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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 10th Aug 2012, 06:45
  #2921 (permalink)  
Cunning Artificer
 
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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
Danny, that car park in front of the houses is exactly where your Ops Block stoodbut, like Jericho, the walls came tumbling down. . . Use Google Streetview and you can see some more of the old RAF buildings that were just inside the gate. The Oddfellows building is still there, but the pub isn't what it used to be.

Andy Capp Land? That's Hartlepool. Stockton boy meself.
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Old 10th Aug 2012, 07:41
  #2922 (permalink)  
 
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Angel

The move to Topcliffe was made in early September and if you were lucky you found a spot in one of the aircraft flying over, otherwise it was a journey by sea and rail/road.
Topcliffe was a pre-war station so most of the buildings were of brick construction and the sergeants mess had live in accommodation with rooms for 2 so you only had to walk downstairs for the dining and ante rooms. Sheer luxury.
The job was much the same as at Jurby but in addition to the Ansons the unit was supplied with Wellingtons which were used for longer trips of up to 6 hours.
Like all flying establishments, Topcliffe had its share of accidents and there was one bad period of 2 months when we had 5 mishaps. First a Wimpey crashed just after take off, it went into a steep climb until it stalled and dived straight into the ground. 3 of the crew 4 were killed and the 2nd pilot baled out and survived.
This was followed by 2 Wimpeys colliding in midair over the airfield with the loss of 4 crew in each aircraft. Then another Wimpey overshot and came down in a field, the pilot was injured and the plane was a write off. Shortly afterwords one came down in the North Sea with no casualties and another took off on a night detail and disappeared with the loss of all 4 crew.
Around this time someone in the Air Ministry had a brainstorm and new aircrew ranks of Aircrew 1,2,3,4 and Master were introduced to replace Sgt F/Sgt and WO. Most of the Staff Aircrew became either Pilot 2 or Sig 2 even those who were WOs and many of whom were decorated and had a tour of ops behind them. Not a very popular move. None of us ever wore the new badges of rank.
I remained flying at Topcliffe until my demob date came up at the beginning of January 48..
All the official demob parties were over and on the evening before proceeding to the demob centre two of my fellow W/ops( who were also going for demob the next day ) and I decided to go into Ripon for a few beers.Coming back to base suitably lubricated one of us suggested that it would be nice to have a last flight, we knew that there was night x country laid on that night due to take off at midnight so made our way to the crew room where we persuaded 3 of the W/ops on the detail that they would be better off in bed. They did not need much persuading so off we flew in 3 separate aircraft.
Around 0530 I picked up a wt message from Topcliffe to the effect that we were diverted to Lakenheath as the weather had closed in. Panic stations at the navigators table and a call from the pilot “Jock come up here and read these pundits” but by this time I could hardly tell a dot from a dash. We landed safely at Lakenheath to find the other two Wimpeys containing my 2 miscreant friends sitting on the tarmac.
After a couple of hours sleep we phoned the Signals Leader at Topcliffe whose comment was “ what the hell are you doing there” or words to that effect.
Topcliffe remained closed in for a week and when we got back you can imagine the reception we got from a very cheesed off Admin Officer.
The outcome was we were not demobbed for another 2 months when we flew practically every day. Perhaps the RAF way of punishment.
Not quite the end
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Old 10th Aug 2012, 13:36
  #2923 (permalink)  
 
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Comment.

DFCP,
The balbo of 24 Meteors from Leuchars sounds an odd idea. But: "The West Raynham Story" tells of a later ATC tragedy which was told as a cautionary tale to all budding ATCs in my day (would have to look it up now, but it involved a number of Hunters and - I think - some of the pilots, too).

Blacksheep,
So they knocked my old Ops block down at last (is nothing sacred?). I suppose the rubble went into Billingham Bottoms, like all the other slum clearance spoil from Middlesbrough in the '60s - '70s. (and no cracks about "monkey-hangers", either, please. Actually I'm at the other end of the conurbation - D).

