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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 15th Oct 2013, 22:47
  #4441 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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dogle (welcome back) and Smudge,

On the Vengeance, we used the dive brakes (apart from dives) merely to reduce speed down to circuit speed, or in case of coming up at 150 mph behind a formation trundling along at 130 mph, to avoid ramming the man in front.

Any attempt to use them at circuit or approach speed would result in an alarming loss of lift (any Meteor driver who has dropped wheels and flap, forgetting the brakes were still out, will know the effect).

In the case of a slow-flying Vengeance, it would promptly revert to "brick" mode. Not to be recommended.

As for gliders, from what little I know, the idea was to use them as "reverse throttles", so you always had a bit in hand if needed. But your airbrakes were as puling kittens in comparison with the roaring tigers of the ones on the Vengeance, designed to hold 7 tons, descending vertically under partial power, to a terminal velocity of 300 mph.

My unfortunate mishap in Burma was my own fault. Having got it into my head that all I had was an instrument failure, and nothing to worry about, I came down to circuit height (1,000 ft) instead of holding on to the 3,000 I had. This would have given me a chance of a 'dead-stick' if I got close enough to the strip, or of us going over the side if not.

As it was, I guessed wrong and still bear the scars.

The place with the harbour was Chittagong. I had my prang from some kutcha strip off in the bundoo. Can't remember a name.

Never tried opening a DV panel. Think it would be rather draughty.

Cheers, Danny
 
Old 16th Oct 2013, 11:49
  #4442 (permalink)  
 
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Most or all of the aircraft I have flown have had DV panels. In the Piper Cherokee/Arrow range the panel in the P1's side window is about 6ins x 4ins and hinges downwards. I found it perfect for aerial photography using an SLR. It was also convenient for the disposal of a plastic bag when there was no convenience and the flight was 4hrs30m duration
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Old 16th Oct 2013, 14:27
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Thank you so much, Danny, for that clarification - I was labouring under the mistaken impression that the Vengeance's dive brakes could be operated delicately at less than full whack.

Smudge - thanks, I concur of course completely on the splendid 'controllability' delivered by the hefty brakes on latter-day gliders - and indeed those of the venerable but all-too-rare K18, that's one I'd really have loved to fly. No news back from the press re. Flt Lt Lamprey?
(Has the time come for us to try and muster a Press Gang? ... I sense that he might find it amusing to be Shanghaied!).

Danny's fortuitous use of the expression "reverse throttles" enables me to slip swiftly back to the current subject ... I retain a vivid memory (from long ago, as a passenger a few minutes after departure from Heathrow) of the shaken voice of a KLM Captain announcing "I hope that you were not upset by the unusual noise - I had to use the reverse thrust to comply with a very, ah, urgent request from Air Traffic Control".

I have, ever since, been very mindful of that huge weight which rests on the shoulders of the controller.

Last edited by dogle; 16th Oct 2013 at 14:41.
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Old 16th Oct 2013, 15:44
  #4444 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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dogle,

Your:

".....a few minutes after departure from Heathrow of the shaken voice of a KLM Captain announcing "I hope that you were not upset by the unusual noise - I had to use the reverse thrust to comply with a, ah, very urgent request from Air Traffic Control....."

OMG - is this standard operating procedure in the air?

The divebrakes can be opened partially - but not delicately ! It's hit and miss. You just get more or less of the same effect - no nose down, no loss of speed - just an enormous increase in the rate-of-descent !

Danny.
 
Old 16th Oct 2013, 16:01
  #4445 (permalink)  
 
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It was also convenient for the disposal of a plastic bag when there was no convenience and the flight was 4hrs30m duration
I once found that very useful in a Valiant approaching Nairobi after ten hours flying, having flight refuelled overhead El Adem. The DV panels were fairly thick and had handles that pulled them in and down. Young FED here opened it up and being a litterbug discarded all the leftover rations, drink cans etc out the window. As I finished it suddenly occurred to me that just by my shoulder were two Rolls Royce Avon jet engines that must have been having a late lunch.

Every thing seemed to be all right. Our crew chief had a crawl down the intakes but he could not find anything wrong and they got us back to the UK OK.
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Old 17th Oct 2013, 12:15
  #4446 (permalink)  
 
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"when of course there will be no more story - it will end when I hand my F1250 in."

So what are we all going to do after that? 100,000+ words over almost two years (thus far); Dickens was clearly not the last man to publish in gripping episodes, but he always had a next book! Sorry, Danny, you're going to have to come up with some more tales...
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Old 17th Oct 2013, 19:53
  #4447 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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Where Danny's Caravan has Rested.

