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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 3rd Aug 2012, 17:40
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Caught out by the old piston engine 'gotcha'. Oil pump fails, oil stops moving so the oil at the temperature bulb stays at the same figure. I have known two similar occasions. Both thought the pressure guage was U/S bit luckily both were in the circuit.
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Old 3rd Aug 2012, 19:49
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Gaining an RAF pilots brevet in WW2

DANNY 42C--I think the PACT course was 3 or 6 months.I had never really thought that education level would have had relevance in the Aptitude Tests. Unfortunately I dont have Taphappys memory but I think many of the tests were to check dexterity and mental alertness---maybe a test with flashing lights where you had to extinguish them in a certain order---or a series of shapes that you had to insert in the correct hole
The Cornell was not unlike a Magister with an enclosed cockpit, around 100mph cruise with a Ranger engine---easy to fly but perhaps not as good a training vehicle as the Tiger M.
As we were only at Yorkton during the summer the enclosed cabin was of no import.
The Saskatchewan landscape was generally flat with excellent visibility. Our cross countries were perhaps 40 miles a leg with grain elevators--marked with the towns name ,or towns themselves, as turning points. I had relatives in a town called Kamsack---perhaps 40 miles away--not in our flying area but I never even visited them by road.
So my first and only visit to Kamsack was during a Yorkton reunion {1995?} It was more a"drive around" than a visit In mid morning there were drunks lying around ---alcohol is I believe a problem with the Inuits, my relatives had long since died. What was surprising was the number of empty and derelict "villages "and churches in the area.The "villages" had only been a small cluster of wooden houses.maybe a store and an ornate church which tied in with my impression that the area had been populated way back by Russian /Ukranian immigrants.I think that the mechanisation of the now huge grain farms, the decreased need for labour and automobiles led to Yorktons expansion and the villages extinction.
I will check with "survivors" to see if indeed we received RCAF pay rates!
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Old 3rd Aug 2012, 20:39
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Angel

Petet
Thanks for the sight of the Dominie, it certainly brings back memories. Unfortunately the RAF did supply sick bags, if you were sick all over the aircraft you cleaned it up.
The only thing I remember about pay parades was the crowd of bods and the SWO shouting "all the A's" at which point those with a surname beginning with A would move forward then the B's and so on. There were the usual ribald comments when all the B's and C's were called.So far as the Pay Book is concerned I haven't a clue what if any entries were made in it.
Danny42C
Yes I should have been grateful for small mercies,gaining admission to and enjoying the delights of the Sergeants Mess.
It also seemed strange that we were allowed to finish our course in 46 when as you say experienced aircrew were being shown the door left right and cenre.
I was still on my original RAFVR engagement and don't any pressure being brought to change that.
Chugalug2
Pity that KRs did not account of "Starboard watch kept". The Domimie did manage to stay airborne with that load but it must be remembered that we were all lightweights in these days, not an ounce of fat!!!
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Old 3rd Aug 2012, 21:06
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At Duxford there is a flying DH Rapide which takes passengers up for price:

http://www.classic-wings.co.uk/res_w...=dragon_rapide

They also fly a Tiger Moth there.
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Old 3rd Aug 2012, 22:56
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Selections for PNB.

Fareastdriver,

Thanks for the possible explanation! Amazingly, no one at the time, or in the years since, has ever offered that as a cause for the failure of the Oil Temperature Gauge to react (the more I think about it, the more probable, I would say).

Danny.
=====


DFCP (and Taphappy),

Knowing nothing about it, I'm in way over my head in the matter of the PACT Courses. There was no such thing in my day; acceptance (provided you had School Cert) seemed to rest on the whim of the Selection Board after a ten-minute interview.

I never realised that the PACT Courses lasted as long as 3-6 months, and were, as you say, "to give accelerated schooling to those who did not have School Cert". You can do a lot in that time with motivated students.

As for "Aptitude Tests", I am wholly sceptical. To my simple mind, there is only one way to find out who is suitable for a pilot and who not - put 'em in an aircraft and see!

Now on the "Officers and Gentlemen" aspect, I'm with you all the way. It was certainly a factor in the selection for commissioing at our "wings" stage in the US. I make no argument for or against it, it just is so. It has always been so. It may well have played a major part in the selections in your cases.

