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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 19th May 2013, 16:23
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Dolce far niente.

Smujsmith and Neptunus Rex,

In ATC we always said "This'd be a fine job if it weren't for these damned aircraft ! You at least seemed to have attained Nirvana (i/c a Visitors' Servicing Flight with no visitors !).

Fine body of men ! I like the AA badge. Did the driver still salute you (and if he didn't, we all know what that means, don't we ?).

Next Fabula on stocks. Eximius ?.*..Tot homines, quot sententiae !

Thread drift ? Vive la différence ! ('Ware incoming thunderbolt from Zeus/Moderator).

Danny. EDIT: * "Extraordinary, excellent" (no idea, had to look it up !)

Last edited by Danny42C; 9th Jun 2016 at 14:05. Reason: Spell !
Old 19th May 2013, 16:47
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Eximius fabula - Uncommon fable, sorry, didn't do too much Latin at Halton.
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Old 19th May 2013, 16:48
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I like the AA badge. Did the driver still salute you (and if he didn't, we all know what that means, don't we ?).
Another of those old traditions which probably won't mean anything to yoof of today!

I remember the grumbling when they stopped the practice in 1961! A rather grumpy business acquaintaince of my father passed an AA man, who didn't salute. So this chap continued cautiously, although this was 4 years before the nanny-state 70 mph limit was introduced by Barbara Castle and there wouldn't have been any speed traps out of town. So he went back and gave the patrolman a piece of his mind, only to be told that the 'saluting code' had been discontinued....
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Old 19th May 2013, 18:42
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I remember as a small boy sitting in the passenger seat of my Grandfather's Rover 12 "Lizzie" on a Sunday afternoon, for that was the day he and my Grandmother would take it out for a drive and a picnic in the country (they lived in Southgate, N. London). In those days petrol was cheap enough and the roads uncrowded enough to make such an idea reasonable. My sole pre-occupation was to spot an AA patrol man approaching in the opposite carriageway, because my Grandfather was a member and proclaimed such with a chromed and yellow enamelled badge on the front bumper. Resplendent in a khaki uniform with black facings, astride a motor bike and sidecar combination, the patrolman would throw up a smart gauntleted salute having espied the badge. My Grandfather thought it was aimed at him, being a member, but it was of course for me. Occasionally though there was no salute, much to my disgust. My Grandfather never seemed phased by such a seeming slight, explaining that he simply hadn't seen our badge. What a nonsense! Now of course I see a more sinister explanation, a subversive plot to undermine the forces of law and order. I'm shocked. Deeply shocked!
Smudge, apologies for having so defamed your Pied a Terre, and you a Hercules Ground Engineer to boot! Please ignore my unforgivable crassness.

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Old 19th May 2013, 22:16
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Interview with Eric Carter - 83 Sqd Murmansk

I've previously posted 'links' to interviews with SAAF WWII pilots by Tinus Le Roux

Have just been introduced (via the Net) to a guy in the UK called Neil Pugh, here is a link to an interview he's done with Eric Carter a Murmansk veteran of 83 Squadron - be warned it's long!!!

Watch Eric Carter last surviving member of RAF No.81 Squadron - War Memories | Videos by Mysticpuma - Now showing Checkertails Part1 Episodes | Videos | Blip

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)

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Old 19th May 2013, 23:25
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Rover 12s and AA men.


Ah, the Rover 12 ! All Connolly leather and walnut, dash and door cappings. Lovely little fitted tooldrawer slid into bottom of centre panel. Some had a "free-wheel", which took all the terror out of gearchanging. Silvery Viking's head on radiator cap. Them were the days !

Poor man's Rolls Royce - don't make 'em like that any more - more's the pity.

Think that, at the end, the AA men were threatened with "obstructing a constable in the execution of his duty" for the noble service they performed.

Even in your Grandad's day, petrol wasn't all that cheap. At 1/5d a gallon (prewar), it would represent an hour's labour for a semi-skilled man. The average hourly rate for a working man today is £13.29 (source, D.T.) A gallon today costs about £6.

And (prewar) Grandad had to pay £10 per annum Road Tax (£500 today)

Must get next Instalment Gripping Story in tonight, before Moderator's patience snaps !

Old 20th May 2013, 11:28
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More lovely stories from all. Called up Aug 48, accepted for pilot training, Cottesmore I think, tried hard, achieved 15 plus hours on the Tiger Moth, and even then not going solo! Not entirely my incompetence, weather related, that's my story. Luckily off to Cranwell,, to learn manners and the proper hat to wear in civvies, and they had the ponderous Prentice which allowed me to land it without bouncing all over the place, and it was all go from there with the good old, and most enjoyable, Harvard to come. And Wings!

Which brings me to the real point of all this. The students bar in the College was of course a lead in to future Happy Hours, but the thing I really remember was that they had rough cider on sale, which I think was meant to lead us gently to the real stuff, and I think it was probably cheaper than Mr Watney or whoever. But in fact it had a rather more profound effect, so was deservedly popular. I'm afraid I don't remember who made it. Good though. Though I did progress, and even here where the cold and fizzy rules I still prefer the hop to the apple!

