Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Old 2nd Jul 2013, 13:39
  #3981 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Danny Finds a Home.

We had a glorious two weeks in the Lakes; a huge "high" was anchored over Cumberland; the sun shone every single day. The locals marvelled: such a thing had never been known in living memory (the first thing every visitor there has to buy is a plastic mac); a story goes that a dripping stranger once asked of a native: "Does it always rain here ?"....."Naw", came the reply, "sometimes it snaws".

I think we had been notified of our postings on leaving the School. I drew the (then) Empire Flying College at RAF Manby, to report there in the last week of the month. I packed my bride, together with all my worldly goods with which I'd just endowed her (not a lot) into the old car (would that I could do the same today !) and set out.

It was evening when we reached Louth, we got the AA Book out, and picked the cheapest of the two-stars at the bottom of the list (it was a Temperance Hotel, but clean and cosy). In the morning I marched into the Adjutant's office at Manby. There I learned that I would not be employed there, but at their flying satellite of Strubby, some 12 miles further on. One SATCO (S/Ldr Norcross, ex-war Nav) ran both places.

I was officially welcomed by the Commandant (Air Cdr."Gus" Walker - who, I think, was the only one-armed pilot in the RAF at the time), who insisted on greeting personally every one of his new officers immediately on arrival (this was a measure of the man). Then I completed the greater part of my arrival procedure at Manby, only going out to Strubby the following day, (IIRC).

There could hardly have been a greater contrast between the two places. Manby was a well-kept, properly built "expansion" Station from the Thirties, whereas Strubby was in exactly the same condition as it had been when carved out of farmland in the early war years. If you'd seen a file of Wellingtons or Halifaxes coming round the peri-track, fully loaded en route for the Ruhr, with tractors, bomb trollies, bowsers and crew buses running around, the scene would have seemed perfectly normal. Everything was "in period" for '42-45, it was as if the last ten years had never been.

The buildings were all Nissen, Seco and Laing huts. ATC was the usual cube, with a sort of draughty and leaky shack stuck on the roof (and probably an outside staircase, I would think it would be a hazardous business, taking the tea up on a wet and windy day). I know that they had airmens' barrack huts there (I was i/c of one), so there must have been an airmens' Mess. I remember there was a small officers' bar, so there must have been a Mess of sorts, though I think the single officers all lived at Manby in my time
(could be wrong).

Now the requirement was to get into Service (if possible) accommodation as soon as we could, for finances would only run to the Temperance Hotel for a limited time. Most people at Strubby lived out in Mablethorpe-by-the-Sea (or the surrounding villages, but it was full summer and the town was packed with visitors. We looked at some desperate places (one, as Mrs D. reminds me, not unlike that illustrated in BEagle's Post #3481, p.175, (and also stuck in the middle of a pond) at Theddlethorpe).

But before we were reduced to such straits, a hiring became vacant at 144, High Street in Mablethorpe. It would hardly have passed muster with me at Weston, but beggars can't be choosers. We hadn't been in the place for ten minutes before another train load came in at the nearby station, and they were knocking on the door to ask if we did Bed & Breakfasts !

That's about enough for the moment.

G'day, mates


"If yer can find a better 'ole, go to it !" (Old Bill)
Old 2nd Jul 2013, 15:10
  #3982 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 5,222
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
You lucky chap!!! Moving into a semi-detached corner plot hiring opposite a supermarket (Lidl).

144 High Street, Mablethorpe LN12 1EJ

Semi-detached, Freehold , 3 Beds, 1 Baths, 2 Receps

Last sale: Ł109,000 Sale date: 30th Apr 2013

I never had that sort of luck and I don't know anybody in the same situation who had.

Edited to add
Looking at the post below I think that it been extended since Danny was in it.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 2nd Jul 2013 at 15:26.
Fareastdriver is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2013, 15:23
  #3983 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2012
Location: London
Posts: 47
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
More than that, it's a nice looking house. Three bedrooms, bathroom etc. We're rather spoiling that RAF wallah...

3 bedroom semi-detached house for sale in 144 High Street, Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire. LN12, LN12

Control Tower looks nice too - the internet tells me that it's a house these days.

Strubby - Page 2

Last edited by Reader123; 2nd Jul 2013 at 15:24.
Reader123 is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2013, 17:36
  #3984 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
144 High Street, Mablethorpe.

