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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 8th Dec 2013, 18:18
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So although we have been verbally abused with sarcasm never was a profanity used and of course cleanness is next to godliness.

Or, as we say in the dark blue, "A clean ship is a tidy ship, is a happy ship. Leave is cancelled until morale improves!"

Jack
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 18:36
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Union Jack ... yes, I was aware. I raised a glass to the cantankerous and utterly professional gentleman when I saw that.
Tempus Fugit.

And I doubt he would have forgiven me ... just glad to be rid of me, I suspect. He was RN to the core. I shall return to him later, if the Forum permits?

One of our Div Sub Lts (doing extra studies after sea time, whilst kicking us into shape) did quite well.
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 18:59
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“Everything will be tiddily.” Que?

It means all our issued kit will be folded perfectly to fit the width of the locker, and arranged alternately dark blue and white (winter and summer ‘rig’). This is critical, as in the event of the ship springing a leak, or being in peril of being sunk by military action, this neat arrangement will somehow prevent the salvage pumps from being blocked and thus save the ship. Huzzzah. So, in addition to bed-packs, recruits for the annoying of, our lockers are full of perfectly folded garments. Until things go adrift, as they are wont to say.

Inspection time … the deck is polished to extinction, the heads are cleaner than a Burger Joint (in fact, infinitely better), gash cans emptied, deck-head cleared of spiders, assorted rig/kit laid out in the correct manner on the bed (mattress exposed in case you are a nocturnal urinator, which is why bed-packs were invented). OMG … a defect!! A dirty spoon? Studs on sole of boot not polished? It matters not. As everyone else is preparing to retire to their ‘bunks’ (2-tier bedsteads) you are told “Report to the Divisional Office in 5 minutes in Winter River Rig … GO!!” And demigod departs.

Rummage immaculate locker for correct rig, change and double down the corridor (eek - passageway) to the Office. “Shoes not clean enough, shorts not ironed, Expedition Rig in 5 minutes … GO!!). If lucky, there would only be 2 or 3 cycles of suppressed desire to kill an officer of Her Majesty’s Royal Navy before the process was complete … “Locker Inspection in 5 minutes … GO!!”

Rush to barrack room (eeek, Mess Deck) gather up debris from Rig Changes, fold neatly to fit width of locker in case BRNC should be torpedoed during the night, stand by bed/bunk/hammock/WTF. “Acceptable. Lights out in 5 minutes”.

Would Her Majesty miss an occasional Sub Lt?
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 19:43
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Heh heh, the more I read the more I realise that whatever way we entered, whatever of our services, we all had one thing in common at the start of our careers. The bumper, an object I will never forget, and which in these modern times is probably just another "old blokes" diversion. It really never occurred to me that our "fishead" comrades would be familiar with our block Sergeants favourite torture machine from Halton. I wonder if Danny had experience of this "stiffener of the British Military backbone". Or did they do something different in the USA in those days. I suspect learning to fly should have had priority. Come on Danny, have you ever swung a bumper ?

As a secondary input, I've just finished reading Peter Cargills Phantom from the Cockpit. There's a passage in it where he explains the difference between an Air Traffic Controller and a GCI controller. Perhaps age has affected the synaptic capability, but it should have been obvious shouldn't it ? One stops aircraft colliding, the other engineers a meeting. I suspect Danny, you have already divulged that point, for some reason I missed it.

Onwards and upwards as they say.

Smudge
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 19:49
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The Esteemed OH was on a commissioning board, and asked the aspiring airman the difference between an Air Traffic Controller and a Fighter Controller.

"Basically the same, Ma'am, but Fighter Controllers do it faster".

He did not progress to the next stage.

