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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 29th Nov 2012, 14:30
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Do you see what you've done here Danny? Advanced to post-war, and raised motorbikes, that's what! With apologies and hopes to read the post-war career.

@ lasernigel and mikehallam. It's a Venom Clubman, easily capable of the ton (not that I ever did that, against the law you know hahaha). It came with a fairing and the reverse cone megaphone. I ditched the fairing (hence the headlight taped on, awaiting a proper mounting). The mega looked (and sounded) much better than the fishtail, so I kept that.

DBD34=Gold Star. Triumph twins were faster for about 10 minutes, until the pistons melted, and the vibrations caused the headlight to fall off and the footrests to unscrew. The Velo had long legs and could keep up 70-80 all day.

/Diversion over. Danny, please give us more post-war. I have a couple of observations from my late father-out-law (the other side) but I don't want to thread-bomb any further.

Last edited by Yamagata ken; 29th Nov 2012 at 14:41.
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Old 29th Nov 2012, 14:50
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Ken...Velo Thruxton with a non-standard "mega" (megaphone exhaust in lieu of the standard Velocette "flat" silencer with the huge perforated fishtail )
In front of a rover 3 litre coupe, in front of a Bedford C A Dormobile?

I really must get out more!

Still clearing my late ladyfriend's house, have found a photo album with a couple of snaps which connect to the tiny diary of which i posted some entries.

In due course i hope to be able to post them all.

Last edited by cockney steve; 29th Nov 2012 at 14:54.
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Old 29th Nov 2012, 15:46
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There's a back story behind that photo. Coventry was blitzed because it was the centre of the UK's machine tool industry. Whatever was made in the UK was made with Coventry tools. The Rover is part of that story.
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Old 29th Nov 2012, 20:35
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Motorcycles Galore

Yamagata ken, cockney steve, lasernigel, and mikehallam,

What have I unleashed !! Lest I be confused with the oily, leathered brethren, let me set the picture straight:

(a) I never had a motorbike when young (couldn't afford it).

(b) Only rode a m/c once in my life - sometime in RAF, don't remember where. Was a Dispatch Rider's 350 (?) Matchless (?) with gearshift on tank. Didn't fall off.

(c) Had a BSA Winged Wheel (remember them ?) in '56-'59. Did 3,000 miles home-duty on it. Think I got paid 1p/mile, but showed a profit. Plug (car type 14mm) was bigger than pot (25cc). Vne 25 mph on level, against full brake 24mph (inadvertently had to test, story one day).

(d) Hold licence to ride any 2-wheel beast, by reason of test passed '53 on Bond Minicar (non-reversible tricycle in law - for all Law knows, I might not even be able to ride a pushbike).

ken,

Nice bike ! (bloke looks quite good, too).

Will get next Post in ASAP before Moderator loses patience with us, Danny
 
Old 29th Nov 2012, 22:54
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"What have I unleashed !! "

- only just a whiff of the wonderful cameraderie which exists in your (bulging) 'virtual crewroom'!

(my own two-wheel comments suppressed - with difficulty - lest we drift hugely off-topic; the post-war narrative is most eagerly awaited - please!).
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Old 30th Nov 2012, 21:44
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Danny, you were a man of taste and discernment with a "Winged Wheel"
The peasantry made do with a Cyclemaster or even the "Powa-Pak"..(remember you could get a very heavy -duty ribbed back tyre that the drive-roller of the latter made short work of! ) then there was the French Berini-a front wheel version of the friction-drive Powa Pak.....there was the Ducati Cucciolo a rare beast! and a whole host of other fringe makes at ~200 mpg I'm surprised there has not been a renaissance in this form of transport,-especially as today's brakes are actually effective.

Keep on with the reminiscences they evoke times long-gone.
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Old 1st Dec 2012, 01:34
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Danny goes for Demob.

The end came very swiftly. I could not have got home before 12 June. But although I started my disembarkation leave immediately, I could not exist in a vacuum as far as the RAF was concerned - I must be posted somewhere. The choice fell on Middle Wallop (don't ask me why). So after enjoying my leave in Southport for a fortnight, I went down there until the end of the month, when my demob number came up. During that time I did absolutely nothing.