Fareastdriver and Reader123,

This is absolutely fascinating ! Thank you both ! Our first home !

It is 58 years ago, and a lot has changed. I cannot remember a "Kingsley Road" round the corner, and I think that in our time the house formed part of a much longer terrace running down the High Street (the gable end does looked "chopped off", as if it might once have been a party wall).

Houses seem to have been demolished in this terrace to enable "Kingsley" and other roads off (which I can't remember) to be built. Of course there was no supermarket opposite then (or anywhere else !)

It is certainly the same house, but it has been considerably extended at the back, and it's a palace now inside in comparison with what we had. The fireplaces may be original, but possibly modern replicas. All flooring is new.

I was dumbfounded when I saw the "new" ATC Tower. What a palace - that's been extended, too. The "balconies" were a typical WW2 feature

Believe you me, we didn't get that sort of luxury in '55 !

It's amazing what you can get for Ł115k even today, if you look in the right place.


Old 2nd Jul 2013, 19:25
  #3985 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Glasgow
Age: 98
Posts: 73
Received 2 Likes on 1 Post
Angel Strubby

Seems as not much had changed at Strubby since I was there in 1944, a most inhospitable spot especially in the dead of winter
Taphappy is offline  
Old 3rd Jul 2013, 20:21
  #3986 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Danny has the Even Tenor of his day interrupted.

I hadn't been on the approach desk for more than a week, when Boss Norcross came in rather crossly. "Your wife's on the phone in my office. Says it's urgent". I pictured some terrible disaster. There wasn't much on the tube, he took over from me, and I dashed out.

It appeared that she'd Seen a Mouse. And not Burns' "wee cowering sleekit timorous beastie". There was no panic at all "in its breastie". It was of huge size (she said) and made no response to "Shoo !" and "Go away", but sat back comfortably on its haunches, twitched its whiskers and dared her to come closer ("Come on if you're hard enough"). Skirting the creature, she fled out to the nearest phone box and rang Strubby.

It seemed that she wanted me to Come Home at Once and do battle with this monster. I explained as gently as I could that that was not really an option just then. I'd be off watch in an hour or so, anyway, and would then have all afternoon to sort the Mouse out. Meanwhile, as she was half way to town anyway, why not carry on to an ironmongers and buy a mousetrap ?

This sounded entirely reasonable to me, but did not go down at all well at the other end of the line. Mercifully the flow of invective was cut short as the pips went and Button A had had all the copper in her purse. Indignantly, she carried on to the shops and came home with a trap. Creeping fearfully back indoors, she was glad to find that the Mouse had disappeared.

There was a certain froideur in the air at lunch. There was no trace of the mouse, in fact I never did see it, but we certainly had mice: we could hear them tap-dancing behind the big skirting boards in the evenings. But now we looked out some pungent Cheddar, baited the trap and put it in a corner of the kitchen.

We were both in the lounge mid-afternoon, there was a sharp snap and then a howl of such volume and poignancy as to chill the blood. I hastily revised my ideas. If the Mouse could vocalise on this scale, I didn't really want to meet it. Seizing a poker (Grandad will tell you all about them), I cautiously sidled into the kitchen. It was empty, but the kitchen door was open. No, it isn't what you think. It was a hot day and Mrs D. had left it open to get a bit of air in. And now the howls were outside, I followed them and all became plain.

The next-door dog, "Tina" by name, a harmless and affectionate creature, already obese, had followed the scent of cheese to its source, now had the trap clamped on her muzzle, was not too happy about it and was making all Mablethorpe aware of the fact. For a portly and seemingly unathletic animal, she had quite a turn of speed. It took some time to chase and corner her in order to remove the encumbrance.

She wasn't at all grateful. Regarding me as the cause of her misfortune, she turned on me big, brown eyes of such reproach, disappointment and hurt from betrayed trust that I found myself apologising to the animal. She never did forgive me, shied away if I tried to pat her, and never put a paw over our threshold again.

A little time later S/Ldr Norcross was involved in a similar domestic emergency (or so he thought). This time the call didn't get through to him, but was fielded at an earlier stage and passed on to him. His wife had been knocked out - but there were no further details. In considerable alarm, he leapt upon his trusty "Cyclemaster", and covered the 5 miles to Sutton-on-Sea in record time, fearing the worst.