(NODUF)
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 20:03
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Early 60s.
Signed up at Eastliegh, Nairobi, and flew to Lynham as AC2. Arrived there at night and put up in transit mess. Next day given travel warrant to somewhere near South Cerney (never heard of it!!). Arrived at wrong camp gates, and had to cart large suitcase across base to barrack blocks which were to be home for the next 2 months. Rest of course arrived over the next few days. First month messing in the combined mess then in a separate cadets' mess. All visits to local area had to wear hats so could salute any officers we met by doffing our hats, but this marked us out to the locals and led to some fights! Our DI was the legendary Flt Sgt Maunder 'the voice of South Cerney' who initially intimidated us, but as the course went on we came to appreciate his great qualities. Memory:
Mr x how tall are you?
6' 2" Flt Sgt
I didn't know that they could pile it that high!
Cerney passed in marching, ground school, leadership exercises (maybe more later) etc. We spent more time in No 1 Mess than usual as we has foreign students with us. This led to a requirement to bull our rooms - which had never had such attention paid to them before ,and this caused us much agro as behind pipes had never been cleaned before! Still the 16 weeks seemed to pass OK and then off to BFTS.
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 20:14
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Bumpers! I remember them well.


IWM photo.
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 21:09
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Jankers, bumpers and guns.

Camlobe is charged. Dirty boots on parade. I have brought great shame on my family, my home, my fellow sufferers in Basic Training, the pet dog. I feel close to tears for having let the side down. All My room mates are superficially sympathetic in that "glad it wasn't me" way...well, all except for the recipient of my boot who is nursing sore nether regions.

The following morning, one of my room mates acts as my escort. The Cpl DI advises me that I have rights, and read this pamphlet. 'Request trial by Court Martial' etc, etc. LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT, MARK TIME, HALT. The charge is read out. The reviewing Officer listens with concentration, so much so that I am convinced that the only result will be "Transportation". Do I accept his punishment? I have made the conscious decision that although this is the most important happening in my life at this moment, the Senior Officers will be busy ensuring our aircraft are keeping our airspace sovereign and I best not trouble them with my issues. Plenty of time for that in my advanced career...if this charge doesn't shorten it. I am Awarded three (or may have been five) days punishment. Relief. I am not being kicked out of the RAF, well, not yet anyway. The punishment entailed reporting to the recruits mess at 1800 hours to assist the cooks, and report to the guardroom at 2200 hours for inspection, without the smell of alcohol on my breath. Following thy days square-bashing and films, I report to the mess. The cook asks me in a pleasant manner if I could clean the days trays. These trays are the huge aluminium serving trays that hold bacon, sausages and all other staples of the recruits diet. And they are encrusted. Some time later, and with tired arms, he asks me to mop the floor and that is it for the night. And then he offers me a snack. I advise him of my gratefulness for his generosity and attitude. He smiles while he tells me that I am not the only one to be on Jankers in their first couple of weeks of basic training, and how do I think he keeps the kitchen so clean? Certainly not by doing it himself. Some of my self esteem returns as I walk back to the block exhausted, and I did eat rather well for the next couple of evenings. Unfortunately, no rest for the poor, weary camlobe because we are subjected to a Bull Night. Although we have been practicing what the Discip Sergeant and Corporal have taught us about keeping the room spotless, a Bull Night is an order of magnitude greater. Like the rest of my room mates, I have been given a list of things I am responsible for, and they are waiting for me. A little bit of juggling has been done, and I have just two tasks. Clean one of the "traps", and bump the corridor. I finish the trap in time to change and report to the guardroom! then back to the corridor.

For those who may not know, I will try and describe to the best of my memory, that joyous device of torture, the Bumper. (If I get it wrong, I feel sure Smudge and others will correct me).

The Bumper is a fairly simple item of few moving parts. It has incredible inertia, and utilises the muscular structure of recruits, Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, to operate at peak efficiency. The block of the bumper is a lump of cast iron, weighing around 20 pounds initially, and around 100 after half an hour. Pivoting off the top of the block is a long and thick handle similar to that of a broom, but much longer and thicker. Below the block is placed a piece of cloth. The luckless operator then pulls the handle in one direction to get the block moving. It's motion is restrained by the operator pulling back on the handle the other way. The distance covered on each pass is around 12 feet. Continual operation will ensure the operator suffers back ache, blisters, and the Discip NCO's wrath every time the Bumper careens into door frames/skirting boards, and other items. The bumper is capable of causing considerable damage in angry, tired and frustrated hands. Bed was collapsed into around 1 o'clock.

