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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 10th Feb 2009, 10:50
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BFTS1

Al, here is a picture that I scanned in Terrell library when I was researching my Uncle who got his wings at Terrell (having started out with Reg in 42A Albany GA, but probably was washed out to Terrell), you might recognise someone?


I also "won" this on ebay, not quite sure what it would have been used for but it was associated with BFTS1



Finally this is shot I took of a display cabinet at Darr Aero recently, Reg should recognise this one?



I do apologise if I am stating the obvious, but there was a distinct difference between the course that Cliff would have taken (BFTS) and the course that Reg would have taken (Arnold Scheme).

Cliff would have been at one centre for the whole course, whilst Reg would have moved every time he completed a section of the course Primary/Basic/Advanced.

When Reg started in July 1941 the dropout from the early courses was significant, nearly 45% dropped out (my Uncle included) some were recycled as Bomb Aimers and Navigators, whilst others (courtesy of Wing Commander Hogan) were given a second chance at a BFTS like my Uncle.


Class


Net Intake


Graduated


42A


549


302


42B


555


327


42C


632


405


42D


651


399


42E


749


746


42F


753


747


42G


749


738


42H


758


748


42I


519


507


42K


507


493


43A


518


504


43B


518


503






I don’t know what happened when they got to class 42 E as the dropout improved dramatically, perhaps they shut the local bar? Reg?

The above table is taken from http://www.arnold-scheme.org/ which is a useful source of information on the scheme.

Later on in the BFTS I think (can you comment Cliff?) the course got improved and they even dropped out Basic training and went straight from Primary to Advanced.

So again apologies if I this Young Sprog has bored anyone!
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Old 10th Feb 2009, 10:58
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Reg has asked me to post these pictures for him to comment on

OOps don't know what happened with my last post as the table went haywire, however if hang on to a bottle of wine and squint you might be able to translate class 42A had an intake of 549, 302 made it though for their wings etc etc.
Now onto Reg's pictures:-







Over to you Reg!
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Old 10th Feb 2009, 11:42
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andyl999:
The difference between the two systems/courses is one of the many things that make this thread so interesting for me.
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Old 10th Feb 2009, 11:50
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S'land

There were more courses still, like the Tower Scheme..........................
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Old 10th Feb 2009, 15:06
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Thank you Andy, Captions

Wedding, Spring 1944, Outside our Blackpool Hotel/B&B L.To R. My Mother, My Sister Ruth, "The ubiquitous " Jacky, Me with face bandaged after a hasty exit from a Halifax, Lovely Dora, Paddy Graham, my R/O, Dora's Mother and Father.
2. Chiefy Dora,
3. Me with two "Colonial" aircrew that I took on leave to Blackpool L. to R. Kevin ? Newfoundland Observer, Me, Sgt Drimmie, Canada. They had to be forcibly taken back to camp,they loved Blackpool so much !
 
Old 10th Feb 2009, 16:26
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Darr School of Aeronautics

ANDY1999.

Yes Andy, I had both primary training (P.T 17), and advanced training (A.T 6) at Darr, Ponca City. So no basic training.

With regard to the pic of Darr school, I don't think it is of Ponca City. Our camp was only on one side of the road. Could it be a pic of Darr School at Miami Okla?. Think Mr Darr had more than one school. I could be wrong, but sixty years ago ???
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Old 10th Feb 2009, 17:08
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Darr Aero

Yes Cliff, sorry to mix you up, the photograph is of Darr Aero Albany Georgia, which is where Reg and my Uncle were trained, but only on Primary I think?

To the left of the road are two hangers, which are still being used today. The administration and barracks are on the right hand side of the road, they are now pulled down and a McGregor golf factory is there.

I don't have any of BFTS 6 pictures as I have so far only researched my Uncle, it was that research that lead me to Reg.

Regards Andy
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 19:23
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The story goes on........