And now we have landed in the Hook of Holland. The RTO sent for me. My posting was originally to RAF Sylt, which would involve going a long way across country and almost up to the Danish border. I was now told that this posting had been cancelled - Sylt was closed for resurfacing (or something like that). Anyway, they didn't want me any more. Go on to RAFG (at JHQ Rheindahlen) for onward instructions. Get on the Military Train over there.

And so I ended up in this giant HQ, where it was clear that nobody was much concerned with me or my fate, and I didn't know a soul. After kicking my heels for a day or two, a voice called "Danny ?": I turned to see a friendly face at last. Keith Marfell, whom I'd welcomed into the Thornaby Mess on his commissioning from Warrant nine years before, and who once came to dinner with us at Mablethorpe five years later, clapped me on the shoulder. Now S/Ldr Marfell in the Secretarial Branch, he knew all the corridors of power in the place. A few well-placed phone calls, and I had my posting - Geilenkirchen (hereinafter "GK").

Hearing my story, and realising what would probably happen, he got on to the Equippers at once to stop my baggage going to Sylt - but it was too late, and it had to be re-routed back from there and turned up a fortnight or so late at GK. No matter.

They gave me an RAF "staff car" (1200 entry-level VW, used for the more menial tasks), with a German civilian driver. It was only a relatively short trip, but enough for me to see the good points of the "peoples" car". A very high top gear enabled it to bumble along the landstraßen quite leisurely at 80-90 kph without undue noise, and it was quite a popular purchase among our troops, selling at about the same as a Mini, IIRC. I tried my rudimentary German on my driver, but as his English was far superior to my efforts I didn't get very far.

GK seemed a fairly comfortable place. The Mess rooms were in centrally heated "huts", larger and much superior to the Secos. The Mess itself was a roomy single-storey affair, food was good and in the bar I quickly learned to ask for a "point-two" or a "point-five" of DAB (Dortmunder Aktien Bier) - and never was beer more aptly named - rather than a "half" or a "pint".

ATC was in the middle of a long single-story terrace of offices parallel with, and quite close to the taxi track. A Local control glass-house was mounted on the top. Approach down below just had a CA/DF, IIRC. On the field was a CPN-4, trained on 27 (no subsidiary runways).

In this I expected a nice quiet life, as at Thorney, but had a rude awakening. Instead of tapping into the mains , and feeding it through a rotary converter, power was supplied from a diesel generator. Now a CPN-4 takes a fair amount of power, so it has to be a powerful diesel. And this one was air-cooled . You can imagine the row: outside the Truck you could hardly hear yourself speak, and it was not much better inside. I think the maker was called something sounding like "bow-sher". EDIT (at end of Post)

Of course, it was obvious when you think about it. Although the CPN-4s at home were semi-permanent fixtures, there was every possibility that, in the event of hostilities, ours would have to up-stakes and follow the squadrons to whatever new home they pitched up in. By the same token, they would need their own independent power source with them.

The "lodger units" were 11 Sqdn (Javelin), C.O.: W/Cdr Cro(w)shaw (also Chief Gliding Instructor), and 3 Sqdn (Canberra). The Station Commander was G/Capt Peter Le Cheminant, and that's all the names I can remember. My very pleasant SATCO ran a beautiful pale blue 220S Merc., but his name's gone.

AFAIK, we were manned to Master Airfield level - for the opposition weren't going to send you a postcard to let you know they were coming - but those living in MQs could stand-by at home on the understanding that they could be in position in five minutes. Those living out kept a room in the Mess for the purpose. There were frequent "tacevals", "maxivals" and "minivals" to make sure the system worked.

Goodnight once more, chaps,

Danny42C

EDIT: (came to me out of the blue from nowhere ages later). It was BAUCEM, I'm sure, but looking it up the best Wiki can do is BAUCHEM, they're in that business, but now a Chinese firm. Possible that the German firm was taken over, I suppose....D.


Don't assume - Check !

Last edited by Danny42C; 2nd Dec 2013 at 17:00. Reason: Add Text.
 
Old 17th Oct 2013, 21:08
  #4448 (permalink)  
 
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Danny, how fickle is the Finger of Fate, and no more fickle than when wagged by RAF Postings. Sylt sounds almost as alluring as Thorney Island, well it's by the sea for a start, so to have it so rudely snatched from you only to be sent to the front line instead (Geilenkirchen would surely have counted as that in the Cold War) must have been somewhat of a rude awakening. However we have learned enough about you in your varied and various peregrinations about the globe to know that you will seek every positive advantage in your new surroundings to learn and to absorb all that they have to offer.

