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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 16th May 2013, 16:32
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When we went to Kuantan in Malaysia on exercise during 1970 two Indians volunteered their services to run a snack bar on the squadron site. We gave them a 12X12 tent to operate from and they would supply snacks of various ethnic origins to keep us going despite the C Rations we were issued with.

They were making a fortune in local terms and we had no compunction, after demolishing several cans of Tiger, about knocking them up late at night to get weaving and fire up some egg banjos.

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Old 16th May 2013, 18:47
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Honkers Stew,

Ok here's what I saw as "Honkers stew" as a Ground Engineer during the 80s/90s, when deployed, and given in flight rations from your departure base, the loadie needed to provide something, nearing, a decent meal. It usually ended up being some sort of "slurry" that you could dip a bit of bread in, and, was known to me as "honkers stew" ! Not a reflection of the medical result of eating it, more, making do with what was available. I would never "diss" a loadie from Alberts. I recommend "Honkers Stew" to all. Usually good Scran!!!!

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Old 16th May 2013, 22:42
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BEagle,

I was Fire Officer at Linton-on-Ouse from '62-'64. Grand bunch of men. I particularly recall my training Course at RAF Catterick and the terror we felt on launching ourselves into space on our first try on the Fireman's Pole. Some chaps leapt at it with such force that they knocked a tooth out on it.

My recurring nightmare was the Aldwark Bridge. If you plot a 60 degree wide cone out from each end of the runway, you have the area in which most airfield crashes occur. Part of one of these areas is over the other side of the Ouse. The short way is over the bridge. But it was a wooden structure of limited bearing capacity (I'm not sure what it was) and our Saracen came in at 13 tons, all-up.

Supposing you have a crash on the far side. The Cpl of the Crew has the choice of taking a chance on the bridge (and risking ending in the river on top it), or going almost to York to get across, get back and find that the fire has burnt out.

You can't expect the Cpl to take the responsibility, So it falls to me to issue the Standing Order. Bridges don't come cheap (nor do Saracens). It's way beyond my pay scale. The Council engineers thought it should stand the strain, but would not commit themselves. The Station Commander ? - Forget it ! Group ? The Corridors of Power resounded with the sound of Staff Officers running for cover. No one would carry the can.

So it was left to us. Fortunately it never happened on my watch. Does anyone remember any more about this problem in later years ?

Mess Silver ? There must be a storeroom somewhere packed with the stuff. I suppose MOD will sell it all off as a job lot when the last Station closes.....D.


Harry Lime,

The name was Len Rapkin. (Clue: he'd been a RAF Diving Champion of some sort). He came to us as a F/O in ATC about '70.

What's a "Lumpy Box" ?......D.


pzu,

Thanks for the link (haven't been to Thornaby since I don't know when). Think
the Spitfire's still on the rounabout......D


Blacksheep,

Sounds revolting !.....D.


Geriaviator ,

The "Bap" is well known and esteemed in these parts (NE England), too.....D.


Fareastdriver,

If there was money to be made, your Indians wouldn't mind what hour of the day or night you knocked them up !

"Banjo" - seem to remember a "Banjal" in India, maybe same thing, can't be sure, too long ago....D. EDIT: Of course ! It was BRINJAL I was thinking about. Silly me !......D.


Smujsmith,

Well, if you're hungry enough, any grub is good grub !....D.


Goodnight all, Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 17th May 2013 at 00:12. Reason: Correct Error.
 
Old 16th May 2013, 22:50
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Danny

My description on the "Honkers stew" is probably quite gross sounding, but, I think Blacksheep seems to describe the origin of the recipe. Either way, in dire times "down route" I have enjoyed a good old "Honkers" when "enjoying" a 14 hour leg with only compo rations. Bless the loadies, always reliable and never ever fed me any rubbish. I doubt you had such fine dining in your time, but it sounds like the wine was good.

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Old 17th May 2013, 10:23
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Thornaby Spitfire installation

Danny

Thornaby Spitfire installation

Thornaby Spitfire, March 2007 | Picture Stockton Archive

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)
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Old 17th May 2013, 10:57
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Lumpy Box

The best as memory serves is of a plain white cardboard box about 12 by 9 by 2 inches which contained some or all or none of the following:

Half round of Spam sandwich,
Half round of 'Cheese' sandwich,
Usually a piece of Fruit and a sealed plastic container of Orange Squash.
Then, either;
Penguin Choc Bar, or
Apiece of Fruit Cake, or
Three Custard Creams.

