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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 8th Aug 2012, 16:18
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Danny42C
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To All Comers - Greetings,

Radio Interference - it sometimes works the other way. At Geilenkirchen in the early '60s some of our UHF frequencies triggered off the alarm systems in the huge Brunssum (?) coal mine which lay under the airfield. Don't know how they sorted that out.

BEagle, can't remember being pestered by Jehovah's Witnesses or the like over the airwaves or on the ground, but they wouldn't get past the MP on the gate, and in any case we were mainly "out in the sticks" in the States.

Landing the Meteor T7 on one - the stuff of nightmares ! The tale I heard (at Driffield in '50) was that they originally flamed one out (to make it more "real" - which it sure did), until some statistician at Command worked out that the number of accidents in training from this source (per 10,000 hrs) exceeded the failure rate of the Derwent V engine over the same period. Reluctantly, they went over to the softer option of pulling one back to idle, and that was hairy enough for me.

If you really wanted an out-of-body experience, a spin in the thing would do. "A rough ride can be expected" said the Pilot's Notes, and they weren't kidding.

DFCP,
I quote: ........."Didn't see you when I flew in there (Thornaby) on 31st March, '52 in a Harvard"......... Who was I ? - how would you recognise me then?.......... How would I recognise you now?........The beauty of PPRuNe is our anonymity: we're all disembodied spirits in our Virtual Crewroom!

Taphappy,
Jurby - must have been nice. When I was a boy, we used to spend our summer holidays in Ramsey, and had many a trip on the electric tram to Douglas. Never knew the steam train got up so far north in the island, must have puffed up the west coast!

pzu,
Looks like no joy, I'm afraid.......A pity........So many names, so long ago........

Yamagata Ken,
Your Dad seems to have struck lucky in the end. CMF Army Welfare Training Centre in Rome from September '44 to June '46 (it was a rotten job, but someone had to do it !)

Cheerio all round,

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 8th Aug 2012 at 16:23. Reason: Spelling Error
 
Old 8th Aug 2012, 19:14
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Angel

Danny 42C.

Sulby Glen was the nearest station to Jurby and Ramsey was 3 stops further on.The journey you have mentioned would be the Electric Tram which ran from Douglas to Ramsay via Laxey wheel.More useless information.
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Old 8th Aug 2012, 19:29
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"GAINING AN RAF PILOTS BREVET IN WW 2

Danny 42C
Despite your age being in advance of mine it seems you dont suffer from memory loss like me!
I wont argue the exchange rate--I THINK I remember being in a Bournemouth hotel in 51 when Wilson assured me that the pound in my pocket was still worth a pound as he devalued to --2.8? I think in WW2 the C$ was below the US---it has since been as high as 1.07 but is now "engineered" to be very close to par.And I THOUGHT that in 45 as LAC,s we got something above 7 shillings a day
608--I never knew anyone there and I had left the area for S Wales in 1940, returning for visits only---on one of those, post war, I went to a display at Thornaby where a pilot, I think from Tern Hill slow rolled a Harvard into the ground . Your equivalent in 605 in my time was F/Lt Crossman--my saviour in the Meteor 7 episode.Thank God we never tried spinning in a 7. And no one ever warned me of the danger of turning oin Finals with the dive brakes still out! 400 Squadron apparently spun the Vampire 3 without too much sweat. The CAHS had an interesting article a few years back on the RCAF Vampire experience. The bought them because they could buy more of them than Meteors with some left over WW2 pound credits
The Boro!---I often think of the pittance guys like Wilf Mannion got when compared with to days "stars"
"A roller at Middleton"---still happens--a C17 put down on a small airports 3600 ft runway in the Tampa area a couple of weeks ago.
MSG---do you recall the story about the ghost in what was the Officers Mess?--now a hotel. Supposedly a pilot who didnt make it practicing SE landings in a Meteor--- he was killed by the mess masonary. When I go up to Toronto I meet RCAF survivors from MSG---one was shot down so quickly after arrival at MSG that he never even got into Stockton.!
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Old 8th Aug 2012, 21:22
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Angel

DFCP
I have a tough time trying to work out all these abbreviations you come up with. Am I correct in assuming that MSG refers to Middleton StGeorge?
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Old 8th Aug 2012, 22:23
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Memory Lane.

