Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

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

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

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

Old 1st Aug 2012, 21:39
  #2841 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Hertfordshire
Age: 70
Posts: 292
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
DFCP - 'At the time 617 was after what I think must have been the last of the German battle wagons.'

This clip from Pathe shows the raid on the Panzership Lutzow at Swinemunde, Poland (starts at 0.59). It's by 617 Squadron and dated 16th April 1945.

WINGED WAR - British Pathé

A five-ton bomb achieved a near-miss and opened up 30 m of Lützow's side and she assumed a 56 degree list to starboard. Two 1.000 lb bombs which hit the forward and aft 28 cm magazines failed to explode. The ship was finished but one main turret was repaired and used against the Russians until the shells ran out. She was then scuttled and remained on the river until 1947 when the Russians managed to refloat the ship and towed it to Gdansk Bay where it was sunk.

Last edited by Hipper; 1st Aug 2012 at 21:52.
Hipper is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2012, 22:02
  #2842 (permalink)  
Danny42C
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Comment.

DFCP

Your Post (#2822) seems to have "jumped the queue" - obviously because your Moderator's check delayed it, and then he's "slipped it back into the pack" at the original date/time of submission. Result: Taphappy's and my query about the "PACT" men looks as though it's been answered before it's been asked. All sorted out now!

Don't you dare correct your marvellous 'typo' (was it intentional ?): "deadful" (Bridgenorth). Haven't we all known "deadful" places in our RAF travels ? (I shall include this new word in my vocabulary forthwith!)

And congratulations on your First Solo. Now you are a full member of the Throttle Benders Union (life will never be the same again).

Keep it coming!

Danny.
=====

Chugalug,

As you say, the rundown had started in DFCP's time, but the War was by no means over in Europe and looked as if it could go on for ever out East - at the rate we were going then. As for the RAF looking for potential recruits post-war, they may have been putting out feelers at Oxbridge, but the lesser breeds would be firmly shown the door in '46.

Moderator permitting, I may get round later to my RAF experiences after I got back in '49, but once shared a room then with a (very nice) chap just out of Cranwell. He told me that the current thinking there was: "We'll do no good with this Air Force until we get rid of all these old wartime people".

Three of us now! Just like old times, as you say. (I hope we'll be able to keep up the old standard).

Danny.
=====

Taphappy,

You're right about the limited range of R/T in those days. Neither the TR9 we had in the Spitfire or the US set in the Vengeance were much good any further than you could see. We had to wait for VHF. All right for talking to the chaps in the same formation, but that was about all.

Conditions for flying training were vastly better in the New World even without a war. Life in a Tiger Moth with Halifaxes buzzing about (and vice versa) must have been hazardous in the extreme (to say nothing of the Barrage Balloons!)

I don't think the UAS people would be shown any favours per se. But if they had a fair amount of Tiger Moth time in, it would obviously count in their favour.

Danny.
=====
 
Old 2nd Aug 2012, 00:51
  #2843 (permalink)  
pzu
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: N Yorkshire, UK
Age: 76
Posts: 484
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hipper et al

From the same source an interesting piece

SHEPHERD, THE PAINTER aka SHEPHERD PAINTINGS - British Pathé

inc 'Q - Queen - 617's last Lancaster

PZULBA - Out ofAfrica (Retired)
pzu is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2012, 09:08
  #2844 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 82
Posts: 4,759
Received 221 Likes on 69 Posts
For those, like me, unfamiliar with the size and nature of RAF Bridgnorth, an excellent site showing all aspects of it is here:
RAF Bridgnorth. 1,000 photographs and memories of RAF basic training at the No.7 School of Recruit Training Bridgnorth.
Unfortunately the bulk of the pictures seem to date from the immediate Post-War period. Nonetheless, the "deadful" nature of it is clear!

Danny, I can quite imagine the talk of getting rid of "all these old wartime people" in the shiny new silver jet age of post war Britain. As an ex Sleaford Tech Grad myself I can do no more than dissociate myself entirely from such talk. That period is marked in my mind as having some of the best Very Senior Officers leading the RAF that it has ever had. Every one, whether at Group, Command, or MOD, had served in WWII and had the gongs to prove it. They also had the humanity and sense of selfless duty that came with it. I remember the one armed (lost when attempting in vain to rescue aircrew from a burning aircraft crashed on take off from the RAF Station he commanded) RAF Inspector-General, Gus Walker. A more affable and loved VSO it is hard to imagine.
Chugalug2 is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2012, 15:36
  #2845 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Cheshire Ct USA
Age: 98
Posts: 63
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Earning an RAF pilots brevet in ww2

