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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 4th Jan 2014, 14:01
  #4961 (permalink)  
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I think Ken Brown's words at the end summed the raid up very neatly. And you can't argue with someone who took part and who lost good friends that night.

If only one could put the raid critics, in fact make that Bomber Commands critics, back in time to 1939. Let them live through the war to May 1943 and then ask "What do you think about the dams raid?". I'm certain it won't be the same reply as they would make today.

I'm glad we fought for our freedom and didn't just sit in defence only.
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Old 4th Jan 2014, 14:52
  #4962 (permalink)  
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Sadly one of our bombs has just gone off killing one and injuring others

2014 and the allied WW2 bomber offensive is still claiming victims

Euskirchen: Offenbar ein Toter bei Explosion einer Weltkriegsbombe - SPIEGEL ONLINE

1 dead as World War II bomb explodes in Germany
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Old 4th Jan 2014, 17:16
  #4963 (permalink)  
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You don't win wars by staying on the defensive, yet Bomber Command was the only one that consistently took the offensive from start to finish of the war.

I trust that Chug's reference to "the only one" relates only to the Royal Air Force, recalling that the Royal Navy Submarine Service was constantly on the offensive throughout the Second World War. I'll leave the statistics to others.

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Old 4th Jan 2014, 18:07
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Indeed, Union Jack. By the 'only one' I meant the only RAF Command. Your point is well made that the Silent Service was an essential ingredient in offensive operations from the beginning to the end of the War.
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Old 4th Jan 2014, 19:29
  #4965 (permalink)  
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Angry UXB

Nutloose, (your #4950 refers),

There may be one or two more to come. The following (pinched from the "Der Spiegel" link) paints the picture:

"Im Herbst 1944 hatten die Allierten im Zuge der Operation "Queen" bei zahlreichen Luftangriffen Tausende Bomben über Euskirchen abgeworfen. Nach Angaben der Stadt wurde Euskirchen damals zu rund 75 Prozent zerstört.
Bis heute werden viele Blindgänger unter dem Boden vermutet. In ganz Nordrhein-Westfalen wurden im Jahr 2012 über 700 Bomben geräumt". (underline mine).

Roughly translated by D:

"In the autumn of '44, the Allies, in the course of Operation "Queen", dropped thousands of bombs on Euskirchen during multiple attacks. According to official records about 75% of Euskirchen was destroyed at that time. Even today it is thought that there are many unexploded bombs underground.
In the whole of Northrhein-Westphalia during 2012, over 700 bombs have been dug up".

I don't doubt that there as many or more under London and other cities, waiting to be found.


Last edited by Danny42C; 5th Jan 2014 at 16:35. Reason: Spelling Error
Old 4th Jan 2014, 19:39
  #4966 (permalink)  
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German bombs were, generally, smaller. We shall survive, as they never grasped the idea of HEAVY bombers until FAR too late.

Tactical aviation appeases the soldiers, Strategic aviation appeals to politicians.
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Old 4th Jan 2014, 19:56
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"The name of "Andy Gough" rings a bell. Wasn't it Sgt Gough, and was he ever at GK ? (may be off beam).

I never did any aerotows myself. IIRC, GK didn't have a tug of its own, but borrowed an Auster-sized thing (Heinkel ?) with pilot from a GAF unit somewhere. Although the rule used to be that tug-plus-glider had to have a minimum of 30 tows between them (ie a 5-tow glider pilot must have a 25-tow tug pilot or vice versa), something went wrong. I didn't see it myself, but it seems the glider went way too high, pulling the tail of the tug up and putting the aircraft into the ground. The GAF NCO pilot survived, but was very badly injured. It put rather a pall on the proceedings....D."

"Warrant Officer A W Gough BEM who founded and for twenty years ran the RAFGSA Centre at Bicester. He was killed when giving an aerobatic display in a Blanik at RAF Brize Norton on 12 June 1982." - Not sure of his service history Danny, but someone will. Certainly gliding could provide its "sixpence/ half crown moments". I remember an Aerotow in an ASK8 (a wood and canvas job, very light, got airborne on a budgies fart) with an estimated 15 knot headwind. As the tug opened its throttle, the prop efflux got me airborne, before all the slack was taken up. As the rope took hold I was around 15 ft altitude and the tug was gently accelerating. Its tail came up, and I, with full forward stick applied could do nothing but hope he got airborne. Although, as an after thought I could have pulled the release. However he came unstuck very quickly, and I enjoyed a smashing 2 hour flight. The tug pilot was a fine chap, well worthy of the beers I plied him with that evening in the bar. I do hope that someone can link Andy Gough to your GK reminiscence, the man was a legend in the RAFGSA.