At home, he found his wife in good health, enjoying a coffee with the next-door neighbour. The message had been: "locked out" (she'd shut the front door with the keys inside, and wanted him home to let her in). But it so happened that a kitchen window was slightly open, the neighbour had a 12 yr old lad at home, the rest was easy.

A second call to Strubby came too late - he was well on his way by then. Simmering gently, he returned the 5 miles to duty. We permitted ourselves a little wry amusement.

After five months with the dancing mice, we were fortunate enough to find a better place.

Just another day,


We don't make much money, but we do see life.

Last edited by Danny42C; 4th Jul 2013 at 17:01. Reason: Add Text. Correct Error.
Old 3rd Jul 2013, 22:52
  #3987 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 70
Posts: 2,063
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post

It's nice to know that it wasn't just "Herbert's" like myself who were afflicted with mice in MQs. A tale of derring do indeed. Didn't the wives have to put up with a lot in those days, I suspect modern wives might look for external assistance. But good on your good lady, at least she didn't jump on a stool and scream. Aahhh, the service life.

Iuguolo non vestri canis ut rid is of muris

smujsmith is offline  
Old 4th Jul 2013, 09:07
  #3988 (permalink)  
Cunning Artificer
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: The spiritual home of DeHavilland
Age: 76
Posts: 3,127
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Then who do you blame if something goes wrong?
Maintenance, as they are called these days.

But it would be down to "The Other Shift" of course.

His wife had been knocked out
"Send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance."


Last edited by Blacksheep; 4th Jul 2013 at 09:25.
Blacksheep is offline  
Old 4th Jul 2013, 10:02
  #3989 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a


Iuguolo non vestri canis ut rid is of muris. Construe, Danny !

Now you've put me on my mettle (no Latin dictionary to hand). Never mind, have a go -

Iuguolo - Jugulo - Jugular - Throat?- Muzzle?

non vestri canis - (of) not your dog- (easy bit).

ut rid is of - (plain English) - muris - mus, muris - mouse.

(Laboravit mons, parturit ridiculus mus - The mountain has laboured, and brought forth a mouse) (A propos of nothing at all - just chucked it in as a makeweight !)

Come to think of it, we weren't much troubled by any more appearances of mice after that incident - although there was ample evidence of infestation.
Yet must beware of the Post Hoc fallacy (all this "Dog Latin" - sorry, could't resist that !)

Is there no end to the man's accomplishments ? (Mods will lower the boom on this as sure as God made little apples !)

Cheers, Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 4th Jul 2013 at 17:23. Reason: Add Text.
Old 4th Jul 2013, 10:22
  #3990 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 70
Posts: 2,063
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post

I doubt very much such treatment from the Mods . Great work on the translation, it comes in English as "Muzzle not your dog for the sake of a mouse" I believe. No expert but enjoy a dabble at languages. Keep up the good work Danny.

smujsmith is offline  
Old 4th Jul 2013, 10:26
  #3991 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 26,795
Received 270 Likes on 109 Posts
Latina est langua mortuus quam mortissime!

Latin Translation Paper 1


These words having been said however, notwithstanding the having been positioned mouse destruction engine, because of these things the dog was by the object bitten.

On my time on 56(F), we had an outbreak of mousetrap mayhem. We'd spotted a couple of mice in their best field grey watching a parade - they were seen scurrying into the crewroom. So 'Traps, mouse....Qty several' were acquired....

Our USN Exchange Officer decided to hide the wretched things in unexpected places, such as under a tea towel casually placed on the coffee bar, or just inside a box of crisp bags. For several days, the sounds of "Thwack....Ow! You bŁoody Yank!" were heard.

But slowly, I watched and made my plan. Noting his habit of reaching up to grab his USN bonedome from the rack without looking, I carefully placed the trap...and waited. Sure enough, he was soon hoist by his own petard..or rather, mousetrap.

Later on another squadron, we had a pompous Flt Cdr who liked to sprinkle his pithy memos with pseudo-legal Latin clauses such as 'inter alia' and 'sub rosa'. So I took much delight in replying with a few invented Latin clauses of my own such as 'his verbis dictis, autem' and 'ob has causas'. That kept him at bay - but no doubt delayed my promotion by quite a few years!
BEagle is online now  
Old 4th Jul 2013, 17:44
  #3992 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Dead Languages.


Crafty ! Serves him right ! Heaven save us from practical jokers !