Thanks Hipper though I cant quite match the detail.
I,m sure 617 was carrying and returning with their Grand Slams, evident because of the removal of the bomb bay doors.
April 15th 1945----As I had embarkation leave and some time at HP before boarding the Athlone Castle some days before VE DAY --May 8th I would have guessed what I witnessed was before April 15th.
That said there wasnt much German naval might left to bomb by that time!
So perhaps my time recollections are off and maybe another squadron was also involved with smaller bombs and 617 never did drop their bigger bombs
DFCP is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2012, 16:02
  #2846 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: East Sussex
Posts: 467
Received 7 Likes on 4 Posts
DFCP: If it helps at all, I believe the date of that crash at Yorkton was 17th August. No need to go into who etc, just another wartime crash...

I have located a serial for the Halifax as NA317 giving similar details as you, perhaps same source, but Squadron OCTU/HCU lettering just doesn't seem right.

I'm afraid there were simply too many RAF casualties (let alone the Allies) in the first two weeks of March 1945 to locate a Halifax crew and two u/t casualties. Nothing came up on Abbots Bromley as a crash location. (Not that I'm querying the veracity) just tracing who it might have been.

Great to have you here, please continue!
Icare9 is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2012, 16:08
  #2847 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Cheshire Ct USA
Age: 98
Posts: 63
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Gaining an RAF pilots brevet in WW2

Danny 42c
While I might like to have a claim to fame over "word invention", "deadful" was a typo.
The RAF,s preference for UAS types for the post war officer ranks reminded me of a story of Royal Navy officer types
RNR were sailors pretending to be gentlemen.
RNVR were gentlemen pretending to be sailors and
RN were neither pretending to be both.
As you will learn later in my story, post war it seemed to me that, in the RAF, interest or competence in flying seemed to be secondary to the ability to having "officer like qualities"
DFCP is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2012, 16:22
  #2848 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Cheshire Ct USA
Age: 98
Posts: 63
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Icare9
Thank you--yes Aug 17th --two days after VJ Day sounds right.
T-OG and NA317 for the Halifax are engraved in my memory even after 60+ years. The Halifax was from a Transport Command Conversion Unit ?in Shropshire. I did have more information on the crew and actual airfield at one time.
The Halifax wreckage was so close to the AB airfield perimeter that we easily walked/ran over to the blazing remains
DFCP is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2012, 16:38
  #2849 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: England
Posts: 8
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
The book Staffordshire airfields in the Second World War says.......on 9th March 1945, Tiger Moth DE473 was returning from a low flying exercise and on it's landing approach, when Halifax VII of 1665 HCU at Tilstock collided with it. Both aircraft came down north of Redmore Wood, north of Abbot's Bromley village.[ Redmore, in fact, should be Radmore]
papajuliet is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2012, 16:50
  #2850 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Cheshire Ct USA
Age: 98
Posts: 63
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Gaining an RAF pilots brevet in WW2

Danny I would guess your ex Cranwell guy in 49 would have been on a later course than those who were selected for accelerated training in early 45. I think the only name I recall from that bunch was Omerod from I think Manchester
I have often wondered how those guys prospered but there doesnt seem to be a Cranwell course nominal roll available.
In the case of the 23 of us who were in EUAS, we have been able to trace the destinies of most, but the search for Davidson,Jackson, Maybe and,McClaclan has been unsuccessful---all were 18ish and u/t PNB in Jan 1945 Some may have now joined the 10 known RIP. We would be interested in any info on the "missing"
DFCP is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2012, 19:04
  #2851 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: England
Posts: 8
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Further to my last message,Colin Cummings' book "Though without Anger" shows the Halifax as NA317 - it was flying at low level across the airfield in conditions of haze and low sun when it collided with the Tiger Moth. The names of crew members, of both aircraft, are listed.
papajuliet is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2012, 21:04
  #2852 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Hants
Age: 80
Posts: 370
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Air Chief Marshall Gus Walker

Gus Walker was the Station Commander of RAF Syerston (where I did my BFTS on JP3's and JP4's) and saw a taxying Lancaster on fire bombed up with a 4,000lb bomb and a lot of incendiaries. He went straight to the aircraft and tried to remove the incendiaries to prevent the 4,000 lb bomb exploding. He was unsuccessful and lost his right arm in the explosion.

The sort of leadership we rarely see today. I met him while at Syerston and he was a nice bloke who could chat to Acting Pilot Officers even though he was an Air Marshall.