However, for the moment we are in Southport. Among the many attractions of that fair town is a Lido. It was a bright, breezy day. I decided on a swim. The Lido screening walls sheltered me from the half-gale off the Irish Sea, the sun shone and the water glittered invitingly. I might have noticed that there weren't many in the water. I dived in.

I thought I was dead - the cold hit me like a blow - it was absolutely freezing. I rose from the water like a Polaris missile and got ashore - I don't think I swam, but must have run on top of the water across to the side. There, wrapped in towel, it was about twenty minutes before my teeth stopped chattering. Then, and only then, did I look at the blackboard. It read 55°F or something like it. Bit of a change from my last swim !

I spent quite a bit of time at the Lido, but contented myself with topping-up the tan I'd come home with (and leaving the water alone !) It was during this time that I was surprised to see M. Giroup (oux ?) plying his trade in the old Fox Moth, coming over every four minutes (and earning £2 a time). (Fredjhh and I exchanged reminiscences about this many Posts ago).

I never thought that the "five-bob" flights would do much business after the war, but really the vast majority of people were no more air-minded than they'd been in 1939. It was only the small minority of WW2 aircrew who thought no more of climbing into a cockpit than hopping on a bike. The era of mass air transportation was many years in the future.

The two weeks were up, I went down to Middle Wallop. There must have been some paperwork involved, and after a week or two I went from there to the Demob Centre about 1st July. And where was that ? I can offer Wilmslow, Padgate, Warton - but all are guesses. But wherever it was, they must have taken in my 1250: there were no ranks any more now. IIRC, I got a pork-pie hat, a raincoat, brogues (?), sports jacket and flannels, a white shirt (and tie ?) and a cardboard suitcase to put it in. Goodbye and Good Luck !

Of course I was still on strength; they paid me up until 31st August (Demobilisation Leave). They gave me a gratuity (about £150, I think). With this, added to the £500 Banker's Draft I'd brought home, I opened my first Bank Account. This was a very useful buffer, for my income position was not so rosy.

The Government of India had been paying me the rupee equivalent of about £60 p.m., but of course that ceased the moment the ship cast off in Bombay. The RAF took over at the rate of 24/- a day (for a Flt.Lt.), which in my arithmetic is about £36 p.m. Scarcely had I adjusted to this change in my fortunes when they got rid of me and I had to earn my keep in the Civil Service on a princely £25 p.m. (it is hard to get an accurate comparison with the present, but a ratio of 38:1 is not far out).

And at that I was luckier than many. In the course of my efforts in the Resettlement Advice Office (a Physician who could not Heal Himself), I heard heart-rending tales of many who were really on the breadline after demob, and I did what I could to shoe-horn them into the TMC III (Temporary Male Clerk) vacancies which were cropping up in the wartime evacuated Govt. Departments which still filled most of the big hotels. These posts were not overpaid, as you can well imagine, but the poor devils were pathetically grateful for my efforts, and I made many friends in that way.

Passports started to be issued again; the Ministry of Labour and National Service got in on the act, but only to the extent that we took applications in for a quick check before passing them on to the Liverpool Passport Office, who were snowed under. As my Resettlement Advice Office (a rather dignified double-fronted former shop in Lord Street) was rather less squalid than the Labour Exchange, I collected the job, which really boiled down to helping the functionally illiterate (very few in those times) and looking out for photos endorsed by "Michael Mouse, Esq." and the like. The days passed pleasantly enough.

For my leisure hours, I'd joined the Territorial Association Rifle Club. At weekends we went out to the nearby Altcar ranges. I was no William Tell, but once managed to win a "Spoon Shoot" (I must have been very lightly handicapped !) The little silver coffee spoon has stayed with me for years.
Gun control hardly seemed to exist at all. I don't think I even had to have a gun licence for the P.2 (?) Canadian long-barrel, five-round-magazine .303 I had. It was kept in the umbrella stand in the hall (minus bolt, of course). Nobody turned a hair.