Hibus rebus conditis, time to pack it in pro tem, I think. Exeunt omnes,

Cheers to all, Danny.
Old 4th Jul 2013, 18:56
  #3993 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 70
Posts: 2,063
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
As a final blast from the past; "scio me nihil scire", Beags, love the mousetrap in the bonedome. A real trap, if I may be so bold. Danny, where are we going next ? I know so many people who joined the RAF as, a Rigger, spent 22 years being a rigger, and left. Is there anything left that The Royal Air Force can subject you to ? I'm sure there are some adventures to come. Don't hold back Danny, we can take it. Dare I say, Nil illegitimi carborundum. Oops, just a slip I assure you


Last edited by smujsmith; 4th Jul 2013 at 18:56.
smujsmith is offline  
Old 5th Jul 2013, 22:39
  #3994 (permalink)  

sua cuique voluptas
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Oxford, UK
Age: 77
Posts: 157
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

Ad prōpositum, one might (might one?) offer huzzas all round to celebrate the 200th page of this fabulous thread?


Keep 'em coming, men.
Ripline is offline  
Old 6th Jul 2013, 01:44
  #3995 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Danny finds a New House and Starts Work

Besides the dancing mice, we were troubled by a plague of beetles in the kitchen. Not cockroaches, I'm glad to say, but ordinary garden beetles ("black clocks" in Yorkshire speech). I disposed of them by the dozen, but they kept coming.

Through Church acquaintances, I learned that a town coal merchant, finding coal-heaving a little too much as the years mounted, intended to sell up and move to Nottingham (I thinK) in another, easier occupation for the last few years before retirement. But with that retirement in mind, he'd built himself a very nice house at the far end (No.133) of Victoria Road, with the intention of coming back there when his working life ended.

It had been completed only a year or two before the 1953 floods submerged it to a depth of about 4 feet, and had only just properly dried out, been redecorated, and newly furnished, when we came on the scene. Mr Dunn had been a pillar of the little (RC) Church about 100 yds round the corner; his house was opposite a fine big pub ("The Eagle"); now he wanted a no-trouble long term tenant.

Curiously, at that time, providing your Station was "below Establishment" in hirings, you could find another suitable one for yourself, even though you were in one already. I pounced on this, and we moved in in November. (144 High St. was taken by a W/Cdr on the Course, he was welcome to it). We now had the best hiring in town and were greatly envied.

Mr Dunn had voluntarily shouldered the task of stoking the church heating boiler on winter Saturday nights and Sunday mornings: I took his place in recognition of our good fortune. Coal and coke continued mysteriously to appear without effort on my part; the boilerman experience would be valuable to me later in our quarter in Germany.

Now you'll think it's time I got back to Strubby. We worked the standard "two-watch" system (an afternoon, a morning and a night - which might be nothing or all night, repeat ad lib). On the morning watch, you came in around 0715, checked state of all your aids, looked up all the new NOTAMs, Danger Areas, Important Visitors etc. and generally noted anything which might interest Bloggs and his (tor)mentors. The Local Controller (F/Sgt) came back from runway inspection with the tatty ATC Landrover and reported state of play on all the holes that Works & Bricks had been digging in the movements surfaces that week.

On most days the wind had chosen your runway direction for you, GCA had moved if required and were Running up the High Tension and Setting Up - leaving you in suspense till the very last moment before you had to Dash for Briefing, before pronouncing themselves Satisfied with the Picture.

0800 saw a mass assembly of throttle-benders in the Briefing Room, CFI, flanked by his three (IIRC: two Meteor and one Canberra) Squadron Commanders would be in pole position on the front row. We had an Overhead Projector; I think Met man was first up to say his piece and answer questions, then I was on my feet to add my two cents' worth, then CFI rounded it off with a few well-chosen veiled threats, and Bloggs quaked in his shoes, and of course: "It will be 0815 and Forty-Five Seconds......NOW". All would twiddle the expensive timepieces provided by the taxpayer (except Met Man and I, who had to buy our own). The game was on.

Back to the Tower for that first Cup of Tea without which no Controller can possibly function, then the welkin began to ring as engines fired-up en masse for the first sortie of the day. You put your headset on and sharpened your Chinagraph ready for action. About 0830 the flight lines would be bare but for a few stragglers. CFI finished his coffee and sallied forth to the Flight Offices: "Is that aircraft serviceable ?"...."Yes, Sir"...."Then why isn't it in the air ?"

