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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 5th Jun 2013, 11:24
  #3861 (permalink)  
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Please continue, Sir

Smudge speaks for all of us when he writes: I never miss a day without checking what's happening on "Gaining a Pilots brevet......"

It's a pleasure and a privilege to share your wonderful memories, Danny. Pray continue.
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Old 5th Jun 2013, 12:50
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Thumbs up Danny

Smudge speaks for all of us when he writes: I never miss a day without checking what's happening on "Gaining a Pilots brevet......"

It's a pleasure and a privilege to share your wonderful memories, Danny. Pray continue
Seconded from another ex-brat and ex V-Force Crew Chief who follows this thread avidly
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Old 5th Jun 2013, 13:47
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I always check this thread and would be lost if it was moved.

Leave it where it rightly belongs, which is where it is now!!
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Old 5th Jun 2013, 14:05
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Military Aircrew A forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground.
My future 17 years of RAF service will all be in ATC.
Danny, I think that fits the thread admirably.
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Old 5th Jun 2013, 14:17
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IMHO this thread is brilliant, and should remain where it is so I know where to find it for my first read of the day. Thanks to all the contributors
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Old 5th Jun 2013, 15:11
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Thanks for sharing your memories Danny. It's 40 years today since I left the RAF after 12 years service and joined the civil service.
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Old 5th Jun 2013, 15:42
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"What Cliff and others have put together, let no man put asunder."
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Old 5th Jun 2013, 21:01
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5th Anniversary

Cliff and Reg, fredjhh and others - We DO remember you and raise a toast to you and all who never had the chance to come back and write their tales.

As has been said, this thread is a "Must Visit" whenever possible, preferably daily.

The standard of tales has been of the highest, and not only does it bring back the memories, but the essence of those days when none knew the outcome from one day (or night) to the next.

This is life as it was, as it was lived and all the many diversions simply enhance the thread and I value each and every contribution to making this the most absorbing record of Wartime (OK and Post War) life.

Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement, for dark days lay ahead for
I hope that is not a coded message, Danny - is all well with you?

Last edited by Icare9; 5th Jun 2013 at 21:03.
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Old 5th Jun 2013, 22:10
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No, then was then and now is now ! "Lay" was the word. No code.

No present cause to worry - but thank you for your concern just the same.

Old 6th Jun 2013, 09:54
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Like the others this thread is essential reading every day - I am reading this sat in my hospital bed as proof. Please do not desert us.

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Old 6th Jun 2013, 17:22
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Danny finds that we all have our troubles.

First, let me thank all of you who've replied to my "cri de coeur" for the unanimity with which you've endorsed my wish to stay where I am - here! The kind words said about me and my generation of war survivors truly leave me humble. For, as I've earler said (in another context): "We just did what we had to do, and we all got away with it". Now, (having shot my next few foxes - for we all know the end, don't we ?), I'll fill in some more details of my time at Thornaby.

At the end of June I was off on my annual 2-week Refresher. This time it was to CFS at South Cerney. They'd given the "Balliol" up as a bad idea and gone back to the Harvard (good one). (I saw a thread here recently about a Harvard which is being fettled up, and something about it being adopted by the BBMF as a lead-in for the new boys who'll be flying tail-draggers for the first time - note they didn't try to beg, borrow or steal a Spit IX(T) - far too nice for the job - and the RAF certainly couldn't afford to buy one in any case).

So I was quite at home with the Harvards at S.C., and hoped to borrow one to take up to Thornaby for the weekend. But I had no valid I/R, it was no-go, and I had to stay, champing on the bit, for the whole fortnight.

And then 608 went for their Annual Camp. Far afield this time - El Adem, no less. How did they get that far ? I've a vague recollection that they staged through Orange. Could they have done that ? (France was holding aloof from NATO). With L/R tanks, I suppose they would have had the range.

