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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 22nd Oct 2008, 09:57
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Thanks for that Andy I'll watch that film when I can sort me and their schedule to coincide. Must explore the library list for the books as well.
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Old 22nd Oct 2008, 15:51
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Mesa Arizona

Andy - Managed to log on to Mesa and stream some music. Noted that the first B.F.T.S program is on Tuesday 28/10/08 at 10 P.m. Would this be 6 A.M Wednesday 29th?
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Old 22nd Oct 2008, 16:27
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oops I forgot

How could I forget:-

The Arnold Scheme
( by Gilbert S. Guinn ) ISBN: 9781596290426

It's very complete but a "hard" read, I can only read a few pages at a time!
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Old 22nd Oct 2008, 22:03
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Gentlemen, I just wish to thank you all for your fascinating reminiscences.
The minutiae if your times is what brings them to life....the many "throwaway " comments that must hide another good yarn...the massive difference between US and UK training (did you survive because of the superior training, or was it just luck,was it cost-effective to spend that long training a pilot that comprehensively for such a short "working life"

I had the honour of working for Wing Commander E.J.Milne, DFC, when I maintained his motorcars. I only became aware of his DFC,by accident.
A very self-effacing gentleman, he claimed his decoration was due to cowardice...I couldn't let that go,so over a "brew" I made him spill the beans.
Eric was a Recce pilot, latterly flying Mustangs, no armament but FAST....so, Eric, having decided that the war wouldn't finish "tomorrow" would fly to his alloted target, do a photo-run and hightail it.

If, subsequently, the pics were not up to scratch, he would repeat the exercise after about three weeks had elapsed...his theory being that the jerries had nodded off again, He claimed that the concientious guys took a second run if the first was questionable,-but that had woken the defence who proceeded to reinforce the statistical chance of 1 1/2 missions for a recce pilot!
Eric lived in a large house and grounds on the side of Wharmton (father was a mill-owner) and apparently would announce his safe homecoming by howling down the valley and pulling up over Wharmton!

After numerous complaints, this activity was apparently curtailed.
(according to locals who witnessed these "flypasts"

RIP Eric, a true gentleman.

Please keep writing, the people who were there are passing and the memories are going with them.

My own father was in the merchant navy, WW1....was blind,but never found out the "whats and whys" apart from a terse "gunflash".

Thank you for the memories you're sharing.
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Old 23rd Oct 2008, 17:02
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Three Years To Win Brevet.

February the 5th 1944 and we now had our wings. We now had no need to worry about anything , but say our goodbyes and prepare for leaving Ponca City. But that only entailed putting our mug, knife, fork, spoon, flannel, tooth brush, hair brush, and Brilcreme in our small packs, load our kit bags, and wait for transport to the station.. So think I will now pause and try to work out how long it had taken to “Obtain a pilots brevet in W.W 2.”

Visited recruiting office and accepted as suitable for pilot U/T. About December 1941.
Visited R.A.F Padgate for exams and tests . About January 1942.
Informed I had passed the exams but to await release from the Ministry of Labour as I was in a “reserved occupation”
About March /42 Informed I had been released from the Ministry of Labour and given an R.A.F number together with a R.A.F.V.R silver badge. At this time I was an apprentice and a National Fire Service, acting , unpaid. spare time motor cycle dispatch rider for the central fire station. from which I was discharged in March 1942..
Called up 19/10/42 . Given a railway warrant and instructed to report to No 1 A.C.R.C. Lords Cricket ground. About eleven months ? That seems to me like three years to obtain the brevet. !!!! To think this started because someone managed it in four months, and then I was encouraged to tell how long it took me.

Yes, cockneysteve, luck did play a part for me, as you see above. eleven months elapsed between attending the recruiting office and reporting to Lords cricket ground, much to my annoyance. As I have previously mentioned my friend who attended the recruiting office at the same time as me, trained in this country and was K.I.A on Beaufighters by the time I finished at Initial Training Wing.

Google “The R.A.F in Oklahoma “ There are quite a few pictures shown, and details of the author Paula Denson. She can supply a copy if required.

You may remember some of my photos disappeared when I deleted them in Photo bucket, so am reproducing (hopefully) the two which relate to leaving Ponca.


