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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 28th Sep 2012, 22:53
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Danny42C
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Danny is Monarch of all he surveys.

The CDRE's object was to develop materials which would protect troops' (and working animals') feet and skin when working in jungle contaminated by liquid gas. Treatment of gas burns on skin was another important field of research: one of their concoctions looked like cold tea, but turned out to be the finest sunburn remedy I ever tried - whether it was any use on a gas blister, I don't know.

After we had bombed or sprayed the trials areas, the Army's defensive clothings, creams and boot-dubbins were put to the test on man and beast. I believe an anti-gas cape was actually designed for a camel ! (still * used as a draught animal in North India). Dressing that creature for his trial must have been a sight worth seeing, given that there are no wild camels - and no tame ones, either ! They had horses and mules as well, but no elephants (perhaps the pachyderm hide is too tough for mustard to penetrate ?)

Note *: Could the sight of this animal been the germ of the idea for the "Camel Driver's Recruiting Establishment" joke ?

The animals had no option, but the Army guinea-pigs were all volunteers. It made sense to them. In return for some pain and discomfort, they were safe from real harm (or so it was then believed). * They had three meals a day, a bed and a little extra pay. It was better than being on th wrong end of a Japanese bayonet in Burma. If they wanted to go back there, they had only to ask. I never heard of any who did.

Note *: But when trials on the nerve gases took place after the war, we had fatalities.

Wing Commander Edmondes, being outside the normal chain of command, was responsible directly to AHQ Delhi, and so in no way my C.O. That was the S.A.S.O. of 225 Group ( a Group Captain) at Bangalore, some 200 miles away. There we were regarded as something of a nuisance, always behind with the paperwork.

But generally, we left them alone, and they didn't bother us, which suited us both. Stew and I devised a way to lighten our office work. The official mail delivery could quickly be filleted, anything which did not demand immediate response or action we binned. This saved no end of filing. If any question arose later, we'd simply signal that we'd never had the letter concerned, and could they please send us a copy ?

I had on loan from the Army an elderly Indian civilian clerk (Babu) in our Orderly Room. He did not approve of our methods. I can see him now, in his spotless white dhoti, a worried frown over steel pince-nez. "Sahib, Sahib, here is very difficulty, Sahib!"....... "What's the matter, Babu ?" ....... Of course, it would be Group, chasing us up about some return we hadn't rendered on time.

It has been said (with a great deal of truth) that the engineering side of the pre-war Air Force was run by its Sergeants, the post-war by its Flight Lieutenants - and in many cases, they were the same men.

All the aircraft maintenance and the airmens' discipline was in the capable hands of my Sergeant and his Corporals. Every Flight Commander is hugely dependent on his "Chiefy". Sergeant Williams (I'll forget my own name before I forget his, and it's been almost seventy years) was a regular of the old school.

He was a farmer's boy, and took it into his head to teach me to ride. The CDRE kept horses for experiments, and they found Indian Army cavalry saddles for us. It is practically impossible to fall out of these, and we cantered and galloped along the sands of Moplah Bay. But he didn't have much success and soon gave me up as a bad job, for I was a poor pupil, unable to shed my original conviction that a horse is always "dangerous at both ends and uncomfortable in the middle". *

Note *: It has always seemed to me that, with its vaunted intelligence, this animal should have worked out that there was no need to carry a great lump on its back when it could quite easily throw it off, then kick, stamp and bite it to death - and it would be just my luck to be on board when this suddenly occurred to some equine Socrates.

I've made several references to "we" and "us". I had a floating population. To begin with, I had Stew Mobsby (my old gunner) as adjutant, a couple of other officers - one was a navigator - and two NCO pilots. As we were intended to be largely self-sufficient, with our own Signals section, armourers, fire crews, MT mechanics, storemen and clerks as well as the aircraft maintenance people, there was a total of some 70 airmen. There was one glaring omission. There was no accounts section: I was not self-accounting.