What goes up, comes down. And as they'd all gone up together, all the Meteors would, of course....Around 0900 poor Approach Controller had to work like a one-armed paper-hanger till all were safely gathered in. Woe betide you if you couldn't handle at least four Controlled Descents at once ! After that a natural scatter effect spaced out the next wave a bit, and by lunchtime it was a nice smooth flow, and you were watching the clock for the magic 1245 when your relief (should) appear.

Attempts were made to persuade CFIs to "spread the first batch out a bit", but without success; they were in thrall to the "Hours For the Month" Graph on the office wall and therefore deaf to reason.

There's a lot more about the Tower to come ! EDIT: Smudge and Ripline, we'll make it 300 yet !

Goodnight, chaps,


Never mind.

Last edited by Danny42C; 6th Jul 2013 at 02:03. Reason: Add Text.
Old 6th Jul 2013, 13:03
  #3996 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Wide Brown Land
Age: 39
Posts: 516
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What goes up, comes down. And as they'd all gone up together, all the Meteors would, of course....Around 0900 poor Approach Controller had to work like a one-armed paper-hanger till all were safely gathered in
From a modern day civilian controller perspective I can assure you nothing's changed in that regard!
kookabat is offline  
Old 6th Jul 2013, 18:36
  #3997 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 5,222
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
house was opposite a fine big pub ("The Eagle");
Now empty, boarded up and for sale like so many other fine big pubs.
Fareastdriver is offline  
Old 6th Jul 2013, 19:25
  #3998 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

I take it that you're in our honourable profession. How do you manage to keep track of all those blips ? Looks like herding cats to me !

"Three-dimensional high speed game of chess", we used to call it (all bull, of course !).....D.


How sad ! Sign of the times, I fear. I had a look at 133 Victoria Road on Google Street View last year, looking a bit shabby as they'd knocked down the low wall between 133 and 135 to allow a drive-in to two add-on garages. It's curious to see that even as late as 1950 they didn't put a garage in as a matter of course. I did a deal with the gaffer of the "Eagle" for one of the pub wooden garages opposite at 5/- a week....D.

Getting near 4,000 Posts on this best of Threads. Hope Cliff, Reg, Fred and all (RIP) the others get a chance to see it.

Cheers, Danny.
Old 6th Jul 2013, 19:39
  #3999 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 70
Posts: 2,063
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Well said Danny,

I'm sure that if Cliffnemo, Reg and Fred are keeping an eye on "proceedings" they would be proud of the result of their original posts. All credit to yourself for keeping it going, and, a happy 4000th when it happens. I'm rather hoping you get number 4000. Stay well and best of luck with shifting the "nutty slack"

smujsmith is offline  
Old 6th Jul 2013, 19:45
  #4000 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 82
Posts: 4,753
Received 204 Likes on 65 Posts
"It will be 0815 and Forty-Five Seconds......NOW".
Being a truckie, pre flight briefing was a far more sedate business, with each crew left to organise and brief itself, usually by each crewman giving a "departmental" account of frequencies and hence crystals required, oils and fly away kits, charts and en-route docs, role equipment etc etc. Zulu time was available in Flight Planning for individuals to set their own watches, having had the Met brief, checked Notams, filed a Flight Plan, and ordered the fuel required.

Perhaps I should have started by saying "Being a truckie based in the Far East" because on return to the UK I was posted to Colerne, just in time for the summer season of ever larger formation exercises heading towards various drop zones. The briefings for these were more like "Target for Tonight" with all the crews and the hierarchy that you recall, Danny, as audience to the various Stream Leaders, Met Men, Army Liaison, SATCOs, Sig Leaders, Nav Leaders, Eng Leaders, etc, doing their various turns. The climax, no doubt reserved to the end for its dramatic appeal, was the "Time Hack" that you described. It did not always go flawlessly. Any nervousness on the part of the "caller" would be cruelly responded to by an outbreak of "sorry, we didn't get that back here, could we have it again?", and so it would go on until the Groupie or similar would declare proceedings at an end.

A really memorable time check though was the one my nav requested at Gander Flight Planning, as the chronometer there had stopped. The clerk obliged with a "Won't be long" and disappeared into Gander Centre, which was next door. He soon re-appeared with a piece of paper on which was written "0847".

Last edited by Chugalug2; 6th Jul 2013 at 19:58.
Chugalug2 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.