Danny.
=====

Last edited by Danny42C; 4th Aug 2012 at 16:51. Reason: Add Material to Amplify Meaning
 
Old 4th Aug 2012, 16:38
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Gaing an RAF pilots brevet in WW2

TAPHAPPY--On Pay Parades I think we also had to shout out our last three--eg "756"!to receive our stipend.
DANNY---I am sure all of us in the EUAS Short Course had at least the SC and some of us HSC. We really need some ex PACT fellow to give us accurate info on their course.
As my story rolls on there will be more evidence of the officers and gentlemen aspect of RAF life. Am I not correct in thinking that as the war progressed both the USAAC and the RCAF commissioned a much greater %age of aircrew than the RAF?.
But I digress ---In Sept 45 I must have taken the train from YorktonToronto and then made my way to the US border at either Niagara Falls or Buffalo. I was in uniform and my RAF identification was adequate to get me into the US. Times have changed since 9/11 with a passport now being mandatory!Until then a drivers licence was adequate from Canada.
So I hitchhiked --with Larry Martin from Cornwall----to NYC and then up the coast via Boston to Moncton.
After maybe a few weeks in Moncton it was back to Halifax and the UK via the Ile De France.Disembarkation leave and on to Bircham Newton/ Docking.
Welcome to thousands of U/T aircrew coming back from overseas---discipline was lax/non existent and I understand that at ths stage Burton would disappear to London for days to further his stage career. I do remember an aerobatic display there by a DH Hornet---to boost morale?
Eventually several things happened. Those who said they would "sign on" were promised further aircrew training, the rest went in dribs and drabs to Eastchurch---another deadful place--- for remustering.
It was not clear but it appears the signing on "ceremony" was only at brevet time. One of our group tells me that at Bishops Cpurt those who declined to sign on were not given their N brevet.Yet a P who got his wings and commission in Norfolk declined to sign on unless they gave him a better idea of his career path. He spent the rest of his time in ATC until demob in Dec 47.Of those we have traced ,one signed on and became an N on Brigands in Ceylon, another N was invalided out before graduation. One P I have mentioned above and another P went on to Lancasters and Neptunes . He--IWF Terry--- was killed later when Captain of the Vanguard that crashed in Switzerland
I gather demobilisation was MUCH quicker in Canada and the US. Group 63 must have been given to those who went ACRC in October 44. There was also a system known as a Class B early release which could be obtained if you first got accepted by a University.
Now, I am not sure why I didnt take either path but instead was remustered to Clerk-- Personnel Selection. Biggin Hill was the locale for the course and I was made a Corporal.
Clerks PS gave paper and pencil tests to anyone leaving the service who wanted career guidance.We just administered the tests , an officer gave the advice.
Cpl Gerry Stroud and I roamed around the country from a base near Cranwell and this freedom was almost our undoing. We had a batch of travel warrants which we filled in ourselves. Somehow the SWO who was in any case irate at our freedom found out there were anomalies in this warrant area . Actually we had been using them to go home on weekends but had the good sense to always make them out to a destination beyond our homes. "Just breaking our journey" was how we left our home rail station. So when we were put on a charge for --perhaps--misuse of travel warrants --we would not have done ourselves any good by producing the used warrants. The night before we were due to appear on a charge we devised a solution.
We burned all the warrants except for the serial number area. At the hearing we just pleaded that as we panicked and started to burn the warrants we realised we would need them for evidence. The misuse case collapsed and we got minor punishment for something like "destroying Crown property"
And so it went until demob in Dec 47 from RAF??? in Lancashire----at this stage -no brevet--- but I did get an ill fitting suit! But the story isnt over.
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Old 4th Aug 2012, 18:01
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PACT CENTRES

My understanding is that the PACT Centres offered six month courses to those failing their education test at ACRC. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find the course syllabus.