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Old 4th Jan 2014, 20:51
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By the 'only one' I meant the only RAF Command. Your point is well made that the Silent Service was an essential ingredient in offensive operations from the beginning to the end of the War.

on both counts, Chug.

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Old 4th Jan 2014, 20:58
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IIRC, GK didn't have a tug of its own, but borrowed an Auster-sized thing (Heinkel ?) with pilot from a GAF unit somewhere.
Perhaps a Do 27:

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Old 4th Jan 2014, 22:39
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Nice pic - looks as if it would make a fine tug - and what is that little thing stuck on behind the tailwheel ? (remember, I have no knowledge of tows and never seen one close-up, and was away from GK when the crash happened).

Could very well have been your Dornier.

Thanks, Danny.
Old 4th Jan 2014, 22:57
  #4971 (permalink)  
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Danny recalls some small memories of Quarters life.

Life in Quarters is best remembered as a succession of small incidents. Mary had reached the stage of her first tricyle: we took her down to a toyshop in GK. She went unerringly for one with a flat red wooden seat. ( "Alle kinder lieben rote", said the saleswoman). Naturally she was never allowed out on her own; our house and garden was toddler-escape-proof (we thought).

One day, Mrs D. was busy in the house, Mary playing happily outside with her trike. The (only) garden gate onto Bruton Street had a self-locking catch; you had to operate it with a knob on top. In any case, the catch was far too high on the gate for her to reach up to. But not if she is standing on the seat of her trike ! (we hadn't bargained for this).

A neighbouring officer coming off duty knocked on the door,"I've just seen Mary on her trike making her way down to the Tower. I tried to bring her home in my car, but she flatly refused, saying "I'm going to meet my Daddy". Mrs D jumped in our car and caught her well on the way along the road there. "All right, darling", she said - "we'll go and meet Daddy together". And so they did (we had to tie the garden gate up after that).


One day, our batwoman Julie came to Mrs D. in a state of terror. It appeared that there was a fearful monster of some kind lurking in the cellar laundry room. But Julie had little English, my wife couldn't make head nor tail of it. It was impossible to establish the nature of this threat, apart from the fact that it was alive.

But Mrs D. was a Yorkshire lass and feared no creature. Arming herself with some blunt instrument, she descended the cellar steps to confront the intruder. On the boiler room floor was a harmless young frog, which had hopped in down the steps from the garden. Mrs D. was a country girl: she scooped it up and dropped it in the damp grass outside (frog = frosch, btw).


On one of the last days of our tour, the CH boiler was playing me up, refusing to get going. By then I was quite an experienced stoker. Drastic measures seemed to be called for. I opened the furnace door and surveyed the sullen warm coke. Perhaps if I encouraged it a little ?...Now, there are those, believe it or not, who try to get garden fires and the like going with petrol (and land in A&E). I'm not that daft. But a bit of paraffin should be all right, surely ? - after all a firelighter is only paraffin wax, isn't it ?

I gave it about a quarter of a pint on top. At once, a white cloud issued from the top of the coke, and a malevolent hissing started. This was no place for me to be, I thought.

I just had time to push the furnace door back loosely, duck round the corner into the laundry room and press myself against the wall, when the explosion came. It rocked our end of Bruton Street (people thought there had been an accident in the mines below).

Mrs D. called anxiously from above "Are you all right ?" D. emerged from a cloud of dust and soot below, looking like a Black & White Minstrel, and reassured her.

Curiously, there was very little damage. As I'd merely pushed the furnace door back, but not latched it, it had only slammed hard round against the hinges. But now there was a hairline crack half way across it, in spite of which it seemed to be holding together all right.

It continued to do so until the very morning of our Marching Out. Then it fell apart in two (the bill was Dm10)... Ah well.

Once more, Goodnight all,


Just my luck !
Old 5th Jan 2014, 12:02
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Catalina flying-boat on patrol which could last up to 22 hours and range far into the Atlantic. The fast-changing weather systems claimed the lives of many aircrew as they returned to their Northern Ireland bases through high winds, low cloud and heavy rain.

PPRUNERS who are pilots, most better qualified than myself, please forgive this faltering explanation of navigation, as I know many followers of this enthralling thread are interested in the problems faced by those who gave their all for our freedom.

Let’s say we want to fly from London to Edinburgh. We draw a line on the map, we measure the angle relative to north with a protractor, and it’s about 340 degrees. We measure the distance, and it’s 360 miles. So all we need to do is to steer 340 degrees on our compass, fly at Catalina cruise of 120 mph -- two miles a minute -- and we’ll reach Edinburgh in 180 minutes, provided there is no wind.

Wind is a huge problem for the airman. If we have a 20mph north headwind on the nose, our speed over the ground will be reduced by 20mph, so our flight at the resulting 100 mph will take longer. If the wind is a tailwind from the south, our ground speed will be increased by 20mph to 140 mph and our flight will be shorter.