Then a tragedy. At the very end of their time at El Adem, they lost a Vampire and a pilot. 608 were always cagey about it and I don't remember any details of the accident. And then there were two "blacks" put up, one bad and the other worse. The coffin was flown back to Thornaby (whose Coroner was in the North Riding), and taken over the bridge to a hospital in Stockton (Coroner in County Durham). We hadn't asked for the proper permission to do this, a sort of demarcation dispute flared up, and we were in grave danger of incarceration in the Tower for contravening some medieval statute. It took the intervention of TAAFA to smooth the two Coroners' ruffled feathers.

There was worse to come. Although the Squadron's Ground Party was flown out and back in a Hastings (probably), the coffin came home separately in a Dakota. Of course, the sad reception ceremony was held in the Mess, as it was only for the mourners and 608's private grief, so everyone else stayed away.

We have all had moments in our lives when some unguarded words have slipped out, and we wished the earth might open and swallow us up. The young man was very recently married, his desolate widow thanked the Dakota pilot for bringing him home. "It was a pleasure", blurted this poor devil (he'll live with that to his dying day).

There's still quite a bit to come about Thornaby, but meanwhile,

Cheerio - (and ACW418, get well soon, please !)


You can't win 'em all.
Old 6th Jun 2013, 18:22
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Aaahhhh, bugger Danny, why do I read your soliloquy when the ash from the pig on't hill, burning plant emits at its strongest. Like you, I've witnessed the return of comrades, people I have known personally, and to this day there's a feeling of why not me? "Nothing in life prepares you for life" seems to me very apt. As always though, a pleasure to read your "renuntio".
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Old 7th Jun 2013, 11:55
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This thread is pure gold, please do keep going. My first tour was 1967 on 210 Sqn heavily populated with WW2 veterans. I learned a lot from them and you're continuing that link with a generation that gave the RAF a lot, not least a splendid sense of humour.

Last edited by Ubehagligpolitiker; 7th Jun 2013 at 11:57.
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Old 8th Jun 2013, 20:27
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By unanimous decision of the judges ie all of the bods who contribute to this thread there is no doubt that you must keep telling your riveting story here and no where else.
In any event the thread often wanders far of track without any interference from the moderaters so more power to your elbow.
Although I did not gain my brevet until after end of hostilities I suppose I still qualify as a veteran since I did volunteer for aircrew in 43 and I often wonder how life would have turned out had I stayed in the mob.
My 4 years service is insignificant in comparison with yours and many other contributers to this thread.
I, in company with many others look forward to reading about your further experiences in ATC. Keep em coming
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Old 8th Jun 2013, 22:32
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Danny goes against the flow.

The Station had got a new SWO. New brooms sweep clean: this chap was no exception. He thought that we needed sharpening-up (so we did, but that was the way we liked it). He descended on the airmen's barrack block one morning; everyone who hadn't at least one leg on the ground at 0710 was "on a fizzer". All the Units and Sections were caught in this sweep, my share was two NS airmen.

Now Reveille (Tannoy) was at 0700. But (as in most places, I should imagine), if you were on parade (boots and buttons shining), or at your place of work at 0800, and your bedspace was tidy and bed properly made up, it was no business but your own if you'd skipped breakfast for the sake of an extra half-hour's "kip".

As they'd all been booked together, all the Orderly Rooms were held at the same time. Together with the other three Adjutants, I'd cleared my desk, put on my flat 'at and assumed an appropriately stern expression. Then I thought about the charges a little. Could Reveille really be construed as an order to leap out of bed before the last notes had died away ? How about 0705 (or 0702) ? Now if the Room Corporal (or the SWO for that matter) had ordered the chaps out of bed, and they had not complied, it would be open and shut. But as it was ?

I got the Room Corporal in. Had he given any such order ? No, sir, he had not. Sir came to the conclusion (rightly or wrongly) that no offence had been committed. I dismissed both charges, much to the amazement of everybody on the station. But of course, it didn't stop there.

The other three Adjs had followed habit and automatically dished out 3-7 days CB according to taste (and the crime sheets). It made them look fools, their airmen were justifiably aggrieved. The SWO was livid, went to the Station Commander and demanded my head on a platter. It was not long before the expected summons came.