APTITUDE TESTS

I found an interesting article about the development of the aircrew aptitude test whilst researching the subject a few months ago. For those interested, the link is:

http://ftp.rta.nato.int/public//PubFulltext/RTO/MP/RTO-MP-055///MP-055-25.pdf

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Old 4th Aug 2012, 18:28
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DFCP,

All the USAAC Pilot and (I think) Navigator and Bombardier "Aviation Cadets" were commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants at the end of their six-month Course. The other aircrew trades were mostly "Enlisted Men" (all Sergeants ?), but there were some Officers among them.

As to the RCAF, I am not so sure (there were RCAF Sergeant-Pilots and Observers), but my impression was that the % who were commissioned at "Wings" point was much higher than the RAF's 20-25%. The same appeared to me to be true of the RAAF and RNZAF.

Out in India, VJ day made considerable numbers of NCO aircrew of all trades surplus to requirements; the RAF continued to pay them in accordance with their rank, but employed them as MT Drivers, Clerks and Storemen, etc, until their "Demob Number" came up and they could be returned to the UK. Other ranks were likewise "kicking their heels" in large numbers, discipline suffered and the well publicised "mutinies" occurred, mainly in the northern cities . I believe this "misemployment" went on in the UK, too.

As for demob in the UK, could your place have been Padgate? - that rings some sort of bell with me. And the "Vanguard" - would that be the one whose loss was due to pressure bulkhead corrosion from toilet effluent leakage?

You and your pal seemed to have had a commendable degree of initiative in making the best of service life - and your instinct to "destroy the evidence" was very sound. It has saved many far more guilty than you!

You're quite right about the "last three" on Pay Parade. Whatever else you forget in life, you'll never forget them!

Cheers,

Danny.
====

Petet,

The Link sounds interesting. Will have a look (don't think it will alter my opinion).

Thanks,

Danny.
====
 
Old 4th Aug 2012, 21:21
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Angel

DFCP
About the time I completed the W/ops course, a new word "redundant" entered the vocabulary and allied to that was the dread word, Eastchurch which was were you were posted to if you were unfortunate enough to suffer that fate.
When I see your dates of entry to ACRC Oct 44 and demob Dec.47 compared with mine of ACRC May 44 and demob Jan 48.(Should have been but more of that later) it has jogged my memory and I think that I must have agreed to extend my service by six months. How could I forget something like that!!. Perhaps that is why I was allowed to qualify. I look forward to the rest of your story.
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Old 5th Aug 2012, 06:45
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Petet, thank you for the excellent pic of the interior of a fully manned W/Op flying classroom equipped Dominie. I had clearly got hold of the wrong end of the stick, for it appears (tho' Taphappy will correct me no doubt) that there is but one T1154 at the front LHS, and a corresponding R1155 on the right (or are there two such crates, one set behind the other?). Presumably the students shuffled forward when it was their turn on either one. That makes more sense when one considers weight, space, power demands, and instructor monitoring (BTW where did he sit I wonder?). Still looks very cosy though, doesn't it?

DFCP, glad to see that you made the most of your opportunities to see the world, both in N.America and the UK! Mis-employing aircrew, expecting to be fully trained in highly skilled but dangerous roles, in mind numbing clerical duties was obviously a recipe for disaster. Danny reminds us of the infamous FE RAF mutinies, though I suspect that the main driving force there was that their Theatre was right at the back of the demob queue. Unless you were for staying on, then the sooner you were demobbed the sooner you could get your civilian life back again and that all important job. There must have been a real fear that the tail enders would find only the scraps left. The whole business must have had the air of an anti-climax about it. The world was suddenly a safer but much more mundane place to live in!

As regards officer/aircrew selection, I seem to recall being told that the oil drums/ planks/ lengths of rope/ and crocodile infested grass that set the scene for so many of us that came through later were all thanks to the Luftwaffe. Can anyone else confirm or deny that? Presumably it was all part of the booty (that included the RAFSA boat Sperling) seized at the end of the war. By that I mean the concept of testing team leadership, not the oil drums, planks, and lengths of rope!
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Old 5th Aug 2012, 12:57
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Gaining an RAF pilots brevet in ww2

Petet---I assume PACT courses were instituted when there was still perceived to be a shortage of aircrew.
This was not of course the case in 44 and maybe I read that when Churchill found out about the surplus there was a sharp reduction instituted in the training pipeline.Evidence of this was the closing of some of the US and Canadian schools even before VE Day
While I dont think I have seen it mentioned much in this thread wasnt Harrogate full of trained pilots in 44 and on?
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Old 5th Aug 2012, 13:48
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PACT Centres

DFCP, the first 4 PACT Centres were opened in March 1943 as the Air Crew Training Wing, based in Brighton, could not cope with the number of recruits failing their educational test. By September of that year there were 21 centres.