We are marched to a new area, secure, dark and foreboding. This is where the RAF's own guard force live, the RAF Regiment. These fine stalwarts are employed to defend the airfields of the RAF in times of conflict. But we are at peace (sort of) in 1978, and the Regiment are gainfully employed in introducing raw recruits like ourselves to the standard issue weapon for the three services, the SLR. This high-velocity assault rifle has been the mainstay for a number of years, replacing the 303 almost completely (more later). The SLR, or Self Loading Rifle is the Belgian FN, and uses a 7.62 mm magnum type round, standard magazines holding 20 rounds. We are advised of the damage this rifle can do. Graphically. We respect the SLR. The Regiment instructors make us completely familiar with the rifle, to the point where we can strip and reassemble the weapon and load an empty magazine blindfolded. When we are not dismantling the SLR, we are learning rifle drill continually. But we don't get a chance to shoot it yet.
One day, we are marching along with our rifles slung over our shoulder. The senior man is on the outside. Along comes a Discip Sergeant and a Junior Officer. Now, we can't see everything because we are marching eyes forward trying to be invisible. The Sergeant screams HALT. What have we done? No one was "tick-tocking", no one was out of step. What have we done? "WHY ARE YOU CARRYING YOUR RIFLE IN YOUR LEFT HAND, SENIOR MAN? We less-responsible recruits immediately breath a sigh of relief because it is not us. But why IS he carrying the rifle in his left hand? This is gong to be a good one.

"It's so I can salute an Officer with my right hand, Sergeant.

We got a severe shouting at for spontaneous laughing.

Camlobe

Edit: I see warm toast has presented us with a brace of torturous items.

"CALL THAT CLEAN?"
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 23:09
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Camlobe,

Happy Daze then

Warmtoast,

The paper under the feet of the beds was practised at Halton when I went through. Clean the bed feet, the floor under and remove the paper just before inspection. The inspecting staff always went for the fluff from the bumper pads stuck under the feet of the bed.

Smashing memories for me chaps, now Danny, have you been acquainted with Her Majesties Bumper ?

Smudge
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 23:33
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38th entry of Boy Entrants (u/t Telegraphist II) October 1959 at 2 School of Technical training Cosford. I was lucky and after 12 weeks of ITS (Initial Training Squadron) my flight moved to Fulton Block. Other flights were not so lucky and moved to wooden huts. Imagine 30 sixteen year old lads in a wooden hut with a linoleum floor which was being cleaned with paraffin whilst a coke stove glowed in the middle of the hut...
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Old 9th Dec 2013, 00:02
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Opening the Floodgates.

Camlobe,

What have we done ?.... We've opened a window into the past: the reminiscences have come crowding in here from all sides! This is (I'm sure) exactly what Cliff (RIP) had in mind five years ago when he kicked-off this best of all Threads, and now we've got the snowball rolling again. Let's keep it up !

So you've blotted your Conduct Sheet (never mind, it was sure to happen sooner or later). Now, if you'd been really on the ball, you'd have polished the instep under the boot - and then you'd have seen the lump of mud in the cleats (when did they come in, by the way ? - we had plain leather (?) soles).

Pleased to hear that my hunch has come up !...D.

ancientaviator62,

Plebs of the world, rejoice ! "Plebs" is an honourable word, it really means the Hard Working common people whom politicians are always going on about; plebiscites were what we had before calling them referenda. Now if Andrew Mitchell had (or had not, as the case seems to be) used the word "vulgus", it would be quite different.....D.