These were issued on any flight or exercise of a duration where a main meal would not normally be taken. Included were Sim exercises, all training flights (MCT, CPT etc.) and route trips to say Northern Ireland, Scotland and Germany, - possibly even further.

Apart from keeping the chocy bars for the kiddies at home, little else was consumed. Even the Ground Crew turned their noses up at them, and I say that as one who started in the RAF as a Locking Apprentice.
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Old 17th May 2013, 13:39
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Even the Ground Crew turned their noses up at them
Except for one. We had an LAC on Line Servicing Squadron at Brize Norton ('71-'74) who turned up to every arrival on his bicycle and, as soon as the crew departed, would raid the galleys and put anything he found in the bicycle pannier. This was how he fed his family. I shudder to think what his wife and family made of their rations.
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Old 17th May 2013, 19:16
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Flight Rations and Gate Guardians.

Smujsmith,

I recall the night "fry-ups" in our old Radar Rest Caravans. Like your "loadies", Radar mechs could turn out a feast from whatever lay to hand. As to the disposal of surplus beer and wine, it was a hell of a job, but someone had to do it !.......D.


pzu,

Again, nice pics of the original Vb, hope it's back in the air somwhere now. But the plastic replica looks quite nice, and the scrap metal thieves round here would have had the real one away by now anyway. Thanks once more .........D.


Harry Lime,

"Spam" is an acquired taste, but it "kept the home fires burning" (in a manner of speaking) in the war. The rest of it doesn't sound at all bad. Your Ground Crew was too "picky", but de Gustibus etc.....D.


Blacksheep,

When I think what the RAF paid me sixty years ago, I'm not surprised that a
LAC had to scavenge. Perhaps his family liked Spam au gratin......D.

This is what our Forum's all about !

Danny.
 
Old 17th May 2013, 19:21
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Danny

Sounds like your radar lads could do the biz

Smudge
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Old 17th May 2013, 22:00
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Danny finds that the Old Order Changeth, Giving Place to New.

The first half of '53 saw the changing of the Old Guard. The first to go was W/Cdr Sewell in March, who must have been short-toured, as he'd arrived not long before me. His fate was to be the next Stn Cmdr. of Machrihanish (I don't know if this involved promotion: it's a place of which I knew little and had no desire to learn more). Unfeelingly, in the weeks before his departure, "The Road to the Isles" suddenly became popular, and was much hummed and whistled around the Station.

He was succeeded by a S/Ldr F.G.Daw (according to a history of RAF Thornaby, which has proved correct in those details I do remember) As for Daw himself (who was, I suppose, soon put up to W/Cdr), my recollection of him is totally blank (even though it must have been he who carpeted me on occasion). It was one of my "Carlstrom Field" amnesias (Chugalug will remember the reference).

In May, I flew the Harvard to Manby to pick up S/Ldr John Newboult, so he had his feet on the first rung of the ladder: I don't remember who succeeded him as Squadron Adj. And on 31st July Mike Beavis appears as certifying officer in my log book for the last time: he must then have started on the meteoric rise which would lead him to the pinnacle of an RAF career.

In March I'd gone to CMB for the first of my quartely check-ups. My routine was unvarying. I went down on the afternoon train (1st Class in mufti - as the warrant pad was in my safe, and I signed them!) King's Cross to Sloane Square, round Peter Jones to the Officers' Malcolm Club in Cadogan Gardens, where they did dinner, bed and breakfast for 18/6 (good value). In the morning, a toss-up between Warren Street and Goodge Street, to be on the Kelvin House doorstep as soon as they opened up. Then round the production line of medics, blow the mercury up again, "no change" said the President, "carry on, come back in June".

Pub lunch somewhere, King's Cross again, send a telegram to my Unit to meet the next train on arrival at Thornaby, and that was that for the day. And I had another quarterly duty to do as well - the TAAFA Unit Report and Meeting at the County Hall in Northallerton. Generally, only one or two of the T.A. battalion commanders and auxiliary C.O.s would attend: all the rest sent their adjutants to represent them. (I don't think Dave Brown ever put in an appearance).

I'd been going to these boring affairs for the past year now, and my determination to recruit for quality rather than quantity, and to cut out the dead wood, was paying off. The morale of the remainder went up; word-of-mouth has ever been the best Recruiting Sergeant; I could report that my numbers were rising satisfactorily. TAAFA, which had looked at me askance last year (and tried to unseat me, but was foiled by "Batchy"), reluctantly decided that I might just be a Good Chap after all.