Nearly back on track!
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Old 20th May 2013, 14:21
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Found the area on a larger scale map showing a place called "Radar House".

I use to work for the local plod in one of their control rooms in Brighton. I've just asked if any of the local lads or dog handlers know of "Chalk Farm Cider" and if I get any replies I'll post them here.
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Old 20th May 2013, 15:35
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Machrihanish may have been paradise on earth in Smudge Smith's day, but it was a different matter to we "V" Bomber boys in the sixties. Macrihanish was a dispersal for the Vulcans of the Waddington Wing and was not, shall we say, the most popular place to be assigned to for exercising the ground equipment - or worse, for a 'Mickey Finn'. Cold, lonely and windy, it was a nice place to leave in a Beverley - taking our own fire engine back home with us.

I remember one routine visit when we ended up at a dismal pub somewhere after the Bombers had flown off. A local fellow latched on to us and ended up back at our hut for the night. In the morning we boarded a bus and climbed aboard our Beverley for the trip home. Upon arrival at Waddington in darkest Lincolnshire, we discovered that our "guest" had joined us on the bus, boarded the flight and climbed onto the fire engine for a kip. There was no way on earth for us to take him back, so we escorted him out to the A15, pointed out which way was north and bade him farewell and safe journey (hitchhiking was a common mode of travel in the sixties)

If he was indeed fortunate, he never made it.
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Old 20th May 2013, 16:05
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Delayed Action.

clicker and Tim Mills,

Do not be too assiduous in your search for "Scrumpy" (for I assume that C.F. was a refined version of whatever that was). As the old Chinese proverb tells us "Be careful what you wish for - you may get it !"

As I recall, the victim showed no signs of intoxication, spoke and behaved quite rationally until he got out of the Mess/Pub into the open air. Then his knees turned to jelly. So have a care !

Google has no end of pics of "down the hole" at RAF Wartling".

Old 20th May 2013, 16:59
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I believe the Cider was Merrydown'. As Danny implies it went to your knees after a couple of pints! Thought it was withdrawn from the then College Mess after a couple of "incidents"?

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Old 20th May 2013, 18:23
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Middle Farm, near Firle on the outskirts of Lewes is reputed to have a vast range of ciders, so I'll endeavour to persuade Mrs Axe for a trip over the Bank Holiday to conduct more research. Of course, they may have changed the name so I'll have to try a lot..... !!!!
Apologies for thread drift
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Old 20th May 2013, 18:26
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Danny finds Small is Beautiful.

Now my flying is restricted to the Station Harvard and Tiger Moth. The Harvard I'd been flying off and on since I trained on them originally in the States, but the only previous experience I had with the TM had been at Valley, where my initial efforts had not been particularly glorious. Anyway, who wants to fly Tigers when there are Spitfires and Vampires waiting for you on the line ?

Besides getting in as much time as possible on 608's Vampires here, I seem to have been used this first year as a "taxi-driver", picking people up and dropping them off with the Harvard at Newton (several times, as it was 12 Gp HQ), Hawarden, Church Fenton, Ouston and Leconfield. When Dave Brown became C.O., we went to Auxiliary Conferences at West Raynham and Leconfield, and down to Martlesham Heath to spy out the ground for our first Annual Camp.

In my second and third years, when the Harvard and TM were all that I could fly, I started "Air Experience" flights for our troops. Volunteers soon filled the list. We would kit them out, shoe-horn them into the back seat, give them a sick-bag and tell them what to do with it. These were very rarely needed, as I took care to fly S&L with gentle turns all the way. You must remember that, even though they were serving in the RAF or Auxiliaries, the great majority of people then had never been off the ground. It would not be till the mid-sixties that the Great British Public started to grow air-minded to any extent.

One fine afternoon I climbed in for a solo trip in the TM. It was late summer, the gorse and heather would be in bloom over the moors, it was nice and warm, I was looking forward to this. I took it to our grass patch, turned into wind and opened up. Tail up, it seemed rather sluggish. The clock crept round to 40 kts, but then there was no more coming. Not enough to fly.

Puzzled, I stopped, turned round and went back to the start and tried again. Same thing, even though I was getting the correct 2150 (or whatever it was) rpm from the motor. This time I left it ticking-over, climbed out to see what might be the matter - and found myself in foot-long grass ! The poor old thing just couldn't go any faster. There would no more flying till the grass was cut. Disconsolate, I went back to the office.

As most of my trips with Dave were (relatively) "long-haul" in the Harvard, I took it into my head (not being a QFI) to teach him to fly the TM a bit. I see that, at the end, we were doing C&Bs (I was pushing my luck !) I'm sure he was ready to solo, but of course I couldn't authorise it, and the 608 Training Officer certainly wouldn't.