November 1943 was a very busy one for Bomber Command and I began to see the end of my tour as a very real possibility. I was told by many people nearing the end of their tours that the last ten were the worst to experience as , it seemed, that many of them "went for a Burton " at this time. I do not know where that phrase came from but it was nearly always used to describe someone "buying it" or "cashed in his chips". There were many euphemisms but no one would ever say the actual words.
In November I went to Dusseldorf (Ruhr or "Happy Valley"), Cannes Marshalling yards....This was a rare event and sighs of relief went up when the ribbon showed the unbelievable target in the South of France. In actual fact there was a lot of Flak and a fair amount of fighter activity but it was not like anywhere in the German heartland. Then we tried to find Leverkeusen again. It was a small town in the Ruhr but had a huge Factory that I think was I.G Farben, but I am not sure. I know that 4 Group had been there before and had never been successful in finding the target and this one was just the same as I see that we bombed on ETA over a thick layer of cloud under which there was certainly the Pathfinder's correct Markers. Then it was back to the Big City once again and a long haul to Stuttgart to finish a very crowded and scary month.
There were rumours going around that the Squadron was going to be split up and they turned out to be true as I had only one trip to Leipzig in the beginning of December and then I was sent on leave for Xmas and New Year with Dora, who had gone back to St. Helens to her parents to prepare for the expected new arrival in 1944 towards the middle of February. I was told by the C.O. that the whole of "C" Flight, which was my flight,were being posted to nearby Burn,to form the nucleus of a new squadron No 578. but that I was to return off leave to Snaith.
I don't remember much of that leave but I know that it was with a very heavy heart that I left St.Helens to return to Snaith where I found that there was nearly a mutiny going on with the "Press ganging " of "C" Flight the bone of contention. No one wanted to leave Snaith and the ties to 51 SQdn. were so strong that there was a very heavy atmosphere about the Station the whole period until the move which was due to take off at the beginning of Feb. 1944.
I was not surprised to see that it was Berlin again, towards the end of the month on the 20th. of Jan. but I see that in my log book I have noted "Target bombed from 21,000 ft. Little opposition" and that was a notation that rarely appeared , especially after that specific target. That was my 28th. Op. so only two more to go.
By now we were a mixed crew as Phil, my Navigator and Jack my
Bomb Aimer, had joined me in the Officer's Mess. I thought and still think , that it was a bad thing to have these differences in rank. We were lucky in that we had a very good "esprit de corps" amongst ourselves and the matter never came up unless it was a joke that someone just had to relate but I know that there were many crews who had been very good ones had told of a completely different attitude towards each other came up when one or two of the crew were commissioned after a long spell of ops on the same footing.
The morning of the 28th. of January 1944, I went down to Breakfast and saw that the Battle list for the day was on the board already. It was usually put up towards the middle of the day and I saw that our crew was on the list so we were "On "for the penultimate trip of my tour. It was no surprise to be told that there would be an early briefing would take place immediately after lunch and it was no further surprise when we saw the red ribbon ending in the heart of Berlin again. It would be my second successive trip to Berlin and my fourth of the tour.
Whenever "Ops" were "On" the station moved into very tight security. All telephones were closed to outside calls and incoming calls could only be directed to Duty Officers. The station gates were locked and the whole of the perimeter was patrolled by the RAF Regiment. I was sitting in the Mess after the briefing when I heard my name being called over the Tannoy. I was to report to the C.O immediately. Rather apprehensively, wondering what I had done to warrant this I went over to his Office and was ushered in by his Adjutant. To my surprise "Wilky" as he was affectionately known to the crews , got up and warmly shook my hand. "Congratulations " he said "I have just received the news that you are the Father of a little boy and your Wife and your son are both fine ". I was absolutely flabbergasted as we were not expecting the baby until early February. I just stood there and could'nt find any words. " I know that you are very surprised and I want you to know that we are all very happy for you. Unfortunately I can't let you go to see them until tomorrow but I shall not be surprised if you tell me that you would prefer not to go on the Operation, tonight. It is entirely up to you and I shall not question your decision." To my own shock I found myself saying that I would prefer that things were to be left as they were and that I would have an added incentive to a successful trip. I am sure that I said "You bloody idiot " to myself but not absolutely. Anyway the "die was cast" and I don't remember much of going back to the mess but I know that I had to tell someone, so Phil and Jack of my crew were the first to slap me on the back and very soon the word had flown around the Mess and it seemed as if the whole Squadron was shaking my hand. Unfortunately the Bar was always dry during Ops to those who were "On" but rash promises were made as to the future celebrations.
The ensuing trip was, without doubt, the longest and scariest trip that I had made during the whole of my career. We were "coned" three times over Berlin, itself and I had to throw the Halifax around for what seemed like hours on end before eventually breaking clear of the ring of Searchlights into the comparative calm of the Flak and the everpresent Fighters. It seemed a never ending battle all the way to the Dutch coast and I and my crew were exhausted long before we saw the welcome sight of the Station beacon winking at us from a few miles away. The end of one of the most eventful days of my life was not yet over. To my surprise Wing Commander Wilkerson , the C.O. himself was waiting for me at the dispersal. He told me that he had phoned the Hospital and had checked that everything was fine and then said " She will be very happy to know that you have done the last trip of your tour. I have personally decided that you have been on "Ops" long enough and you are now screened." I was completely dumbstruck and could only splutter out "What about my crew, Sir? and was told that it would be taken care of properly and not to worry and then he gave me my leave pass, told me not to overdo the celebrations....It was at least five in the morning by now and all that I wanted was my bed to be alone and sort myself out. I honestly did not know whether "I was batting or bowling " as My Wife was always fond of saying. I had been on "Ops" from Oct.1942 until Jan 28th. 1944 but had ony done 29 and not the requisite 30. I somehow felt cheated but I wasn't going to stick my neck out again.
So I went up to St. Helens next day to see my "Sprog" who was awaiting me. He had a slight touch of jaundice, which Dora assured me, would soon go and his lips were a bright purple from some Gentian Violet dressing that Dora had transmitted to him but we both agreed that he was the loveliest baby in the world and when I told her that my Ops were finished she burst into tears and I think that I joined her.
Wilky kept his word and asked the crew individually whether they wanted to continue for the few Ops that they might be asked to do. I think that they were all told that if they stayed they would have to go with new..."Sprog" crews and only Roy, our Canadian Mid Upper gunner, said that he would stay. He was shot down just two months afterwards over Berlin and is buried in the Berlin War Cemetery.
 