DFCP,

Thanks for the compliments to my memory - pity it's no use on what happened ten minutes ago ! IIRC, Harold Wilson devalued to $2.40 some time in the '60s. You're likely to be right with 7/- a day for an LAC later in the war - my 5/6 relates to '41, when an AC2 got a magnificent 2/- a day to bless himself with !

The fatality at the airshow at Thornaby happened around September '51, I came up there shortly afterwards; people were still talking about it. Again IIRC, he was trying a roll far below his authorised height.

The MSG accident has passed into legend now. I was told he tried to overshoot on one from the runway in a T7, the thing swung off onto the grass and headed into one of the O.M. living wings, charged into the window of his own room (on the ground floor, of course), and he might have survived but (in the words of John Henderson, later the Teeside Airport SATCO (he had been with me at Strubby) "the lintel fell on his swede!" His ghost is reputed to haunt that wing of the building (now the St. George Hotel); when civil crews had to overnight there, the hosties wouldn't sleep in it (I'm told).

Teeside (ridiculously: "The Durham and Tees Valley International Airport") is a shadow of its former self now, don't know what will happen to it.

Curiously, when I did the Meteor conversion in early '50 at Driffield, like you, I don't recall any prohibition on having airbrakes out with wheels and flaps down. In fact, I'm sure I remember doing just that once turning finals, and being rather perplexed at the rate at which height was bleeding off, before the penny dropped. But then, wasn't the golden rule: "don't let the speed drop below 150 kts until the landing is absolutely in the bag!"

Yes, "when I were a lad", professional footballers were happy with 5 a week - at a time when the average weekly man's wage was 3 a week (and it didn't reach that till the War) source: "The Ministry of Labour Gazette".

Yes the Vampire was cheap - why else would the Irish Air Corps buy 'em (and they also bought some of the weird two-seat Spitfires).

Them were the days !'

Danny.
====

Taphappy,

Quite correct ! Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 8th Aug 2012 at 22:26. Reason: Add Material
 
Old 9th Aug 2012, 05:44
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Exchange Rates

Exchange Rates
From 1940, and through the war, although no longer on the Gold Standard, the /$ rate had been pegged by the British government at $4.03, and in at the end of the war a world conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, decided on a variation of the Gold Standard.
Britain adopted this new system in December, 1945, maintaining the pound at $4.03 ... at which point the Americans sowed the seeds for one of Britain's biggest financial crises.

After immense pressure on the pound (and after nine months of continual statements that it would not happen), on 18 September 1949 Stafford Cripps devalued the pound by over 30%, giving a rate of $2.80

1967 saw another crisis in the British economy and Harold Wilson announced, in November 1967, that the pound had been devalued by just over 14%, resulting in an exchange rate of $2.40. This was the famous "pound in your pocket" devaluation, where Wilson tried to reassure the country by pointing out that the devaluation would not affect the value of money within Britain.

Free float from 1971

Rate of pay for National Servicemen 1957 4/6d per day.
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Old 9th Aug 2012, 08:37
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Taphappy/Danny24C

The Isle of Man steam railway system was quite extensive up until 1963 when most of it was shutdown, the railway played a big part in the costructon of the wartime airfields by moving the large quantity of rock from the quarry's in foxdale to the airfield sites at Jurby and Andreas.

The railway history is recorded in the railway museum at Port Erin but also worth a visit is the former station hotel in Peel, now called The Creek it has a few photos of the glory days of the railways that can be viewed while enjoying some of the best Beer and pub food on the island.