They had a 25-yard miniature indoor range at the Drill Hall with Webley and Parker-Hale "Match rifles". The tiny "long-rifle" rimfire .22 cartridges were fed into their old pattern Martini-Henry single-shot actions. This mechanism dated back to the nineteenth century; it was used in the British Army before the introduction of the Lee-Metfords and Lee-Enfields which were the weapons in issue for both World Wars. The indoor range was open most weeknights in the winter. Your only expense was the ammo.

G'night, all,

Danny42C.


POSTSCRIPTS

lasernigel,
The "Prince of Wales" - the Savoy of Southport ! My Resettlement Office (ex-shop) was on the same side of Lord St, and just the other side of Portland (?) St. The "Royal" was the Ministry of Something or Other. Their canteen did a good lunch. Digress away to your heart's content !.........D.

Yamagata ken, Divert away likewise !.........D.

dogle, Drift ditto !......D.

cockney steve,
My W/Wheel was half-price (£12.10) ex "Exchange & Mart". For that only got the Wheel, had to add old bike (15/-), front wheel (£1 or so) and moped saddle (£ ?) for comfort. SATCO had Cyclemaster, licked him hollow on race round taxiway........D.

All's grist that comes to the mill ! (or my Virtual Clubroom)......D.
 
Old 3rd Dec 2012, 22:28
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Danny gets his Skates on and tries for ATC in Eire.

Long ago I've related how I came in possession of my first set of ice skates, and now I made full use of them, going down to the Sheil Road rink in Liverpool two or three times a week. I kept this up for the three winter seasons ('46 to '48) that I stayed at home, only packing up when the warmer spring weather overpowered the refrigeration plant and the ice started to melt on top. This makes it beautiful to skate on, but rather embarrassing if you go down in it.

I have always been puzzled at the low "take-up" of this excellent winter pastime. You're out of the cold and rain, it's as good for keeping you fit as today's soulless treadmills ("gyms") and much less sweaty, there's the social side to it, and you soon get over the bruises once you learn to go down gracefully when you've passed the point of no return, and not rigidly like a railway signal. And it's not too expensive.

In the early half of the last century I believe it was very popular indeed in Britain, but nowadays there are just flurries of interest when the nation suddenly realises, in the Winter Olympics, that it's got a dark horse prospect for Gold coming up on the rails. The Sheil Road rink closed in 1986 (Wiki). I did a bit more on the ice at Billingham with my wife and daughter in my fifties.

There was no hope after the war for a single-engined pilot in civil aviation - there was no point in even trying. But an advertisement in "Flight" caught my eye one day. Shannon Airport had vacancies for Air Traffic Controllers: they would consider applications from Pilots and Navigators without ATC experience. I'm not sure, but it may have been at the start of the time when the North Atlantic route was flown Heathrow-Shannon-Gander-New York as the aircraft didn't have the fuel for one hop. They specified "one foreign European language". Well, I'd a Higher in French, didn't I ? Have a go ! Interviews in Dublin. Well, that's handy enough from L'pool.

They put a French speaker on , and that was the end of me. As in all British schools then, they'd turned out (after seven years hard work) someone who could discourse learnedly of Corneille, Racine and Molière but couldn't ask the way to the station ("C'ést magnifique, mais ce n'ést pas la gare") - sorry, couldn't resist it ! They were very decent about it, paid my ferry fare and put me up for the night in quite a decent hotel.

Sipping a quiet coffee in the lounge after dinner, I couldn't help hearing the chat at the next table. The speaker was telling of some chap who had just signed whatever was the Irish version of the Pledge. "And not only did he not touch the stuff himself", said he, but now in tones of deepest horror: "but he even tried to put other people off it !". A murmer of shocked disbelief ran round.

Haunted by the fate of many ex-servicemen after WW1, the Resettlement Act compelled employers, where possible, to reinstate their workers after military service. This had to be done, even if it meant the dismissal of temporary staff who had filled the breach for years. As an employer, the Government had to give a good example in the Civil Service. Indeed when I left for the RAF, I was "consoled" by my workmates (all ex-soldiers from '14-'18): "Never mind, lad, your job'll be here for you when you get back".