Old 12th Feb 2009, 11:10
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Burton Brewery

'Jolley good show' regle, that index finger must be showing signs of white finger syndrome,by now.

My version of the origination of the saying 'Gone for a Burton' Prewar when companies advertised in most towns by the use of large hoardings, Burton Brewery's contribution was a picture of a wall with an an empty ladder, and written on the wall "Gone for a Burton" . Or was it? Any other ideas ?. Seem to remember Watneys had a wall also, known as Watneys Wall.

Burton Ales were the best and strongest ales in the U.K . at that time. Well us Sassenachs thought so. I might enlarge on that, and it's effects when I reach R.A.F Battlestead Hill. Burton on Trent.

Sorry if it offends any of our Scottish friends or anyone who has signed the pledge.
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Old 12th Feb 2009, 13:23
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cliffnemo and regle:
Wonderful stuff, please keep it coming (and Dallas Police Dept - Al - too, welcome!).
As cliff says, Burtons had an advertising campaign and there were several versions, generally featuring a group photo (such as a wedding) with usually the central character missing with the explanation "Gone for a Burton" (beer). Obviously the similarity with crew rooms after Ops led to the phrase being adopted as a euphemism. Not old enough to have experienced the adverts at first hand, so will yield the floor to anyone better informed (wide enough net!!).
Regle, how can you suddenly drop in the info that on your wedding photo you had a bandaged face from a "hasty exit from a Halifax"? I don't recall you describing that incident!
Thanks to both (and others) for the wonderful evocation of real wartime Ops. We're practically in the cockpit with you!
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Old 12th Feb 2009, 14:38
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I care 9

My very humble apologies for not explaining further..
The crew were "On Reserve" which meant sitting in your aircraft with full operational gear, having been briefed with the rest of the "lucky " chaps who were actually designated for the Op. You would stay there until the Wingco i/c Flying was certain that all designated crews had taken off and were deemed "en route" and then you were allowed to leave the aircraft and stand by in the respective messes. You were bound by the same restrictions as those who were actually going on the Op and No, it did not count towards the number of Ops performed.
We were sitting peacefully in our aircraft when an airman came rushing up to the cockpit and yelled "Get out, Quick, one of the bombs has fallen off and they are clearing the dispersal." Being the skipper I was duty bound to be the last to leave and I tripped on the sill of the rear exit and fell straight on to my face on to the tarmac There were not many people near to help me and I staggered to the waiting truck and was pulled on board, bleeding copiously...Straight to Sick Quarters where I was bandaged up and told to go and rest and come back in the morning. The wedding was about a week later and I was still bandaged and .. No, the bomb did not go off and some awkward questions were asked and not answered of the Armourers.and No, I did not get a wound stripe as it was not enemy action.... Who needs enemies with friends like that ?
 
Old 12th Feb 2009, 17:45
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Gone for a Burton

Am intrigued as others as to the origin of the phrase. A check of the Oxford English Dictionary comes up with the following explanation.