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Old 24th Oct 2008, 06:57
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Lightbulb Lady Luck all the way

In reply to your query, Cockney Steve. I always thanked the Americans for the truly superb training we got as the first class (42A) to go to the States. That training and the background, albeit sometimes brutal, discpline enabled one to take advantage of the luck when it presented itself. One example of the luck. I was on the vital bombing of Peenemunde in a Halifax of 51 Sqdn. We were in the first wave. Mosquitos had made a preliminary raid on Berlin and the German fighters were sent there as it looked as though the main stream were Berlin bound. It was a bright moonlit night and we went to Peenemunde, dropped our bombs on the aiming point, saw a lot more Halifaxes doing the same thing, we went back without seeing a fighter or flak and learned, next day that we had lost 42 aircraft ! The luck was being in that first wave and the skill was there to get the hell out whilst the going was good. Thank you for your kind remarks. It makes the single finger pecking away worthwhile when you see that someone is taking note.
Old 24th Oct 2008, 11:31
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Rest assured we are all taking note, so keep that finger on the keyboard

PS And you cliffnemo too
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Old 24th Oct 2008, 23:50
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Cool Pilot's Brevet in WW11

After half a mile change of address, it has taken eight weeks for AOL to get me back on the Internet.
I went to the Recruiting Office in Shrewsbury on 9th March 1942. Called to
1 A.C.R.C. at Lords 23rd November1942. 8 I.T.W. Newquay 8th January 1943' Grading School July 1943. Mauretania August 1943. Moncton to 1 B.F.T S. Terrell Texas October 1943, Wings 12th June 1944. Two years and three months!! Then, not Spitfires or Mustangs, but Gliders. Anybody interested in the R.A.F. Element of the Glider Pilot Regiment should go to Shawbury where the Trust have built a Horsa and Hadrian and also refurbished a Dakota. We were voluntary conscripts!!
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Old 25th Oct 2008, 19:13
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To the Gypsy