Tactfully, "if" wasn't mentioned. Just as well, Ken Scott, the only other young man in the office, had volunteered for aircrew just before me. He did quite well for himself as a Nav, reaching Squadron Leader before his luck ran out. I came back, and the job was there.

More later. Goodnight, all,

Danny42C.


Return please.....Where to ?.....Back here, of course !

Last edited by Danny42C; 3rd Dec 2012 at 22:35. Reason: Typo.
 
Old 3rd Dec 2012, 23:49
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Talking Sperling

While based at RAF Mountbatten in the late 70's I was fortunate to skipper ' Sperling ' on several occasions . Does anyone know what happened to 'Sperling ' after the closure of Mountbatten ?
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Old 5th Dec 2012, 09:13
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Danny, what an utter contrast to your life in India. There you were a Commanding Officer. There you were a military pilot. Now you are demobbed and earning less than half of what you were paid in India. Yet you say that you were better off than most, and being employed no doubt you were. These were hard bleak years. Rationing was if anything more severe than in wartime. Any consumer goods produced, especially cars, were aimed at export and hence earning us the all important US dollars needed to pay off our wartime debts. So what is your response? Logical and purposeful as ever. Get a better job. Try for ATC but get rebuffed by the bizarre need for spoken French (I seem to remember that you could learn any living language at school then, as long as it was French. Reading and writing it was important, speaking it was not; the oral test at O level I took concentrated as ever on directions to stations (or perhaps as you hint, to wars). What a pity that ICAO was yet to be invented with the insistance that English would be the Lingua Franca, no doubt despite outraged protests by Versailles.
You'll be back again no doubt and in the meantime make the most of things, in particular via the local ice rink. You wonder why they are no longer part of our scene. I do too, but no doubt our aversion to anything that causes you to trip or stumble and encourages you to phone an 0800 number if you do might have something to do with it. Much better it seems to watch from our sofas others doing it, together with other vicarious pleasures. Unintended consequences? No worries, the Pizza man is here.

Maugster, welcome to the thread and with an appropriate WWII era query at that. I'm afraid I don't know Sperling's fate but I suspect that she is now in the great boatyard in the sky. I certainly remember being part of her crew as a Flt Cdt in the early 60s, beating across the channel at night, with half of us on deck and the other half below pumping out the water that her leaking seams allowed in. She was an old lady then, dating from the 30s. For those who don't know, she was post war booty seized by the RAF from the Luftwaffe and continued her life providing aircrew R&R, albeit now for the enemy.

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Old 5th Dec 2012, 09:38
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Does anyone know what happened to 'Sperling ' after the closure of Mountbatten? - Maugster

For those who don't know, she was post war booty seized by the RAF from the Luftwaffe and continued her life providing aircrew R&R, albeit now for the enemy
- Chugalug

For the true story you can read all about the "Windfalls" here:

Home

Continuing the Military Aircrew theme, I seem to recall that the author, Mick Cudmore, was an air engineering specialist, qualified as a maintenance test pilot.

Jack
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Old 5th Dec 2012, 20:01
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What goes up, comes down

Chugalug,

The trouble was, we young men were never going to come back the same as when we went away. But exactly that is what post-war Britain expected. As Cincinnatus returned to the plough, so it was assumed that the "citizen army" would gratefully peel off its uniform (after WW1 often cut up to make "hooky mats"), and pick up where it left off. Picking up might not be all that easy to do.

Pumping-out a foundering vessel in mid-Channel at night seems an odd form of "R&R", but then it takes all sorts !..........D.

Maugster,

Welcome aboard ! You did right to choose this Thead, for this is where the Oldest Inhabitants have in their keeping the Wisdom of the Ages. Please don't let this be the last time we hear from you - all have something to put in the pot !..............D.

Cheers, to you both (and to Union Jack), Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 5th Dec 2012 at 22:04. Reason: Spelling error
 
Old 5th Dec 2012, 20:52
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Danny tries to get back, and a Tale of Two Rats

We had spread our wings, now was the time to get back in the cage. I stayed with the Ministry of Labour till June '48, then transferred on promotion to the newly formed Ministry of National Insurance and found myself running a Pensions section. I would be with them for only nine months, but in that time happened on my patch the only thing which is now worth putting on paper, for it was a bizarre story.