The two of the three wartime airfields on the island are still active, Ronaldsway is the islands airport and being run by politicians it has ideas of greatness far above its station with prices to match. Andreas is now only used by microlights on a regular basis with occasional use by light aircraft. Due to the wartime runways breaking up I don't see Andreas lasting much longer especially with the IOM government shortsightedness in actively discouraging runway improvement at Andreas the light aircraft that have been pushed out of Ronaldsway will soon have nowhere to go and the tourist industry will suffer as the lighter end of GA won't use Ronaldsway.

The other interesting relic of WW2 is the remnants of a Home Chain station at Dalby, only the bunkers now remain mostly inhabited by sheep.
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Old 9th Aug 2012, 12:42
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Another thought, if you came in on a Sat/Sun, I'd have been up to the eyes in it. My HQ (an old Ops Block) was opposite the Station HQ, near the main gate.
I was in the last of the Light Blue to operate at Thornaby - 1261 Squadron, Air Training Corps. Our HQ was in what was known as "The Barrack Block" which was next to the old Ops Block. This building still stands as one of the last original RAF buildings. This is how the site looks today:

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Old 9th Aug 2012, 13:19
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Danny 42C :-
Teeside (ridiculously: "The Durham and Tees Valley International Airport") is a shadow of its former self now, don't know what will happen to it.
I remember staying at the St George (nee Officers Mess) in my Dan Air days. We had the morning free so wandered around the easily identifiable late pre-war RAF Station buildings. Guard Room, Service Institute, Barrack Blocks, etc all readily identifiable. I was a bit confused by the latter as the camp had been built with the later blast protection concrete raft flat roofs, but here was one sporting a tiled gabled roof. My confusion was soon remedied by a chap asking pointedly if he could help us. Turned out to be the site foreman of the company now owning said blocks. He explained that the concrete rafts were as good as ever but as they were converting the blocks to student accommodation (for Teeside Poly/Uni) the decision had been taken to "pretty them up" hence the gabled roof.
BTW the Meteor assy fatal accident that impacted the Mess is explained here:
teesside
True to form it only adds to the mystery of this affair. The lead story relates that it hit the inside face of the West Wing, ie the far wing looking at the picture (and where I was told that it hit). However we are then told that where it hit was the outer wall of the Mess to the right of the picture, ie the East Wing. Wouldn't be a good story though if it didn't have many variations!
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Old 9th Aug 2012, 14:17
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I remember staying at the St George Hotel years ago and the walls between the rooms were wafer thin and I got next rooms morning call on his phone reverberating through the wall. Not best pleased as I was on a night flight that evening. ( Second of three on the trot!) Oh the joys of the IT business, which I soon got out of never to look back.

PS Never saw or heard the Ghost.

Last edited by thegypsy; 9th Aug 2012 at 14:18.
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Old 9th Aug 2012, 14:31
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National Service Pay ?

RAF, in 1959 two years started at RAF Bridgenorth as an 'Aircraftsman' at 16/-per week {"All found"}.

mike hallam.
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Old 9th Aug 2012, 16:23
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gaining an RAF pilots brevet in WW2

Pom Pax,
Thank you your lucid input on exchange rates--my obviously addled brain was off on dates,people and rates.
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Old 9th Aug 2012, 16:27
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I was called for National Service in Nov 49 and the pay as an AC2 was 4 shillings a day or 28 shillings per week on the pay parade, which of course we never actually got because of deductions for barrack damages. Couldn't understand this at first as we'd not been there long enough to do any damage to our hut, though we had wrecked the empty adjacent one looking for fuel for the potbellied stove. Bah, Padgate !!

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Old 9th Aug 2012, 16:41
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Gaining an RAF pilots brevet in WW2

Danny 42C---Tees Valley Airport. Can anyone explain why it appears to have lost its place as the NE airport.? Newcastle seems to have taken over that job.
I used to check out TVA on my occasional UK visits in the 70-95 time frame and I recall that they seemed to do well with a link to LHR and various outside UK destinations--including I think charters to N America
At one period werent DC9,s with US registration,yet I suppose Brit crews, being used for the LHR link?. As the 9 was not I think ever given UK certification I did wonder how this was possible/allowed
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Old 9th Aug 2012, 16:58
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The Good Old Days !