This immediately posed a question, how do I pay my airmen ? There was no common-sense arrangement whereby the Army would pay them and recover from the RAF. The nearest RAF Accountant Officer was in Cochin, about 150 miles down the coast. He wanted an Acquittance Roll, (on which each man had signed a receipt for his pay) before handing over any money. It was deadlock, and we had to get round it some way.

The solution which McInnis had worked out was this. I got my chaps to sign a duplicate blank Acquittance Roll (they must have had sublime faith in me), and flew down to Cochin with both copies. There the accounts clerks entered each man's pay on the Rolls beside his signature, and worked out the coinage. * The Accountant Officer handed over the cash, keeping one signed Roll, so he was in the clear whatever happened.

I flew back with a bag of several thousand rupees and the other Roll, held a Pay Parade (our only Parades) and dished out the money. What would happen if I crashed on the way back ? How would they sort that out ? Luckily, it never happened and the airmen always got their pay !

Note *: No real problem, for I think they always paid to the nearest Rs5 below the due figure, and there was a Rs5 note (in fact, there was a tiny Rs1 note, about 4 x 2 in, I kept one in my log for many a year, but it's gone now), so there was no coin in the pay.

Months ago, I promised you a "Special" Post on Indian Railways (on which we spent a lot of time). Coming next,

Early night tonight, chaps,

Danny42C.


Chugalug,

Yes, J.W.W. Donaldson is (was?) quite a descriptive writer wasn't he ? (we must look to our laurels !)

D.

Last edited by Danny42C; 28th Sep 2012 at 22:57. Reason: Restore Spacing.
 
Old 30th Sep 2012, 22:02
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Danny42C
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Danny enjoys (?) rail travel in India.

We spent so much of our time on trains that it is worth while examining them closely. The rail network was one of the three great legacies left by the Raj to the Republics of India and Pakistan (the other two are the English language and cricket). IIRC, there were at least four classes of travel.

A King's commisioned officer (British or Indian), and the rare civilian who could afford it, travelled first-class. The self- contained compartment (for four) was the width of the carriage (bigger, and on a much broader gauge than in UK). It had an upper and lower berth on each side (on which you unrolled your bedroll at night), electric roof fans, and a primitive toilet (no worse than those at home) cum shower room ensuite. There were also a few two-berth coupés: these were generally reserved for ladies travelling alone.

Windows opened to let in smoke and dust. They had louvred shutters to keep out the sun, marauding monkeys and thieves, and I seem to remember a sort of mesh screen to keep out insects, but I'm not sure about that. All your baggage went into the compartment with you, and at halts you watched it like a hawk.

Second class was earmarked for B.O.R.s and Viceroy's Commissioned Officers (this was a class of the Indian Army, above NCO rank but below the King's Commission). Again, anyone who could afford a ticket (half the price of first class) could, in theory travel. But even second-class fares were so high in Indian terms (and third and fourth so low) as to ensure few takers.

As I recall, the second-class compartment was on the same plan, but slightly smaller than the first, and had more spartan upholstery. Really, it was a much better bargain then the first if you were paying for it yourself. Third and fourth were open-plan carriages; third may have had some upholstery but fourth was bare wood. Toilet facilities were of local pattern: hole-in-floor or al fresco at stops.

EDIT: Any observer of Indian trains of that (or even a much later) era will have noted the existence of a sort of "extra mural" or parasite class of traveller, attached to the sides of, standing on the buffers of, or perched on the roofs of the carriages. It's possible that these might have bought 4th class tickets and been unable to force themselves into the crowded carriage, but I doubt it.

There must have been some sort of financial accomodation with someone, I would have thought. Of course, on the approach to and leaving stations in smaller towns, the (often single) line would run through the bustee (slum) parts of town, the train ambling along at walking pace, blowing the whistle and clanging its bell through a narrow lane hardly wide enough to allow passage, and essentially pushing its way through the crowded traffic of people and children, animals and every kind of vehicle.