As you say, the whole system was grinding to a halt in 1944 due to the surplus of men. The PACT centres began to close down in August 1944 as the intake figures (and therefore the number of men failing their educational test) dropped off; the last 2 closed in February 1945.
[Source: "Observers and Navigators" C G Jefford]

On the subject of the 1944 surplus (which was due to the success of the training programme [3,000 PNB's per month] and changes in policy / technology) the book suggests that "holding" reduced costs as it was far cheaper to have a half trained aircrafthand than a fully trained aircrew sergeant .... hence the frustrations for those enlisting post 1943.

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Old 5th Aug 2012, 15:24
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Vanguard - no the corrosion crash was at ghent in November 71 - the week I joined BEA - and was the first of eight hull loses the group had in my six years with them.
The corrosion had been known about for two years prior to the pressure dome rupturing - and deemed insignificant.
The Swiss crash was eighteen months later and the result of navigation error.
I seem to remember that the French national grid used the same frequency as one of the ADFs.
As usual fantastic thread guys - thank you.
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Old 5th Aug 2012, 16:52
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Gus Walker

ACW418 said
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.

In Enemy Coast Ahead Guy Gibson (who was OC 106 there at the time) recounts that as he was being stretchered away he asked Gibson to do 2 things:

1. Try and find his arm as it had a brand new glove on ...
2. Ask Bomber Harris if he would accept a one-armed Station Commander in a couple of months.

Somewhere on the net there is a 1950s film clip of the first Vulcan to visit the USA - with Gus at the controls. Imagine the Yanks' expressions when after landing, a one-armed pilot climbs out!! The film is interesting in that his missing arm is skillfully masked by a casually draped windcheater.

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Old 5th Aug 2012, 18:34
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Chugalug,

It's true that the whole Demobilisation process was a bit of a shambles, but it could not have been otherwise, as we were "bounced" into it by the sudden end of the Far East War, which no one could possibly have foreseen. The general idea was that all hostilities-only men were allotted a "Demob Number", This was calculated by a very complicated system of "points" - rather like the "ladder" to gain a Council House.

You got so many for age, so many for length of sevice, so many for being married, so many for children, so many for length of overseas service, so many for.........(well, use your imagination, if you can think of anything else, then that probably went into the pot, too).

Based on this, the chap with the most points got Demob Number 1, and it went on from there. It was Civil Service clerk's dream, for it was all pen-and-paper work (thank goodness, we didn't have computers - the results might have been quite horrendous). Ideally No.1 got out first, the rest followed in orderly sequence. But we ain't in an ideal world.

All sorts of snags cropped up, No. 265 might get out three months before 242, because 242 was stuck in Bombay and we were short of shipping. The Services wanted to keep key people - at least for a while - and negotiated exemptions. Some people wanted to delay 'demob' (Service life, at which they had grumbled so long and so hard, suddenly seemed not too bad after all, and the sunshine was nice).

The opportunities for cock-ups were legion, and we got them in full measure. This resulted in all kinds of gross unfairnesses; this, coupled with things like misemployment, loss of acting ranks and status and (worse) no employment at all in vast Holding Camps, produced an explosive brew. No doubt Wiki gives a reasonably accurate view of subsequent events in an India already seething with nationalistic ferment. "Jai Hind", indeed ! Most people were trying to get out !

As for this oil drum and plank routine, I was lucky - my Commission came up "with the rations", or rather with my Sqdn. C.O.'s chagrin at having Dominion High Commissioners planting Pilot Officers on him willy-nilly. (Some folk get all the luck!). The "Sperling" must have been nice (and Hitler's "Strength through Joy" place at Winterberg was useful), but you can keep all this boy-scout caper for my money - if it was their idea. (We were nearly as bad, do you remember the "Beer and Skittles" letter and the gefuffle which followed?).