A worker at a market garden died of Weil's disease. This is an infection transmitted by rats, and it was admitted that there were rats on the employer's premises. But this chap had a garden of his own, and there were rats there too. The question arose: whose rat was to blame ?

You might think this an academic distinction. Not to the grieving widow, it wasn't ! If his own rat were the culprit, she'd get only the standard State widow's pension. But if it could be pinned on the firm's rat, it would be an Industrial Injuries pension, and that was a good deal more generous. The Civil Service loves a conundrum like this.

Short of putting the rat on the witness stand, we had to decide on the balance of probabilities. I opted for the firm's rat. My superior overruled me. The widow appealed (at my instigation) * to Tribunal - and won ! Amazingly, the Department wanted to take it further (I suppose they were afraid of A Dangerous Precedent Being Established), and it looked as if it might finish in the House of Lords. * (rather naughty of me, but there you go).

Eventually, however, the file (which now probably needed a wheelbarrow to carry it round Whitehall) landed on the desk of a mandarin with common sense (there are one or two still). He put a stop to the nonsense; our widow got her Industrial Injuries pension.

All this dragged on for months. Originally, I had suggested that the lesser rate of pension be put in issue immediately, and the arrears paid later if the decision went in the widow's favour. The Civil Service doesn't work that way. Until the case was decided, she got nothing at all and had to fall back on the not-so-tender mercy of the (then) Assistance Board. They were still imbued with the ethos of the old Poor Law, and I don't suppose she got kindly treatment. ("Do you have a piano ?......You do?....... Come back to us when you have no piano !")

The prospect of spending the next thirty-plus years stirring this kind of paperwork round lost whatever charm it might have had for me. Would the RAF have me back ? It was worth a try.

I'd already tried to get a foothold back in the Service. No. 611 (Wesl Lancashire) Auxiliaries had Spitfire XIVs at Woodvale, quite handy for me, but they were up to Establishment - or so their Adjutant said. ("Don't call us, we'll call you !") I had better luck with the RAFVR; they were reconstituted in '47, I think, and I joined them as a Flying Officer (with my old number), at their HQ in Fazackerley (L'pool). But they had no training whatever organised up to the time I left.

Surprisingly, I got a reply from the RAF. And so, on a dark November afternoon I waited with two or three others in a room in the old Adastral House in Holborn. I wasn't too hopeful. The buzz was that they'd already got their quota for the month or whatever, and were just going through the motions. My turn came. I squared my shoulders and went in.

Goodnight, again,

Danny42C.


Nothing venture, nothing gain.

Last edited by Danny42C; 14th Jan 2015 at 01:53. Reason: "AcAdemic", not "AcEdemic" of course !
 
Old 5th Dec 2012, 21:01
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Nothing venture, nothing gain.

Danny, you ventured into PPRuNe and we all gained!

Jack
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Old 6th Dec 2012, 18:16
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Jack,

Thanks for the kind words - now how about some sea-stories ?

All the best,

Danny.
 
Old 6th Dec 2012, 19:43
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Looked in for the first time in a few days and wasn't disappointed. Thanks Danny!
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Old 7th Dec 2012, 21:49
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Danny gets back in (Small World Part II).

Three officers in mufti faced me across the table. The President rose to introduce two Squadron Leaders. He did not need to introduce himself. He was my old Wing Commander M....? from Cholaveram, with whom I'd juggled the shaky finances of our Mess three years before . We fell on each other's necks like long-lost brothers in an orgy of reminiscence. The other two hardly got a word in. No undertakings could be given, of course, but I went out into the dark, foggy rush hour with a spring in my step.

The offer came in the following March. Short-service, (8 + 4), as a Flying Officer GD(P). Pay: 19/10 a day (you'd think they'd make it a pound !). Actually, it was a little less than my CS salary (£420 p.a.) At the same time the Ministry of Food offered me another step up in their Head office in Rhyl. But Ration books (rationing was still in force) sounded no more exciting than Pension books. I resigned; they made it clear that I was burning my boats and forfeiting all pension entitlement (with war service included, I'd had ten years as an established Civil Servant). Aged 27, that didn't worry me unduly. I accepted the RAF offer.