Luckily the all had "cowcatchers" in front, but even so it looked horribly dangerous. At these times, any reasonably agile person could leap up, find a foot and handhold, and hang on, or climb onto the roof. What happened when the train came to a tunnel ? Don't know, don't like to think !
'Elf 'n Safety ? Forget it !.........D.

Stops were frequent. Trains were never in any hurry. You must remember that India is the size of all Europe (excluding continential Russia). It doesn't look it on a map, but that is a quirk of Mercator's projection. A trip of 1500 miles is common, and that might take four days. (My record was 16 days, but that was on a "special"). So you settled down and made the best of it.

Air conditioning was far in the future, but I think I've mentioned the block-of-ice substitute available only on the major inter-city lines. For a rupee or so, you could get a maund (73 lb block, therefore seven gallons) of ice in a deeply lipped galvanised tray. You closed all windows, and shutters to keep out sunlight, ran the roof fans full bore trained on the ice (set on the floor between the bunks). This gave you several hours of welcome cooling, but as the humidity grew steadily worse in the pre-monsoon months, condensation was then a problem.

Meals on main lines were a very civilised affair. At a stop an hour or so before lunch or dinner, the guard would come round and take orders (the menu was pot-luck, always curried something). He'd then telegraph them to the next stop forty miles or so down the line. When you got there the meal was ready for you in the station dining room. The train would wait for you while you ate it. I can never remember being rushed, how they managed to run a railway on time I'll never know.

Tea was on tap every time the train stopped. The ubiquitous char-wallah (with throw-away clay cups) was on every platform, where all facilities were segregated; first and second class dining rooms, separate toilets for Mahommedans and Hindus, the list was endless.

There was never any point in timetable planning, it was more like hitch-hiking. You took the first train going roughly in your direction, stayed on it as long as it did so, hopped off and repeated the process. Your bedroll travelled with you, so you could overnight anywhere en route, and stop a few days if you found anything of interest. (There was no problem about breaking your journey at any point). Your late appearances were never questioned, for you would always arrive before your paperwork, and get the "who-the-Devil-are-you-and-what- have-you-come-for ?" greeting familiar to all servicemen.

I can never recall any kind of ticket inspector on any train I was on. It was rather like Tube travel - or at least as Tube travel was in my time - in that once you were aboard, you could travel round the system all day, provided you eventually got off at the right station you were ticketed to.

Luggage handling was never a problem, you were besieged by platform "bearers" every time you stepped out of your compartment. The "official" ones wore a brass numbered arm (or was it on "puggaree" - headband - ?) badge, but they had to fight for your custom against a horde of unofficial ones.

Deceptively frail in appearance, they could all hoist enormous loads on their heads and then set off on their spindly legs at such a cracking pace through the crowds that the Sahib could hardly keep pace with them (if your man were one of the "unofficial" brigade, it was vital to do so, or you might never see him - or your kit again).

Out of the station, the load was usually too much for a manned rickshaw, unless you had little more than hand luggage and your hotel or whatever was fairly close. Otherwise it would be a taxi or a tonga. The taxis had taximeters, but it was always "broken, Sahib", your fare in taxi or tonga was a matter of negotiation before you climbed in.

The taxi was quicker (but more hazardous), the tonga slower but safer. On arrival, there would always be a spirited attempt to renegotiate the contract, heart-breaking compassionate grounds would be prayed in aid, particularly if the fare and his luggage and bedroll looked suspiciously new to India. Counter-accusations of "loose-wallah" (thief), and reference to the nearest Police Post, usually ended the discussion.

If you were lucky enough to be going up to the hills for the hot months, you had to change at some point from the broad-gauge (5ft 6in) main line to one of the narrow-gauge ( 1-metre or the even smaller 2ft "toy train") hill railways. Most of their locos were built with centre cogwheels to engage with racks between the lines on steeper sections.