ACW
ACW418 is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2012, 22:06
  #2853 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Glasgow
Age: 98
Posts: 73
Received 2 Likes on 1 Post
Angel

So on to the next part of the course, ground instruction continued but at last we were getting airborne.The first few flights were made in a DH Dominie which was the RAF version of the civilian DH Rapide, a twin engined job. The passenger cabin was fitted out with 4 or 5 TR1154/55s and conveyed a W/op instructer and 4 or 5 pupils.The instructor was Polish with a limited knowledge of English. His basic word was "Transmeet Transmeet" as he helped us make our first radio contacts from the air.The duration of these flights was usuallt 1 to 2 hours and I found them to be quite turbulent which made me feel decidely queasy.
After the Dominie flights we graduated to the Percival Proctor a single engined aircraft where the W/op sat up front beside the pilot but at a lower level practically sitting on the floor.The pilot did not have etc a great view when taxying so the W/op had to hang out the cockpit door and enter into his log " Starboard watch kept".
The Proctor flights lasted from 1 to 2 hours and during this time we practised contacting various ground stations to obtain QDMs,QTEs etc as well as listening out for group broadcasts which were transmitted at regular intervals and woe betide you if you missed one of these.
The trailing aerial had to be wound out during these flights snd you had to remember to wind it in again before landing or run the risk of paying for it if you failed to do so. After each flight you had to submit your log for examination and hope you would not be called to account or have to explain any of your actions.
By the end of May 46 having completed the requisite ground instruction,reached a speed of 20 to 22 wpm in morse and carried out the flying exercises successfully I had qualified for the "S" flying brevet and with it Sergeants stripes around 3 years after first volunteering.
These were duly presented at the passing out parade and meant an increase in pay to 9 shillings per day, Not a big deal when you consider I was receiving 7/6 per day as an AC2.
Now it was a case of waiting to see what will happen next.
Taphappy is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2012, 22:18
  #2854 (permalink)  
Danny42C
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Comment.

Chugalug,

Although I was never at Bridgnorth, the sight of those dismal wooden huts is still depressing - most of all that tall stove pipe, and the thought of the standard cylindrical coal stove below, which usually emitted more smoke than heat ! It only warmed the lucky ones down that end of the hut (where, by a strange coincidence, the Corporal's Room was normally to be found).

I agree - "there were Giants in those days". My first Air Traffic posting was to Strubby in 1955; it was the flying satellite of Manby, then the Empire Flying College whose Commandant was Air Commodore "Gus" Walker. My wife and I were introduced to him at the Autumn Ball that year, it struck me then that there was "no side" to the man at all - he treated all ranks with equal courtesy.

I think at that time that the College had a Hunter F6, but no T7: "Gus" could not be dissuaded from having his prosthesis modified to grip the Hunter stick, and to fly it without any dual. He got airborne, his Staff, CFI , Instructors and everybody else on the Station held their breath and gnawed their fingernails until he got down. They don't make 'em like that any more! (another of the same ilk was AM "Batchy" Atcherley).

Danny,
====


DFCP,

I must admit, the way the selection worked out, it does seem that the UAS people went to the head of the queue on that basis alone. How much "extra schooling" did the PACT men actually get? You really need Maths and Physics to School Cert. level to absorb Navigation, Aeronautics and Meteorology at ITW, which is why it was a requirement for Pilot/Observer training in the earlier years of the war.

It was a big jump from Elementary School (which is what we had in those days) to Grammar School level, and I doubt the ability of the RAF to bridge the gap in a few weeks. The subsequent "aptitude test" would simply reflect this. These people had no chance (of PNB) from the beginning.

Two questions I must ask: what did you think of the "Cornell"? As I remember, it was a monoplane rather like our Miles "Messenger" (EDIT: "Magister", of course!) - did it have any winter protection?, like that which their Tlger Moths enjoyed.

And did they really pay you at RCAF rates ? The tale I heard in the UK was that the RCAF was paid better than the USAAC, but the latter attracted all the envy for being "overpaid". How did it compare with the RAF rate for an LAC (which I assume would be what you were at that stage).

This is excellent stuff - keep it coming !,

Danny,
====

Taphappy,

So you're off in the Wide Blue Yonder now, and with luck will never look back. The first, soul-destroying part of training is over, the brevet is up, congratulations! 9/- a day does sound a bit measly, but (let's face it) the three stripes on your arm still meant something. You lived in equal comfort, and probably ate better in the Sgts' Mess than in the Officers', and it only cost you sixpence a day or thereabouts. Count your blessings !