Taphappy,
There was a widespread superstition that crashes never came singly, if you had one, you could count on three at least. Then you'd have a clear run for weeks. As many of us could recall, there seemed to be something in it.

Ah, the "Hennessey Four-Star Rank System" - one of the RAF's stupider ideas (and believe me, there were many - how about the 1950 new-pattern Officers No.1 SD Jacket?) Could never remember whether you went up or down the 4-star scale, I believe they actually thought of building separate Messes for these new creatures they'd called into existence.

Put some more coke on the stove,

Greetings, all,

Danny.


Quos Iuppiter vult perdere, prius dementat ! (Those whom the Gods wish to destroy...........)
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Old 10th Aug 2012, 20:33
  #2924 (permalink)  
 
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Angel Rank star system

Danny42C
If I remember correctly.
1 star= Cadet
2 star= Corporal
3 star=Sergeant
4star=F/sgt.
The aim was to provide separate messes for aircrew NCO. (divide and conquer) but probably when the powers that be realised the cost of doing so, they saw sense and eventually reverted to the previous ranks and badges
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Old 10th Aug 2012, 22:48
  #2925 (permalink)  
 
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The aim was to provide separate messes for aircrew NCO. (divide and conquer) but probably when the powers that be realised the cost of doing so, they saw sense and eventually reverted to the previous ranks and badges

Perhaps to avoid any unfortunate comparison with their own star rank system!

Jack

PS Only joking .....
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Old 11th Aug 2012, 10:30
  #2926 (permalink)  
 
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Angel Rank star system

Danny 42C

Got that one wrong should have read.

Aircrew 1= F./sgt
Aircrew2= Sgt
Aircrew3=Sgt
Aircrew4 =Sgt'
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Old 11th Aug 2012, 11:41
  #2927 (permalink)  

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It has truly been wonderful to see what went on "behind the scenes" and your careers in the War and hopefully what you did later.

Danny42C, I was hoping you were going to stay on a bit in the Burma campaign, to see if you were ever stationed near my Uncle's Sqn.
My Uncle Fred sadly got shot down at the age of 21. As far as I can gather from things my Dad said, he started his training in Canada, converted to Hurricanes in South Africa before his posting to his Sqn. They were very close as cousins and got up to all sorts of mischief as kids growing up together.
He was on a mission to bomb a bridge in Burma when he got shot down. They didn't find his remains until 1956, My Gt Uncle and Aunty were too poor to have him shipped back to UK.
Following the Sqn history they were based at Tuliha when he went on that mission. Before and after at Kangla, which I can find on a map but not Tuliha.

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Old 11th Aug 2012, 16:19
  #2928 (permalink)  
 
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Battle of the Stars.

Taphappy and Union Jack,

I have been very naughty and lifted this from Wiki (no doubt SIB is on the way soon - will plead insanity, throw myself on mercy of Court).

Changes in 1946—Aircrew. On 1 July 1946, NCOs serving as aircrew were assigned different rank badges which distinguished them from ORs in ground trades. The new ranks were:

Master Aircrew equivalent to Warrant Officer: Eagle within wreath below Royal Arms

Aircrew I equivalent to Flight Sergeant: Three 6-pointed stars within wreath below eagle below crown

Aircrew II equivalent to Sergeant: Three 6-pointed stars within wreath below eagle

Aircrew III equivalent to Sergeant: Two 6-pointed stars within wreath below eagle

Aircrew IV equivalent to Sergeant: One 6-pointed star within wreath below eagle

Aircrew Cadet for trainee aircrew: Empty wreath below eagle


It looks curious to me - how were the three grades of ex-Sergeants differentiated? - Seniority? Looking at my log, I see that I had instruction from two P2s (Finningley in '49, Driffield in '50). (With their obvious wealth of experience, I would have expected them to be P1s). Can anyone help?

Master Aircrew: why didn't they just go back to Warrant Officer when they finally had to acknowledge that the whole change had been stupid from the outset ?