At some places (Darjeeling was one, I think) the gradients were too severe even for a rack railway. The ingenious solution was the "switch-back" layout. The line was built as a wide, shallow zig-zag in traverse up the mountainside. At the end of each traverse there was a level stretch; here the train was halted, the points switched and the train reversed up the next section of the climb to the next level at the end. Then it moved forward .......and so on. Naturally, this had to be a single-track operation.

It is difficult to exaggerate the skill and daring of the old Victorian and Edwardian railway engineers who built those railways. The bridges, culverts, cuttings and tunnels which had to be designed to carry the line through jungle and pinewood forests up the steep mountain ridges were marvels of conception and construction. Many of them must be a hundred years and more old now, and I would wager they are mostly standing as solidly, and working as well as ever they did.

Of course in my time Indian railways were all steam hauled, except for local city commuter electric services, and I think it was long after the war before diesel-hydraulic or diesel-electric finally took over the haulage of main line trains.

As far as I can remember, there were a number of separate railway companies serving various parts of the country (just as in Britain, where they were only nationalised as British Railways some time after the war). I think the new Governments of India and Pakistan took their lines under State control immediately after Independence.

Back to Cannanore next time,

Goodnight, all,

Danny42C.


Ain't no one here but us chickens!

Last edited by Danny42C; 3rd Oct 2012 at 00:21. Reason: Correct Spacing & Spelling Error.
 
Old 1st Oct 2012, 22:51
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G'day Danny,
Your eloquent writing connues to evoke a fair idea of 'how it was' - really enjoying this stuff.
If I can drag you back to when you first enlisted, just for a moment... I did go back to one of your first posts and I think it answered my question, but thought I'd ask away anyway to make sure. When you enlisted and went onto 'deferred service', did the RAF give you any pre-study to do of any kind? Australian aircrew on the Reserve, it appears, were given a series of self-study subjects to complete while waiting for their call-up - things like maths and physics, theory of flight, aircraft recognition etc. As I understand it, as each module was completed they'd send it back for marking and the Air Force would forward out the next one. Some called it the '21 Lessons' and apparently it made the first weeks at Initial Training School just a little bit easier. I've asked a Canadian mid-upper gunner I know and he can't remember anything similar (but he was originally ground crew and transferred into aircrew so perhaps he's not representative), nor can an English rear gunner. I'm beginning to suspect it was purely an Australian thing (anyone know any Kiwi veterans I can talk to??), so I thought I'd ask you.

Adam
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Old 1st Oct 2012, 23:26
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Indian Hill Railways

There's been a BBC series on Indian Hill Railways. If you missed it the very last one is available until 8.30pm tonight on BBC iPlayer - link below.

BBC iPlayer - Indian Hill Railways: The Kalka-Shimla Railway

Your posts are so interesting, Danny, they're the first thing I look for to read!
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 08:19
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For those interested in Danny's marvellous description of India's railways here is my dad's description of the rail trip to Darjeeling which he took while recovering Yellow Fever. He travelled from Rangoon by Dak.

"We landed at Alipore, South East of Calcutta and quite near the centre of town. That evening I caught the overnight train to Siliguri, the town at the foot of the Himalayas. The first part of the journey was over the flooded area of the Ganges delta. At about eight o’clock the next morning I arrived at Siliguri and had breakfast in the station restaurant. I then crossed the platform to the narrow gauge railway and joined the little train to Darjeeling, that was to climb 5,000 ft. in fifty miles and take five hours. It is said to be one of the great railway journeys of the world.

It was most interesting in the way that it gained height. It went round and round in circles, climbing all the while, then when it got to a section that was too steep, it would rise in a series of ‘Z’ shunts, There were sections of line, about 300 feet in length with catch-points at each end. The train would go forward over the points and then travel in reverse up the next section and over that set of points. Then it would rise up the next section going forward. This went on for about six sections, up the sheer face of the mountain.

Two men sat by the front buffers of the engine and they would drop sand onto the line, so that the driving wheels would grip.