By that time I'd prepared my defence. Pari passu, if this had been a Court Martial offence, and the Prosecution had gone to court on such slender evidence, the Prosecuting Officer would have been thrown out on his ear, with stinging comment from the Deputy Judge Advocate. Why should a lesser standard of justice prevail because it was a trivial offence and I was merely a Subordinate Commander ? This was unanswerable and Daw fell back on "what would happen if everybody did it ?" Respectfully, I pointed out that everybody had been doing it, and the Station had been jogging along all right, as far as anyone could see.

We agreed to differ on that one; not for the first time I thanked the Lord that, in taking away my Career, the RAF had thrown away the only stick it had to beat me with. Daw reflected with bitter satisfaction that my Tour would end in a month or two. The SWO would have said "Amen" to that - it's amazing how much venom and dumb-insolence an experienced W.O. can put into a "Sir" (on the rare occasions when we subsequently met).

I became an overnight hero to my chaps. David had slain Goliath, St.George had speared the Dragon, I was Robin Hood to the SWO's Sheriff of Nottingham. David Brown (who'd backed me throughout) was quietly amused. My cheque fiasco (earlier in the year) was quite forgiven.

It only remains to wrap-up RAF Thornaby and the Auxiliaries.

Goodnight again, chaps


All good things come to an end.
Old 9th Jun 2013, 00:28
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Any of these reprobates familiar to you, Danny?

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Old 9th Jun 2013, 09:01
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Danny, where were you when I was charged and found guilty of having dust in the welts of my boots? My first offence and I didn't even know what welts were, let alone that they were a vital component of my boots, and anyway I couldn't see any dust dust in them. I was set up I tell you, done right over, and me as innocent as the day is long.

Never mind, your two airmen were the beneficiaries of your knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. The matter was decided in the correct place, the orderly room, not at the scene of the alleged offence, nor in the corridors of power, but at the place assigned and by the subordinate commander empowered by the AFA as laid out in MAFL. The right thing is not always easy, but it is still the right thing.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 9th Jun 2013 at 09:03.
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Old 9th Jun 2013, 12:07
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I remember a quote from 'Fly for you Life' by Bob Stamford Tuck. An 'erk' brought before him for wearing shoes instead of the regulation boots, was given 3 days 'confined to barracks.' This is not for wearing shoes my lad, its for being caught!"
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Old 9th Jun 2013, 18:32
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Very profound, but can't quite get my head round it. Never mind - thanks all the same...D


Thank you for the generous compliment ! I shall try to continue to give satisfaction, with a bit of humour on the side.

"ubehaglig" ? German dictionary is buried somewhere, was there an "unbehaglich" ("uneasy", "uncomfortable" - or have I got that wrong, too). Is there a linguist in the house ?

"Politiker" - know what that is. Don't trust 'em !......D.


Marvellous picture ! The elegantly posed chap in the middle (fag between finger and thumb) is Bill Goodrum. I remember several other faces, but can't put the names to them with any certainty. Don't recognise Boss Martin there - he would have been in pole position, anyway. (Could he have been the cameraman ?)

pzu (out of Africa) in #3654, p.183, gives a link (middle one) to a cartoon of 608. I could get it much bigger then and vaguely recognise faces, but can't do it now. Perhaps one of our wizards could blow it up as big as possible for me ?..... D.


It was a hard life, wasn't it ? I sympathise with you; Section 40 could land you in trouble for breathing. Dust in the welts must have been a capital offence, almost as bad as not polishing the backs of your buttons !.....D.


The good old Eleventh Commandment:- "Thou shalt not get Found Out". It was ever thus....D.

My thanks to you all for your interest. Cheers,

Old 9th Jun 2013, 19:45
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Never mind, your two airmen were the beneficiaries of your knowledge of what is right and what is wrong.

Like the time when one of my division was faced with a charge brought by the First Lieutenant in a frigate. No 1 outlined the case for the "persecution" then, much to his annoyance, I went for "No case to answer" on the grounds that Ship's Standing Orders had been amende
d to make the said crime an offence - but only on the day after the alleged act had taken place!

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