I hadn't timed things very well. If I'd had 3½ year's commissioned service, I would have come back as a Flt. Lt. But I was two months short of that (and now would have to pass the Promotion Exam as well). And if I'd been out for 3 years, they'd have given me another full Uniform allowance (£94, say £3,000 now). But I was six months short there, too. With two years out, they paid me only half (less than two years, you got nothing - they reckoned you'd still have most of your kit).

I got out my faithful old tin box and set about filling it. First stop was Gieves in L'pool. Among other things they sold me two Van Heusen RAF shirts for three guineas. I later found that I could have got them from RAF Stores at a third of that price (which I'm sure they well knew). I've never dealt with them since.

Then I learned of the existence of Bedfords of Newark (kindly PPRuNers have recently recalled the name to me). From them I got a quite decent 2/h Greatcoat and a No.1 SD (these would both be wartime pattern, although I believe the SD had changed in '47). This begs the question, did I go to Middle Wallop with just battledress ? There must have been a blanket permission to allow it in the Mess in the evenings there. My old SD cap from Calcutta was a rather fetching greenish blue (from repeated dunkings in 100-octane), and the moth had got in the badge padding, but I got away with it for quite some time.

At the beginning of July I reported to Biggin Hill. This was then just a reception centre for returners, we went through the paperwork and I had all my inoculations brought up to date. They decided to put me into Fighter Command, presumably on the strength of my Spitfire OCU seven years before (and I hadn't touched a Spitfire since). In hindsight I can see that this was a mistake. A F/O aged 27 with little seniority is exactly what a fighter squadron commander doesn't want.

They would have done far better to twin-convert me and put me into Bomber/Transport/Coastal/Commands/even boats). But I was in, that was the main thing.

That's all for tonight,

Danny42C.


So far, so good.

Last edited by Danny42C; 8th Dec 2012 at 21:53. Reason: Typo.
 
Old 8th Dec 2012, 15:26
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Danny starts flying again, but not for long, and becomes a Gentleman of Leisure.

The die was cast. I went straight up to Finningley for a refresher Course. My instructor was a P2 Lamont (= F/Sgt - the short-lived "four-star-brandy" rank system had come into effect for aircrew SNCOs). A few hours on a Harvard and it was if I'd never been away. (It's true, it's like riding a bike, you don't forget). One day I went up for half-an-hour's solo aerobatics. Rusty after three years out of the cockpit and grossly overconfident, I tried an upward roll. I ended up stuck vertically with zero on the ASI (the only time I've ever seen that in the air !), the engine stalled and the prop stopped. I was too slow even to stall-turn out.

I closed the throttle, turned the stick loose and left the aircraft to look after itself. This it did, tail-sliding for a moment and then tumbling out untidily into a dive. Speed came back, prop windmilled, engine restarted and normal service was resumed. When I got down, it struck me how closely my predicament had resembled the hoary old "Line to End All Lines". (From memory, it went: "There a' was, upside down, hangin' in me straps, fcuk-all on the clock but the maker's name, stick hard over, spinnin' like hell - and still climbin' " - but there are other versions).

Then back onto the Spitfire again. These were Mk. XVIs, which as everybody knows are Mk. IXs (the best of all the Merlin Spits) but fitted with the General Motors licence-built Merlin 266s (the "Packard Merlins"). These engines were every bit as good as the original. The Spits were just as nice as I remembered, more powerful, heavier and less "floaty", but still quite as delightful to fly. I had about 15 hours on them at Finningley, and 10 on the Harvard.

The next step would be to convert me onto these new-fangled jet things. But there was only one conversion school (Driffield) and quite a backlog for it. My pencilled-in date was February 1950: it was now mid-August 1949. And now they hadn't got the wartime gaggle of Transit Camps any more. They reached a solution agreeable to all parties: "Go home on indefinite leave on full pay plus ration allowance. We'll call you when we're ready."