Before the train turned inland, the views over the Bengal plain were quite stunning. The first stop was at the highest point (5,200ft.) at Ghoom station."

I wonder if the RAF let's you blag such journey's while you're on sick leave now??!!
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 09:20
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KOOKABAT (#3071)

During my research I came across a copy of the "Message of Welcome" that was sent from the Air Ministry to prospective aircrew after they had attended ACSB and whilst they were on "deferred service". The letter changed during the war but this one, from February 1942, had the following wording:




Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a copy of the follow up letter so I don't know if the "arrangements will be made to help you in your studies" went as far as sending out exercises.

Regards

Pete

Last edited by Petet; 2nd Oct 2012 at 17:20.
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 10:48
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Angel

Kookabat and Petet
I certainly did not receive any type of education whilst on deferred service and whilst I do not recall having received the letter mentioned by Petet that is not to say that it was not sent to me in 1943.
Some people were sent on short 6 month courses to university prior to being called up to ACRC
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 11:33
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TAPHAPPY

It is worth noting that the wording in the later letter, which I think was used from 1943 onwards, does not include the paragraph relating to study arrangements, so perhaps whatever procedure was in place had ceased by then.

Regards

Pete
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 13:18
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Well that's just curiouser and curiouser! Thank you Pete, for that letter, and thank you Taphappy for your thoughts as well.
The wording of the letter certainly suggests that there was some sort of education to be expected while on deferred service - though without the FIFTH paragraph, as you say the later letters were, 'academic knowledge' could well be anything. Perhaps the intended meaning was to suggest that studying something, anything (at university perhaps) before call-up would help to put recruits into the 'study' frame of mind and so adjusting to the intensive learning of "specialized Service knowledge" once on a course would be that much easier.
I'll continue to ponder it while awaiting the arrival of Danny for his next no doubt thrilling installment

Cheers, all, and thanks again,
Adam

Last edited by kookabat; 3rd Oct 2012 at 00:53. Reason: Whole letter loaded this time - it's the FIFTH para, not the first that I was referring to
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 16:25
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KOOKABAT

You got me interested in this subject today and a trawl round the internet suggests that the "21 lessons" was RAAF related.

There are several sites that refer to RAAF aircrew undertaking the 21 lessons whilst on deferred service and I found the following training manual c1940:



I am keen to follow up the UK side, so I have e-mailed the RAF Museum to see if they can shed some light on what was sent out to UK personnel whilst on deferred service.