Having owned two Beetles I concur with your appreciation of it. The only problem I had was with the first, which had only a 6 volt battery. The renowned willingness of the flat four air cooled engine to spring to life on the coldest of mornings could thus be somewhat inhibited. No such problems with the 12volt one though, and it could soon be supplying a volcanic effect to the heating system in short order. What a pity that the "People" were denied such pleasures, due to a little unpleasantness getting in the way.
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Old 17th Oct 2013, 23:44
  #4449 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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Coffman starter and Smudgsmith,

Thank you so much for the directions to "High Flight". Just finished it. What a load of malarkey ! (but beautifully cooked). Worth a half-hour of anybody's time. Lovely flying shots, but the storyline's a bit stereotyped.

Will regard Cranwellians (aka "the Lord's Anointed") in an entirely new light from now on (came "up thro' the hawse-hole" myself - only jealous !).....D.

Reader123,

Thank you for your very kind words. Yet all good things must come to an end sometime. But not yet. I still have to work through twelve years and four Stations (inc GK) (if I live that long)....D.

Cheers to you all,

Danny.
 
Old 18th Oct 2013, 14:32
  #4450 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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Chugalug

I tend to "go with the flow": it's least trouble in the end. My favourite literary animal is Kipling's "Cat that Walked on his Own, and All Places were Alike to Him". Yes, Sylt had its attractions, but I'm not sure that some would have appealed to Mrs D. - specifically the freikörperkultur for which its beaches were renowned in summer (even if that only lasts a week by the sea in these latitudes).

As for the VW, it calls to mind the occasion after the war when the Wolfsburg plant was offered to a consortium of British car makers by way of War Reparations. They turned it down ("this silly little thing'll never sell !") Years later, we were celebrating the millionth Morris Minor (VW had shifted eleven million Beetles). They had, I believe, a disturbing tendency to pole-vault over the half-shaft if tucked-in too enthusiastically.

Cheers, Danny
 
Old 18th Oct 2013, 16:07
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Danny, Your good lady wife can be assured that you would have had no problems with the bare-arse beach culture. As one who spent an August there on APC you would find that for every nubile young beauty you noticed there were at least two ancient crones to negate any effect they may have had on the male mind. And one only had to take a dip in the North Sea!
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Old 18th Oct 2013, 16:59
  #4452 (permalink)  
 
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I just can't wait until Danny42C ends up as an Instructor at CATCS, RAF Shawbury, so I can give him and his colleagues a hard time!!

Truck on, Danny … loving every minute!

Last edited by MPN11; 18th Oct 2013 at 16:59.
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Old 19th Oct 2013, 00:26
  #4453 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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Future Delights.

MPN11,

Sir, I shall endeavour to give complete satisfaction when the time comes - it'll be a while yet, though !

(Any new recruit to my fan club is sure of a warm welcome !)

Danny
 
Old 19th Oct 2013, 21:46
  #4454 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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Danny finds a Place for us to Live.

Once ensconced in GK, and my baggage having finally caught up with me, my first task was obviously to organise somewhere to bring my family out to join me. Very few (senior) officers were fortunate enough to be able to walk into a quarter on the Station. All junior ones (with exceptions like M.O.s) had to go through a very well established three-stage system.

First you spent a few weeks (I think two months in our case) in what were laughingly called "flats" in Holland. They were really "digs" with Dutch families. In theory there was nothing to stop having them in Germany, but I never heard of any such. Our "flat" consisted of a lounge, a kitchen and bathroom, and a bedroom in the large house of a Mynheer and Mynfrow Verhayden an elderly couple in Heerlen, about five miles in from the frontier which was literally on the boundary with RAF GK.

These arrangements may have started off as private deals, but now seemed to be similar to the "hiring" system at home, for I cannot recall paying Mr.V. any rent in any currency. (There was nothing, of course, to stop you renting your own place privately). It followed that one incoming RAF family succeded another as the first was allotted a house in the second stage in the procedure.

These houses were in the "Volkspark" in Cologne (or Köln, to taste), fifty miles from GK. The history was interesting. In the early days at the end of the war, Germany was in ruins and the local administration non-existent. Each of the Allies (USA, Britain, France and Russia) had been allotted (in the Potsdam Agreement) a share ("Zone") of the former Reich to administer. For this purpose, we had set up the Control Commission (Germany) to govern our share (the northern slice of the Western "half").

This was a civilian organisation (although there were naturally many ex-service officers appointed to it), and they saw no reason why they should not live in some style as being the ruling power in the land (at least, pro tem). Accordingly they had had (at German expense) a large enclave of "executive housing" built in the pleasant environs of a former large park in the south of Cologne.