Loss of face, I suppose. Exactly the same happened in the Strange Case of the New (1950) Sealed Pattern No.1 S.D. jacket-plus-new-Mess Kit-jacket monstrosity. After two (or three?) A.M.O.s had promulgated this thing, each more insistent than the last that This was It, and there was No Possibiliy of any future Change of Mind - another A.M.O. changed it !

But they couldn't just crawl back into their holes. Something had to change, to distinguish it from the wartime pattern. They chopped off the lower button, put a small flat button under the buckle which was neither use nor ornament, this was the New New S.D. Jacket!

The Wise Virgins (in the Biblical sense) who had sat tight throughout, simply cut off the bottom button from their old jackets, shrugged the buckle down a bit to cover the old buttonhole (which was pretty unnoticeable anyway); they were quids in.

The Foolish Ones, who had been Good Boys and had Done What Teacher Told Them, were left holding the baby - and well out of pocket. Did the Air Ministry offer to compensate me? Dream on!

lasernigel,

After that rant - Thank you for the kind words! 'Fraid neither of the places you name rings any bells, and we didn't have much social contact with the Hurricane boys, as they were normally on different strips. (Wouldn't it be wonderful if your Uncle (RIP) turned out to be the chap to whom I gave up my bed in Double Moorings !)

It had long been the invariable and honourable practice to bury the British Soldier where he fell. In my mind, it is better that way and the C.W.G.C. will care for the grave in perpetuity.

There is a corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. (Rupert Brooke?)

Your Great Uncle and Aunt would have had nothing to reproach themselves with. Rich and poor stayed where they fell, and it was better that way. (the business of bringing coffins home is a modern thing).

I have a few more words on Burma before I go, but my story there is nearly ended.

Cheers,

Danny42C
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Old 11th Aug 2012, 19:17
  #2929 (permalink)  
 
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Gaining an RAF pilots brevet in ww2

Danny 42C We note that after your dangerous war service and crash you realised you were on borrowed time, yet by 49 you were back flying Meteors!
To finish my Canadian story
400 Squadron was fine but somehow not the intensity of flying I had found in 605.
By this time the only ex WW2 pilots left in 400 were ex fighter jocks--Rohmers doing. There were some pilots who had taken advantage of an RCAF scheme that was superior to the UK UAS,s. Canadian students could spend their summers between university years getting their wings so then they could then move into the Auxiliary Squadrons. Some of them also joined Air Canada with 400,s blessing.
Two lessons from my time with 400 were first, that one doesnt fly OVER Lake Ontario in a single engined aircraft in winter.Two of us were taking a Harvard to Montreal from Hamilton and I was taking the direct route. across the lake. I was advised to follow the coast line.
Then in Montreal waiting for the train back to Toronto it was suggested we take a train that arrived iin Toronto after midnight. That way we would get 2 days subsistence!
I ended my active association with 400 when I took a job a job 200 miles East of Toronto-- shift work in a new chemical plant. I hated it-- Canadian winter nights in an open building werent fun. So when an RCAF recruiter came to town I was available. With a "promise" that I would make W/C by the time I was 39 it was off to Ottawa for the medical. It must have been 2pm and I was standing there naked waiting for the MO to return from lunch. Memories of undesireable aspects of service life came back to me. I dressed and made my way out and back home. Never heard from the RCAF again!
So that was the end of my service "career" but several years later I was involved in selling fire resistant hydraulic fluid for large civil aircraft---try selling a sole source US made product to the French in the 1960,s!
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Old 11th Aug 2012, 21:58
  #2930 (permalink)  
 
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Danny42C

That question also puzzles me and I have to say that I never came across any Aircrew 111 or 1V types before I was demobbed. Perhaps some of our more junior(in years) colleagues might have the answer.
Cheers
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Old 12th Aug 2012, 08:57
  #2931 (permalink)  
 