I will keep you posted on that one but would love to hear from the veterans

Regards

Pete
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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 20:51
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Danny, your evocative description of Indian Railways was a particular treat for me. Thank you. It is as always the incidental stuff that strikes a chord. That you could go in any train in any direction for as long as it took as long as you finally alighted at your correct destination. Beats going round and round the Circle line hands down!
The statistics are impressive; a 40,000 mile network, a third of which is electrified. The predominate gauge (a 5'6" broad gauge) has increased from less than half to nearly 90% of route mileage. The mountain railways of course remain in narrow gauge to best negotiate the tight radius turns required. The whole network is a tribute to its present operators and of those who originally constructed it. Some of the most dramatic are the mountain railways of course and thank you, Viola, for the link to the BBC programme about the Kalka-Shimla one. Nothing much seems to have changed since the Raj, the many classes of travel Danny describes are still there. The old English Boarding Schools are still there. The mock Tudor mansions are still there. The only real change is that the winter season that saw the British rulers heading back to the plains now sees the Indian tourists flocking in to see that rarest of sights in India, snow!
Back to your tale, Danny, and the lateral thinking required simply to pay your men and the ingenious way you succeeded in defeating the Accounts Catch-22 is to be commended. Might I suggest if you had indeed suffered a mishap en-route loaded down with HM's dosh, a wise commander would have similarly commended you, but then again wisdom was not what many RAF SOs could be accused of having an excess of.
However, speaking as one whose very first secondary duty was as Sqn Deputy Adjutant I really must say that I am shocked, yes shocked, at the procedure you describe of "binning" any paperwork not demanding immediate action! No wonder you babu disapproved, and rightly so! However, inflicting horse riding upon you was perhaps taking revenge too far. I once briefly tried out that most unpredictable of past-times and can only wholly agree with your conviction of the menace of those wretched creatures!
Interesting that you say that Sergeants then ran the Air Force, and post war the Flight Lieutenants! I was a Flight Lieutenant and the only thing I ran was a Flight Deck. My observation was that if anyone ran it, it was the Corporals. One ran Flight Planning and whenever he went on leave chaos promptly ensued. The Transport Command Route Hotels, or at least their front desks, were also run by Corporals. Get on the wrong side of them and...well let's just not go there.
I do agree though that one does remember the key people in one's career. I was once "assisting" a Board of Inquiry looking into how one of HM's Hastings ended up with its nose buried in the turf instead of rising majestically above it, merely on the pretext that I had been the driver landing it at the time. In bursts Rex Oates (our Detachment EngO) with the news that the starboard main had been found fractured around its entire circumference, causing it to lock on its axle and hence burst the tyre. All directional control was thus lost, leading to the perambulation off the runway until the broken wheel found some nice boggy ground to stop in, causing us to then rotate around it, with the final impetus throwing the tail up and hence the nose down. I was summarily dismissed from the proceedings as being of no further use to them. If you are reading this Rex, a very sincere thank you!

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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 22:03
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Deferred Service and Hill Railways.

My virtual Crewroom is busy again ! Good to see you all back ! Adam first,
When I was on Deferred Service (Jan-May 1941) I got absolutely nothing from the Secretary of State (or anybody else), and in later years I never heard mention of any such letters or offers of a Correspondence Course. So I'm not much use to you, I'm afraid. This seems to be a RAAF thing, and a good idea, too. Sharpening up your Maths and Physics would be very useful indeed.

The Training Manual that Pete has found seems to wrap it up. The Letter of Welcome (Pete again) is very nice as far as it goes. I would go along with it except for the bit about "The Royal Air Force is a highly organised Service". We-el, "up to a point, Lord Copper !"

(Some may recall that the writer, Sir Archibald Sinclair had a son, F/O Robin Sinclair, flying in Burma on Mossies at the time they were falling apart).

Viola, thank you for the kind words, and for pointing me to the iPlayer tonight. It was an interesting series (I think the only one I caught was "Ooty". I never went to Simla (not Shimla - that's just another sneaky change they've slipped in), as it is the Hill Station for Delhi, and I spent my time far East in Bengal and Assam.

angels, it seems that I was right in saying Darjeeling was the line with the "switchback" system. I went up there at least once on leave; you got the night train from Calcutta (Sealdah) and changed onto narrow gauge in the morning at Siliguri.

I am a bit concerned about your Dad having Yellow Fever. We all had a jab for that, and it was supposed to be 100% effective. I never heard of another case, but Jaundice was not all that rare, and that makes you yellow, too. (Could there have been some confusion ?) Of course he could have missed his jab one way or another, but the medics were pretty hot on the paperwork.

There wouldn't have been any "blagging" involved; recuperative leave was an official attachment, a Service duty, so he would have travelled on warrant and had his accommodation laid on. (I had the same thing at Chakrata).

Taphappy, let's be hearing a bit more of your adventures, please. We've been getting a bit anxious about you lately ! - and also DFCP and 26er. We are all "well stricken in years" now, and things happen.

Please keep the questions and comment coming, chaps. It's the lifeblood of this great Thread, and helps to keep it in pole position on Page 1 where it belongs.

I'll put a bit more into my railway Post by way of an Edit soon, and I'm back in (or rather struggling out of) Cannanore in the Monsoon next time,

Goodnight, all,

Danny.
 