I got my payback in this way. On a cross-country flight in the Harvard, I would carefully trim and settle the the aircraft on Course, Dave would zero his D.I., I would hand over to him and he would fly S&L, hanging on to the D.I. like a leech. So I had a human autopilot, and could devote myself to the navigation. Not that I did much of that, for I navigated Indian fashion -draw a pencil line on the map and follow it. We had heard vague rumours of these new-fangled airways things, but paid no heed. When time-elapsed suggested that we should be in VHF range of the destination, a few steers would take us in. Life was simple in those days.

One day I took the Harvard solo for half-an-hour. We all know that 90% + of a pilot's expertise is deployed in the last 15 seconds of every flight. So I decided to spend the time doing rollers to hone my skills a bit. Ever since my time in the States, I'd put the flaps up on the roll in a Harvard, always using a clenched fist to knock up the flap selector. Second or third time round, I had a premature "Senior Moment". I forgot, used an open hand and (of course) took hold of the u/c handle. I'd pulled it up out of the detent before bells rang and lights flashed in my head, and I realised what I was doing. Luckily I hadn't moved the control a fraction, so I could smartly push it back again. No harm done.

That was close ! Take a hold of yourself, man !. I can remember the horror of that moment to this day.

I Learned about Flying from That (stay awake !)

Goodnight, everybody (beware of Scrumpy),


"Flying is not inherently dangerous, but it is terribly unforgiving of the slightest mistake" (Lord Brabazon, ca 1905)
Old 20th May 2013, 19:33
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From one of my previous. posts.

One Friday my father was later than usual coming back from work. I then saw the cloud of dust as the Chevvy came down the road and turned into the drive. It undershot the turn and collected the brick pier that the gates were going to hang on to. There was great bang and then a pile of collapsed masonry and dust
My father was the wines member at RAF Morton in Marsh and he introduced Merrydown one Friday.

I was at school at Chipping Campden and I would travel in the school train to Moreton and walk to the station entrance to be picked up by my father after work. I had to wait an extraordinary long time and when he picked me up he seemed remarkably cheerful. We lived in a house that was within the grounds of a mansion and he did the same thing again. This time the masonry was 16th century and a Frazer Nash is not so robust as a Chevrolet.

We needed a new car anyway.

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Old 20th May 2013, 21:35
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Icare9, I

Its still called Middle Farm, never stopped there but its well known and liked I'm told. Must try it myself sometime as its half way between my home and Eastbourne.


My contacts suggest Chalk Farm might be linked to Chalk Farm Close in Eastbourne just off the A22 near whats knwn as the Willingdon Triangle. Not known yet if the cider is still around though.
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Old 20th May 2013, 22:19
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All this talk of cider is making me feel quite light headed, what you chaps need is a large glass of finest malt!!!
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Old 21st May 2013, 01:03
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Memory Lane.

Fareastdriver, clicker, and Taphappy,

I fear Chalk Farm, Merrydown et al may have been responsible for a lot of destruction of property and not a few bruises (but hopefully nothing much worse) in their time.

Our troops were specifically warned against the stuff on first arrival at Wartling, with the inevitable result that they made a bee-line for it as soon as they hit town, with the inevitable result................

I suppose "Chalk Farm" probably predates the Cider firm; they just used the name and may well be defunct, but the name lives on. If you have a local Historical Society, they may have a handle on it.

Malt ? The consolation of old age !

Old 21st May 2013, 13:27
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Going back to Machrihanish, we spent our honeymoon near there in a charming little country cottage.

One day we were out for a drive, and came across some traffic lights in the middle of nowhere. These were at red, so of course I stopped. Suddenly a jet shot across in front of us, which was a bit of a surprise to say the least.

When the lights turned green, we went forward onto what was the runway. there was a white line in the centre of the "road" which we followed for 100 yards or so along the centre of the runway, then it turned off on the opposite side and then reverted to a normal road again. There was another set of traffic lights on this side of the runway (obviously) for traffic going in the opposite direction.

I've tried to find it on Google maps, but failed. Perhaps they thought mixing cars and fast jets was not a good idea.

Please tell me I'm right in my memories and not imagining it. It was a fair few years ago now.

(Have I really been married that long?)

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Old 21st May 2013, 15:33
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I don't know if this will work but, here's a shot taken from the Eastern end of the runway at Machrihanish, the public road running parallel to the taxiway that crosses the end of the runway:

ISTR, from my time there that it had traffic lights on the road, which you can see running across the base of the runway. I can't ever remember the public road actually crossing, let alone running along the runway, but you certainly got some low approaches when sitting at the lights. The road, of your experience, must be this one as the other end of the runway opens directly onto the golf course, beach then loads of oggin. Hope that makes sense and helps.

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Old 21st May 2013, 16:07
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OffshoreSLF and Smudge,

Exactly the same arrangement was in force at Thorney Island in '60. In this case the public road ran straight across both taxiways and the runway, with traffic lights (controlled by ATC) at each end.

It was comical to see bikes and a double-decker bus crossing on "green", with a Varsity waiting patiently on the taxiway, engines smoking at idle, for its turn to cross!

Smudge, lovely pic, what ASR arrangements were there for a flop in the sea after takoff ?


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