Chugalug,

We on the "lower deck" have always affected to doubt the abilities of those "set over us" (and whose orders we'd sworn to obey), and to credit them with a lifestyle of idleness, luxury and special treatment. But nobody really believed that for a moment, it was just an all-purpose grumble we could indulge it if nothing else was on offer.

And "blue blood" was never an issue: I was the son of a regular R.Q.M.S. of the King's (Liverpool) Regt., the grandson of a Sergeant of that Regt., and (we believe) the great grandson of a soldier (rank and Regt. unknown). And that would take us back to the Irish Famine Years; the trail grows cold there.

I quote from you:

"we chose this path, and in return it gave us a life, a career, an experience, that for most if not all would have been unobtainable".

This was true, We were all volunteers: all of us would agree with you. Of course, it was heavy going in the early stages, but there was "no gain without pain". As for the profanity, it was so much a part of the normal speech of those uttering it, that it was of no significance to the hearer - you simply ignored it....D.

MPN11,

Never knew that you started in the True Blue. But now that we do , let's have the rest of the (hopefully not sad) story of how you came to finish up with us !....D.

NOTE:
THESE REMARKS COVER POSTS ONLY UP TO # 4660, (AS THE THREAD HAS BEEN SWAMPED BY LATER POSTS [WONDERFUL !] WHICH I WILL NOW HAVE A LOOK AT... D.)

Cheers to all, Danny.
 
Old 9th Dec 2013, 06:48
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One of my favorite sayings is from the PO GI who single-handedly took 87 Flight BRNC from a bunch of useless civilians to a still quite useless (militarily) Middies and Sub Lts who could on some very fine days march in time.

"Fall in three deep. That's one behind the other, twice."
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Old 9th Dec 2013, 08:29
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MPN11

I seem to have followed a similar career path - maybe we even encountered some of the same protagonists.

During the laughable 1 month sea phase of the aviation cadets' stay at BRNC (HMS Repton) I ran foul of the Number 1, who was also a twitching Sea Vixen chap (observer) with a hyphenated surname, but known universally as "Snave". I'm too embarrsed to reveal the details right now, even though it happened in 1969 (40 Air Entry/aka "Flight").

Aah, the PO GIs - all gas and gaiters - how did they manage to raise their voices to such a high pitch? And never, ever address the RM Colour Sergeant as "Colours", for the inevitable tirade would start with "I'm not a firkin rainbow...Mr HTB..."

Did we know the same Sub Lt who had a penchant for seeing cadets from the junior (Jellicoe in my case) division in a variety of rig? What a performance, thankfully aided by my messmates preparing the the appropriate items, as I shouted the required rig on high speed recovery from front of college to cabin at rear. This as punishment for entering the dining hall in dy rig, having been delyed at Sandquay with no time to change (it usually took me about 20 minutes to tie the sodding bow tie). As I recall, he was a plump, bespectacled Pusser, imbued with latent sadism. I must admit, a degree of physical retribution crossed my mind, but fortunately it was never realised (pity he was too lardy to play rugby...).

We'll gloss over my subsequent move to light blue (Sea King proved a bit too much for my tiny brain, along with full discovery of the delights of wimmin, wine and song - and all before my 21st birthday...).

I did have an encounter with my former Dartmouth Divisional Officer - a Lt Cdr young enough to be destined for higher things. Well he did rise in rank, but when I met him over 20 years later, he was a Cdr on the staff of JWC at RM Poole - blotted copybook somewhere along the line?

But all in all, it was pleasant while it lasted.

Mister B
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Old 9th Dec 2013, 08:51
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Chatlie Juliet

Joining up in Nairobi in the early sixties means, if I am correct, then your service number must start with 50***** or 52*****.
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Old 9th Dec 2013, 09:15
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HTB ... ahoy, matey

In between writing Christmas Cards I'm composing a couple more dits. Well, I think it will be 3 under current plans. Domestic bliss demands that this will be a lowish priority for the moment, thus allowing assorted other "early days" tales to be told.