These places were enormous - far more space than we could possibly use - but each service family got an entire house. However, some foresight had gone into the design. From the outset they had been planned for later conversion into two flats: all the necessary extra plumbing and cable runs were in place to make this easy.

And that is enough about the Volkspark for now, as we shall return to it later. Meanwhile I must pick up the story of our new life in Heerlen.

Goodnight, all,

Danny42C.


There's no place like Home.

Last edited by Danny42C; 24th Oct 2013 at 22:53. Reason: Persistent Spelling Error'
 
Old 20th Oct 2013, 20:45
  #4455 (permalink)  
 
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for every nubile young beauty you noticed there were at least two ancient crones to negate any effect
The most effective form of birth control for the over 50s: Nudity
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Old 21st Oct 2013, 08:11
  #4456 (permalink)  
 
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It works for under 25s too, at least on Sylt beach!

Last edited by 26er; 21st Oct 2013 at 08:13.
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Old 21st Oct 2013, 21:13
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Danny gets on wheels again.

By now, the RAF had managed to get me and my heavy baggage together at GK. The first task would be the dismantling of the crates round the pram and washing machine. Now my foresight paid off. Only a screwdriver was needed for the job; the screws went straight into a bag for re-use, the slats (all numbered for reassembly) packed down into quite a small volume to be ready for eventual return to UK.

There was a difficulty now. Although the "flat" had been allocated to us, and although the RAF transported all my household stuff across to it (and I suppose there must have been a "marching-in" of some sort), I was still without wheels of any kind, and reliant on the help of my ATC colleagues for lifts across and back. But these were readily forthcoming, for almost everybody had been in the same boat on first arrival, and obviously would be honour-bound to extend that help to the newcomers which they themselves had received.

For some reason that I simply cannot remember (but Mrs D. confirms the fact), the "Twin-tub" could not be operated in the "flat" (blow all the fuses ?). I therefore decided to return it to GK. Again, for some unknown reason, I had to rely on a couple of friends to do this for me as I was otherwise engaged. The "humping" was no problem, but the German border Customs demanded duty on the "importation". No amount of arguing would shake them, so we had to concede the principle. But the tax was a small % (and ad valorum). Never did washing machine depreciate so rapidly ! In the end, they had to disburse (on my behalf) a small % of next to nothing. But the bureaucratic German mind was happy, they had got something in their till, if not much; the correct Forms had been filled in; they were content.

Almost immediately after, the Happy Day came. Automobiles Peugeot wrote. Our car had arrived in their compound somewhere in Paris, if I would be so good as to advise them on the date I would be coming to collect (and show ID), they would bring it over to their showroom and obtain temporary French registration to allow me to take it out of the country.

I had already made all the arrangements at the GK end: got insurance from General Accident, Fire & Life (one of IIRC, only two UK insurers who would touch RAF(G) with a bargepole), and passed the relatively simple examination on German traffic rules and European road signs needed to get a BFG driving licence. (I don't think I got its BFG registration ("LP 97 B") until I could produce the car, paperwork and insurance certificate).

Getting to Paris was no problem. Night (stopping) train from GK, not much chance to snooze as it stopped at every frontier. No Shengen Agreement yet, Customs and Immigration came through the train for passport checks. At last it crawled into the Gare du Nord about 0900. I tumbled out, had a wash & brush up, a café-crême (grande-tasse) and a brioche, and dived below onto the métro. Vague memories of my schoolboy visit 22 years before lingered: I decided to make for L'Étoile, for I'd calculated that I'd have to navigate the rond-pointe to start my journey back, and it might be a good idea to have a look at it first.

Thank Heavens, I did ! For I never saw such a scene of horror. In a sort of nightmare carousel cars were hurtling in, round and out again with no quarter asked or given. Lane discipline was totally absent, horns blared and there were loud cries in an argot which eluded me, but were clearly not terms of endearment. Miraculously all seemed to be surviving this mayhem, but I decided on the spot to chicken-out. Needless to say, not a policeman was in sight. By now the grande tasse was having an effect, but in those days the vespasiennes were still a welcome piece of street furniture.

It was quite a long walk down to the Peugeot showroom, but it was late April (I think), warm and very pleasant and all downhill, as I recall. There I was warmly greeted, a coffee appeared and we settled down to complete the formalities. A minion was despatched to bring our car round to the front. Hesitantly, I confessed my terror of what I had just seen. No problem, M'sieu, they were quite accustomed to this. A chauffeur could be provided to take me out of Paris to the end of the métro line, where he'd hop out and make his way back.