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I began flying training in 1950, starting the ITS course at Wittering just after the '49 Christmas break. At Easter the whole lot moved to Jurby. After about a month we went on leave and then reported to Ternhill. Before that we were called cadet pilots/navigators and wore the empty wreath on our sleeves. At 6FTS we became officer cadets, wore the white tabs on our collars and lived in the officers mess. The wreaths disappeared and those of the course judged fit were cadet corporals, sergeants or under officers and wore normal rank badges. Cadet U/Os (normally the course leader)wore a white lanyard on their left shoulder. At some time I believe I was officially an "officer cadet pilot four" but probably only to describe a pay scale. Our instructors were P1s or P2s. Round about the autumn they reverted to normal nco ranks and several of the P1s sewed sgt chevrons over their previous badge so that the crown was still visible, making them flight sergeants. I don't remember any master pilot QFIs, certainly not on the squadron.

It was normal for only three or four of a course of twenty or so officer cadets to be commissioned on graduation. However just before our graduation in May 1951 an edict came telling the FTS to increase the number. I remember being interviewed by the station commander who asked how I had done on the previous weeks escape and evasion exercise. I had successfully evaded. In the week before the wings parade the man from Gieves was rushed off his feet as we found the ratio of pilot officers v sergeant pilots was reversed compared with previous courses. On the morning of the graduation parade I was told I had won the "ground training trophy" and still have the little silver cup. So I put my award of a commission down to evading and swotting. There can have been no other reason. Of the twenty two who passed out six (including me) were national servicemen.

From that time onwards all students starting at FTSs became acting pilot officers though if those officer cadets still in the system were appointed A/POs or not I don't know.
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Old 12th Aug 2012, 14:56
  #2932 (permalink)  
 
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Gaining an RAF pilots brevet in WW2

26 ER
Interesting saga. I had heard of NS pilots though this seemed strange
when compared to only a few years earlier when there was such a surplus. I suppose there were so many surplus u/t,s in 46 that continued training could only be offered to a few. In your case do you suppose it was shortage of regulars or a desire to train pilots without the RAF having to engage in a longer time relationship?Any idea what the terms of service were for the none NS pilots?
Mention of Tern Hill reminds me of flying a nav or instrument exercise from Cottesmore to TH and back in 51. In cloud both ways and in that era I suspect we had no way of knowing if there were other aircraft in our vicinity---dangerous!.
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Old 12th Aug 2012, 16:10
  #2933 (permalink)  
 
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Seeing Stars.

Union Jack, DFCP, Taphappy, 26er, - Greetings,


It would seem that in the early '50s Air Ministry had got itself into a right tizzy over the question of titles and NCO aircrew rank badges and (as was its wont), being in a hole, carried on digging with enthusiasm.

I never remember seeing a PI, a P3 or a P4, but we had two or three Masters on 20 Sqdn. in '50/'51; plenty more of them found a home in ATC in the years to come. Perhaps we have got as close to the bottom of the Star business as we are likely to get. I think that, apart from the Masters, it was dead by '52.

I am disturbed to read of the monopoly that Gieves seems to have have been allowed to establish (several Posters have recounted that they had virtually no option - they were more or less marched in to be measured for their new uniforms by that firm's tailors).

I came back in early '49, you could do at least as well at Monty Burton's (provided you were more or less a standard size) for very much less. As late as '55, they would do you a No.1 SD suit for £14/15, and I remember in '41 it was £7/19/6. Even the rest of the licensed highwaymen (Moss Bros, Austen Reed et al.) were cheaper - and a new P.O. was not exactly flush with money ! - (except in India).

DFCP, I'm amused by your RCAF recruiter's blarney about ("a W/Cdr by 37") Put not your faith in Princes - or Recruiting Offices!. Strangely enough, I remember a quite sober article in the "Saturday Evening Post", in which the writer had calculated that anyone starting Flight School in the Air Corps then (early '42) would finish a Major at least. (The crucial "if" wasn't mentioned!)

Some last thoughts about Burma soon (and No, I didn't bury any Spitfires, crated or otherwise).

Danny.
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Old 12th Aug 2012, 18:21
  #2934 (permalink)  
 
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Some random tales from Burma.