Taphappy and A & C,
Yes, happy days in the I.O.M. Climbed North Barrule many a time as a lad, and looked out over Sulby Glen and Jurby (before the airfield was built, this would be in the mid-thirties).
Remember Laxey, they had the most fearsome wasps I've ever met!

Pom Pax, DFCP, 26er & Mike Hallam,
I'm sure you're right with the wartime rate of $4.03 (my $4.08 wasn't far off). The didn't exactly "float" after '71, did it? - more like "sank" !
4/6 pd for a National Serviceman in 1957 ? Or 16/- pw in 1959 ? (Either way, better than my 14/- pw in '41).
Or 4/- pd, 1/8/0 pw in 1949 (26er).

Blacksheep,
I would think that the "Barrack Block" at Thornaby was exactly that - my airmen were in it. As for the (old Coastal Command) Ops Block, it was the HQ of my (Aux) Fighter Control Unit - I reckon it'll be there a while yet, I had six feet of reinforced concrete over my head, and that will take a bit of knocking down. I suppose they've removed the blast walls round the place.
Is the "Oddbods" still across the road?
The new properties look very nice. Thanks for the pic.

Chugalug,
Another version of the tale has him breaking & entering (rather ungallantly) through the wall of the Mess Ladies Room.
Will have a look at the link now - Ta!

Thank you, one and all,

Danny.
 
Old 9th Aug 2012, 17:12
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Tees Valley Airport.

DFCP,

I think TVA fell between the two stools of Newcastle and Leeds Bradford. Don't really know. The last operator of the LHR shuttle (BMIbaby ?) gave it up some time ago.

They certainly had a DC9 working the route (5 turns per day) in '90 , and for some years after that, then a 737 took over.

That's about all I know,

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 9th Aug 2012 at 17:13. Reason: Typo
 
Old 9th Aug 2012, 18:02
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gaining an RAF pilots brevet in WW2

Danny 42C

August 52 Southampton-Montreal on the maiden voyage of the MAASDAM---a LOT better than my earlier trip across on the Athlone Castle.
On to Toronto and "work" "instructing" U of T students in engineering drawing-- very much a case of "the blind leading the blind"
Toronto had two RCAuxAF Squadrons who flew from Downsview alternate week ends using the same Vampire3,s
I applied and was accepted by 400. Much later I found that my timing had been fortunate.
Prior to my arrival, 400 had a series of fatal accidents in both Harvards and Vampires. The bad PR that resulted led Ottawa to "parachute" into 400 a guy called Rohmer--- an ex WW2 Mustang DFC pilot involved in the air attack on Rommel in 44 In 52 he was the RCAuxAF W/C i/c both 400 and 411. He proceeded to sort out what he considered the "wheat from the chaff" among the 400 pilots. Among his "chaff" was Ross Stevenson who later became Chief Pilot at Air Canada
I.m not sure that there wasnt another fatality even while Rohmer was i/c. A Vampire practicing inverted flight for an exhibition stayed inverted too long and flamed out.
On reflection his purge perhaps led to excess caution in the Squadron as I note I had 5 trips in the Harvard before I was let loose again in a Vampire
Rohmer became a very succesful lawyer,with political involvement and,a Major General in the Canadian reserves.There are photographs of his several encounters with the Queen and he has written many books. Excerpts from his GENERALLY SPEAKING are on the internet
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Old 9th Aug 2012, 18:14
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When I left the RAF in 1978 Mr Bristow sent me to Teeside airport to fly his Puma 330Js. The ghost in the officer's mess was a fantastic chat-up line.