In slang phr. to go for a burton, (of an airman) to be killed; (of a person or thing) to be missing, ruined, destroyed.
None of the several colourful explanations of the origin of the expression is authenticated by contemporary printed evidence.
  1. 1941 New Statesman 30 Aug. 218/3 Go for a Burton, crash.
  2. 1943 C. H. WARD-JACKSON Piece of Cake 32 Gone for a Burton, killed, dead.
  3. 1946 E. ROBERTS in Raymond & Langdon Slipstream 38, I can see those flowers going for a burton.
  4. 1947 ‘N. SHUTE’ Chequer Board iii. 49 He went for a Burton over France last year.
  5. 1957 J. BRAINE Room at Top xx. 176 We noncoms used to say got the chopper. Going for a Burton was journalist's talk.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 08:09
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There were not many people near to help me
You don't say!
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 08:19
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Peenemunde

Regle,
on the Peenemunde raid were you flying Halifax HR 951 ? Just my curiosity !
Thank you and Clffnemo for your very interesting stories, please keep going.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 19:03
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Ancient aviator 2

Yes, that was my usual aircraft. How on earth did you figure that one out ? Regle
 
Old 13th Feb 2009, 21:30
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1 Bfts

Hello Cliffnemo, you will notice a change of my name. The badge is the crest of 1 BFTS Terrell. and is on the front of the Course book. "The sea divides us but the sky unites" 70 hours in the Stearman, two weeks leave and then 130 hours on the AT6.That was the form at Terrell. Look forward to seeing you when the weather gets wartmer.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 22:20
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Gone for a Burton mk2

In informal British English, something or someone who has gone for a Burton is missing; a thing so described might be permanently broken, missing, ruined or destroyed. The original sense was to meet one’s death, a slang term in the RAF in World War Two for pilots who were killed in action (its first recorded appearance in print was in the New Statesman on 30 August 1941).
The list of supposed origins is extremely long, but the stories are so inventive and wide-ranging that you may find them intriguing:
  • Spanish Burton was the Royal Navy name for a pulley arrangement that was so complex and rarely used that hardly anyone could remember what it was or what to do with it. Someone in authority who asked about a member of a working party might be told that he’d gone for a burton.
  • The name of burton was given to a method of stowing wooden barrels across the ship’s hold rather than fore and aft. Though they took up less space this way, it was dangerous because the entire stowage might collapse and kill somebody.
  • The term burnt ’un referred to an aircraft going down in flames.
  • It refers to the inflatable Brethon life jacket at one time issued by the RAF.
  • It was a figurative reference to getting a suit made at the tailors Montague Burton, as one might say a person who had died had been fitted for a wooden overcoat, a coffin (compare the full Monty).
  • The RAF was said to have used a number of billiard halls, always over Burton shops, for various purposes, such as medical centres or Morse aptitude tests (one in Blackpool is especially mentioned in the latter context). To go for a Burton was then to have gone for a test of some sort, but to have failed.
  • It was rhyming slang: Burton-on-Trent (a famous British brewing town in the Midlands), meaning “went”, as in went West.
  • A pilot who crashed in the sea was said to have ended up in the drink; to go for a Burton was to get a drink of beer, in reference to Burton-on-Trent. So the phrase was an allusive reference to crashing in the sea, later extended to all crashes.
  • It is said that there was a series of advertisements for beer in the inter-war years, each of which featured a group of people with one obviously missing (a football team with a gap in the line-up, a dinner party with one chair empty). The tagline suggested the missing person had just popped out for a beer — had gone for a Burton. The slogan was then taken up by RAF pilots for one of their number missing in action as a typical example of wartime sick humour.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 22:27
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ormeside

Thanks I know it's the shield for BFTS1 but I was wondering what the function of the brass version I had?

Regards Andy
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Old 14th Feb 2009, 01:29
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Terrell photo

Andy 1999

I'm 99% sure that the man kneeling next to the fellow in the hat is my dad. I remember dad saying he did a lot of twin engine flying. I downloaded the photo so I can enlarge it to get a better look. Thanks so much for uploading those great photos.

Al
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Old 14th Feb 2009, 03:47
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A No1 BFTS story

Since helicopter ‘war stories’ don’t really belong on this thread I can relay a few stories from my childhood. I remember dad telling a story about leading a cross country flight of, I believe, four or five other AT-6s. As he often did, they flew over the small town in North Texas where his mother, my grand mother, lived. Dad and the other planes would land in a large field and grand mother would drive out the meet them and always brought a large amount of home cooked food. The British boys loved it. On one particular day all the planes were lined up along the side of the road waiting for grand mother to arrive with the food. Dad said he noticed a jeep coming toward them with an officer’s flag mounted on the front. He knew they were not supposed to land in such a place and would probably get into big trouble. Acting quickly Dad had all of the other pilots line up in front of their planes. As the officer passed, Dad called everyone to attention and they all saluted. The officer saluted them back but the jeep never slowed down. Grand mother arrived, everyone enjoyed a great meal and then they were on their way.

Last edited by DPD_Pilot; 14th Feb 2009 at 03:49. Reason: correction
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