In comparison with some of the early Posts on this Thread, it must be admitted that my operational experiences must rank as rather humdrum and tame. Yet in the wake of the shining knights at the head of any column, there must always trudge the files of humble men-at-arms, the "spear carriers"; their contribution to the battle is every bit as vital. Some recent Posts ago I read a phrase which stuck in my mind: "We each had to fight the War we were given". (I wish I'd thought of that myself) .

This is so profoundly true that it invites a good look at the implications. Every one of us was given a different War to begin with. The War you started with may very well turn into something quite different. Hard Wars can turn soft, and vice versa. At every step, you are at the mercy of blind chance. There is little point in trying to arrange your future, and in any case the old adage is doubly true: "Be careful of what you wish for - you might get it!". I have always found it better just to "go with the flow" and take what the morrow brings.

After that bit of homespun philosophy, and before I retire to the back areas, I shall relate some odd stories which have drifted to the surface of my memory in the past few weeks (I hope I haven't told them already - if so, skip 'em and tell me).

Danny Falls off the Wing.
I've already stressed the small risk involved in Vengance air operations (my Post #2819 above). Indeed, one wag declared that the greatest danger we were exposed to was of breaking an ankle, jumping down from the aircraft after a sortie. Curiously very nearly that happened to me one day.

The aircraft was being refuelled, and I was standing on the wing, chatting to the refuellers. I was directly behind the filler cap, they overfilled the tank and several gallons of petrol sloshed back round my feet I'd been wearing a pair of the very popular sambhur skin Desert Boots, with about an inch of sponge rubber on the soles.

Somewhere in the world there may be a researcher who wants to know the Coefficient of Friction between sponge rubber and petrol-soaked alloy sheet. I can tell him - it is Nil ! Still erect, I slid down and off the wing to land in an untidy heap on the pool of petrol on the ground below. The ground crew fell about laughing, but it was some time before I was able to see the funny side of it.
===========

A clever Doggie,
The Engineer Officer, Flt. Lt. Steele, had a dog, mostly bull terrier, called Scruffy (and never was an animal so aptly named). Scruff had been given a juicy bone from the kitchen, and had settled down in front of the Mess verandah to enjoy it.

But a passing kite-hawk had designs on this bone too, and adopted the same tactics as the birds at Worli on my first Christmas out there. It flew a tight left-hand circuit round the basha, swooping down and making a grab at the bone each time round.

The indignant dog dropped the bone and made a grab at the bird every time, but it was too quick to catch. This went on for some time; it was stalemate; the bird couldn't get the bone and the dog couldn't get the bird. We watched this in growing amusement.

Then something clicked in the dog's brain. Instead of chasing after the bird, he ran clockwise back to the corner, jumped in the air and met his tormentor almost head-on. There was a roar of rage, a clash of teeth, a cloud of feathers and an anguished squawk. The bird flew unsteadily off minus most of its tail feathers and bothered him no more, Scruff swaggered back to his bone, "dusting his paws off". Applause all round !

That's all for tonight,

Danny42C


The onlooker sees more of the game.
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Old 13th Aug 2012, 00:14
  #2935 (permalink)  
 
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Danny et al
Please don't let this thread come to a staggering end.
I have been enthralled by your war experiences, no more (nor less) vital than those whose mantles you uphold.
It must be acknowledged that without the appearance of any other WW2 contemporaries either this Thread dies or we move on in time.

Only new (well in terms of appearance here) blood from other contemporaries (few in number) or we must perforce leave this thread to close.

