By the standards of that time in aircrew training we were quick since the time between ending Grading School and setting sail for Canada was only about 6 weeks.
We were already under way on the Athlone Castle before VE day --May 8/45.The trip to Halifax was uneventful though the experience and smells made me glad I had not volunteered for the Navy!
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Old 31st Jul 2012, 15:44
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Angel

DFCP

Welcome to the thread, it will be interesting to see how your training experiences compare with mine. Like Danny I am puzzled by the expression ex PACT men
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Old 31st Jul 2012, 17:27
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PACT = Pre Air Crew Training.
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Old 31st Jul 2012, 18:33
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Pre Air Crew Training.

BEagle,

Thanks for enlightening Taphappy and me ! - now what was it, please ?

Danny.

====

Petet,

Can't help much, but think "Hygiene" in the Services usually meant one thing only; apart from that I had: "The Principles of Construction of The Deep Trench Latrine", which may come in handy one day - you never know.

Our Aldis lamp practice involved one group on the cliff top and the other on the beach. The sender sometimes wobbled about a bit, whereupon the receiver would signal back "FOCUS"; this invariably triggered the response "WHAT - ALL OF US ?" (We thought it funny at the time).

Our "armament" was a single Vickers G.O. gun; they couldn't spare us a Browning. Otherwise I would have known (so Wiki now tells me ) that the Browning is an "Open-bolt" gun, the block stops at the rear, so it has to have a REAR SEAR, which has to have a RETAINER, which seems to need a KEEPER, and there is a SPRING mixed up in it somewhere (Padhist - was it? - and I have remembered this useful information all our lives - much good has it done us).

Danny

====

Last edited by Danny42C; 31st Jul 2012 at 19:44. Reason: Correct typo
 
Old 1st Aug 2012, 08:51
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DFCP, a belated but very warm welcome to the thread. Wow, three stories running consecutively again, just like old times! You have scarcely started and yet the realities of wartime have already struck home. No survivors from a mid air collision 'twixt Tiger Moth and Halifax. A clearer illustration of the hazards of the very crowded skies of wartime UK and the urgent need to export the training schools abroad could not be bettered.
From a personal point of view I get the feeling that there was an urgency just to get on with it, not only because of the understandable impatience of young men who wanted to fly, but because of the perception that the end of the war was already in sight. A perception shared with the RAF perhaps, seeking a cadre of those "interested in staying in the Service". With almost everyone signed up "for the duration", was that a generally held view? Was there a fear that you might all have just missed the boat?
Yet you are about to embark for real and follow in the wake of Danny & Co, across those still seemingly very dangerous seas, for what we know now was not then known for sure. The fat lady was yet to rise and deliver her long awaited rendition... it was not yet over!
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Old 1st Aug 2012, 15:26
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Angel

Chugalug2
I can't really add much to what I have already said about the Harwell Box, it may be that poor reception was simulated but to me honest so much is lost in the mists of time.
R/t in these days had a very limited range and when the weather closed in and the nav was in trouble the w/op could be instrumental in getting you home..
So far as those training overseas having any advantage over the UK, it is hard to tell.So far as I know none of the lads from my ITW intake who were sent to Canada around Dec44/Jan45 finished their courses as the Empire scheme gradually closed down.

DFCP
Comparing my experience with yours, it seems that between your arrival at ACRC and departure for trade training a period of 8 months elapsed, certainly much faster than the norm whereas between my arrival at ACRC and departure for trade training the period was 18 months
Was there perhaps a fast tracking scheme in operation for UAS bods?
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Old 1st Aug 2012, 21:16
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Gaining an RAF pilots brevet

In reply to Chugalug----in my case I had always wanted to be a pilot and at this stage of training it was all fun with any operations way in the future. I think there was a similar attitude among the others in my group. though unlike me,at this stage,I dont tink many considered staying in after the war.
Taphappy--Certainly UAS people had preference---how else could one justify us ALL getting PNB while the PACT guys did not. This SUPPOSEDLY because that was how the aptitude tests came out.
OK we are now on the way to Halifax on the Athlone Castle--not I think in convoy because VE Day had just occurred. Yet I thoink we must have taken a southerly route as we saw flying fish.
As we disembarked there were ladies on hand to give us "goodies" and then it was on the train to Moncton.
As some of the EUAS u/t pilpots ended up in the US I,m not sure whether at this stage of the war they came thru Moncton or via a US camp in NJ.
My impression is that by say April 45 there was only one EFTS running in Canada---No 23 at Yorkton Sask and one SFTS in Calgary both under RCAF control. Similarly in the US most of the RAF traing schools had closed down. In fact I recall reading an account of one being closed about Feb 45 during the visit of an RAF 'wheel".
Moncton was not very inspiring . However I was surprised that despite the fact many thousands of trainees had passed through there I was still welcomed into a home there--as I recall the address was 260 and a 1/2 High Street.It was a long train ride to Yorkton --several days.
U/t Navs went to Summerside on Prince Edward Island or Rivers or Portage La Prarie in Manitoba near Winnipeg. R Burton went to Manitoba though at this stage I had no knowledge of him.
I am surprised to note that I first flew at Yorkton on July 1 so,while I have little recollection of Moncton I must have been there about 6 weeks.
So Course 139 began with a Fam Flight in a Fairchild Cornell. There were still a few RAF instructors on base but almost all my instruction was from an RCAF F/O--Art Sutcliffe.My guess is that there were about 40 u/t pilots on 139 divided into two flights --we alternated between morning and afternoon flying with ground school arranged the same way.There were other pilot Courses underway but I have no recollection of them. On 139 there were 3 or 4 of the EUAS people and I think the rest of the course were all UAS.We were paid at RCAF rates and the food was good!
It was the usual EFTS course, all on Cornells. I see I ended with a total course time of 88.45 hours---37.05 of which were solo.
All had gone well until VJ Day on August 15th--VJ Day. We were the only course that wasnt closed down immediately. We were allowed to graduate Aug 31. At the commemerative dinner we were called "The last of the Many'
Fear of failing the course was always present though I dont recall any c/t,s Maybe they were dispatched quickly back to Moncton. Between Aug 15 and 31 we had a strange fatal accident. On a solo flight a student just dived into the ground--rumours were rife---he had a Union Jack with him, he was unhappy that we werent going on to SFTS,--just in time for the Calgary Stampede---. he had an unhappy love affair . The truth?
We must have left Yorkton around Sept 1 with a travel warrant to Moncton and 3 weeks for transit./leave
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