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Old 9th Aug 2012, 20:44
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Gainjinjg an RAF pilots brevet in WW2

Danny 42C
Another 605 memory
We went to West Raynham for reasons unknown the week end of Oct 6-7 1951.
While there the Leuchars? wing of 24? Meteors came into view in a line of vics of 3-- a very pretty scene, but hardly fighter style. They landed in this formation and I assume had lunch and then it was back for a mass take off. Certainly one and possibly two didnt make it. There was a black cloud from one over the hill. I understood no one was killed
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Old 9th Aug 2012, 23:35
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More on Danny's forced landing (Part III).

Back on the squadron, the engineers debated. The engine troubles which had plagued the Vengeance the year before had mostly been cured, and the most likely explanation for the failure was a lucky shot hitting an oil tank or line. But in the condition I left the aircraft, it might have been hit by a 3.7 AA shell and look no worse. They returned an open verdict.

In an earlier Post I have worked out that the Sqdn finally moved to Samungli (Quetta) on 6.8.44, so it stayed on in the Arakan doing nothing much for three monsoon months. Early In that time it must have left whatever kutcha strip it was on and fallen back on a paved strip (I think Chittagong or Dohazari) or they would never have got the aircraft out of the mud to fly away. And both these places were rail points,from which the ground party could move. I have only vague memories of that time, but I flew a couple of times (non-op) in July, and I think I was loaned to 244 Group in Chittagong to do some paperwork, so I wasn't altogether idle!

Once the decision had been taken to stop VV operations, there was absolutely no reason to leave us in the Arakan a day longer. For although there were dozens of kutcha strips, there were relatively few with a paved runway and drainage: these should have been left for the Hurricanes, Beaufighters and Mohawks who could still do useful work even in monsoon conditions. We were just cluttering up the place.

We became entitled to a "Wound Stripe" apiece. This daft and short-lived thing may have been peculiar to India. I never heard of it after I came back. The idea was similar to the American "Purple Heart", at which we poked much fun (it was said that you could get it for being nicked by the camp barber!) But it was entered on our records, and I seem to remember that I had an inch-long gold lace stripe to sew on my khaki tunic sleeve. As we never wore tunics (only bush jackets or shirts), it didn't seem worth bothering with.

Stew and I had been amazingly lucky: we both knew we'd live the rest of our lives on borrowed time. It's a pity that no photographs were AFAIK, taken of the wreck - it would have been quite a memento in my logbook. But then, after all, over the years I've had a reminder every time I've looked in a mirror!

(He and I parted soon after this, as I was posted away from Samungli, but were reunited the following year, when he rejoined me as my "Adjutant" in Cannanore. Having come out to India much earlier, he went home earlier. I looked him up once (in Southend) after the war, but then, I'm sorry to say, we lost contact.

Many years later I watched a TV documentary about some oil sheikh's new racecourse complex in the Gulf. The architect was mentioned. There couldn't be two of that name! He appeared. Incredulous, I looked at this little, bald, fat chap - a far cry from the wiry young man with the Byronic looks I remembered. (Ah, the ravages of time !)

There is a present-day slant on the tale of my crash. In any forced landing a pilot has to make the best of a bad job. He can do no other. In two cases which have hit the headlines in the last year or so ( the 777 which just managed to flop over the fence into Heathrow and the Airbus ditched in the Hudson river), the pilots concerned have been surprised to find themselves publicy feted as 'heroes'.

My case was the same as theirs (in kind, though much smaller in degree). Naked self-preservation was the name of the game. Three questions arise: Did I do a good job? - Yes! Was I incredibly (in the true sense of that much abused word) lucky? - Yes! Was I a "hero", in any sense? - Sorry folks, but No! I did what had to be done, and so did they, and we all got away with it, and there's no more to be said.

That's all for the moment,

Goodnight, all,

Danny42C


It's the way the cookie crumbles.

Last edited by Danny42C; 26th Jan 2014 at 20:31. Reason: Amend Title.
 

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