Are there really no others (or families) that can this flame uphold?
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Old 13th Aug 2012, 09:13
  #2936 (permalink)  
 
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A resounding "Here, here" from me, Icare9. I certainly do not read this thread as some sort of alternative to a WW2 Comic book, expecting it to be full of daring-do and heroic over-coming of impossibly dangerous odds. Rather I see it as the long march of every-man, as evidenced by the description of huge reception centres, the many initial training wings, basic flying training schools that circumvented the globe, ditto the advanced ones, operational training units that used long forgotten synthetic aids to teach the life or death skills before they had to be used for real, and of course the reality of Service life, seemingly inexplicable decisions that frustrated the burning desire to get to grip with an enemy that had brought so much misery to the world.
Danny as always says it best:
Yet in the wake of the shining knights at the head of any column, there must always trudge the files of humble men-at-arms, the "spear carriers"; their contribution to the battle is every bit as vital.
So come on, men-at-arms, this isn't a race to finish first. It is the minutiae, the detail, the "oh, by the way..." afterthoughts that are the very essence of this thread. So back-track, go on into peacetime, discuss arcane aircrew ranks that most of us have never even heard of, just don't say "job done, nothing more to add" and cease posting.
For myself this is an exercise in vicariousness. It fell upon your generation to rise to the challenge of the military dictatorships, not mine. Inevitably one wonders how well ours would have done. The obvious answer is no doubt, well much the same, but in your posts we discern the personal qualities that seemed to have been required, perseverance, determination, yet being resigned to the hand you're dealt with and an having an air of diffidence that yours was but an insignificant part of an enormous whole.
I remain as convinced as ever that this nation was blessed with the right generation in place at the right time. Gentlemen, I salute you all and humbly beg to thank you all for being there.
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Old 13th Aug 2012, 15:51
  #2937 (permalink)  
 
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The More, the Merrier !

Icare9 and Chugalug,

Thank you for your generous words of support. I still think there must be a fair number of old-timers about, whom we haven't reached yet, and who would be only too glad to relive their WW2 days on this Thread if only we could get to them. It has to be through the medium of their families now, for relatively few are on-line themselves, I think.

We must stress that the Moderators seem already to have widened the scope to allow all brevets (Taphappy is worthily carrying the flag for the W/Ops). Now how about the groundcrews, on whom our lives depended, who did such a magnificent job (often in terrible conditions), and on whom we relied so much? Please come in - even if you had unflattering opinions of some aircrew!

Meanwhile we'll keep going (there's life in old dogs yet!).

Dum spiro, scripto,

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 13th Aug 2012 at 15:52.
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Old 13th Aug 2012, 16:07
  #2938 (permalink)  
 
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DFCP

The saga of National Service Pilots.

I was employed as a met observer at LAP (as it was named in 1949) and read in "Flight" that the RAF were to train 200 n/s pilots each year. I went to the RAF recruiting office in Ealing and took some preliminary tests in the knowledge that I was shortly to be called up. It was a surprise, nonetheless, to arrive at Padgate on 28/11/49 and find that my name was known and a bunch of us were earmarked for aircrew selection at Hornchurch as soon as the initial issue of kit had taken place. The following week we were there, did the tests, and returned to Padgate for a couple of days until the results came through. Those selected went to the aircrew holding unit at Driffield. (It still brings back memories when smelling avtag as the whole station seemed to reek of it from the Vampires.) After a few days we were off home for Christmas having already sewn our cadet pilot laurel wreaths on our sleeves. After Christmas we reported to No 1 Initial Training School at Wittering and began training. All n/s guys were trained in the UK as otherwise insufficient time would be available what with sea transportation etc to Rhodesia, and then later to Canada.

At that time national service was for eighteen months in which time with no hold-ups you could just complete the course to "wings". A further agreement to being taught to fly was that you would then spend the next five years flying, either with the RAuxAF or the RAFVR. I believe it was in the winter of 1950/1 that national service was increased to two years which enabled me to complete 202 AFS at Valley (dual on Meteor T7s and solo on Vampire F1s and F5s), and most of the course at 229 OCU Chivenor. The training organisation notched up a few pegs during this period due to Korea. I don't know how many of those n/s guys who started training actually completed it but quite a high percentage decided they liked the life and signed on for either four or eight years. And for BEA and BOAC after their RAF service, e.g. Norman Tebbit.