By May '46 the war was well and truly over and people were being chucked out left, right and centre. Were you still on the RAFVR engagement you'd enlisted on (which was hostilities-only), or did they try to switch you to a regular RAF term?

It gets better by the day. Keep up the good work,

Danny,
====

Last edited by Danny42C; 2nd Aug 2012 at 23:22. Reason: Add Material and Correct Gross Error.
 
Old 2nd Aug 2012, 22:20
  #2855 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Wales
Posts: 153
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Taphappy

Thanks for another interesting account of your life; I have just seen some pictures of W/OP training in a Dominie ... the sick bags must be hidden from view!

As you mentioned pay, one thing I have not been able to get to the bottom of in my research is the use of "The Airman’s Service and Pay Book" (Form 64 Parts I and II)

I have seen examples of duly completed Pay Books (Form 64 Part II) from the period but can't find out how it was used. It does not appear to have been used at Pay Parades ... have you any recollections on the subject?

Regards

Pete
Petet is offline  
Old 3rd Aug 2012, 11:17
  #2856 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 82
Posts: 4,759
Received 221 Likes on 69 Posts
ACW418, thank you for correcting my somewhat blurred recollection of Gus Walker's heroism at Syerston. Did any of the crew survive then? Was his action acknowledged in any way?

Danny, thank you for your recollection as well. I never had the honour of speaking to ACM Sir Gus Walker, but his reputation for affability and openness only served to compound the surprise felt when told of his alleged behaviour at top table at an RAFC Guest Night that I attended whilst there (I was very much at a bottom table!). The guest of honour was a serving Luftwaffe General, who had been a high ranking officer in its wartime predecessor. Gus was said to have pretty well ignored him all night, despite sitting right next to him. As to who the General was, I do not recall, so I have no idea what role he might have played, but obviously there were some very strong feelings and memories awoken that evening.

Ah yes, "Stoves Coke, Huts Heating for the use of". The South Brick Lines, where the new boys began their perilous and uncertain journey towards possible graduation three years hence from the College across the road, dated back to the RN days of HMS Daedalus but have since been flattened by the usual RAF policy towards any such heritage, be it its own or others.
Being, as their name suggests, of brick construction they were better insulated than their wooden counterparts. Nevertheless, the cold winter easterlies soon made themselves felt unless you had the stove drawing like a veritable blast furnace. Once the chimney pipe was glowing a nice cherry red you were as comfy as could be, subject of course to the possibility of another hut's occupants carrying out a retaliatory raid (never justified of course). That would often involve them climbing up onto the snow covered roof with a bucket of water which they would then endeavour to pour down the chimney. Comfy would change promptly to steam, smoke, and a smell that required immediate evacuation and an attempt to apprehend the fleeing perpetrators of said outrage.

Taphappy, a Dominie with five 1154/55s, five students, an instructor, and a pilot? It must have rivalled the Guinness record for telephone kiosks. And you say it actually flew with such a load? What a tribute to Sir Geoffrey and his team. Presumably you didn't all transmit at the same time but had to wait your turn?
As to the Proctor, did KRs allow of a "Starboard Watch" allowance? I only ask as my first set included the conditions for Hard Lying allowance payment when required to man a Flying Boat all night, taxying it into wind for fear of dragging anchors, or such like. That was until the amendment removing all such references was issued (long after the last Sunderland had gone to the great slipway in the sky!).

Last edited by Chugalug2; 3rd Aug 2012 at 11:27.
Chugalug2 is offline  
Old 3rd Aug 2012, 12:46
  #2857 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Wales
Posts: 153
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Chugalug

Thought I would show a picture of the Dominie "telephone kiosk" that you mentioned (Original Source: Not known).


Last edited by Petet; 3rd Aug 2012 at 12:47.
Petet is offline  
Old 3rd Aug 2012, 13:53
  #2858 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Pathfinder Country
Posts: 505
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Chug2

The weapon of choice (down the chimney of the Junior Entries hut stoves) for the Senior 6* Entry was a Lino' polish bomb tin' which exploded as it got to the bottom of its "travel" blowing open the doors of the stove. They eventually desisted after we used dustbin lids to knock them off the roof!

AD, with apologies for Thread creep
aw ditor is offline  
Old 3rd Aug 2012, 16:18
  #2859 (permalink)  
Danny42C
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Loaded Dominies.