Danny,
=====


Petet and DFCP,

Thanks for the full account of the PACT Courses - it's all clear now. I think the Arnold Scheme and the BFTS Schools in the USA called a halt in mid-'43, but would have to hunt for my sources. Harrogate was bung-full of trained and half-trained aircrew all through the war, I think - all squeezed into the Majestic Hotel !

Danny.
=====
 
Old 5th Aug 2012, 19:09
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Gaining an RAF pilots brevet in WW2

Petet---Thank you very much for the link to the history of Aptitude Testing in the RAF.
In 44 these were in their infancy when compared to the current battery--I also note that on P24 there is an article by another S/Ldr about assessing OFFICER LIKE QUALITIES! I,m not sure he includes "competence to do the task" in his treatise but I guess we have come a long way from the WW1 canard--"Forward men, I,m right behind you"
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Old 5th Aug 2012, 19:18
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Blind Pew---I had the Invicta Vanguard crash report and as I recall there was some faulty soldering in one of the nav aids and there was some question on the Co Pilots qualifications/competence.
They ran into a mountain on their approach. It was a Christmas shopping expedition out of Lulsgate with most or all on board being from Wells/Cheddar
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Old 5th Aug 2012, 20:06
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Danny's Last Operation (Part II)

We'd had a lifetime's entitlement of luck in the last few seconds, but were in no position to appreciate it, both knocked out in the crash. My luck had stretched even further. I'd been wearing my "Ray-Bans" under my helmet, with my goggles pushed up on my head. When we hit the final obstacle, the cable retaining my shoulder harness snapped and I went face first into the instrument panel.*

By rights, the glass lenses should have shattered into my eyes and blinded me. But, as far as we could make out, the goggles had taken the first impact, in the next millisecond the lenses must have jerked out of the frame and away from my eyes. The frame buckled, scooped the bridge off my nose and ploughed into my forehead and left cheek. And that was the extent of my injuries !

* (The P-40 recently found in the Saraha has the "Needle&Ball" glass smashed. It's dead centre of the panel: it's the only broken instrument glass - cf 682al's pic on #2709 p. 136 - every picture tells a story.
Stew had been facing forward, braced head down on his navigation table. He broke a bone in his left wrist and got a bang on the nose, leaving him with an odd disability - he couldn't smell! This was no great loss out there and he got scant sympathy on that account, but it earned him a nice lttle lump sum from the War Pensions people later.

The RSU people ran over to pull us out; watchers at the base had seen us go down and sent the ambulance. I came to briefly as they were loading me on a stretcher, and remember the hot sun on my face. I couldn't see as my eyes were full of drying blood. "How's Stew?" - "He's all right". I looked a lot worse than I actually was, and that had an amusing sequel.

I came to fully in a Mobile Field Hospital at Cox's Bazar. They'd had mostly malaria and dysentery cases, and were quite chuffed at getting two proper "battle" casualties. Stew got a big cast on his arm and his nose shrank to normal size over the next few weeks. The enthusiastic medics sewed up my face and made up a new bridge for nose out of a patch from my thigh. Kept in place by a "saddle" of dental plastic, this wasn't perfect, but has done very well.

We were looked after quite efficiently by a staff of RAF nursing orderlies, for the three (I think) RAF wards. (The Army, of course, had the lion's share of the Field Hospital: it was an army surgeon who did my job). We must have spent about a month there, then "threw away our crutches" (Stew's cast and my nose 'saddle'), and prepared to go off to Calcutta on convalescent leave.

First task would be to secure our belongings. The ambulance crew had reported back to the Squadron what they'd seen when they'd picked us up, but of course it had taken them some time to reach us and I'd been bleeding all over everything in the meanwhile. So the tale they told was pretty gruesome; the general opinion was that they'd seen the last of me.

No use my kit going to waste. My DIY bed was a prize legacy, they had a draw for that. The rest was shared out among the others; there was no use trying to send stuff after me, it wasn't worth it and the chances were that it wouldn't reach me if they did. (This was standard procedure - anything personal or of value would, of course, be secured for safe keeping by the Adj. or I.O. - we are talking about clothing, bedding and towels etc., which you could quickly and cheaply replace).