Naturellement there would be a small charge for this service, only 10 NF (this would translate as roughly a £ then, say £20 today). This almost cleaned me out of NF, for I'd earmarked this sum for a modest meal on the way back, but it couldn't be helped. My driver appeared; they handed over the keys and I departed in a cloud of félicitations.

More next time.

Cheerio, everybody,

Danny42C.


Wish me luck !

Last edited by Danny42C; 21st Oct 2013 at 22:14. Reason: Add Text.
 
Old 23rd Oct 2013, 11:32
  #4458 (permalink)  
 
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Each of the Allies (USA, Britain, France and Russia) had been alloted (in the Potsdam Agreement) a share ("Zone") of the former Reich to administer. For this purpose, we had set up the Control Commission (Germany) to govern our share (the northern slice of the Western "half").




This is the Kamergericht in Berlin Schoneberg built 1913, the seat of the Prussian Supreme Court. In 1945 it was one of very few public buildings still standing in Berlin and was thus requisitioned by the victorious Allies to house the Allied Control Council, the governing body of the four occupation zones (American, British, Russian and French). By 1948 relations had deteriorated badly and the Russians finally walked out over the issue of currency reform. The various functions divested themselves to the 4 different zones, leaving only the Berlin Air Safety Centre in this vast labyrinth of a building.

After I left the RAF in 1973 I joined Dan-Air (flying 1-11s) which did a lot of very profitable business flying chartered holiday work out of West Berlin (that was banned to all but US, British and French airlines). We were encouraged to attend the Air Safety Centre to be briefed on the "politics" of how it was run and in particular what was involved in obtaining permission for out of hours extensions for delayed incoming flights.

The Centre was commanded by 4 Air Force officers of Colonel rank from each of the allied powers. Their subordinates, of captain or major rank, sat at the four corners of what appeared to be a large dining table, awaiting notification of a previously agreed aircraft movement from Berlin ATC, either into or our of West Berlin via one of the three Air Corridors. The centre one of these was British responsibility, so our man would then retrieve the card from his rack with that flight's details, and pass it across to his Russian equivalent who would check it and then stamp it with a large Cyrillic imprint, which acknowledged the information but reminded the reader that the Soviet Government did not guarantee the safety of the flight! He then passed the card back to the RAF officer who placed it in the approved rack, and thus the business of the Safety Centre was carried out.

All this of course left a great deal of time for other pursuits, pleasurable or otherwise. Thus the USAF Major was enjoying a baseball game on a portable TV, the French Capitaine was wreathed in Gauloises smoke as he read Le Figaro, the Russian was amending a large technical manual, and the RAF Flight Lieutenant studying for a promotion exam. He explained that they were trying to teach the Russian officer the British game of darts, but the state of disrepair of the wall surrounding the dartboard testified to a certain lack of success.

The Squadron Leader showing us around introduced us to each of them in turn before then taking us on a conducted tour of the building. He showed us into what seemed to be large ante room, in which indeed the Safety Centre threw the odd social function, but had previously been the main court room. Here it was that the Nazis had dragged the various people arrested following the aborted attempt on Hitler's life in 1944, after they had "assisted" the Gestapo in its inquiries.

Evidently the Fuhrer had insisted that after being found guilty (no ifs or buts of course), sentence (death by hanging by piano wire) was to be carried out within 2 hours of being convicted. Given the day and night raids then being experienced, this was often easier said than done (the normal place of execution at Plotzensee being near Tegel and the court being near Tempelhof). An order from the Fuhrer was of course to be obeyed without fail, so he then led us down into the basement of the building. There, in what was one of the minor court rooms, was a crude wooden beam braced out from one of the walls. He told us that if you examined the top of it from a pair of stepladders there were plainly to be seen the grooves formed by the wires from which hung those who had been condemned upstairs. We took his word for it!

Since unification the building has once again become the Supreme Court of the State of Berlin:-
Allied Control Council - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 23rd Oct 2013, 15:41
  #4459 (permalink)  
 
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Chugalug, Like you I had the pleasure of a similar visit and briefing. I flew BEA/BA S1-11s at the same time. We may even have met in the pub more or less opposite the Ambassador Hotel. One point which was made was the reluctance to allow any Germans into the building in case they took the opportunity to try to create a "shrine" which could have upset the delicate relations the Western Powers had with the Russians.

Happy days !
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Old 23rd Oct 2013, 16:33
  #4460 (permalink)  
 
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I had the pleasure of having HQ staff oversight of BASC from my lofty perch at CAA House. Only managed to justify one Staff Visit, sadly, but what a fascinating (and fully functional) relic of WW2.

High on my list of dream postings, never to be realised!!
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