Old 3rd Oct 2012, 01:01
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This time the whole letter has loaded (the top few paras were cut off the first time I looked at it), and I now see there's a reference to "equip yourself for your Air Force career by studying subjects which will help you". Presumably the 'arrangements' would be some sort of guidance on which subjects to concentrate on, and where the prospective airman would find a relevent course.
Thank you Danny, you're now the third British serviceman with no recollection of any Air Force-provided pre-training study, strongly suggesting that such a thing didn't in fact exist.
And that training manual nails it. 21 lessons, RAAF issued, and in tiny print at the bottom, something about returning it when 'the reservist is called up'. I reckon we've found our beast.

Well done, all!

Adam
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Old 3rd Oct 2012, 01:06
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Chugalug,

Your last Post crept in while I was mutinously re-typing my last remarks. Normally I always draft on "Notepad", but because things had got a bit late, I decided to cut the corner and do it on the Prune reply pad.

Why do I never learn ? Of course, you can guess what happened. And why does the malevolent demon that haunts this Thread always wait till it's all done and you're just putting the final polish on, before he puts the boot in ? I think PPRuNe should invoke the services of a clergyman/witch doctor/shaman (or all three) on a no-exorcism, no fee basis to settle this brute's hash.

Reverting to the points raised: our total-loss filing policy may not have been quite "comme-il-faut", but it worked successfully and was on a par with the classic description of a lie, which is: "an abomination unto the Lord but a help in a time of trouble !"

Yes the Indian railways were a wonderful work of the Raj, and as originally conceived, they could alleviate famine by transferring grain and rice stocks rapidly across country in time of need (the only alternative then being bullock-carts at 1 mph average while they are moving).

Of course they could equally move troops quickly to affected regions in times of insurrection, on Stonewall Jackson's military principle of "getting there fustest with the mostest". Hill stations would be inaccessible without them, although I suppose helicopters could fill the bill for the wealthy.

The Sahibs built their Hill Stations with stockbroker-belt Surrey in mind; as bits of Old England. I have always been rather sorry that our rule there ended so abruptly; it was a pity that some form of Dominion status could not have been devised.

I felt that we could have continued our association for another 100 years to the great benefit of both countries, but it was not to be. From this, you will have gathered that I am an unregenerate old Imperialist, and proud of it, which puts me "beyond the pale"'.

Your unfortunate experience with the broken wheel ended happily with your leaving Court without a stain on your character, but it does beg the question: who flew it last before you ? It must have had a fair old thump from someone in the recent past !

Needless to say, this is on Notepad now, so I defy the Demon to do his worst !

Goodnight,

Danny.
 
Old 3rd Oct 2012, 08:07
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Danny, sorry to hear that the PPRuNe dog ate all your homework yet again. If it is of any consolation he also ate my last post. What I have found though is that when you hit "Submit" only to be then invited to sign in again, click instead the browser "go back" arrow. You should find your work still there in its composing panel. Hold down left click and drag the mouse over the script until it is all highlighted, then right click and select "Copy". Now you can sign in again, go to the now empty panel, right click and select "Paste". The wretched hound should now regurgitate your words of wisdom as good as new. Hope that helps. What about scanning some of your docs and pics and including them in your posts? Ready to have a go? Just think of it as AFTS ;-)
It was only after my collar was released that I discovered that the Hastings mainwheels were the same as those on the Shackletons, Lincolns, Lancasters, Halifaxes, etc and were known to have a weakness for fracturing within the tyre well as had happened to me. The only problem was that this known weakness was not known to we crews, not that there was much that we could have done differently anyway.
A Hastings arrival depended on at least three people for its success; the driver of course, the Flight Engineer who closed off the power on the command "Slow Cut" from said driver, or "Cut" in the case of a Tactical Landing, and the Almighty who determined the outcome of the other two's efforts with whimsical unpredictability. Thus I thumped them in many more times than I care to remember like everyone else and am just as likely to have been the cause of my own discomfort as was anyone else. The annoying thing is that this last one was a "greaser", but all to no avail.
The other thing that I remember about that experience is that my Boss sent off a crew on a "Training Exercise" to land at the A/F where I had rendered my a/c Cat5, and where I was now marooned and surplus to requirements, to scoop me up and authorised me to Captain the return flight. I was extraordinarily blessed with good Bosses.