Now the next Summer Camp was on the horizon. This year we would be going to RAF Wartling (East Sussex, near Bexhill) another ROTOR station on the South coast. I decided to take the pool Staff Car, a rather well worn Hillman "Minx" with a known prodigious appetite for oil. Having armed myself with two gallon cans of the stuff from M.T., I thought I should be all right, but in fact used the whole lot getting the "Minx" down there. Again the two weeks passed off without any trouble that I can remember.

We got a pat on the back that year from O.C. Wartling. I think we were the last FCU of the year for them, and they told us we'd been the best and most efficient of the lot (I suppose they say that to all the FCUs !) This time, besides oil, the Minx was carrying two nine-gallon kegs of "Chalk Farm" still Cider, a local product which we had discovered and which had made quite an impression. This cargo was bar stock. We retailed it at 3d as a "short" (it was the cheapest drink in the Mess, but still gave us a handsome profit), and it tasted very nice, but it was a stealthy, slow anaesthetic which had to be approached with caution. We used it as a basis for a fruit punch at the Mess Garden Party and most people thought we had used vodka.

Almost as soon as I got back, my first Annual Refresher came up - 7 FTS at Cottesmore, on Boulton Paul "Balliols". I'd only heard of these things, but never seen one. Five minutes after I got into the air, I knew it of old - it was just a big Miles Master in all respects. Comfortable, safe, easy - a real "old gentleman's aeroplane". Side by side seating, so you had someone to talk to, and a huge rear compartment (for what ?), which would hold any amount of kit if you were taking it for a weekend. And a great wide undercarriage like a Master, so no trouble on the ground. I can't recall what Cottesmore had as well as these things, but we had an RLG (Woolfox Lodge ?) so they may have wanted us out of the way for something more important.

My abiding memory is of the Night Flying Session. I'd not flown at night since Finningley in '49. It was a farce. Cottesmore then had a white concrete runway, and it was full moon in a cloudless sky. You could read a newspaper at midnight. It was day flying for all practical purposes, and almost dead calm. The Balliol settled down contentedly on each roller, I was almost sorry when I had to stay down for good.

And that was the last night flying of my "career" !

Bit more day flying next time.

Cheers, everybody,

Danny.


Never mind.
 
Old 17th May 2013, 23:38
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Hi, Danny, just back from 2 months in the sun in Spain, so catching up and there you are, just round the corner at Wartling!
Now you've set me to finding that Chalk Farm cider "just to see if it's as you said it was!" you understand - important social research.... ahem
Glad the thread is still making P1 on the Forum and long may these entertaining stories continue.
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Old 18th May 2013, 01:54
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Chalk Farm Cider.

Icare9,

Welcome back ! Have tried a cursory Google, but no joy. It was a fairly large enterprise as I remember, but may have been taken over, and 60 years is a long time.

If you find it, let me know your opinion. As a native of those parts, you will know that these products must be approached with extreme caution !

Danny.
 
Old 18th May 2013, 10:35
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Icare, welcome back to Blighty! I too am a local and like you will pursue a relentless and selfless quest for Chalk Farm still cider. It will be a long and weary road no doubt, but someone has to do it...
Danny, I suspect that the Carlstrom effect is common to all of a certain vintage, it certainly is for me. Your mention of Machrihanish though reminds me that the equivalent of being banished to Siberia for the RAF was a posting there as OC GD Flight. Its attraction was more for visitors than residents, I suspect. Good for stocking up on fish of various types though, from Salmon to Kippers. The ramp on the Hercules, being the coldest part of the fuselage, was the best place to stow it.

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Old 18th May 2013, 10:50
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I'm about 15 miles west of Wartling so will also keep a look out for the cider when I'm in the area.

Never knew there had a radar station there unless it was the one often mentioned as Pevensey in various hstories etc.
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Old 18th May 2013, 11:22
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Danny and Chug,

I had the pleasure of being SNCO I/C Visiting Aircraft Servicing Section for 3 years at Machrihanish. The station had many things going for it. A beautifully sandy beach where your kids could play all day, some great whiskey distilliaries in Campbeltown and on nearby Islay and then the Golf. Machrihanish Golf Club is a full championship course, no longer used by the pro's due to its location. We were allowed full membership for only a few pounds a year. I arrived there never having hit a golf ball, and, left playing if a 4 handicap. Those were the days, but a great place.
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Old 18th May 2013, 18:29
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Cider, etc,

Chugalug,

There seem to be varying opinions about Machrihanish (see Smujsmith's glowing report), so I'll reserve judgment for the time being (never fancied the place much myself). I can well believe it might be a good place for fresh fish: it would make sense to stow it as far downwind of the Flight Deck as possible, even apart from the refrigeration aspect.