In my case, having left after two years and having flown lots in the Chipmunks of the RAFVR I rejoined the mob and became a QFI on Meteors. During this time (Sep 52 - 54) I had several n/s students so the scheme was still operating. Also several reservists were recalled to the colours for a three month stint about then, and as their civil life had been disrupted they also signed on. But I imagine with the Korean stalemate the need had vanished and by the mid fifties the scheme finished. And shortly after that the RAuxAF and RAFVR were liquidated. RAFVR(T) staff pilots still continue though.
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Old 13th Aug 2012, 17:13
  #2939 (permalink)  
 
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Join the Club !

26er,

It never rains, but it pours! A few short weeks ago I was bewailing my lot as being the lone last surviving voice of the WW2 story.

Oh me of little faith ! Now we are four, and the joint's jumpin'!

Let me be the first to welcome you aboard (I'm sure DFCP won't mind) and many more of your memories, please.

Cheers,

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 13th Aug 2012 at 17:18.
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Old 13th Aug 2012, 18:49
  #2940 (permalink)  
 
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GAINING AN RAF PILOTS BREVET

26ER--Excellent--you have answered questions I had been mulling.
You certainly were able to spend your NS productively.Your relatively quick progress through the "system" would bring tears to any 43-45 U/T
Increasing the NS obligation when you were already in doesnt seem fair. I suppose this decision was made because of Korea.
But you havent finished your story!
Danny 42c---Last week I watched a replay of a documentary about the war in the Pacific--the casualties ,certainly among the US Marines, were way beyond anything experienced in the European war.
I dont recall whether you have mentioned any losses during your Vengeance work but certainly if you had been shot down and taken prisoner the Japanese "Stalags" could not be compared with the RELATIVELY" Ritzy" German version---so what you were doing was very dangerous work even if you werent killed.
A couple of reminiscences.
It must have been in the 70,s that,while visiting my parents in Somerset I was invited to a party.
One of the guests was a L/Cdr? Sheperd living in quaint Dowlish Wake and I believe well know in the FAA.
He introduced me to another guest he had brought along --"Ziggie"--I chatted with him a little but couldnt quite place him---his English had a trace of American about it---but we drifted apart without exploring this.
Next day there was a display at Yeovilton and a German navy 104 went in killing the pilot.
The pilot was "Ziggie" and like many/all German 104 pilots was trained in Arizona.
The other story is more pleasant.
One of the 400 Squadron RCAuxF pilots had,in the 40,s, flown Hurricanes in the Western Desert---shot down, he was flown to a POW camp in Italy. When the Italians dropped out of the war,with the Germans in pursuit, he was able to escape through the mountains to Allied lines.
Sent back to the UK and now on Spitfires he had what was probably an engine failure and parachuted out over N France. The Resistance took care of him, escorting him through Paris and eventually over the Pyrenees into Spain.
I dont think double escapers are common and certainly not successful double escapers.
He was recommended for the MC but this was turned down on the grounds that the MC was an Army decoration---that said I did note in a recent RAF obit where someone had got an MC.
When I heard his story I wrote to Maggie Thatcher asking for reconsideration---no response.
Never mind- at 90 he continues to fly his Piper on floats---and there is an article about him in the August " Fly Past"
Danny Let me second your welcome to 26er and any others who pop up----your enthusiasm leads me though to what I think is my last story --and 100% true
It must have been in the 80,s we were invited to dinner in the rotating restaurant on top of the tower which overlooks Niagara Falls. The host was i/c maintenance of the tower and also a Polish ex RAF pilot. After dinner he took to his office where he had a series of photos of those who had chosen to commit suicide by jumping off the tower--the photos he said were part of his duties.
Fast forward and I get a newspaper cutting---our Pole had been taking friends up in a Cessna. He low flew over his house and with his wing tip beheaded his next door neighbour who was on his garden tractor--the neighbour was an ex RCAF Lancaster pilot.
The Pole was sentenced to prison for manslaughter--I dont think he had a valid licence either.
Several years later and another cutting. The Pole, post "clink", had been swinging someones prop--it kicked back,hit on the head and he was killed.
As they say over here--"What goes around,comes around"
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