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Old 3rd Oct 2012, 08:27
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Danny/Angels
Yellow Fever. I presume that Angels’ father was in Rangoon after it was retaken as he was flown out by Dak. I do not know what date the RAF introduced jabs for yellow fever or how meticulous they were in ensuring everyone everywhere had one. Rangoon fell to the Japanese in March 1942 and squadrons had to evacuate as best they could; even within individual squadrons some personnel flew out, some left by ship and some had to walk out of Burma. Of those that left by ship there are reports of numbers of RAF personnel dying from yellow fever whilst on board. David
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Old 3rd Oct 2012, 11:41
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RAF training whilst on deferred service

For completeness, the following is the response from Peter Elliott at the RAF Museum regarding the "Message of Welcome" sentence "arrangements will be made to help you in your studies and you will be told about these in due course".

A big thank you to Peter and all the staff at the RAF Museum who are always extremely helpful.

I’ve not been able to trace a letter giving further details of the “arrangements” in our collection.

From March 1943 those who were selected for training as Pilot, Navigator or Bomb Aimer were given training in maths, general science, mechanical drawing, geography, English and modern history on “full time educational courses of six months duration [to be] held in colleges and schools… The problem was partly one of providing the candidates with the basic education, mostly of a mathematical and scientific character, which they required in order to be able to absorb the course of aircrew training [and] to form or revive habits of study, and to develop an attitude of enquiry and self-reliance in the solution of problems.”

The course was widened to all aircrew trainees in the Spring of 1944 and the last course began in September 1944. Cadets who were selected for the Preliminary Air Crew Training Scheme were placed on deferred service but recalled six months earlier than they would if they had not joined the scheme".

Last edited by Petet; 3rd Oct 2012 at 11:49.
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Old 3rd Oct 2012, 12:06
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Yellow Fever.

West of London & angels,

As I recall, I had my yellow fever jab in late October '42, while at 9 P.R.C. , Blackpool. I think I had to go to Padgate to get it, so it may have been a New Thing then. Otherwise they'd have had the stocks of vaccine at Blackpool, for I think all the people going out East passed through there.

I think angels' Father came out after the '42 Retreat, but I stand to be corrected on that. It is quite possible that the "refugees" from Singapore and Malaya had not all been inoculated as they had gone out earlier.

We knew Yellow Fever was dangerous, but I did not hear of any cases in my time. The belief was that the inoculation gave lifetime protection. We really need a M.O. from those days to answer.

Danny42C.
 
Old 3rd Oct 2012, 17:17
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Danny/Angels. Yes I think we need a MO. According to wiki yellow fever is not found in Asia; and yet Danny had a jab for it, Angels’ father reportedly had it and 113 squadron (who went to India/Burma after service in North Africa) reported death from it during the retreat from Rangoon.
I do not know from when everybody going east would have gone via Blackpool but my father went to India in March 1942; according to his squadron’s (82) ORB they entrained at Watton and went straight to Liverpool where they embarked on the Empress of Russia. According to an account of a 79 squadron member who was on the same ship they were not told where they were going but guessed as they had been issued with tropical kit. David
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Old 3rd Oct 2012, 18:32
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Yellow Fever

FWIW,

IIRC; One of the many jabs I was given on enlistment in 1971 was for yellow fever. It was good for 10 years as I recall, then a booster was required.. When I was posted to Gan, I was given another, regardless.

It was a very long time ago, but the memory of shuffling in line with sleeves rolled up, past medics standing on either side of the line armed with needles administering 1 in each forearm, 1 in each upper arm, will live with me forever.

TB
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