Hope it was securely lashed down, as I believe you opened the lid at the back from time to time as circumstances demanded (must have been very draughty).

The "Carlstrom Syndrome" is particularly unsettling. I could understand forgetting some place or individual - we all do that - but when a photograph is shown to you of a place which you must have seen a hundred times, and it still means nothing, or a Station Commander is named, under whom you served for over a year, and your mind is still blank, then it leaves a strange feeling.

I seem to have set a hare running with Chalk Farm Cider, wouldn't want anyone to waste much time on historical research, for the firm is probably long defunct. Google tells us no end about the cider farms down there, and there are plenty of others who, I'm sure, sell an equally potent product...D.


clicker,

As before, google "RAF Wartling", and it'll come up with the goods. There are a lot of nice pics (one on the side "8-06"), looks like a nice des. res. In fact it would be the innocent-looking Guard House and top of the stairs down to the business end far below (the "hole"). AFAIK, all the ROTOR stations on the East and South Coasts were underground, with a dummy "house" like that on top.

Apparently they're excavating the place (You Tube)......D


Smujsmith,

Sounds like a wonderful place, so long as the sun was shining ! Was it a G/Capt station in your time ? There was some gossip about the reason for his shortened tour; W/Cdr Sewell was a very personable chap, with a lovely new pale blue Standard Vanguard (Fortune has Pandered to the Man with a Standard), and I can't remember ever being introduced to a Mrs S. But you know how people talk !...D.

Cheers, everbody,

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 18th May 2013 at 18:33. Reason: Typo.
 
Old 18th May 2013, 20:23
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Danny, don't worry, as chugalug2 (very appropriate monicker, as we now realise!) says "someones got to do it" and we've had all sorts of research helping with identifying the type of Vengeance, cars and all sorts of other incidentals, so in the name of "purely" historical research, he, I and clicker will do our verry besh hic to search out an an er tashte all der vunnerful sidres, siders an an ciders ar thash the wun in ower neck of the woods an an come back and report on ower er findings..... hic I insisht dear boy an on this we wunt be druv hic.

I'm not actually a native of these parts, as we only retired to the country from the City 18 months ago and loving it here. I'm a Sarfender originally and making the most of it whilst Mrs Axe is getting various joints replaced and easing the remaining ones with generous dollops of Spanish sun (and wine!).

Check out the info from the Wartling village site: Subterranea Britannica: Sites:RAF Wartling WW2 GCI Radar Station and also get some of the delicious meat from Chilley Farm down on the Pevensey levels.
We're supposed to be living on the hill where Duke William first raised his standard (either of Normandy - with the two lions, not 3 as in the English - or perhaps the Papal banner allegedly supporting his "rightful" claim to the throne of England) before trolleying off to do Battle with Harold who was on his way back from Stamford Bridge. Damn silly time to be off watching football if you ask me.

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Old 18th May 2013, 20:26
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Danny,

No, my time at Machrihanish was 81 - 84. But, the staish was a Wing Co, and a real gentleman, it was a great tour. Just to give you a "flavour". The day after I arrived there, as SNCO i/c VASS, they closed the runway for resurfacing. The only visitors we had for the first half of my tour were choppers from Prestwick. I had two, very competent Corporals, and four top notch airmen. We split the working week into two. Corporal "A" led a two man shift for two days, and the following week three days, and vice versa for the other shift. Me ? I had a radio, and was in contact at all times with my men, even if I was on the Golf Course. We had some great visitors


I enjoyed Machrihanish so much, I have spent lots of time up there since leaving.

Smudge

PS, I'm second right, who the bloke to my right is, well, there's a challenge. On that flight I got to meet Yoko Ono as well. And Linda, the Kids, Denny Laine........ I have to admit, the bloke on my right could play the guitar, slightly better than me. And we did have a go together in the all ranks club 1983. The bloke to the right of me became a very good C130 Ground Engineer, I would say " as did I" for want of modesty.

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Old 18th May 2013, 21:41
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Ah, Machrihanish

My great-grandfather was the village butcher in Machrihanish. My first (Shack) co-pilot, and his wife, came from Machrihanish, then in 1985 I did a 'roller' landing there in a brand new RAAF P3C Orion.
Happy days!

Now, back to Danny and the real dits.

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Old 18th May 2013, 22:26
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Neptunus Rex,

You are of course spot on, lets get back to Danny's "Eximius fabula". What we must not miss is the reminiscences that he, and his ilk, raise when we read. I think that one of the attractions of this thread is that many of us, ex RAF etc, can empathise with the tales told and the memories jogged. Long may it continue. I'm sorry for the thread drift.

Smudge
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