Six weeks later the bad penny turned up. A shamefaced procession turned up with various items of my kit: "Sorry about this, old man - didn't think you'd be needing it any more!" And of course I recovered my bed - not that I would need it for long, for all the VV Squadrons were ordered to cease operations in June, and we would shortly be moving out (as it happened, never to return).

That done, we went off to "Cal" for our leave (transport no problem, you could always cadge a ride on the many 'Daks' which were continually shuttling Cal-Chittagong-all points-east. I will not describe our leave now, as I plan to make a separate Post out of Calcutta; it is worth a Post on its own.

The Thread is hotting up nicely now!

Goodnight, all.

Danny42C


Worse things happen at sea.

Last edited by Danny42C; 20th Feb 2015 at 00:19. Reason: Add Text.
 
Old 5th Aug 2012, 22:07
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Danny 42C Thanks for the education on demob numbers----and I thought it was simply based on when you got to ACRC!.Incidentally those from N Ireland were not subject to this arrangement.
Some of our P,s were training at the US base in Phoenix until VJ Day---but I believe training then stopped--almost in mid air.
I got demobbed--not from Padgate --another deadful place!---maybe it was Wharton-- in Dec 47 and spent the next 9 months at ICI as an apprentice/labourer.
Oct 48 I started at U of Birmingham ---As I had my HSC I could have started in 2nd year but I chose to take the full 4 years.There were about 30 of us taking a BSc in Mech Eng --about 50/50 ex service and straight from school.We got an annual living ---Further Education and Training--- allowance for ex service people of around 200 pounds and all fees were paid by HMG
November 48 I applied to join BUAS and was turned down. I now have the paper assessments of me by the three man board,all S/Ldrs or above. I did not impress them--bad attitude,security minded--wanted a PC or a university degree.Anyway I was not happy as I knew some of those who were accepted and I was not impressed by them.
Early in 49 there was another recruiting visit and this time I just made the grade because I now know from the paperwork that it was the CO who agreed to take the risk of accepting me. He thought he could make something of my--HE NEEDS DISCIPLINE.
In those days the UAS,s were like a flying club but you got paid and there were no restrictions on hours flown
We were all in civvies and classed as Cadet Pilots .Castle .Bromwich was our flying base with maybe 6 Tigers and 2 RAF instructors for the 20 or so CP,s. It took me about an hour to get out there from Selly Oak --two trams---but it was worth it
I re soloed in March 49 after only 30 minutes dual. But I did 13 circuits on that solo and I have never understood why my instructor said I was OVER confident. I would have thought this performance had demonstrated UNDER confidence.
Summer Camp in 49 was at RAF Aston Down,Bassingbourne in 50. By tis time we had Chipmunks and I got a couple of rides in a Harvard during these two week camps
It must have been in 1950 that I was the first recipient of the Chancellors Cup awarded to the best BUAS cadet. Then ,and even now, I have no illusions about this. My keeness/over attendance was good for the CO,s career and it was this rather than OLQ that worked in my favour
I think we got about 1/6 an hour while at CB ,presumably normal day pay during the fortnight of Summer Camp AND a 35 pound bounty each year.
Around this time the CO--S/Ldr JAC Aiken---advised me that a mistake had been made. Anyone who joined the Squadron having completed EFTS ,like me, should be a PO----of course no back pay or seniority were involved.I think it was around this time that the CO suggested he sponsor me for a PC on my university graduation.Again recruiting univesity graduates would be part of his career path but I wasnt interested
By 1951 I was in my third year and one of my fellow students, PMR Walton had just become CO of 605 at Honiley. This was at the time of Korea and training/retraining had come back into fashion. With my encouragement Aiken and Walton arranged for me to go on a "wings" course that summer at Oakham on Harvards
There were maybe 4 of us --two sponsored by the Belfast RAuxAF Squadron and one---who rightly said his family owned a bank--Hoare--from one of the London Squadrons.The others had "engineered"being called up , I was a volunteer. They got a bounty--I did not, despite taking it up with my MP. I know--NEVER volunteer.
My instructor was a Canadian--F/L Hoover--- and I graduated August 29th,I now had 418 hours AND an RAF pilots brevet!.