There are problems when the wind comes from one side. If we have a prevailing westerly wind of 20 mph, by no means unusual, our Catalina will be drifted sideways by 20 miles every hour and our three-hour flight will end up 60 miles east of Edinburgh, far out in the North Sea. Of course we have various pinpoints marked on our map, and we can correct for the wind drift as we fly along, assuming we can see the ground.

Technology, satellites and computers make today’s met forecasts very accurate, and using the forecast winds at various heights we can adjust our heading to make good the required track. In effect we would set course for a point 60 miles west of Edinburgh, so during the three-hour flight the wind would carry us 60 miles to the east and hopefully right over the famous Castle. But 70 years ago there were neither satellites nor computers.

The crews of Coastal Command, plodding homeward after an eight-hour patrol, had no ground features to help them find the wind. They had to make do with dropping smoke floats and watching their drift, or try to assess wind speed and direction from the waves below. Early radar was not reliable, and when it did indicate the coast it was difficult to tell which part of the coast.

Crews returning to Limavady and Ballykelly could let down over Lough Foyle and creep into base at low level, peering through rain-lashed Perspex for a glimpse of a ground feature. But some returning crews mistook Lough Swilly to the west for Lough Foyle, and paid the price when they let down into the Urris Hills between the two loughs. Fragments of Whitley and Wellington can still be found on those hills to this day, and their crews rest in the little graveyards close to their bases.

Catalina AH536 and her crew lie beneath the waters of Lough Erne to this day. On the right, local people erected this poignant memorial on the Antrim cliffs near to the Giant's Causeway to commemorate two young men who had travelled halfway round the world to join the fight for freedom.
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Old 5th Jan 2014, 17:22
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But a bit of paraffin should be all right, surely ? - after all a firelighter is only paraffin wax, isn't it ?

Brings a whole new meaning to "Keep the home fires burning"!

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Old 5th Jan 2014, 21:33
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Excellent picture of an excellent aircraft, geriaviator. Thank you! Good account of the effect of wind in Air Navigation as well. You can't over emphasise the important basics.

Your cruise speed for the Cat is ballpark of course, but we had a USAF Major at Cranwell who once stated that it; Took Off at 90, Flew at 90, and Landed at 90. Maybe he was talking about Endurance Speed, or maybe just having a laugh, but it made the point of the stately way these Galleons of the Air proceeded upon their lawful occasions!
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Old 5th Jan 2014, 22:45
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Ref your #4960 and the mention of an "ASK- 8". We had a "K-2" for dual instruction at GK. Would that be from the same family ?...D.

Chugalug and Geriaviator,

They were, I believe, known as "Flying Planks" (from the wing shape). 90 kts sounds a trifle slow...D.

Cheers, Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 5th Jan 2014 at 22:53. Reason: Add Text
Old 6th Jan 2014, 10:18
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It was indeed, Danny. Rudolf Kaiser - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 6th Jan 2014, 11:42
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The Catalina cruising speed is variously reported as typically 100-120 mph (87-105 kt).....
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Old 6th Jan 2014, 16:32
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From my post # 2522:-
My late Uncle (not in the mob but R.A. A.A.) told me that whilst stationed in Colombo "every time a Catalina was sighted they had to stand to as the Japs had some captured ones."
Can anyone substantiate the fact that that there were Catalinas in Japanese hands?
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Old 6th Jan 2014, 18:07
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Catalinas in Japanese hands
Probably not. However, the Yokosuma and Kawanishi Flying boats had a similar high wing with twin engines to the Catalina' The RA would have been able to differentiate the twin tails of the Japanese aircraft to the single fin of the Catalina.

Not so the Navy air gunners who had only four recognition codes:

If it's got one engine it's a Messersmidt.
If it's got two it's a Heinkel.
If it's got three it's a Junkers.
If it's got four it's a Condor.

That's what my father said when they used to take their lives in their hands returning from the Atlantic.
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Old 6th Jan 2014, 22:02
  #4980 (permalink)  
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Catalinas et al.


Thanks - it was a very nice glider (not that I know much about them)...D.


Yes ! I was always told to keep out of gun range of all warships - for matelots will always shoot first and ask questions afterwards !

Makes sense, really. On the ground, a squaddie thinks "If it's hostile, it may not be gunning for me, but someone else - I can wait and see". The matelot knows he's the target....D.

All this talk of Catalinas reminds me of the tale (in my Post long since) of the F/E's unwise prank in one at Cholaveram (Madras). (#3007 and #3018 p.151 "A Danny Come to Judgment").


PS: Was quite impressed by the ITV4 film "Midway" yesterday PM. Not all Hollwwood heroics like the earlier post war version.

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