Chugalug,

Gus's deed of heroism took place in December '42, when I was out of the country, but I always believed he got a George Medal for it. Checking on Wiki, I find that it was not so, although he certainly deserved it, and it was awarded to other RAF personnel for very similar actions during the war. I don't know how many (if any) of the crew survived, but I believe a HE bomb
blew up, so it would be unlikely.

Dominie story: I was the ATC in the tower at Shawbury one summer Sunday afternoon (it was then still a Master Airfield, the School instructors also worked the Tower). Must have been '64/'67. A Dominie in the area called "Pan". It had been bringing back the RAF parachute display team (Red Devils?) from a show.

They'd lost an engine, the thing couldn't maintain height on one, the pilot invited his passengers to do the decent thing and lighten ship. They were quite happy to oblige; seven (or nine?) floated down over Shropshire; the Dominie landed safely at Shawbury. A harassed S.D.O. spent the rest of the evening laying on transport to try to round up the castaways from the various taverns in which they had taken refuge.

Danny.
 
Old 3rd Aug 2012, 16:57
  #2860 (permalink)  
Danny42C
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Danny's Last Operation (it come t' pieces in me 'and, Mum) (Part I)

On 24th February '44, Stew Mobsby and I took off on our 53rd sortie, flying No. 3 to BBB. We were going some way down south (Donbaik?), and the formation was climbing more slowly than usual, as we had plenty of time to get up to our bombing height. I think we took off from Ramu II, but cannot be sure - there were so many places, we were moving all the time and they all looked the same.

So quite soon after taking off we passed over the battle area (the Second Arakan campaign was reaching its climax) fairly low. Johnny Jap would take a pot at us, of course, but then he had a go every time we came back from a sortie and did no serious damage, although it was not unusual for aircraft to land back with small arms hits. On this occasion, I felt and heard nothing out of the ordinary, and neither did Stew. Twenty minutes into the climb, I had a look round the instruments. Oil pressure was zero.

Engines don't run long without oil, and I didn't fancy life as a Japanese prisoner. I signalled BBB (drew my hand across my throat, and pointed to the engine!), and started back. I warned Stew to be ready to bale out, we were at 3,000 ft and could easily manage it. The next few minutes were nail-biting, but then we were back over friendly territory again.

I was thankful, but starting to have doubts. The engine was still running smoothly. What was more, neither oil nor cylinder head temperatures were rising. I began to think that all I had was a dud oil gauge. With every mile my suspicion grew. By the time base was in sight (there was nowhere closer to land), I'd convinced myself. My screen was clear of oil, so the prop can't be throwing it out. Stew said we weren't making smoke, so we can't be burning it through the engine. The two temperature needles hadn't shifted. It had to be the oil pressure gauge, and I felt a bit of a fool.

Even so, I might have put it down off a straight-in approach, but these were awkward and difficult in a Vengeance because of the very poor forward view at low speeds. So we normally flew circuits. As there seemed to be no hurry, I did so now. Bad mistake! Downwind, I dropped the wheels and started my checks. The engine seized.

It had shown no sign of distress. Now there was just dead silence and a stationary propeller blade staring at me. The Vengeance was a poor flying machine and no glider at all. It went down like a sash weight. It was doing just that from a thousand feet - too low to bale out and no time even to think of dumping bombs. I took a last look at the runway, but it would have been suicide to try to get in from where we were with no power.

Nothing for it but crash-land straight ahead. I yelled "Brace" at Stew, lifted the wheels and cut the main switch, to stop the fuel pumps and avoid sparks. I can only remember thinking "I must keep 150 on the clock to have any hope of rounding-out at the bottom". Then my mind goes blank.

A mile or so away was an RAF Repair and Salvage Unit. I would think that most of its trade was in salvage. They did not have to go far to collect mine. As far as they could see, I was making for their clearing, but sank into trees before I got there. I must have rounded-out all right, for the aircraft survived touchdown to go skidding through the jungle. They told me that the tail unit came off first, then trees removed both wings. So far things may have been tolerable inside, if a bit bumpy, for we were having a ride in a sort of high-speed tank. Then the engine broke out.

Deprived of its battering-ram, the relatively light remaining structure hit something hard, broke apart just aft of the gunner's cockpit, and stopped abruptly in the shape of an inverted "V". The front fuselage and cockpits remained intact, the bombs stayed good as gold and the fuel did not go up. Thank Heaven for the brick-built Vengeance! (anything else would have disintegrated and killed us!)

More of the story next time,

'Night all,

Danny42C


These little things are sent to try us!

Last edited by Danny42C; 26th Jan 2014 at 20:45. Reason: Spacing Title.
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.