So now it was on to Honiley and 605.On Sept 11 I took a Harvard up to RAF Newton for an RAuxAF commissioning interview with one of the Atcherlys.Sept13 Walton took me up to Horsham St Faith in the Meteor 7 . After a few dual flights he sent me solo on the 14th. A week or so later he sent me solo ,again from HSF ,in a Vampire 5.
I remember that flight well. No one had briefed me really and I tried a loop at 30,000 ft----I dont recall exactly what happened but it sort of fluttered down until I came to. Later on in my 605 time I went up with our resident RAF instructor in the 7 to practice single engine flying.throttle back one engine,raise the nose, the airspeed bleeds off and it becomes increasingly difficult to hold on sufficient rudder to keep straight. Told the exercise was over dumb me took my foot off the rudder and in an instant we were on our back---Lucky I was with an experienced instructor!The only other problem I had was loss of oxygen at height but my wing man took charge and guided me down. On a more amusing note, if we flew near Daventry on a Sunday am we got heavenly organ music on our radio--this maybe at 30,000 ft over cloud.
While we flew week ends it was possible to fly during the week though it was more likely that only a Harvard would be available.
I suppose we did all the exercises that a regular RAF fighter Squadron would do---snake climbs through cloud,practice interceptions ,QGH ? letdowns.One exercise, we went to the London area to intercept a flock of USAF B29,s coming in from the East
Before I joined 605 they had one Vampire land on the Severn mud flats---fuel pump failure? and while I was there our only Sgt Pilot caught a wing tip on take off. He immediately returned and landed down wind,running into a walled aircraft parking area. By a miracle he was thrown out of the cockit and flew in an arc held by his parachute shrouds to land on his back on the grass sloping behind the wall---no serious injuries.
But my 605 time was coming to and end.
I had been offered an ICI job in Buxton, Dowty Cheltenham had turned me down for a graduate apprenticeship---this before I had the time to tell them to "stuff it" and U of Toronto was offering 6 month jobs as "instructors" This I accepted.
June was a busy month-- university graduation,marriage and off to Summer Camp in Malta.I missed the graduation ceremony because of camp but I told Walton we were leaving for Canada in August---I TURNED BROWN---Leaving the ship etc.etc. As a result I was not allowed to fly a Vampire out to Malta but travelled in the back of a Hastings with the "troops".
Funny thing is that some years later Walton emigrated to the US and lives about 35 miles away-- I have spoken to him by phone but we have not met! I can understand his feeling about me in 52 as he had put in effort to get me my wings and in to 605
We flew out of Takali and were able to get in some air to drogue firing---recollection is that it was hot humid and hazy.
But the story isnt over!
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Old 6th Aug 2012, 18:54
  #2880 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Well at least we get two different payoffs!
Danny, your brush with death, for that is surely what it was bears repeating anyway, for it illustrates the tightrope that aviators tread all the time, and how the what ifs can lead to salvation or disaster at the slightest whim. Then to have to recover all your kit as well merely adds insult to your injuries. Reminds me of the farewells to those who went their way mid way through basic training. "Cheerio old chap, good luck. Oh, have you promised your "Cere" Boots to anyone? If not can I have them?". So off to Cal with you, see you later!

DFCP, my head is spinning with the demob, Uni, UAS, RAuxAF, etc etc. Slow it down a bit please, if I might beg you. It really is of great interest to know how that enormous outfit, the RAF of WWII, wound down at the end of the war and what that meant to its wretched incumbents. The RAuxAF alone is now a far off item of which we knew little. What a great flying club to belong to, to be paid to fly Meteors and Vampires at the W/E before going back to the "real job"! Already you are set to go back to the land from which you have only just returned, but first you are in that great cross roads of the Med, Malta. Not Luqa though, with which many here are familiar, but Takali. So hopefully we will take a deep breath now, settle into our accommodation there, good, bad, or indifferent, and take in our new surroundings. Over to you, Sir. Oh, just to acknowledge your sage advice. As pertinent as ever of course; never, never, never, volunteer!

Radar 101, thanks for the anecdote re Gus Walker's injuries sustained at Syerston. "Get me my arm back, its got a new glove on it!". Classic!
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