This is a "bit of all right", I thought. We were living in Heswall (Wirral) now. Hoylake was just up the road, they had a lake and a sailing club with "Fireflies", a small Lido and Hilbre Island to go out to. (RAF West Kirkby, where I'd been incarcerated on arrival at Liverpool, is not far away). On full pay (even if there wasn't much of it) and ration allowance, and no Mess Bills to pay, I could live the life of Reilly.

And there was a girl in Hoylake .......... Paddy, where are you now ?

G'day, mates,

Danny42C.


You can't lose 'em all !

Last edited by Danny42C; 5th Oct 2017 at 10:47. Reason: Addn.
 
Old 8th Dec 2012, 20:46
  #3279 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Danny:
But I was in, that was the main thing.
Indeed Danny. You may be facing yet another cut in your pay, you may have worn out kit and little left of your reduced uniform allowance to augment it thanks to Gieves (certain dialect pronunciations of which have the first letter sounding "th" rather than the expected hard "g" or even soft "j"). But, as you say, you are in. No mean feat indeed considering that the overall aim was to run the Services down to peacetime levels. Your old Wg Cdr was in the right place at the right time, wasn't he?
You say that the RAF should have trained you for multi-engine rather than fighter types. Perhaps, but your past descriptions of certain airborne "situations", including this latest Harvard one, seem to me at least to show an interest in exploring boundaries more in keeping and in accordance with their airships view. However, as one who kept strictly to straight and level, and tea on the hour every hour, I may be greatly in error.
The Firefly rings bells, for that was the sailing dinghy supplied in hundreds to the RAF by the Nuffield Trust, and found all over the world in RAF Sailing Clubs at Stations on Islands, Coasts, or by Rivers and Lakes, ie everywhere! When RAF Gan indented for a few more I believe they got a rather peevish response from His Lordship's Trust that they could indeed have them as long as they were collected from Christmas Island, recently closed down completely and where everything other than the personnel and their kit had been left behind.
While we are on things nautical, may I make it quite clear that Sperling never foundered, in my time anyway. On the contrary she went like the proverbial, being the thoroughbred that she was. She may have leaked like a sieve and hence kept her crews occupied in returning the "sea to shining sea", but she could show a clean pair of heels to the younger whipper snappers such as the later "touring" boats like Dambuster. The words bomb scows come to mind again!

Last edited by Chugalug2; 8th Dec 2012 at 22:43.
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Old 9th Dec 2012, 00:24
  #3280 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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Old Sea Puppies.

Chugalug,

Yes, my former Station Commander/PMC really appeared on cue, for you're quite right about the manning position in the RAF. By 1949 they had more or less succeeded in getting rid of all the wartime people they wanted to lose - from memory, I think the number of names in the active pages of the Air Force List had come down from 100,000 to 10,000 or so.

But they weren't as good as tempting in the youngsters for short-service as they had been pre-war (although the competition for prized Cranwell cadetships was as strong as ever); this was the reason that a few "retreads" like me crept in to bulk up the base of the manning pyramid.

Their Airships may have had great things in mind for me, but what I ended up with with was the tamest of the tame, as will soon be revealed - and we'd no one to bring us any tea ! (Call of the Greater ATCO-Bird: "What is the Echo-Tango-Alpha of the Tango-Echo-Alpha ?")

Speaking as a devout landlubber, I certainly don't wish to cast any aspersions on "Sperling" (I've found a photo in Google - she looks magnificent). Nor do I wish to give the impression that I did much actual sailing. From observation, this seemed to me to consist mostly of getting very cold and wet what with all this gybeing and capsizing and things.

The only time I was ever in command of a sailing vessel would be around '34, when the Mooragh Park Lake (Ramsey, I.O.M.) cheerfully let a 12 year old loose (with ten minutes of instruction) alone in this old tub of a dinghy, with just enough sail to keep it moving. ('Elf & Safety, where wert thou ?) Mother (ashore) knitted placidly, knowing I could swim pretty well.

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 9th Dec 2012 at 00:26. Reason: Error.
 

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