Danny42C ... Wilco, Skipper

I thought a differently-coloured perspective might be interesting to some people around here. Perhaps it will? Only time, and a slab of typing, will tell!
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Old 9th Dec 2013, 10:29
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Of course, it wasn't all academic studies, marching with swords or rifles and picnic outings to Dartmoor involving the novel use of large poles (wooden, not ethnic) and ropes. Post graduation there was the real business of learning how to be an aviator, part of which was an even bigger picnic in the New Forest; a whole week this time...with a cute little bunny (no, not your survival buddy, but one of the fluffy kind for eating).

I can remember the names of all but 2 or 3 of this motley bunch, comprising a mix of mainly SL, some GL and a couple of Crabs; pilots/observers and navigators. Play a game of recognition; I might post the names if anyone gets close to naming more that half a dozen. Timeframe? Week after the Isle of Wight Rock Festival in 1969 (the one with Bob Dylan and many others). Needless to say, the picture is at the end of the survival course...

I had attended said Festival, during which I stood on a broken bottle and nicked an artery in my instep. Having managed to hobble back to the IoW ferry, then another ferry across Portsmouth Harbour, taxi to Seafield park, I was faced with a sympathetic reception...and sent off to Haslar for some probing of the wound (glass fragment removal) and very large hypodermic anti-tetanus in the buttock.

This served to save me from the swim out to the rubber dinghy on a New Forest pond; however, the DS kindly brought my vessel to shore, loaded me and pushed it out again, so most of the object of the exercise was fulfilled.

The rest of the course was fun,fun,fun - shelters made of fern (no para teepee as we wouldn't be having such silken luxury in a helicopter), lots of trudging through the forest by day and by night to fulfil some useless task; raiding of refuse bins by camping sites and beauty spots for scraps of food.

As I said, by and large it was pleasant while it lasted...

Mister B


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Old 9th Dec 2013, 11:08
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I thought at only 76 & well post War (II) that I should only read the wisdom & experiences of my elders whose efforts (& sacrifice) one way & another have made my own post War existence better.
I.e. freedom, a proper post war Health Service & much better education opportunities.

However now I see young whipper snappers stories are just as interesting and recall a common streak we all seemed to experience, and now long after realise it was part of the 'making' of us.

In my case HNC studies and an Apprenticeship meant a deferred call up for National Service till over 21. At RAF Bridgenorth we too experienced the terrors of Square Bashing, before a select bunch of men mostly of my age, with a scattering of brainy 18 year olds, spent the best part of 1959 at RAF Locking. There we were compelled to a mix of unwelcome marching like morons & classes whereafter we were expected to learn to perform like geniuses on esoteric electronic subjects, even venturing to mention such new fangled things of the future called 'transistors'.
I was then posted off to Cyprus to practise my trade with the elevated rank of Junior Technician - one upside down stripe. Accomodation was a tent on a concrete floor !

By chance this morning, I came across this March 1959 picture of we conscripts.

mike hallam. [EDIT but it doesn't come through I see] --GOT ITat last**

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Old 9th Dec 2013, 11:14
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Stand Still that man!! Double Up, Cadet!!

Either loud message could be applied at random intervals, although not usually simultaneously. Whichever, life involved a certain about of moving around the expanses of the College. And in the cruel, harsh world of the 1960s the greater proportion of that was done at the double. I think Reveille was piped at 0630 (or was it 0615?). From then, until 1900 (or was it 1830?) cadets moved at the double everywhere unless actually marching as a formed body of men (or flotilla, possibly, as this was the RN). Indoors or out, between those hours, you ran - and if you ever considered slowing to a walk you could guarantee a disembodied voice from somewhere would bellow those familiar words that haunted your existence … “Double Up, Cadet!”