As instructed, finger (note the singular) to the key board. Basic.!
Basic was cut out of later courses to save time and money. But the US was not at war and would not budge from the stipulated full training course of three stages and two hundred hours. Great Britain, of course was crying out for pilots. Lord Beaverbrook had been a terrific success as Minister of Production and the men and women in the factories were working miracles. We actually had more aircraft at the end of the "Battle of Britain" than at the beginning but pilots were grieviously shortcoming.
So off to Cochran Field near Macon, Georgia we went in Greyhound Buses. Macon was a much larger town than Albany and was also very conveniently situated for the Georgia State College for Women...but that's another story. We were now under the complete control of the US Army Air Corps. No gentle civilian Instructors but fierce looking ,Army First and Second Lieutenants with weird and exotic names, some of them very Germanic. We were told to call them Lootenants... No effete leftenancy in the US Army Air Corps .
Basic was the Vultee BT13A, a huge, ugly, underpowered monoplane with a fixed undercariage. I remember it as heavy on the controls and very difficult in the aerobatics so beloved of the training in the US. But.. it did have instruments, so we were indulged in the luxury of an artificial horizon, airspeed indicator and altimeter for the first time. In retrospect it was wonderful to have been taught to fly only by the seat of our pants but it was a luxury that the US was soon to find they could not afford and Basic disappeared from the itinerary. But we added to our hours and were introduced to the very good custom of two cadets flying together to practice without the eagle eyes of an Instructor upon them all the time.
The time passed quickly and towards the end of the course the "scuttlebutt" (US for a vague rumour) was that we were going back to our beloved Albany for our Advanced training. Not Darr Aero Tech but a brand new military Airfield called "Turner Field" keeping to the US custom of naming their fields after Us flying personnel. I never did find out who Lt. Turner was.
We had some leave...furlough... before going back to Albany and the cinema contacts on my Father's side of the family arranged for me to spend a week in Miami and contacted the USO , the equivalent of our ENSA to see that I had a good time. That I did and the best part of it was meeting and dancing with Rita Hayworth at a Miami Hotel ( together with a few hundred more US forces, I hasten to add.) Nevertheless as the orchestra played "Amapola" and I took that beautiful woman around the floor I would not have changed places with anyone in the world. By coincidence many,many years later, the Aga Khan was a passenger on a flight that I was taking down to Kinshasa. Rita Hayworth had eventually married Prince Aly Khan and I mentioned that I had met her to the Aga Khan. He said that Rita was a wonderful woman and very popular in the family and that the press had been very cruel to her at the time.
So back to the welcoming arms of Albany it was and we found ourselves in brand new barracks with all "mod cons" and the Harvard to cope with. It was not an easy aeroplane to fly but what a difference to anything that we had encountered. It was easily identifiable by it's characteristic "buzz" or high pitched drone caused by, some say , the propellor being a fraction too long so that the tips were approaching the speed of sound. It is true that they were modified by cutting off some of the tip leaving them square edged and thus giving them another sound altogether. For the first time we had to remember to put our wheels down before landing and it even looked like a fighter if you stretched your imagination a little. It's main disadvantage was a tail wheel that was partially steerable by the rudder pedals and, if one was not extremely careful on landing, the whole aeroplane would turn through 360 degrees which was violently disliked by the Instructors and was certain to curtail one's leisure at the weekend.
Georgia, from the air, was predominantly red from the characteristic colour of the earth or clay and there were plenty of good fields around that we used as practice grounds for forced landings. Your Instructor would suddenly pull back the throttle when you were about six thousand feet and not expecting it and woe betide you if you were forced to use it before you put the aeroplane down in one of those fields.. The fields had another use, however. It was common practice to arrange with the current girl friend to rendezvous at one of them and you would land and take them for a "spin" as we used to call it. The penalty for being caught was instant expulsion from the course which only made the whole thing more savoury. A certain Irish Corporal had made such a date with his girl friend at one of the fields but was so excited at the thought of it that he forgot to put his wheels down and slid along on his belly in front of the startled girl who thought that he had done it to "show off". His reflexes were fantastic though. He grabbed his microphone and called up "Mayday, Mayday, This is Army plane 100" he said " My engine has cut and I am going to try and land in ... " naming the field where he was sitting. Back came the reply from Turner Tower, as our home base was called. "Keep a cool head boy and do not, repeat, do not put your wheels down." This was standard practice in a real emergency to avoid tipping over when you landed on rough ground or in one of the many swamps. It also kept the landing distance shorter and only bent an easily replaceable propellor. Paddy actually got a "green" endorsement in his log book for outstanding airmanship. I don't know what his girl friend gave him.
Another story that went into the "Line Book" as it was called in the RAF. "Shooting a line" was boasting of a personal feat and was frowned upon, was when the Tower was trying to contact one of the cadets in the vicinity. "Army 500 this is Turner tower . Are you receiving me ?" was repeated several times without success. Eventually the Tower thought that he could see him "Army plane 500 ,is that you over the field ? If you are receiving me, waggle your wings,.Over" Back came the reply in that clipped British accent that the Americans could never imitate. "Turner Tower this is Army plane 500. If you are receiving me , waggle your Tower." No reply but he was "walking" that weekend. Another time the Tower was called by a British voice that said "Turner Tower this is Army plane 101. I am out of petrol what should I do ?" There was a hurried flurry of words then one of the Instructors was hurriedly summoned to the microphone. "OK Army Plane 101. Don't panic. Keep cool and calm. Put the nose down in a gentle glide and look around. Try and find one of the emergency fields. What is your height and position ? The cool British voice sounded rather puzzled " I am sitting here on the tarmac waiting for the petrol truck, Sir" The "Sir" didn't stop him walking the weekend away. And so it went on
Old 27th Oct 2008, 11:52
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Rita Hayworth

Gentlemen, after exhaustive internet research I can proudly now show you Reg and Rita in Miami:-

Regards Andy :0)
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Old 27th Oct 2008, 12:00
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Is that how Reg learned to formate?
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Old 27th Oct 2008, 12:44
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Mesa TV

Nemo, Phoenix (which was my 2nd home for awhile! but that's another story) is normally 7 hrs behind us. However as politicians move our hour around it can get confusing.

Try http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/city.html?n=197 to see the actual time difference.

I was also trying to download an internet TV recorder so I could make a DVD of it, however as with many things I failed.

The programme is interesting but not outstanding!

A better record (I think) is the film "Journey Together" which I enjoyed immensely http://www.moviemail-online.co.uk/film/34171/Journey-Together/

I'm off over "The Pond" now for a week but "I will be back" :0)
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Old 27th Oct 2008, 13:50
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"I never did find out who Lt Turner was"

A quick search suggests that Lt Sullivan P Turner, USAAC was the aviator concerned but, sadly, the website www.turnerfield-miller.com , which should have helped further, is no longer acessible. However, a further search reveals that there is a Royal Air Force Memorial at Turner Field and the link Royal Air Force Memorial- Albany, GA provides contact details should you or Andy wish to follow this up.