In common with everyone else at this stage of training, many hours were spent doing drill on the expansive parade ground in front of the main College building, with its sweeping carriage ramps at each side that led up to the main entrance. There are also elaborate steps going up in the centre, below which lurked a couple of small offices. It was here that the GIs lurked. No, not American soldiers … our Gunnery Instructors, who taught us the old familiar drill movements. As noted previously, these were mainly Petty Officers (always called “Chief”) and, as noted by HTB above, a Royal Marine Colour Sergeant (always called “Colour”). Woe betide the cadet who in a moment of stress, whilst receiving one of those imaginative verbal lashings, called Colour Chief, of Chief Colour, or the ultimate sin … Sir. As we were commission on entry to the College, and wore officers’ uniforms, we were “Mister” … a reminder that we weren’t really officers, perhaps, other than a mark of respect!



So, marching around we merrily go. Significant failures in carrying out the required evolutions result in the offending party being required to fall out (properly) and, pursued by a barrage of invective, double around the ramps a couple of times. What was the lap distance? 440 yards seems familiar? And, of course, failure to fall back in properly (or indeed out in the first place) resulted in further lonely laps around the ramps.

And eventually, when there is a degree of competence and a prospect of us all heading in the same direction at the same time, we are allowed to drill with weapons. No, neither “Lee Enfield No 4” nor “SLR” entered our lexicon. We are to be Naval Officers, and thus are taught sword drill. Here enters another little nuance in the context of retribution - errors during sword drill required the culprit to run around the ramps with the sword in the position at which the error occurred. Some of these can be quite inconvenient, especially with the scabbard thrashing your left leg as you run.

But we are not supposed to be a decorative addition to parades. We are supposed to conduct them, and thus further hours are spent taking charge and drilling our colleagues in the approved manner. Commanding halt on the wrong foot, or indeed failing to command halt in time to prevent the flotilla running aground/hitting the wall had their inevitable circulatory consequences. Mercifully my previous experience with drill in the CCF/ATC stood me in good stead … I generally avoided taking any extra exercise. And of course my boots were ultra-shiny.

MPN11 moves to the right in ones, and doubles away smartly to write about boats.

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Old 9th Dec 2013, 11:24
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HTB - by 1979 87 Flight by now ex BRNC also attended Seafield Park for the Aircrew Medical Course followed by the Survival Course.

No New Forest pool for us though - the six man liferafts (which are really built for four, I'm sure) were moored in Poole Harbour and reached via RMB Poole (Hamworthy).

February is cold, and Feb 1979 followed the trend. We had a frost most nights, except the night of the 24 hour liferaft adventure, which blew a gale. We were taken off the liferafts at about 22.00. The boat sent to fetch the other raft was swamped as it approached the slipway, so they all swam for it. The rest of the night was spent in the luxury of the changing rooms, sleeping on the wooden benches.
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Old 9th Dec 2013, 11:56
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Thanks for that MPN11. I remember well the pain of doubling around the parade ground, rifle at the high port (yes we did drill with rifles, bayonets too, and if I recall correctly carried them at the passing out parade). However, we weren't commissioned on entry, all were humble cadets, so being addressed as "Mister" by the GIs was probably appropriate (at least in their eyes). On graduation, one was commissioned as a sub lt, or if under the age of 21, that strange nether world of Midshipman; not quite an officer, but also not quite anything else.

Here's a frontal view of the main entrance stairway to the college that you mentioned , with the whole division, including academic tutors, arrayed in a mix of rig. That's me, five rows back, third from left, with the lanyard - it goes very nicely with the hairy blue battledress uniform, don't you think?

From the ramp immediately above the stairs, we would a couple of times a week have "flashing" session; sounds sort of navy... But it was actually reading morse code from a flashing lamp atop the mainmast/flagpole. This could be problematic early in the morning during the first 3 months of the year, when the sun was low and rising (yes, I think you were right about the 0630 wake up call): retinal damage, anyone?

I can't for the life of me remember the name of old gent, front row second from left; I think he was, or had been, Mayor of Dartmouth, and was also a cobbler (snobs).

Mister B



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