With best wishes and renewed grateful thanks to you and to Cliff for your wonderful memories - pun fully intended! - keep them coming, although Rita Hayworth will be hard to beat ....

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Old 27th Oct 2008, 17:07
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Try googling Freecorder, it may do what you require.
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Old 27th Oct 2008, 17:19
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To Union Jack

Thanks a lot. As Al Jolson (Who ? Ask Grandad) used to say "You ain't seen nothing yet !" All The Best, Regle.
Old 27th Oct 2008, 21:25
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For years anybody going through 229 OCU at Chivenor in the fifties would have watched "Journey Together" when the weather precluded flying. Not too relevent for embryo DFGA chaps but was really all we had to show the troops.
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Old 28th Oct 2008, 00:38
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Regle: The Jazz Singer!
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Old 28th Oct 2008, 18:28
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Though you've now gained your Pilots Brevet, I hope the stories continue.

Fascinating reading, hearing of the unsung heroes of WWII.
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Old 30th Oct 2008, 17:08
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A later ex-brat

Hi all, This all avid reading, I have lapped it up.

I now do nothing connected with a/c but Mrs 446 has agreed to PPL lessons ASAP, she agreed last Xmas but what a terrible year for learning.

Briefly, I was a crap-app, E&I fitter 216 entry Halton. The finest training I have ever received, but was not cut out for the bull**** so, when a new government decided that a 16yo ( 15 in my case) could not sign away 11 yrs of his life consensually, it was decided that any app could leave after 5 inc app time. It suited me but it killed the brat scheme.

We always called shoulder flashes "****ehawks" but I always thought it was meant to be an albatross.

Didn't like the crap but had some good times.

Keep it coming.
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Old 30th Oct 2008, 19:57
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To Bakedwell

Formate ! Are you sure that you got the spelling right ? Did you notice how like Fred Astaire I used to look ? Any way here goes....
The Seventh of December 1941 was a Sunday. It was a bright and sunny morning in Albany, Georgia and normally we would be enjoying a "lie in" and then a laze around but not this Sunday. It was rather special as we were joining forces with our classmates, the Americans, at the local Football Stadium to give a demonstration of our respective drills. The quick, crisp marching of the RAF contrasted strongly with the more informal and, to us, sloppier style of the Americans and we were warmly applauded by the large crowd gathered there
Drill finished we were standing at attention side by side with the Americans and the banners of each nation were fluttering in the breeze when the PA system broke into life. A highly emotional Announcer gave us the news that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbour and , consequently, we were all in the war together. It could not have been staged better if it was a movie.
The next few days were chaotic. To us, war hardened ,veterans it bordered on panic. We were all confined to the Camp itself and woe betide you if you forgot the password which was issued daily (By Tannoy at seven a.m. Believe it or not !) Sirens were always sounding at the oddest times and for no apparent reason. Gradually, however, things got back to normal, RAF uniforms miraculously appeared and we got down to finishing our training which had less than a month to go.
The third of January 1942, we filed into the Camp Theatre to receive ,from the Major General commanding the Southest Air Training Center, General Walter R. Weaver, the hard earned solid silver wings of the US Army Air Corps. We proudly wore them on the right breast of our tunics and the RAF Wings , which the US had thoughtfully preordered, on the left. Later, back in the UK we were forbidden to wear the US wings, an order which most of us ignored.
We celebrated our new status of fully qualified pilots with a gigantic party in the Airfield Reacreational Centre. "Dates" for the Ball in the evening were presented with the traditional sprays of Ocrhids and Gardenias in true movie style and we danced the night away to a terrific band to the tunes of "You are my Sunshine","Frenesi","The Hut Sut Song", Elmer's Tune", "Green Eyes", and "Jealousy". We finished, of course, with Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder.. but there were no upperclassmen to retaliate. We were to meet up with some of them later when they were based inthe cold fens of East Anglia with the "Mighty Eighth" of the newly named US Airforce, but they were very different people and so were we.
The night before the party we had celebrated with some drinks with our Instructors. When the beer ran low, my good and very kind Instructor, Lt. Millar, handed me the keys of his car and told me to go and get a few cases. But" I said " I can't drive a car". He couldn't believe it. I was nineteen years old, had two hundred hours flying experience and, like most of us, had never driven a car in my life.
Then it was a sad farewell to the rightly famed Southern Hospitality and back to face the harsh realities of wartime Britain.

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